Best Luggage For College Students 2023
For many, going off to college signifies a new level of freedom and independence. And for those who dream of seeing the world, the college years present plenty of opportunities for travel. From study-abroad programs to spring-break vacations (and of course, the occasional trip back home), college students tend to do their fair share of traveling.
The right luggage is a must for any trip, yet many college students are on limited budgets and therefore may have a hard time affording a $500 luggage set. The good news is that great luggage doesn’t have to cost a semester’s worth of tuition; by shopping the top brands for college students, you can find quality luggage at a reasonable price.
Best Luggage for College Students
- US Traveler
Reviews of Best Luggage for College Students
Check out our picks for the top five luggage brands for college students below.
Specializing in compact yet durable and user-friendly designs, CHESTER is a top pick for college students looking for fairly priced luggage that will last well beyond their years in school. From carry-ons to medium-sized checked bags, CHESTER offers it all with a 100-day free trial period. They also offer free two-day shipping and returns for those last-minute planners similar to Away luggage.
Rockland is another popular luggage brand among college students, and for good reason. Fashion-conscious students enjoy that Rockland’s luggage comes in a wide array of colors and styles, which makes it easy to select one that suits your own unique personality. Rockland is also known for their luggage sets, which give you the most bang for your buck.
Amazon’s brand, AmazonBasics, offers everything from apparel and housewares to luggage and everything in between. Students especially love AmazonBasics luggage because it comes with free one- or two-day delivery for Prime members and comes in a wide array of styles, colors, and sizes. From soft- and hard-sided spinner suitcases to smaller carry-ons and duffel bags, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for with AmazonBasics luggage. And if you already have a discounted student Prime membership, you won’t have to worry about paying for shipping or returns.
Samsonite has been a trusted, budget-friendly luggage brand for decades. Today, they’re a top choice for travel-loving college students due to their expansive selection and great prices. On their website, you can easily filter based on luggage size, price, and other features. Samsonite also offers a 50% discount for new customers who sign up for the company’s mailing list.
5. US Traveler
College students will love the US Traveler luggage line, which is frequently on sale and comes in a large selection of colors and styles. Their quality luggage is available on its own or in sets, which range from three to five pieces. US Traveler also offers travel-friendly carry-ons and other accessories to make students’ lives easier while on-the-go. This brand offers one of the best values when it comes to luggage for college students.
Advantages of Luggage for College Students
If you’re a college student without a great luggage set, there are some major benefits you could be missing out on as you prepare to travel.
Better Organization While Traveling
Travel luggage is designed with easy organization in mind. The right luggage will come with numerous storage compartments to keep things like your tablet, glasses, and liquids safe even while stowed away on a turbulent flight. These thought-out storage compartments will also make it easier to get settled in once you’ve reached your destination. No more fumbling around trying to remember where you packed that phone charger when you arrive at your hotel with a drained battery. A great suitcase will also offer plenty of space for your clothes so they can arrive wrinkle-free. After all, who wants to have to use one of those hotel-room clothes irons or do laundry while traveling?
Easier Maneuverability From Place to Place
If you’ve ever had to schlep a heavy suitcase from your car to your dorm room without a luggage cart or other help, you know just what a pain this can be. When you travel with modern luggage that’s been designed with easy maneuverability in mind, you’ll enjoy features such as spinner wheels and telescoping handles that make getting your bags from place to place a breeze. This will especially come in handy as you make your way through crowded airport check-in lines and cramped city streets. Even some carry-on luggage is designed with mobility features, including ergonomic and breathable shoulder straps, spinner wheels, and telescoping handles.
Ability to Make a Fashion Statement
If you’re still using hand-me-down luggage from an older sibling or parent, treating yourself to a new luggage set also gives you the ability to choose luggage that will reflect your own unique personality and sense of style. Today’s luggage brands offer suitcases, carry-ons, and accessories in a wide range of colors, patterns, and styles. From metallic rose gold hard-sided suitcases to stylish leather duffel bags, your luggage can (and should!) be a reflection of your own fashion!
Potential Drawbacks of Luggage for College Students
While there are plenty of advantages to buying a great set of luggage while you’re in college, there are some potential drawbacks to think about as well.
More Luggage Means More Baggage Fees
Depending on the airline you fly, you could rack up a lot in baggage fees if you travel with a lot of luggage. While some airlines (such as Southwest) include two free checked bags and a free carry-on bag with each ticket, other airlines may charge for each bag you need to check. On the flip side, the right luggage can also help you reduce the number of bags you need by offering better organization of your belongings, so buying your luggage wisely could also save you on baggage fees.
Initial Cost of Luggage Sets
When you’re a college student, money is often tight, so it may be difficult to justify spending a few hundred dollars (or more) on a new luggage set. This is especially true if you have student loans, textbooks to buy, and rent to cover. This is where asking for a new luggage set for a birthday or other gift-giving holiday can be a great choice. Some students may even use their student loans to pay for luggage, especially if they’ll be traveling home from campus during holidays or taking part in any study-abroad opportunities.
Choosing the Right Luggage Can Be Difficult
With so many brands and styles to choose from, simply deciding on the right luggage set for your needs can be stressful. You undoubtedly have enough on your plate as a college student, so why add to the stress?
How to Choose the Best Luggage as a College Student
Fortunately, there are some tips you can follow to help you choose the right luggage for your needs without adding unnecessary stress to your already hectic life. By following these key considerations as you shop for luggage, you can ultimately make a purchase with confidence.
Consider Your Travel Needs
Start by thinking about the kinds of traveling you do most while in school. If you moved far from home to attend college and like to visit your hometown throughout the school year, you’ll want to make sure the luggage you choose is suitable for carrying all your essentials back home. If you fly a certain airline when you head home, you may also want to check their luggage restrictions and size requirements so you can purchase luggage that will fall in-line with these.
If you’ll be doing any study-abroad programs, choosing a durable luggage set that will hold as much clothing and accessories as possible will come in handy. By simply taking some time to consider the kinds of traveling you’ll be doing throughout your college years, you can more easily narrow down your luggage options.
Opt for Quality, Durable Materials
No matter what, you’ll want to select durable materials and quality accessories when shopping for luggage. After all, while buying new luggage may be a large up-front purchase, your luggage should easily last you for several years (if not decades). By spending a little more on durable materials now, you may end up with luggage that lasts for many years beyond your graduation. The right materials (such as polycarbonate found in Monos luggage) will offer maximum protection for your belongings while still being lightweight and easy to carry. Be sure to also choose luggage that is made with quality accessories such as packing cubes, such as long-lasting spinner wheels and zippers that will stand up to the test of time.
Make Maneuverability a Priority
More than likely, you’ll be doing a lot of moving back and forth with your luggage. From maneuvering it around the airport when you travel to moving it from different dorms and apartments throughout your college years, it only makes sense that you’ll want luggage that’s easy to get around. This is where it makes sense to shop for luggage that has features to make your life easier. Telescoping handles and spinner wheels on suitcases and duffel bags, for example, can make it easier to carry even heavy bags around crowded spaces. Carry-on backpacks with breathable and adjustable shoulder straps will also make things more comfortable for you as you make your way from place to place.
Think About Storage
Living space is often limited when you’re a college student. This likely remains true whether you’re in a dorm or sharing an apartment with roommates. With that in mind, you’ll want to make sure the luggage you choose is compact enough that it can be easily stored away when not in use. This is where it can be wise to choose luggage sets with individual pieces that can be stored inside one another. For example, a carry-on backpack can be stored inside a smaller suitcase, which can be stored inside a larger suitcase when not in use. This will cut down on the amount of square footage or closet space taken up by your luggage, which your roommates will thank you for.
Decide on Must-Have Features
Today’s suitcases and other luggage pieces come with many different options when it comes to features that can make your life easier. Take some time to research features and figure out what you want and need in your new luggage set. For example, one feature that is especially popular among college student travelers is that of the rechargeable battery pack. Some suitcases have these built-in, which allows you to charge your devices on-the-go without the need to plug into an outlet. This can come in handy when you’re at the airport and all the charging stations are crowded. However, this is just one example of many potential features you may want to consider in your next luggage purchase.
Choose Luggage That Reflects Your Style
Don’t forget to also think about your own unique style when shopping for luggage. You will most likely be using this luggage for years to come, so of course, you want to choose something that will be fashionable now and grow with you down the road. A unique pattern or style of luggage can also make it easier to spot your bag on the luggage-claim conveyor belt, reducing the risk of another traveler accidentally grabbing your suitcase by mistake. Take some time to explore your style and color options to find luggage that is a true reflection of who you are.
Save Money With a Set
If you’re on a budget, buying a luggage set is a great way to get the best value for your money. Sets often come with a small carry-on bag and two larger suitcases that are ideal as checked bags. However, specific components of a luggage set can vary from one brand to the next. Either way, buying a set will ensure you have all the luggage you need without having to waste money buying piece-by-piece.
Your college years present some of the best travel opportunities you’ll likely ever have, so take advantage of them with the right luggage set!