International travel can open up the opportunity for a new world of experiences. Immersing yourself in different cultures and customs can expand your world view and enhance your own outlook on life. At the same time, international travel can be stressful and downright exhausting. Fortunately, having the right luggage can take a lot of the hassle out of getting to your destination.
Check out our picks for the best luggage brands for international travel, as well as some practical tips for selecting the right luggage for your next big trip.
Best Luggage for International Travel
- Arlo Skye
- Briggs & Riley
Reviews of Top Luggage for International Travel
Whether you’ll be traveling to a bordering country or to another continent halfway around the world, there are a few luggage brands that really stand out when it comes to their overall value and performance for international travelers.
All of CHESTER’s luggage is designed specifically with the global traveler in mind. Their luggage is lightweight enough for easy transport, yet durable and spacious enough to accommodate your belongings. CHESTER also stands behind their products with a 100-day trial and money-back guarantee, offering added confidence with your purchase.
Samsonite has been a trusted name in luggage for more than 100 years, and they have a huge offering of luggage types to suit your international travel needs. From small under-seat carry-on bags to large suitcases with spinner wheels, you can find exactly the type of bag you’re looking for at an affordable price.
Tumi is a luggage brand known for their stylish designs and practical features. Some of their carry-on luggage, for example, offers features like padded laptop sleeves and water-resistant pockets for beverages. They also offer full luggage sets for those looking to get the best value for their money without sacrificing quality in the process.
4. Arlo Skye
Even though Arlo Skye has only been around since 2016, they’ve made quite the name for themselves. Founded by Louis Vuitton and Tumi alums, this high-end luggage brand focuses on designs that are as elegant and stunning as they are practical and durable. With features such as silent-run wheels and anti-microbial linings, these bags are great for those who take their international travel seriously.
5. Briggs & Riley
Durability is the name of the game when you buy luggage from Briggs & Riley. This up-and-coming brand offers everything from carry-ons to full-sized checked luggage—and it all comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Advantages of Luggage for International Travel
When you choose the right luggage for international travel, you’ll enjoy a number of potential benefits.
Plenty of Space to Work With
International trips tend to be longer than domestic ones, so you may find that you have more to pack. This is where a cleverly designed suitcase can make all the difference, offering the expandable storage and organization that you need for all your outfits, accessories, and other essentials.
Keep Your Belongings Safe
Keeping your belongings secure is always a concern when you’re traveling, regardless of your destination. Having the right luggage can give you added protection and peace of mind. Look for suitcases, for instance with TSA-approved locks so that only you and the airport’s TSA agents can gain entry to your luggage as needed. For carry-on bags, look for durable materials that cannot be easily cut through or pierced with a sharp object.
Maneuver Smoothly and Easily
Traveling internationally often means doing a lot of lugging around of bags and suitcases. This is when you’ll be thankful you took the time to find lightweight luggage that is easy to maneuver even through the largest of crowds. Features like free-spinning wheels and telescoping handles will make it a breeze to carry your luggage behind you, to your side, or in front of you on wheels.
Potential Drawbacks of Luggage for International Travel
Of course, there are some potential and inherent drawbacks of traveling with more luggage during your international trip.
Could Add to Your Baggage Fees
The more luggage you need to bring, the more likely that you’ll end up paying extra baggage fees. Allowances for checked bags on international flights tend to be more generous than on domestic flights, but if you need to check more than one or two bags, you could end up facing hefty fees that would otherwise be avoided by packing lighter.
Can Be a Hassle to Pack and Transport
More luggage also means more maneuvering and lugging around of bags on your trip, which can be a pain. Many airports have luggage carts available for rent, which can make this easier, but you may not be guaranteed the same luxury at a subway station or when using other modes of transport at your destination.
Can Be Cheaply or Poorly Made
Despite being costly to purchase, not all luggage is made equally. Cheap materials, poor construction, and flaws in design can result in luggage that causes more stress during your trip than anything else. A busted zipper, for example, could cause you to lose some of your belongings during transport. This is where choosing quality luggage for your international travels can make all the difference.
How to Choose the Best Luggage for International Travel
When you’re traveling internationally, there are some special challenges and considerations you’ll want to plan for from a packing/luggage standpoint. This is where having the best luggage for international travel can take the stress out of preparing for your trip and maximize your overall enjoyment—regardless of whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure. Traveling to Europe? Check out our best luggage for European travel.
As you shop for luggage that will be used frequently for international travel, then, there are some special considerations to keep in mind.
Look for Durable Materials
If you’re like most international travelers, you’ll need to check at least some luggage for your trip. Unfortunately, checked baggage isn’t always handled with the utmost of care—and on an international flight with multiple stops, your baggage may need to be transferred from one plane to another numerous times. This is where having durable baggage made of quality materials can make all the difference.
As you shop for luggage for international travel, make sure the luggage you’ll be using primarily for checked baggage is made of a hard-sided material that won’t be easily damaged. Polycarbonate is a popular choice, as this material is both durable and lightweight. Avoid soft-sided materials for any luggage that will be checked on an international flight.
The importance of durable, quality construction extends to other luggage accessories, such as zippers and wheels.
Airline size restrictions on both checked and carry-on luggage can vary greatly. And in some cases, restrictions may be even tighter on international flights where space limited. As you shop for luggage that you’ll be using for international travel, it’s never a bad idea to check the size restrictions for the airline(s) that you fly most frequently. This way, you can purchase luggage that will accommodate those specifications for both checked and carry-on baggage. Taking the time to research and shop based on these dimensions can potentially help you save on baggage fees and penalties for oversized or overweight bags as well.
Consider Must-Have Features
When you’re traveling internationally, you may need to make some sacrifices as you’ll be away from the comforts of home. Still, having the right luggage set to suit your needs can help you feel a little more comfortable no matter where your travels may take you. Consider, for example, a carry-on bag with a built-in charger that you can use to keep your devices charged at all times. If you’ll be traveling for business, a suitcase with a built-in garment bag can save you from needing to find a dry-cleaner for your suit or other business attire once you arrive.
Take time to consider the features you need to have in your luggage before you shop. This will make it much easier to narrow down your options as you get started.
What About Guarantees?
Ideally, the luggage you purchase for international travel should last for many years (and possibly even many decades) to come. Unfortunately, not all luggage brands stand behind their products. This is where it may be worth your time to find and buy from an affordable luggage brand that offers some type of warranty or guarantee on your purchase. Some brands, such as Briggs & Riley, include a lifetime guarantee with your purchase. Others, such as CHESTER, offer a 100-day trial period so you can be sure you’ve made the right choice before you commit.
Mobility is a Must
When you’re traveling internationally, it’s more important than ever to have luggage that’s easy to maneuver. This is true not only around the airport, but when making your way through crowded city centers and busy subway platforms at your destination as well.
There are a number of features worth looking for that will make mobility easier, especially on an international trip. For starters, opt for suitcases with built-in spinner wheels, which will allow you to drag your suitcase behind you, alongside you, or even in front of you as needed. Telescoping handles with an ergonomic grip will also make lugging your suitcases around easier.
For carry-on bags, you can also look for features such as 360-degree spinner wheels and telescoping handles. However, if you prefer to wear your carry-on bag in a backpack style, be sure to look for padded and adjustable shoulder straps made of breathable materials.
Will It Stand Out?
The last thing you need when you arrive at your international destination is to learn that somebody make the mistake of grabbing your luggage off the baggage carousel because it looked similar to their own. Unfortunately, this remains a common problem not just for international travelers, but on domestic flights as well.
Choosing unique luggage that will stand out in a crowd can help to lessen the chances of your bag being mistakenly picked up by another traveler. At the very least, make sure that your bag has the ability to be customized with a bright luggage tag or other add-on feature.
Check Out Security Features
Security is an especially pressing concern when you’re traveling internationally, so invest in luggage that has built-in security features for your peace of mind. Some luggage, for example, will come with TSA locks that only you and TSA agents will have access to. Of course, you can always purchase TSA locks separately and add them to most luggage as well.
Consider a Full Luggage Set
If you need both a carry-on and checked luggage for your international trips, consider purchasing a full luggage set from your favorite brand instead of buying pieces individually. Not only will this ensure that all of your luggage matches or coordinates from a design standpoint, but it also tends to be more affordable to buy luggage as a set than to buy piece-by-piece. Many top luggage brands offer full sets that include a carry-on as well as two checked suitcases. Some luggage brands also offer packing cubes and garment bags.
Opt for Value Over Price
While no traveler wants to spend more than they need to for luggage, the truth remains that you get what you pay for from a quality standpoint. Rather than automatically choosing a luggage set based on a cheap price alone, consider the overall value of what you’re getting. It is often worth spending a little more money up-front to end up with luggage that truly suits your needs and that won’t fall apart within a couple years of use.
For additional savings, many luggage brands offer special promotions on your first purchase when you sign up for their mailing list, so this may be worth looking into as well.
As you can see, there are some special considerations worth keeping in mind when shopping for luggage for international travel. The right bag will be durable, secure, lightweight, and packed with features to make your life easier. Be sure to check out our top recommended luggage brands and follow our tips for choosing your ideal luggage. From there, you can pack and travel with confidence!