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Suitcase 101: How To Choose The Right Travel Luggage

Having the right luggage can make traveling a lot easier. Of course, no two travelers will have the exact same needs when it comes to luggage. Ultimately, choosing the best luggage comes down to your personal preferences, how often you travel, and your budget. If you’re looking to shop for new luggage that will make your next trip a breeze, there are some tips worth keeping in mind.

Consider Your Options

As you begin shopping for luggage, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the many different options available to you. There are all kinds of different luggage types, ranging from duffel bags and backpacks to traditional suitcases and everything in between.

Generally, backpacks tend to be the best option for shorter trips where you don’t necessarily need to pack very much. Because of their smaller size, they aren’t able to fit as much but they do function great as a carry-on. If you tend to take shorter trips, such as day trips or weekend jaunts, having a quality backpack as part of your luggage set is a great way to avoid checking any bags, thus allowing you to get to your destination sooner.

On the other hand, some people who travel more often or take longer trips prefer to avoid backpacks due to their smaller size. If you need more storage space, a traditional suitcase is probably the better choice for you (though a backpack could still be nice to have as a carry-on piece). A suitcase will also tend to have more compartments for storing different items separately and may come with accessories like luggage wheels and telescoping handles to make getting through the airport easier. With a backpack or duffel bag, you’ll need to either haul your belongings around on your back or carry them around, which can get tiring if you’re traveling through a larger airport.

Top Luggage Brands List

A - CD - KL - RS - Z
Aimee KestenbergDavid KingLeDonne LeatherSaint Laurent
AleonDelseyLewis N. ClarkSamsonite
AmazonBasicsDooney & BourkeLipaultSamsonite Black Label
AmeriBagDot DropsLodisSamsonite Golf
American FlyerEagle CreekLondon FogSandpiper of California
American Green TraveleBags.comLouis VuittonSherpani
American TouristerEllessco LLCLuggage ProsSmythson
American WestErmenegildo ZegnaMacCaseSOLO
AmerileatherFabbrica Pelletterie MilanoManciniSports Bags by Mojolicensing
AMKAFilaMark CrossSteamline
Amy Butler for KalencomFULMcKleinSwissGear
Andrew PhilipsGabbiano LuggageMercury LuggageTed Baker
AnuschkaGhurkaMia Viaggi ITALYThom Browne
Arlo SkyeGlobe-TrotterMontBlancThule Luggage
AtlanticGranite GearMulberryTimberland
AwayG-ROMyFlyTimbuk2
BaggalliniGucciNauticaTitan
BebeHADAKI by KalencomOGIOTommy Bahama
BellinoHartmannOrbenTommy Hilfiger
Big TagHerschel Supply Co.PacsafeTony Perotti Italy
BOCONIHeys AmericaPan Am BrandsTPRC
BoscaHeys USAPatagoniaTraveler's Choice
Bottega VenetaHidesignpb travelTravelers Club
Bric’sHigh SierraPelicanTravelon
BricsHigh Sierra SportPiel LeatherTravelpro
Briggs & RileyIT LuggagePradaTrueLu
Brunello CucinelliIZODPROKASTumi
CabeauJ WorldRaikaValextra
CabrelliJenni ChanReminVersace
Calvin KleinJuicy CoutureRenwickVictorinox
Cameleon BagsJump ParisRhino Trunk & CaseWally Bags
Canyon OutbackKenneth ColeRicardoWembley
CarharttKenneth Cole ReactionRicardo Beverly HillsWinn International
Chariot TravelwarekensieRimowaWorld Traveler
CHESTERKiplingRocklandZERO Halliburton
Claire ChaseknomoRoyce
Concealed CarrieKorchmar

Think About Size And Maneuverability

Be sure to take the size of your luggage into consideration as well. Of course, a smaller bag is going to be easier to lug around, but will a smaller bag have enough space for all your travel essentials? Again, this is where thinking about the typical duration of your trips, as well as the types of items you usually pack, can help you determine which size luggage is best for you.

If you’re shopping for luggage specifically for carry-on, be aware that each airline has their own requirements on size dimensions for carry-ons. The most common is around 22″ x 14″ x 9″, so try to shop for bags that will be this size or smaller. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to check your luggage and pay any fees that go along with it.

When shopping for any kind of luggage, be sure to consider how easy it will be to maneuver around tight spaces. This is where having a bag with free-spinning wheels and a telescoping handle can be especially helpful.

When thinking about size, you may also want to consider where you’ll store your luggage at home when it’s not in use. If you’re purchasing a luggage set, many of these pieces are designed to nestle inside the largest back when not in use, which can save space. This is more of a concern if you have limited storage or closet space in your home.

Hard Or Soft Materials?

The material you choose for your luggage is also important; generally, luggage that is soft-sided will be less expensive (and also lighter), but it will also be much less durable. Soft-sided luggage is generally best suited for carry-ons. Unfortunately, airline workers don’t always handle checked baggage very gently, so if you check a soft-sided bag, you could run the risk of it being torn, stained, or otherwise damaged.

On the other hand, soft-sided luggage can come in handy as a carry-on because the softer material can make it easier to fit your bag in an overhead bin without too much trouble. Depending on the size of your carry-on, you might even have room to store it underneath the seat in front of you.

For luggage that you plan on checking, it’s a good idea to have a hard-sided material for greater durability. These harder materials also tend to be easier to clean.

Look For Convenient Features

These days, luggage is truly designed with the traveler in mind, and there are all kinds of unique features and components you can find if you shop around. For example, some luggage designs will have waterproof pouches built-in, which are great for storing toiletries that you don’t want to risk leaking onto your clothes. These compartments are also great for storing wet bathing suits after a trip to the beach or hotel swimming pool!

Some luggage these days, often referred to as smart luggage, even comes with a built-in battery pack that can be used to charge your devices on-the-go. This is great for those who are tired of having to seek out an electrical outlet to charge their phones, tablets, or other devices at the airport. Simply make sure your battery pack is charged up before you head out, and you can keep your devices powered up no matter where your travels take you. But, before you buy smart luggage make sure you are up-to-date on the guidelines regarding traveling with electronics.

Choose A Bag That Stands Out

How frustrating is it to be waiting on your luggage at the baggage claim carousel, only to watch somebody else grab your bag or be unable to differentiate your bag from somebody else’s? This is a common problem, especially among “plain” luggage designs. If you do a lot of traveling and often check your bags, you’ll want to find a way to make sure your luggage stands out so there is no doubt as to whose luggage is coming off the conveyor belt.

When shopping for luggage, then, it’s generally best to stay away from common colors and patterns. While it may be easiest to find a plain black bag, think about all the other people on your flight who are probably traveling with a similar plain black bag. Even if you have a luggage tag on your bag, there’s a chance it could be mistaken for somebody else’s; after all, not all travelers are careful enough to check tags before they grab a bag off the baggage belt.

By choosing a luggage design that’s a little more unique, you can be sure that your bag will stand out. This is also a great opportunity to display your own sense of style while traveling. Consider something like a fun leopard print or a bright color. If you are set on sticking to a more neutral style, however, there are some ways you can go about making your bag stand out. For example, you can attach a colorful ribbon to your bag handle, or opt for bright and unique luggage tags instead.

Don’t Forget About Security

Security and safety should not be overlooked when shopping for the best luggage. This is especially true if you travel with any valuables, such as electronics. Generally, the best way to keep your valuables safe when traveling is to keep them with you in a carry-on at all times. Of course, this isn’t always possible. If you have to check a bag with valuables inside, make sure your bag has some great safety features.

For starters, invest in luggage with either an internal or external locking system in place. Though keep in mind that if during airport security the TSA decides to search your bag, they will have to remove the locks. This is where it’s always a good idea to keep extras on-hand that you can re-attach as needed. Cable ties can also be used to better secure your luggage closed while also making your bag more easily distinguishable on the baggage belt.

No matter how many security features your luggage may come with, it’s still important to exercise some basic safety precautions while traveling. For starters, always purchase travel insurance and make sure you have specific coverage for stolen or lost baggage. From there, make sure your valuables are labeled with your contact information (your name and cell phone number or email address will suffice) so that you can be reached if any of your belongings turn up elsewhere.

Any time you land and claim your bags at the airport, it’s also a good idea to quickly go through your bags to ensure nothing is missing. This way, if something is missing, you can get the process of filing a claim with your travel insurance company going as soon as possible.

The Bottom Line

There are seemingly endless considerations to keep in mind as you shop for new travel luggage. Ultimately, it’s all about finding pieces that will work for your unique needs and travel preferences. Fortunately, there is no shortage of options available to you. No matter what type of luggage you’re looking for, CHESTER has modern options to suit your needs. Check out our selection of quality, durable, and stylish luggage today and enjoy free two-day shipping on all orders!

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