When picking your best luggage it would help if you first make these decisions...
This is fairly easy to decide. Ask yourself if you always travel with one bag and carry it on the plane or do you check luggage. If you check luggage do you think you will ever take two or is one large piece enough. Maybe you need two because sometimes you go with less in your checked luggage for shorter trips and need two sizes.
For me I have a carry-on bag and a medium sized one. I almost always check a bag unless I am going on a short week end get away or business trip.
I never check two bags. I have trouble carrying my luggage so it is better for me to check it so it would be very rare for me to go with just a carryon.
I do have a medium size for shorter trips. So my best luggage comes in a three pieces sometimes mixed brands or a three piece set.
This really is personal taste. At one time hard sided was never a best luggage choice as it was heavy and cracked and scratched. However now you have choices in this type of luggage for instance Titan has a lightweight hard sided with balanced wheels that are very tough although it is expensive. Samsonite has a spinner that is very good with wheels like the x space.
When choosing your best luggage remember that there are a lot more choices in soft sided luggage that is light weight, wheeled or not.
Well we have no choice in this matter any more with the new airline security regulations. Everyones best luggage has to be lightweight in my opinion. Of course if your best luggage is that vintage designer leather suitcase…well you must have it. Just know that your suitcase weight allowance will be taken up with your luggage and you will not be able to take very much with you. If you are going on an airline that lets you take two checked bags or some first class flights you might get away with this more easily. Most of us are looking for budget airline tickets.
You will be able to find lightweight suitcases as the newer brands are getting better in this regard all the time.
Dolite and Antler have some very lightest luggage.
mesh pocket and dividers
I think that everyone needs suitcases with at least one big mesh pocket and some dividers. Dividers are more important for carryon luggage.
wheels or no wheels
Maybe you have no trouble carrying a bag, and if so go for the ones with no wheels. They are lighter, and you can get more in them. Now if you do have trouble carrying your luggage then get wheels, but you will not be able to pack as much. You can now get duffel bags with wheels. They usually hold a lot more.
If you are like me I have a lot of trouble carrying my luggage so I need a carryon and a checked bag. They both have to have wheels.
If you do go for wheels make sure that you don’t go for really cheap luggage as the wheels will give you trouble they may even fall apart. Get really well made wheels. Make sure that the wheels are not to close together. Be careful with a wheeled carry on especially if that is your only bag as the wheels will add weight.
Sometimes the wheels can make your luggage unbalanced, it will fall over to one side. You will never be able to sit them upright when packed without leaning them against something especially the ones with the big outside pockets. I noticed that more companies are making them with slanted bottoms to avoid this problem.
I have some luggage like this, it can get very frustrating. I stopped putting anything in the outside pockets, that helped somewhat but what is the point of having them if you can’t use them.
two wheels or four
More luggage companies are coming out with the four wheel version. The four wheels are a nice invention. You can turn them and ride over things without constantly struggling to keep it off its side. Also with the four wheel type you can walk the suitcase beside you. Not all brands have this yet. Some people still like the four wheels without the hard pull handle. We had some of this type of rolling luggage, you just pull them along with a strap. They do fall over on their side easily.
low, medium or high price range
I do not recommend a really low price range unless you are a very infrequent traveler and understand that you get what you pay for in most cases. The best luggage takes a real beating, so it will fall apart and the guarantee will not be very good. Medium priced luggage is usually good for most people. Sometimes you can even get some of the high quality luggage on sale, that is even better. You could still have problems with damaged zippers and handles, but it is less likely and your guarantee would probably be better.
There are also the crème de la crème of luggage. They are great for the frequent flyer as you need better quality but are the most expensive. They last longer and can stand up to the abuse they would get. They also would have a better warranty. Some great brands like Tumi and designer brands like Louis Vutton are very expensive.Good guarantee
Look at the warranty. Check out the guarantee some are better than others. Sometimes there are a lot of exclusions. This quite often depends on the price range of the luggage. Will you want to get things replaced like the wheels if they break or the cases tear? Briggs and Riley have one of the best luggage guarantees in the industry.
I had luggage once that had a great warranty; however, you had to get the luggage to their repair outlets. As it turned out I lived in Canada’s north at the time, it was just impossible. Also, there was no one that could fix it locally. It was a fairly high priced brand but tore on the first trip. This might be a good thing to check out.
what kind of traveler are you?
I have had many brands over the years some fairly expensive and some very cheap. My husband and I laugh about our first luggage. Maybe you are a baby boomer and remember these also. They were a three piece set, came in camel light blue and grey, and made out of cardboard. We both got ours as children when we were going on our first trip. They were lined with a fake silky fabric. The thing is we were both still using ours as young adults, and they were still in perfect shape when we put them out in a garage sale! I hated to let them go because they had those neat stickers of all our trips pasted all over them.
I have my entire Samsonite luggage that I ever purchased so they sell some of the best luggage in a mid price range...they last. I still use the soft-sided ones.
I have three other soft sided Samsonite. The really large one tore on the bottom on the first trip but we have had them for over 30 years and they are still all in one piece with the handles and zippers working perfectly. They look really beat up, but we are frequent travelers.
We took them to Mexico numerous times and filled them with every kind of thing even car parts! They really do make some of the best luggage at not too high a price. My husband has a satchel type bag from the same brand that he takes everywhere. The shoulder strap just broke on a recent trip so he just carried it by the handle. He likes it so much he doesn't want to give it up.
The hard sided Samsonite I also still have, but I can only take them on road trips now because of the briefcase type of locking system.
We need to be able to put approved locks on our luggage now for airplane trips. The clothing rack broke after a couple of trips, and they have scratches, other that that they still look pretty good. The new Samsonite hard sided have proper locks of course.
I have a Pierre Cardin. It was so cheap. We got it at a discount store on sale. The handle tore right off on its first use. My husband made a handle with duck tape, and it went on three more trips, and the new duck tape handle is still working. This is another good reason to pack duck tape.
I won a three piece set of American Tourister. The large case got a zipper caught and tore the pull off on its maiden voyage. I had it sewn, and a new pull put on, and it has made four more trips. This set seems to be pretty tough.
We have had numerous sets in between of usually inexpensive luggage. Most of them just became too heavy for modern travel, but all of them held up surprisingly well.
Another excellent brand is travel pro, on tour, and Eagle creek. Lipault is another good brand especially for women.
I was checking out department stores, the Bay had some nice suitcases. London fog had great pockets and lightweight.
I would like to purchase new luggage, that is why I have been looking around. I have started to make my decisions.
I will buy one with a slanted bottom, four wheels, and large mesh liner inside, soft sided, and outside zipper pulls strong and maybe covered. I love dark Purple or blue so I hope that I can find one in one of those colours. It needs to be a colour that will stand out in the crowd. My best luggage will be in the mid price range.
I have RA so I pack a lot of stuff like homeopathy vitamins and special womens comfort shoes. I also love my hair products and computer and gadgets and accessories. In other words, I need light weight easy to manoeuvre but still with a large inside space. I need to be able to handle my own luggage.
Now my husband Al is going to hold out for a couple of more trips to purchase his best luggage.