Ready to travel again? You may need a new suitcase that better meets your needs or to replace a broken one.
In the guide below, we review everything you need to know to select a quality and versatile suitcase that is just right for how you travel.
How Do You Travel?
One of the first things to evaluate when selecting a new piece of luggage is how you travel most. This will help determine the best size and type of luggage for your needs.
By Plane. Airlines have size restrictions to keep in mind when selecting luggage for your future flights. Any carry-on luggage must be 22x14x9 or less to fit in overhead compartments. For checked bags, size restrictions depend on the airline. However, most will charge oversize fees if suitcases are over 60 inches or if your luggage weighs more than 50 pounds.
By Car. Your luggage can be larger if you frequently travel by car and have a decent-sized trunk. You also don’t need to worry about dragging it through long check-in lines at the airports or weight limits. But, you do want to consider how far you’ll be walking with your luggage from your car to your accommodations and if vehicle storage space is limited.
By Boat. When embarking on a cruise, the regulations are similar to when you fly. However, you and your luggage will be staying in a small cabin with limited storage. Suitcases that you can compact after unpacking take up less room, making them ideal for cruise ships.
How to Select a Durable Suitcase
The durability of your suitcase is essential. Broken wheels or zippers during a trip are sure to put a damper on your fun.
Zippers. Life Hack suggests that large, waterproof, closed-end zippers are best. Since broken zippers are one of the most common issues with suitcases, you may even want to consider zipperless suitcases.
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Fabric. There are various fabrics from for your suitcases, most falling into hard or soft categories. For hard suitcases, ones with polycarbonate (PC) material tend to be flexible to resist cracking, waterproof, lightweight, and moderately priced. Aluminum is the most durable, but it is also the most costly. In general, hard suitcases are more waterproof, better protect fragile items, and are easier to clean. On the downside, they are difficult to store in small spaces, get scratched easily, and tend to be heavier.
Polyester, a common soft fabric option, is light, affordable, and scruff-resistant but not very durable. Nylon suitcases are also lightweight, scruff-resistant, and a bit more durable. High-end fabric suitcases are often made with more durable ballistic or Cordura nylons. Soft suitcases are lighter, easier to store, and can be easier to pack while being harder to clean, less waterproof, and more likely to tear.
Wheels. There are two main types of suitcase wheels. Inline skate wheels are made with polyurethane, recessed in, and allow you to pull suitcases behind you. These wheels are less likely to break. Spinner wheels move 360 degrees and allow travellers to pull suitcases right alongside them with ease. However, they could be more prone to breakage and increase the size of your luggage.
Types of Luggage
Carry-On Suitcases. Frequent airline travellers will want a quality carry-on bag. Carry-on suitcases often mean you can take advantage of cost savings and are ideal for short trips and solo travellers. One for each family member works well, too! These suitcases also work for road trips because they are easy to pack into the car and manage when going into and out of your accommodations.
Larger Suitcases. Suitcases with more storage are helpful for longer trips or if you plan on bringing or taking home gifts and souvenirs. Your larger suitcase may not come with you on every trip. Still, it could become an essential staple for many of your travel adventures. If extra storage is a factor, check the capacity and which kinds of pockets and separators are available.
Some final things to consider when selecting your luggage include the warranty and if there is a locking system. Select a colour that makes it easily identifiable from all the others. Test out luggage for weight and ease of rolling. Purchase online only when you have the option to return it if it isn’t a good fit.
An upgrade to your travel luggage can be a worthy investment to ensure that your belongings safely make it to your destination. With the above guide, you can select pieces that best meet your travel needs and budget.