You get the point (if you don’t, here is a more comprehensive list). There’s a lot that can go wrong with traveling anyway. Don’t let a luggage issue derail your next big meeting or family getaway.There are three basic things that you need to consider while looking for the Best Luggage Set for your needs, read all about them.
If you’ve traveled much at all, you’ve been there. Rookie luggage mistakes lead to:
- Having to pay an extra fee to bring your luggage aboard or check.
- Having your luggage grabbed by someone else at baggage claim.
- Carrying all of your belongings in a trash bag through the airport (yes, this happened to me).
- Luggage that just looks bad.
- Luggage that falls apart.
- Bags that are way too big or way too small for the trips you go on.
- Broken wheels leading to the carrying of an unwieldy rolling bag.
And just full disclosure, I’ve fallen prey to many of the above mistakes. Until a year ago, I’d been pulling around luggage I bought over a decade and a half ago. My have the times changed.
Below we’re going to take a look at a few general tips about choosing a quality set of luggage, as well as talk about some of the awesome advancements in luggage tech from the last few years.
First things first…
How to Find the Best Luggage Set for You
Establish a Budget, But Only After Calculating the Cost of Something Going Wrong
You don’t want to absolutely break the bank on quality luggage, but sometimes you can’t afford to skimp. Many travel issues are outside of your control. You booked a room for the wrong day, or your flight is delayed. But you don’t want to add to that with issues entirely under your control.
At the end of college I was taking a return flight home. My raggedy bag had holes in the bottom, and my car keys dropped out. At an airport several hours from my end destination I had to get a hotel room, get my car towed to the nearest dealership, and wait three days for a key. The whole ordeal ended up costing about $500 that I didn’t have. Luckily, I didn’t have work I was missing, or a particular engagement. But just like other critical logistics gear, you do have to occasionally upgrade or pay the consequences.
Was $500 of new luggage in my budget at the time? That’s a negative.
But the cost of not being preventative ended up being $500 anyways.
When pricing new luggage, consider what some old luggage mishaps might cost you. It may be more than you think!
Decide Whether Checked or Carry-On Baggage is More Important
As you start your luggage search, you’ll start to see two major categories of luggage sets. Some are geared towards utmost efficiency (in space, weight, and ease of carrying). While others offer a TON of features, and are bulkier (but provide more space). It’s a bit like choosing a car. There’s no wrong answer to the set of luggage you choose, but there’s a right answer for you.
In recent years much has changed in the airline industry. Basic economy class (or equivalent) seats often do not come with carry-on bags that go into overhead bins anymore. Though you can upgrade to carry on bags, in some cases it’s a better option to pay for one checked bag that can carry everything you need (particularly if you were going to check a bag in the first place).
Though this varies by airline, some of the most common carry-on bag policies should be consulted before you decide on your luggage:
- SouthWest Airlines CarryOn Bag Policy
- American Airlines CarryOn Bag Policy
- United AIrlines CarryOn Bag Policy
- Delta Airlines CarryOn Bag Policy
- Frontier Airlines CarryOn Bag Policy
- British Airways CarryOn Bag Policy
With that said, plenty of — particularly business — flyers have made a mantra of efficiency in the luggage department. The fees (if any) for carryon bags are almost always lower than for checked baggage, and many extremely efficient luggage sets cater to this notion.
Know Your Luggage
Now in all likelihood this will occur to some extent while you’re shopping for luggage (if you spend any time on it). But for those who’ve never spent time with a luggage salesman or really scouted out luggage deals online, you may not know as much about luggage as you think.
Among the things you should definitely know are the various sizes of luggage. A brief rundown of these types of luggage is listed below:
- Small cabin luggage is luggage that any airline will allow you to board the plane with, and that does not have to be placed into a bin above your head. While it’s unlikely you’ll get all of your belongings into one of these, they can make all the difference if traveling with a large cabin luggage piece.
- Large cabin luggage is great for budget or efficiency-focused travelers. These bags are large enough to pack all you need for a weekend getaway or short business trip, but fit into the overhead bins of most airlines (which is cheaper and quicker than checking a bag).
- Extra large cabin luggage is slightly above the average size allowed in overhead bins for many airlines. While this class of bag gives you around 5 extra liters of space, and thus could be used to potentially pack for a week or more, you may have to check this bag depending on the airline.
- Medium suitcases will need to be checked on any airline. The benefit of this size suitcase is that it’s more space efficient than a larger bag once you get to your destination. Packed well, this type of suitcase could hold your clothes for a week.
- Large suitcases can be checked on any airline, and often have enough room for the belongings of more than one traveler. They’re likely a little large for single travelers save those that want many outfit options. Grab a four wheel version to make handling a bit easier.
- Extra large suitcases may encounter additional weight fees as well as needing to be checked. This size suitcase is inconvenient for any except the longest trips or moving abroad.
If you’re interested in more in-depth guides to buying a fantastic set of luggage, some of the best resources we’ve seen include:
- Rave Review’s In-Depth Guide To The Best Luggage Brands
- YouCouldTravel’s In-Depth Guide to Choosing a Suitcase Size
- TravelFashionGirl’s In-Depth Guide to Choosing the Right Luggage For Your Trip