Luggage Buying Guide
What is a Luggage
If you are in the market for a new luggage set or you are choosing one for the first time, there are several things you will want to consider that will ensure that you choose the perfect set for your needs. Before you start shopping, consider the things we’ve outlined below.
- Is the luggage going to be used for flying, car trips or cruises? – The kind of travel you will be using the luggage for can be an indicator of the kind you should look for. If you’re mode of travel is flying, you will want to find luggage that is easy to pull through the airports and that has small enough pieces to use as carryon bags if you don’t feel like checking any baggage. If you’re traveling by car, then you want to look for bags that are flexible and pliable enough to make the most of the space you have available in the vehicle. If you’re getting the luggage for cruise ships or you happen to be lucky enough to work on a cruise ship, looking for luggage that stacks easily to maximize space.
- How will the luggage be stored when not in use? – Where you will put the luggage when you get home is an important factor to consider, especially if storage space is at a premium in your home. Hard sided luggage is much harder to store and requires more room than bags that can stack inside each other or the soft sided varieties that can be flattened a bit when storing them.
- What size bags do you need? – How long your trips are and how you are traveling will determine the size luggage you need. If the length of your trips vary, you are better off looking for a luggage set that has several different sizes so you can choose the bag sizes you need for each trip. 4 and 5 piece sets, like the top rated sets in this review, have multiple sizes to choose from. Sometimes you may need all of them and other times you may only need one or two.
- How Much Interior Capacity do You Need? – Outside measurements are important to have if you will be using your luggage when you fly because of the airline restrictions but you also want to determine how much interior space you need. One way to get more interior space is to get luggage with squared corners. Handles and wheels also take up interior space, but these two features are so convenient that eliminating them could cause more headache than having less room would.
Types of Luggage
There are several different types of luggage available to choose from. Some sets only have a specific type of bag and other sets have several different types within the set. Take your personal needs into consideration when you are deciding what type of luggage you want.
- Carry-on – A carry-on bag is a bag that fits inside the size guidelines to be able to carry it onto the plane with you and place it in the compartments above the seats. The three largest airlines in the industry state that the maximum size for a carry-on bag is 22” x 14” x 9”. Height is measured from the floor to the top, including the wheels.
- Personal Bag – The personal bag is one that is carried onto the plane with you and is small enough to fit under the seat in front of you on the plane. Personal bags can include briefcases, tote and camera bags, laptop bags and smaller backpacks. One of the best ways to great the most out of your personal bag is to purchase one that is specifically designed for that purpose. Personal bags have compartments for passports, phones, wallets and pens and even have a padded area of your laptop.
- Checked Size Baggage – Any bag that is larger than what is allowed as a carry on is considered large luggage. These will typically range from over 22” to 30” in height or more. The larger the bag the more it will weigh and the more chances you have for it being too big for the flight.
Common Luggage Features
There are many features that you want to look for when it comes to luggage. Below we have listed the most common ones. Decide what type of features you want before you purchase. It will help make your sorting and deciding process much easier.
- Wheels – There are two different types of wheeled luggage, those with two wheels, called rollers, and those with four wheels, also called spinners. The two wheeled varieties will roll forward and backward only. It is pulled behind you as you walk along. Look for recessed wheels as this will help lower the height of the bag. If you do a lot of city walking while traveling, opt for a two wheeled model because they maneuver sidewalks and uneven terrain much easier. Four wheeled luggage can be pushed but one if the problems with four wheels luggage is there is a danger of the wheels snapping off during the flight.
- Zippers – You want to make sure that the zippers on your suitcases are durable and as heavy duty as possible. A broken zipper on a piece of luggage is something that can derail your whole trip. There are several types of zippers that may be used for luggage. One is the chain zipper which has two sets of teeth that interlock and is made of metal. The other type is coil, which is not as durable as chain. An YKK zipper is reported to be one of the best available in terms of breakage, and is the most reliable type of zipper to have on your luggage.
- Handles – All of the wheeled luggage on the market nowadays have retractable handles that go down into the suitcase and telescope up to different heights to pull through the airport. Having a good handle on your bag makes it much easier to get around with.
- Compartments – Depending on the size and type of luggage it will have any number of compartments for the traveler to utilize. From padded pockets designed for laptops, to zippered pickets for documents, having compartments in your luggage comes in handy. Remember that loading up the outer pockets will take away from the packing space inside.
- Weight – Look for bags that are lightweight. Heavy bags may FEEL stronger and more durable but that is not always the case. A lighter bag, especially if it is a carry-on bag will be much easier on your back and arms and you’ll mover faster too.
- Locks – All luggage locks have to be TSA compliant which means the security agent must be able to open your bag if necessary with their universal key. Don’t forget to purchase TSA compliant locks to go on your luggage.
- Colors and Patterns – There are massive amounts of color choices and patterns available in the luggage world. Whether you want traditional solids in navy, black or tan or you want to express your colorful personality with some of the bright, vivid colors and patterns available, you will be able to find something that you will love having.
- Warranties – A good, solid warranty is important to take care of any defects that might be present in the luggage. You want to get luggage that has a solid manufacturer’s warranty. The longer the warranty the better it is. Each company will offer its own warranty so just shop around to see what types of warranties are being offered. In some cases, you can purchases extended warranties if the original manufacturer’s warranty isn’t super long.
Not every piece of luggage or luggage set will work for every individual. That is one of the reasons manufacturers make so many different styles, types, and colors. With all of those choices available, there is a luggage set for every person, you just may need to do some research to find the set that has everything you want it to.
With the information you have learned in this buyer’s guide and the reviews of the top rated luggage choices, you’re armed with the information you need to make an informed choice that you will enjoy using and that will fit your needs well.