The myriads of options when it comes to travel luggage comes with both benefits and downsides. The good part is that you have so many options to choose from, but the bad part is that you may get overwhelmed with all of those options. Unless you know what you’re looking for exactly, where you’re going, and how your trip is going to be, finding the best travel luggage can become a burden pretty quick.
The more you know about the types of travel luggage out there, your means of traveling, your kind of trip, and anything else related to your traveling conditions, the easier it is going to be to select your travel luggage. Keep reading for the details!
Which type of travel you’re planning to have?
Since there are several means of transportations, it makes sense that you get the luggage that eases out your traveling the best way.
- When you’re cruising, your luggage is going to be stored in the boat’s belly right before you leave. You should get a flat suitcase that has a rugged cover so that it doesn’t get damaged during travel. Don’t forget to measure it so that it can fit nicely in the cabin, especially if you don’t want to unpack while cruising.
- A road trip may be the less stressful type of traveling since you only need the luggage to fit in the storage compartment of your vehicle. You’re going to be the one handling the travel tote, the suitcase, or the backpack you take on your trip. Feel free to get creative and to get whatever type of luggage fits your needs the best way.
- Flying may pose the most significant issues when it comes to luggage. Not only that, you need to go by the rules in terms of weight, but you also need to pay attention to the size. You will carry your luggage throughout the airport, which makes the selection of the bags for flying even more challenging.
Is there such a thing as the ideal size of a suitcase?
Needless to say, there are several aspects to consider when selecting the size of your suitcase/luggage:
- The length of your trip
- The type of trip you’re taking (by car, flying, or cruising)
- Season and destination
- Your packing skills
- Your budget for the whole trip
As for size, most U.S airlines do have carry-on limitations of 22 inches (22″ x14″ x9″), and the maximum linear is 45inches. It means that when you add all the sizes (length, width, and height), the total shouldn’t be higher than 45.
We’re only talking about the size, but don’t forget to consider the weight of your luggage, either.
More often than not, 24 in is a bit small for adults, with 27-29 in being the most common sizes for the checked-in luggage. Luggage of this size should be enough for fitting several pairs of shoes, plenty of clothes, and toiletries. And it may not even cause any back pain.
It’s better that you play it safe and don’t go more than 29in because most airliners only approve a maximum of 70lb per bag.
Do the features of the luggage count?
Once you know the size, you also have to look for some specific features, especially when flying abroad.
Let’s go over the details of the most common types of luggage at the moment:
- Two-wheels suitcases
The good part about this type of bag is that the wheels go inside the case so that they don’t snap off. They’re great for clearing curbs and rolling on uneven surfaces. However, most suitcases feature skateboard-like wheels. Therefore they only move forward and backward, allowing pushing/pulling with the expandable handle of the bag.
- Four-wheels suitcases
Since they’re not posing stress on your shoulders or back, the spinner suitcases are highly ergonomic and comfortable. They’re straightforward to handle in narrow spaces and go for many types of travel. The wheels have an external mount, which poses a high risk for snapping off. Also, you may lose some storage space because of the outer wheels mount. Don’t forget that the suitcase cannot stay on an incline without you having to brace it or lay it down.
- Soft-shell suitcases
They’re light, and you can fit them in tight spaces (back of the car, for instance). You may squeeze inside as many clothes as you want (give or take). They absorb shock even better than the hard shells and go great for shopping.
Be aware that the soft shell suitcases cannot protect your items as efficiently as the hard-shell. Most bags of this kind aren’t waterproof (water resistant at most) and can tear if the material is low quality.
- Hard-shell suitcases
If you’re worried about the items you pack and want better protection, the hard-shell bags may be the best option to try. They also provide increased security against thieves and the elements (they’re waterproof). You may easily use them as seats and stack on top of each other.
The downside is that you cannot expand nor compress a hard-shell suitcase. The hard-shell bag also tends to scratch rather quickly, with the cheap hard cases even cracking. If you’re looking for models with outside pockets, the chance of finding one is rather slim.
Should you also pay attention to the handle?
Wheeled suitcases with retractable handles are excellent and highly functional, but make sure that you get one with adjustable handles. The handle needs to match your height, which is why adjustability is a significant feature.
Take a good look at the handle since it has to be rugged and comfortable to grab while retracting entirely inside the bag while not in use.
It’s also a good idea to buy a bag with two posts so that you may support a camera bag, laptop bag, or your kid’s backpack while going through the airport. Two-posts are excellent at ensuring better balance and support too!
Last but not least, take a look at the suitcases that feature both top and side handles that are rugged and have a durability feel. You need them to be able to take the weight of your bag while providing comfortable lifting too.
One last recommendation?
Even if it’s not fundamental, you should also check the aesthetics of your luggage. Get one that stands out so that you recognize it faster when picking it up from the baggage claim. Waterproofness, number of compartments, and the durability of the luggage are also fundamental. To each their own, especially since there are so many options to choose from!