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Luggage Buying Guide

I knew I would have to do some research before finding the case I wanted, but I had NO idea just how many different options would be available on the market. I thought luggage was a one size fits all industry, but BOY was I wrong! There are different sizes, purposes, organizational styles, wheels, transport styles and a thousand other things to consider.

Don’t get overwhelmed like I did when I started this search. There are some vital things to keep in mind when you’re beginning your hunt, and from there, you’ll be able to figure out what you do and don’t need in the process.

Different Ways to Move Your Stuff

There are a bunch of different categories to consider when you’re trying to find the right bag (or bags) for your needs. You may not have even realized that all of them have different perks. Luggage in general, can be split into 5 different categories.

Carry-On Luggage – Small, Trusty and Never Out Of Your Sight.

Travelpro Maxlite 2 carryonIf you’ve ever been on a plane, you know what a carryon is. It’s the bag you take with you and either put under the seat in front of you or in the overhead compartment. Some people only bring this and don’t check a bag, and others take both a carryon and a bigger bag with all of their clothing. Carry-ons usually have to be less than 21 inches in height to take on a plane – like the Travelpro Luggage Maxlite we reviewed here.

Some carryon sized bags have wheels and look like smaller versions of bigger bags that go into checked luggage. Others are made to be carried. Actually, “carryon” really references the size more than anything, and options from several categories overlap with this one. The term began before some luggage genius figured out how to put wheels on bags. Many of them are actually roll-ons now (Just a bit of trivia for you)!

Suitcases – For When You Have A LOT To Bring

If your carryon bag is part of a set, other pieces in the set are probably more traditional suitcases. Again, these can be a lot of different things but in general, they are larger than 21 inches and will have to go in the baggage area on a plane. Suitcases are just the bags you use to hold your possessions when you’re traveling. They range in price from mere pocket change to a whole lot of change and plenty of bills too.

More modern suitcases feature wheels so they don’t have to be carried, and they come in hardside or softside exteriors to suit any purpose. For example, check out the expandable 25- or 29-inch Samsonite Lift Spinner, the lightweight bestseller of its class.

Travel Duffel Bags – Not As Classy But Incredibly Versatile

Olympia Rolling Duffle BagDuffel bags look like gym bags, and they tend to be the most casual type of luggage aside from shopping bags. They are able to serve a purpose much more impressive than just moving smelly shoes to and from the locker room!

More modern duffel bags are evolving to be a hybrid type of luggage. Many have wheels and can be pulled rather than carried, and they feature a myriad of pockets to keep belongings organized.

Exhibit A: the Samsonite Tote-A-Ton Duffel.
Exhibit B: the Olympia Luggage 8-Pocket Rolling Duffel Bag.

Garment Bags – The Key To Keeping Your Threads Spiffy And Pressed

If you’re traveling for business or a formal event, then you’re going to want to keep your nice clothes pressed and in order. No one wants to show up to a wedding wearing a wrinkled suit because of a failed attempt to shove it in a suitcase. Garment bags allow clothing to be hung on hangers within the bag, and then they often fold over to make them easier to carry.

Some bags, like the WallyBags, hang in the closet, while others like the Samsonite Hyperspace Spinner Garment Bag, have wheels. Plus, the cover can be hooked on to the rolling handle in order to keep the bag open.

Luggage Sets – Bringing It All Together And Saving A Few Bucks

Country Club Malibu Luggage SetEach of the above can probably be found in one big set. Luggage sets offer the versatility of just about every kind of luggage you need within one purchase. They vary in size from 2 case sets to as many 6 or 8. Usually, there are between three and five suitcases, bags or duffels in a group like the Beverly Hills Club Malibu Three-Piece Set we discussed here.

Sets tend to save you money because buying each of the pieces individually is more expensive. Manufacturers sometimes offer pieces that can’t be purchased individually. Many times, though, the cases sold in sets tend to be more entry level because higher end options are sold “a la carte”.

So What Do You Want To Put Your Stuff Into?

It probably seems like a lot of information considering that all you want to do is safely get your things from one place to another, but there are lots of areas to consider. A bag that doesn’t work the way you want it to can make a plane trip really miserable. More than that, a bag that stops working or doesn’t fulfil the purpose you need it for can cost money and create a whole heap of unwanted hassle.
That’s why I’ve included this buying guide.

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