We travel a lot in this day and age. That means we’re using luggage more often, which takes a beating between all the baggage carousel chaos and overhead compartment shoving. Suitcases are better made today, though, so you should do a little investigating before you grab the first thing you find online. Buying the right suitcase is an investment, so make sure you get the best one for all your travels.
The Duffle Bag
While these are less popular than they used to be, there’s a place for the duffle bag if you’re an adventure traveler. Duffles can be folded up and stowed, so if your accommodations are tight, the entire living space won’t be taken up with your luggage. These bags are made to be tossed around, so they’re durable, lightweight, and often even weather resistant. The negatives about duffle bags are that your clothes tend to get wrinkled and you have to carry it everywhere. That’s not so bad if you’re going up a flight of stairs or wandering through streets, but, you know, it’s heavy. Some duffles have wheels on them, which are a good alternative if you don’t want to carry, but of course it makes them less compact and a little awkward.
Smaller bags you can carry around on your shoulder but also look nice are a great option for short trips. Weekends away don’t really require a full on suitcase for just a few changes of clothes. These bags easily fit in the overhead compartment and unless you’ve packed something incredibly heavy, aren’t too much to haul around due to their small capacity. As with duffle bags, though, clothing is easily wrinkled and totes don’t typically have any kind of interior organization system. You need to remember to bring a bag for a wet swimsuit, or shoes.
Suitcases – Everything You Ever Needed to Know
The most popular luggage item is the standard suitcase. The size slightly matters, mostly depending on how much you typically bring. While it might be tempting to pack a lot of things just in case, that’s not the best method. The issue lies in the fact that you have to carry this suitcase around with you. Big and heavy suitcases are a pain. They don’t translate well to places like Europe where you may encounter a three flight walk up very narrow stairs. That said, don’t get something so small it doesn’t hold enough.
If you are a stickler for carry-on luggage, then you have your size barometer. Suitcases that fit in the overhead compartment are typically advertised as such, so make sure to check the sizing. If you aren’t concerned about checking a bag, you have the freedom to go a little bigger. Most trips don’t require the largest suitcase possible, so try to go only a notch or two above the overhead-sized suitcases.
When buying a suitcase, there are a number of features to look for. No suitcase has all these features, and some come at a big sticker price, so just pick and choose the items you think you need most.
For interior traits, many designs feature interior pockets or compartments. This is useful for dirty clothing, shoes, or toiletries. Sometimes you can find a bag with a hanger bracket, which is wonderful for work trips, or if you have a dressy event ahead of you. Some tout actual shoe pockets, and most have compression straps or elastic tie downs. These help keep clothing in place, which makes them less mussed up.
The exterior of a suitcase matters, too. A telescoping handle is almost essential, which hides away into the suitcase when you’re ready to check it or stow it. It’s not imperative, but four wheeled cases tend to be much easier to steer, like a car. Some suitcases even have magnetic technology to keep wheels in alignment. When you have to battle staircases, a top and side handle come in handy, as does a lightweight bag. Those without shells tend to be lighter, although they don’t hold up as well as they get jostled, or are in the elements during a rain or snow storm. Finally, if you want something really great, buy a suitcase that has ergonomic zippers – they actually self-repair!
What’s your suitcase like? Is there a must-have feature you require?