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Luggage Buying Guide


You Can Take it with You: a handy luggage buying guide


Heys USA EcoCase Enviro-Friendly 3 Piece Hardside Luggage Set in Red

If you’re an infrequent traveler, you might be tempted to purchase the most inexpensive luggage set you can find. Don’t give into temptation! While the most expensive doesn’t necessarily mean the best, you will want to invest in suitcases and travel bags that will go the distance. Whether you use your baggage just a couple of times a year or end up traveling a lot, selecting luggage that is well-constructed and durable while being lightweight, will give you peace of mind knowing that your possessions are protected.

What to Look for in a Suitcase

The frame of the suitcase should be made of a strong, durable material that is lightweight.

Give some thought to what kind of “shell” you want your luggage to have. Hard-sided suitcases are typically made of molded materials like plastics and metals. Semi-soft sided suitcases are constructed with partial frames and offer some protection to the bag’s contents. Soft-sided suitcases are the most expandable. While they don’t have an interior frame, support comes from construction methods such as reinforced edges, layers of padding and “high tech” materials like nylon that are durable and long-lasting.

For luggage to be well-constructed, it should have the following characteristics (where applicable):

  • Joints on the outside of the suitcase should be covered with welts and/or piping
  • Zippers have taped or reinforced seams to make them stronger and prevent fraying
  • For added strength and to prevent unraveling, seams should be reinforced and lockstitched
  • When baggage is made of leather, nylon or materials assigned a grade, choose the highest grade available
  • Make sure that hardware is easy to use and that it operates smoothly (wheels roll easily; metal catches lie flat without snagging)

Common Suitcase Features 

Because travel luggage is available in many styles, types and configurations, consider what kinds of features you would like your luggage set to have. If you’re a business traveler, a carry-on with a laptop compartment will be an important feature for you to have. On the other hand, if you will be regularly taking trips with the kids, suitcases and travel bags with wheels and wet compartments will be high on your priority list. Some common suitcase features are:

  • Retractable handles
  • Interior compartments
  • Exterior pockets
  • Built-in organizer pockets
  • Wet compartments or wet packs
  • Interior dividers
  • Adjustable straps and/or removable straps

Tips for Buying Luggage

Buy luggage to match the trip you are embarking on. A hard-sided luggage set might not be as useful as a medium or large sized backpack when you’re on a tour of Thailand.

If you take frequent trips and are tired of mistaking someone else’s luggage for yours, choose a color for your travel bags that is bright and bold.

Especially if you will be traveling overseas on a regular basis, select a luggage set that includes at least one suitcase or travel bag with exterior pockets. This will eliminate the need to go digging for your passport or other important papers.

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