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How To Choose & Buy Luggage that is the Perfect Fit for You

Online Luggage Buying Guide

Samsonite Graviton Luggage Set

When you travel, you take the things with you that you will need to make your vacation or business trip enjoyable and successful. It is important that these items are protected and secure so that they arrive intact. The luggage you choose should have features most useful to you, be user-friendly and suit the type of trip you are about to take. At you will find hard-sided luggage, upright luggage and smaller sized luggage options including backpacks and carry-ons in a variety of types, colors and sizes designed to let you travel with confidence and in style.

Buying Luggage Tips

Standard suitcases (or suitcases designed to be checked in) range in size from 24 inches to 36 inches. Compact luggage such as a carry-on or a business case are approximately 22 inches or under.

Because there are weight restrictions particularly when flying, you want your luggage to be as light as possible when empty, but still sturdy enough to take a little rough stuff.

How much is too little? Not sure just how much luggage you should buy? Here are some general guidelines:

  • 28 to 30 + inches – larger sized suitcase; best for trips of two weeks or more in length
  • 24 to 26 inches – mid-sized suitcase; best for trips from 1 week to 10 days
  • 22 inches – compact size; best for short trips from 3 to 7 days

Off on a one-time trip of a life time to Europe and are pretty sure you’ll never use your luggage set again? If you are an infrequent traveler, you might be tempted to buy the cheapest suitcase you can find. However, you will save money in the long run if you purchase the best luggage you can afford. No matter how little or how much you actually end up using it, when you do travel, you’ll have some piece of mind that you’re suitcases will protect what’s inside.

To make sure that any luggage set you buy will stand the test of time (and baggage handlers) here are some things to check for:

  • What is the frame made of? The frame should be made of a strong, durable material that is lightweight and can’t be easily compromised. Frame materials are typically made of aluminum, wood, fiberglass and other molded plastic compounds
  • How is it constructed? Zippers should have taped or reinforced seams to make them stronger and prevent fraying. The joints on the outside of the suitcase should be covered with welts and/or piping. Seams should be reinforced and lockstitched for additional strength and to prevent unraveling
  • If the suitcase is made of some type of material such as nylon or leather, select one that uses a high grade. “Denier” is used to describe durability and the higher the number, the stronger the nylon. A suitcase, backpack, duffel bag or carry-on made of nylon should be made of material no less than 400 denier that is tightly woven. Nylon with a ballistic weave is more resistant to tearing
  • Hardware should be user-friendly, durable and not flimsy. Retractable handles must operate smoothly and without snagging or effort. Carry handles and straps should be securely attached, reinforced for longevity and well-placed.
  • Wheels operate smoothly, aren’t noisy or wobbly and are recessed or protected in some way to prevent damage. Wheels made of softer compounds will be quieter when pulled across hard or uncarpeted surfaces
  • Locks must be heavy duty and meet industry standards

Combining different sized suitcases and types of smaller sized bags into one convenient package, luggage sets are good value for your money. A luggage set also gives you more options, especially if you travel often, but on different kinds of trips, like a couple of business trips, a cruise and a weekend get-a-way at the lake all in one year. A luggage set is convenient for the infrequent traveler, as well.

Types of Luggage

Luggage Set 3 pc

An overnight trip to an urban center requires a different kind of suitcase than when embarking on a Caribbean cruise. The longer the trip, the more you need to take with you. Larger suitcases or a luggage set that includes different-sized pieces are designed for longer journeys while more compact types of luggage are ideal for shorter trips. If you travel on a regular basis, either for business or pleasure, you may prefer something a little sturdier, even if this does mean that the case will weigh slightly more.

Hard-sided suitcases like the Samsonite Flite Upright are typically made of plastic, metal or other kinds of materials that can be molded. This type of luggage is durable, stain-resistant and provides added protection to more fragile items. They are generally heavier that other kinds of suitcases.

The Samsonite Aspire XLT 21 Inch Expandable Upright is a semi-soft sided suitcase. Semi-soft sided cases have partial frames, offering some protection to the contents inside and are durable. They can have wheels, be expandable and have similar features to the hard-sided luggage.

Unlike other types of luggage, soft-sided suitcases don’t have an interior framework, but rather have reinforced edges and corners and are typically made of nylon. They are very lightweight and in comparison to hard-sided and semi-soft sided cases, are the most expandable. The Heys USA Nautilus All Weather Soft Side Luggage Set even has a layer of foam for extra padding and protection.

Upright luggage, like the Samsonite Graviton FL 26 Inch Spinner, is designed to be transported in an upright position and will have wheels. As with standard suitcases, uprights are available in a variety of sizes and types. Some people find them easier to handle when making their way through the busier centers.

Compact Luggage

Compact luggage pieces, including duffel bags, carry-ons and garment bags, provide travel solutions for trips less than 10 days, shorter trips like overnighters or weekend getaways and use on the airplane.

Samsonite Carry On Luggage Carry-ons are designed to be stowed under an airplane seat, and like standard-sized suitcase, are available in hard-sided, semi-soft sided and soft options. A carry-on bag is generally 22 inches or less.

Constantly taking trips with your laptop along for the ride? The Samsonite Sideloader Mobile Office is a business case designed for a specific purpose, protecting your laptop while making room for other things you need to take with you when you’re one the road or in the air. Business cases combine the functionality of a briefcase with the practicality of a carry-on.

Duffel bags are typically soft-sided, have plenty of room and pockets and, because they have soft sides, will carry a lot of clothes and accessories. Depending on the manufacturer and model, many types of duffel bags can include retractable handles, wheels and padded shoulder straps for easier maneuverability. Duffel bags are available in rolling and non-rolling varieties.

Tote bags and other types of casual bags are great for travel. Because they come in a variety of sizes and fashion colors, a tote bag can double as a carry-on when on the plane and a hand bag when you’re taking in the sights. Totes by Baggallini come with a number of different features including shoulder straps and exterior pockets that make them extremely useful for anything from an overnighter to a shopping spree. Canvas  Cotton Backpack Olympia

Backpacks, like duffel bags, are intended for casual traveling like hiking and other kinds of outdoor trips. Because of the backpack’s design, whatever is packed in it will be supported by your shoulders and back, so most people use backpacks for shorter trips or longer ones if they are willing to pack light. Great for day trips, take the Olympia Cotton Canvas Buffalo Backpack with you when you hit the trails.

Especially if you are scheduled to attend a business meeting shortly after landing or if you are going to a wedding, anniversary or other special occasion, garment bags are very useful for transporting clothes on hangers while keeping them safe and protected. Depending on the brand, a garment bag can typically hold anywhere from two to six suits or dresses and are available in 40 inch and 60 inch lengths.

Common Features

At we carry a wide range of suitcases, travel bags and luggage sets by top brand name manufacturers like Samsonite, International Traveler, Heys USA, Travel Concepts and Olympia Luggage. With this much selection, you will be able to find the suitcase, backpack or duffel bag with the exact features that will meet all of your travel needs.

Retractable Handles: For convenience and longevity, choose pull handles that are retractable, as with the Titan Luggage USA 360 Four Wheel Diamond Edition 24″ Trolley Suitcase. Being able to retract the handle protects it from the elements and general wear-and-tear when not it use.

Wheels: The Samsonite Cruisair 29 Inch Spinner Upright has wheels that spin in any direction. Spinner suitcases typically have four wheels that turn 360 °. Inline wheels generally move in one direction only, but make for a smooth rolling ride while oversized wheels are great for dragging a suitcase over uneven ground including up and down curbs. If you are interested in purchasing luggage with an inline skate wheel system, make sure the wheels are recessed; this will protect them from being damaged or even broken off.

Exterior pockets: Like the Piel Leather European Carry On demonstrates, exterior pockets are handy to have. Whether it’s a suitcase, luggage set, carry-on or duffel bag, outside pockets ensure easy access to travel documents, cell phone, boarding pass, etc. without having to go fishing for them.

Organizers/Interior Compartments: Interior compartments that are designed to hold specific types of items like a laptop are especially useful to have whether you’re traveling for work or for fun and just want to be able to stay in touch. It’s also good to have separate compartments for your PDA and other digital devices, baby stuff and other personal items you would like to keep separate from your clothes.

Suiter Systems: Luggage, like the American Tourister Tribute IV 25 Inch Upright, that includes a suiter system of some kind allows you to “hang” your item clothing on a hanger inside the suitcase and can resemble a built-in and/or removable garment bag. It can greatly reduce the amount of wrinkling of a particular garment.

Wet Packs: Resembling a cosmetic bag or some other kind of plastic insert, a wet pack allows you to safely keep liquids such as shampoo and body lotion separate from your clothes. Some types of wet packs are large enough to store wet items such as towels or a bathing suit.

Pockets/Cases: Depending on the manufacturer, a suitcase or a luggage set can include detachable or built-in pockets or cases, like shoe pockets, mesh pockets and valet or jewellery cases.

Straps/Dividers: A suitcase typically has some system of holding the items in place to prevent breakage, wrinkling, etc and can include straps or dividers that snap into place, keeping clothes stationary and secure.

Traveling Tips

Match your luggage to your trip. If you’re off on an eco-friendly tour of the rainforest, you won’t need your 5-piece designer luggage set. A combination of selecting the right kind of suitcase for the type of trip will go a long way to making it an enjoyable one.

Baggage rules and restrictions can vary from airline to airline. Even with the same airline, rules and baggage limits can be different for domestic flights than international ones. Before packing, find out the specifics from your travel agent or airline carrier. Most airlines also have size and number restrictions regarding carry-ons.

Whether it’s business or pleasure, you know you will be bringing items back with you. When packing, leave room for those little extras.

Where are you staying? If the camp, resort or hotel has laundry facilities, you may be able to pack less and in smaller-sized suitcases.

Do some homework. Knowing the five-day forecast for the region you are traveling to will help you pack smarter. Also finding out about the area and its local customs will give you an idea of what kind of clothing to take along.

Plan to pack light. While you want to cover all of your bases and be prepared for the unexpected, the fewer bags you have to worry about, the better.

No matter what kind of trip you are embarking on, chances are you will be walking more than “partying.” Take sensible shoes.

Remove any old tags, destination stickers, etc. It will make going through any security checks quicker.

Use luggage tags and clearly write your current contact information on them. In the event that your luggage does get lost, you want to increase the chances that your suitcases will be returned to you.

We’ve all done it at one time or another, but it’s better not to have to sit on your suitcase in order to get it to close. Make a habit of packing flat, with no spaces. Ideally, like a mailing a package, you should be able to shake your suitcase and hear nothing move, rattle or shift. A bulging suitcase, unevenly packed is more prone to abuse and damage. This doesn’t mean you can’t cram your expandable suitcase to its full capacity; just make sure there are no bumps, lumps and sharp edges.

For added security, many travelers opt for additional straps to ensure that a locked suitcase remains closed.

Don’t pack anything that can get broken or lost. Valuables such as jewelry should stay at home or be kept to a few select pieces. If you do need to transport fragile items, plan to take them along in your carry-on.

Have a “practical” colored suitcase that is black, brown or burgundy? Are you constantly grabbing the wrong one off the luggage carousel? Buy a uniquely shaped or colorful ID tag to distinguish your luggage from someone else’s.