How To Choose A Good Luggage? (Don’t Make This Mistake)

By James Smith
how to choose a good luggage
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So you might be wondering how to choose a good luggage? Here’s what I’ve found.

When choosing your luggage it is important to know the basics of why and for what you will be using the luggage for.

The weather at your destination, the way you’re getting there, the amount of time you will spend at that destination, and why you are traveling.

The basics you want to look out for are the weight of the empty luggage, the quality of the sturdiness and the wheels.

I recommend getting luggage with wheels that can turn 180 degrees with wheels at each corner of the bottom instead of just 2 wheels letting you go only back and forth, instead of side to side (also known as spinner luggage). It doesn’t seem like a big thing to look out for but once you have a 4 wheel luggage it’s hard to go back to the basic 2 wheeler, trust me, try it.

Regardless if you are using your luggage for air travel or ground travel the weight of your luggage is always something to consider.

If you are flying to a destination you will most likely have a weight restriction on your luggage.

This means if your empty luggage weighs 11 pounds when it could weigh 8 pounds, you’re loosing or gaining an extra 3 pounds.

This can be a pair of shoes, extra makeup, extra underwear, or anything that weighs 3 pounds, something important! Luggage nowadays is made with this in mind and should already be pretty light but just in case, remember this tip when shopping around.

Traveling worldwide with your luggage

If you are a worldwide traveler, you need a suitcase that can withstand being thrown, pushed, shoved, and dropped.

Your luggage will have new scars each time you pick it up from baggage claim carousel.

Make sure your suitcase doesn’t rip open or the handle stops going up and down mid travel and buy one that is sturdy and has a reputable brand, not just the cheapest luggage you can find. Often times you get what you paid for but that doesn’t mean you need to buy the most expensive one the medium range budget is the sweet spot, in my opinion, here you can read my recommended checked suitcases.

Yes, you will purchase many suitcases in your lifetime if you use your passport quite often, but a broken handle is by far the most annoying thing to have stop working when you’re trying to put your suitcase in a cab or trying to check it into your flight.

The climate of your travel destination

The weather of your destination takes a big part in luggage because if you’re going to the Caribbean or Cabo San Lucas, your suitcase will most likely contain a few nice going out outfits, which tend to be pretty light, or swimwear, here you can pack normally and find a suitcase the average size of the duration of your trip.

On the other hand, if you’re going to a destination where you must wear a minimum of 3 shirts and 2 layers of pants at all times, not including your parka, this is a whole other luggage situation.

If you are packing only thin light clothes you can get away with a carry-on and a backpack and not have to worry about paying extra checked baggage fees.

However, if you are bringing thick clothes and jackets, make sure it is big enough! Thicker clothes aren’t necessarily more weight but take up more room, therefore compensating for a bigger suitcase under airline weight restrictions.

There are many different sizes of “large luggage” you’d be surprised what you can get away with on certain flights.

Always check the measurements before a flight!

How are you getting to your destination? By airplane, car, train, biking or even walking?

When taking the airplane you will have very strict weight restrictions and rules on how to transport your items.

If you are taking a backpack as a carry-on make sure you use all the space that is given to you. Some backpacks are thicker lined than other thin backpacks that are like a square instead of an egg shape.

Folded clothes will fit better into a square shape backpack rather than an egg shape.

You will be able to use every inch of the backpack and space allowed for you to bring.

Side note: if you travel with a carry-on suitcase and backpack you can have a very small thin bag that can either hang from your neck or a fanny pack or a cross body bag to fit your wallet and passport in.

This usually isn’t an issue, and if it is then just shove it into your carry-on or backpack when they address it.

Now it is common to find suitcases with locks already embedded on the side of the suitcase, like these recommended luggage locks.

This is always convenient especially on a carry-on, this way if you’re told to check your carry-on luggage at the last minute you can quickly lock the luggage and not feel anxious about it floating around below the plane.

Some suitcases have pockets, some have 10, some have none.

I am not much of a pocket person, they personally annoy me, I use them all then forget which pocket my stuff is in. My best friend, on the other hand, loves pockets and buys luggage based off of this.

If you are going to be walking with your luggage a lot, for example, backpacking Europe with a carry-on or doing a lot of public transportation with your luggage, I highly recommend taking into consideration the big duffle bags with the thick strap.

These are very nice, but all that weight on your one shoulder will weigh you down after a while.

Traveling constantly with a duffle bag is draining and gets very heavy after a while.

Take into consideration your comfort, if you are traveling to 9 countries in 6 weeks, you will be tired at the end, help yourself before the trip starts and take this into consideration.

If you are going to be traveling outdoors with your luggage make sure you remember that not every country and place is like what you’re used to.

Florence, Italy for example, many people walk from the train station to their hotels and accommodations because it’s so close, however, the streets are anything but smooth.

The uneven pavement and gravel and cobblestones will ruin your suitcase wheels.

If you look at a suitcase on wheels you will notice that some will have only one small wheel on all four corners and some will be double.

Two wheels side by side on four corners. This type of luggage will be more sturdy when traveling on unexpected pavements and streets.

Make sure you check the wheels on your luggage when looking to purchase, this is always a good thing to look out for that will help your luggage life in the long run.

I always take advantage of the lining inside a suitcase for papers that I need to have but won’t necessarily need all the time.

When buying a piece of luggage look at the inside and you should see a zipper at the bottom of one of the backs and it should unzip the two bars that are for the handle/pull bars.

This is flat and pretty secretive.

I usually put documents in here while traveling or even when your store your bag.

I always thought this is something that every piece of luggage has but some don’t so check for that as well.

If you are traveling for business I recommend a more desecrate/quiet bag.

You definitely don’t want to show up to the company conference in Thailand with a suitcase that says “Sin City Las Vegas.” However, I know black is always in and it goes with everything but remember that everyone thinks that same thing.

When you watch the black luggage after black luggage on the baggage claim carousel you will be thankful that your yellow suitcase is among the “black is the new black” suitcases. If you do go with a black suitcase or bag, make sure to tie a piece of fabric that you cut off an old shirt or piece of extra fabric, this will be unique to you and you can recognize it based on what you tied to the handle.

Do your research before purchasing a bag. Look up some good brands and sturdy brands.

If you travel often, luggage will be something you purchase a lot.

The way the airport bag handlers handle the bag is as if they take out their frustration on it.

Every time I recuperate my bag from baggage claim there’s always a new scar. Don’t put too much emphasis on the outside because it will periodically get destroyed. Sturdiness and a good quality bag are what you want to mainly look for.

There are many discount stores that sell luggage, my favorites are TJMaxx, Marshalls, Ross, and sometimes Burlington. 

They always have good deals and a huge selection, do your research before you go in so that when you see a good quality brand in the pile of others you can be sure to snag it before everyone else.

Luggage should vary between $40-60 in these stores, I feel like it’s obvious but luggage in the airport will be 10 times more expensive than anywhere else.

This is a side note on how to pack your clothes. I always do the “Marie Kondo” packing method when packing my carry-on suitcase. Look her up, this will change your packing life.

Also, Pinterest is your best friend for all things travel inspirations.

Happy packing! I hate packing but with these tips hopefully, you can have a little more fun with it, they defiantly have helped me!

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Hi, I'm James Smith, I love traveling and always looking to optimize the traveling life to make it as comfortable and stress-free as possible. I especially love to nerd out about choosing the right luggage.