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Shopping Guide for Best Luggage Sets

Whether you’re heading out for an overnight business trip or a jaunt around the world, you’ll need luggage. You could pick up a cheap set of polyester luggage, but you might pay a lot more in embarrassment and inconvenience if that “bargain” suitcase falls apart in the middle of a busy airport.

Still, there’s no reason to break the bank when choosing a good-quality set of luggage. And that’s where we come in. Here at BestReviews, we never accept free products or perks in exchange for a good review. We buy the products we test ourselves. We consult experts in the field. And we listen to feedback from real-life owners. You can always look to us for unbiased recommendations and honest shopping advice.

If you are ready to purchase your new luggage set, check out our top five picks in the matrix above.

But if you’d like to learn more about choosing and using suitcases and their accessories, read on.

We’ll tell you everything you need to know before you hit the road on your next adventure.

Types of Luggage

There are several different types of luggage available to suit every traveler’s needs. Let’s first take a look at the most common pieces.

Types

Carry On Bags

Most airlines limit carry on bags to 22 x 14 x 9 inches.

These small suitcases can be stowed in the overhead bin, so you can avoid the time and trouble of checking your bag.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Samsonite Winfield 2 Fashion HS

Security

All three pieces included in the Samsonite Winfield 2 Fashion HS set are spinners, which means they have four corner wheels that spin and move in any direction. An extendable metal handle makes the commute from baggage claim to ground transportation (or the trip from car to hotel room) much easier. Strong zippers and TSA-approved locks hold together the two halves of each spinner suitcase in the set. The interior of each suitcase is fully lined and a separate privacy curtain holds smaller items securely in place during travel.

Types

Large Suitcases

These suitcases are larger than carry on bags and must be checked when traveling by air.

Types

Garment Bags

Designed to carry clothing on hangers, these are useful if you are traveling with a dress, suit, or coat that you don’t want to wrinkle.

Types

Toiletry Bags

These are small cases for holding toiletries.

EXPERT TIP

Before buying any luggage, make sure that it meets the most stringent airline requirements currently in effect.


Staff  | BestReviews
Types

Duffel Bags

Soft, roomy bags that come in a wide range of sizes, duffel bags are great for weekend trips, car trips, train travel, or for carrying bulky items that won’t fit in your suitcase.

Types

Luggage Sets

Most luggage sets consist of two or three suitcases of various sizes. Typically, the suitcases nest inside each other for storage. Some luggage sets also include a toiletry bag or garment bag.

DID YOU KNOW?

Most luggage sets are sized so that you can easily fit the smaller suitcase into the larger one when not in use.

Which Bag Should I Bring?

Considerations

How Will You Be Traveling?

If you’ll be flying, your main consideration may be size. A bag small enough to carry on — rather than check — saves you time and aggravation at the airport. Check with the airline before you go, however, because size restrictions can vary from airline to airline and sometimes even from flight to flight.

Trains and cruise ships also have luggage restrictions. However, they are generally more liberal than airlines.

If you’re planning a road trip, size isn’t so much of an issue. But you’ll optimize your trunk space with bags that are somewhat flexible or soft-sided.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Samsonite Winfield 2 Fashion HS

Construction

The Samsonite Winfield 2 Fashion HS luggage set is molded from 100% polycarbonate, an exceptionally strong plastic commonly used for heavy-duty storage containers. Polycarbonate can pop back into its original shape after being dropped or mishandled. Expandable zippers on two of the pieces in the set make it easy to squeeze in souvenirs or other items picked up along the way.

Considerations

Business or Pleasure?

  • Traveling on business? These are generally short trips, and you don’t want any more inconvenience than necessary. Typically, a laptop bag or briefcase, along with a carry on bag, is sufficient.

  • Going on a family vacation? This is where a large luggage set really shines. You’ll have room enough for the whole family’s belongings, as well as souvenirs you pick up on the trip.

  • Traveling internationally? International travel often means multiple forms of transportation, including plane, train, bus, and taxi. A large backpack with wheels is easy to tote from place to place.

  • Just heading out for the weekend? A duffel bag or small roller suitcase is a good choice for an overnight escape.

Two wheels or four? The answer to that question depends on your preference. Each type offers its own pros and cons.
Considerations

How Long is Your Trip?

Though some people are experts at packing light, for most people the longer the trip, the more luggage is required.

Consider how much you tend to pack for an average trip when deciding how large a luggage set you’ll need.

EXPERT TIP

Look for suitcases that include supportive feet and a side handle. The extra handle is helpful on stairs, escalators, and other obstacles.


Staff  | BestReviews

What to Look For When Buying A Luggage Set

Features

Wheels

Most luggage sets sold today have wheels. Your choice generally comes down to two wheels or four.

  • Roller Suitcases

Two-wheel suitcases are called rollers. They have recessed wheels, which are less likely to snap off if handled roughly. Rollers are good for urban travel, as they easily clear curbs, sidewalks, and rough pavement.

  • Spinner Suitcases

Four-wheel suitcases are called spinners because each wheel can spin 360 degrees. They are easy to maneuver in tight spaces but not so good at traversing rough pavement or curbs. The wheels are external so vulnerable to snapping off, and they also take up valuable space in the overhead bin on an airplane.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

American Tourister Pop 3-Piece Spinner

Features

The American Tourister Pop 3-Piece Spinner set has the essential features travelers have come to expect from quality luggage. The polyester outer shell is soft and pliable, yet it is resistant to the damaging effects of rough handling. Several external pockets provide fast access to important travel documents and other items. The spinner wheels and extendable handle offer easy maneuverability, since the suitcase’s weight is supported in any position. Consumers who want luggage that stands out from the crowd will enjoy several great color options. The set comes in shades ranging from basic black to red, orange, and pastel blue.

Features

Body

The majority of luggage sets sold today are soft fabric, generally a very strong nylon. However, rigid-frame hard-shell suitcases are gaining in popularity. Both have pros and cons.

  • Soft-Sided Luggage

Lightweight and more flexible for tight quarters, soft-sided luggage is prone to rips, however, and doesn’t protect your belongings as well as a harder material.

  • Hard-Shell Luggage

Generally made of polycarbonate, ABS plastic, or heavier aluminum, hard-shell luggage is somewhat heavier than soft-sided luggage but protects your belongings more effectively. These suitcases are prone to dings and scratches.

DID YOU KNOW?

Hard-shell suitcases are a good choice for people who frequently travel to rainy or snowy climates, as they do the best job protecting their contents.

Features

Zippers

Sturdy zippers are crucial. Check that all zippers run smoothly before purchasing any piece of luggage.

Features

Handles

Most of today’s wheeled luggage has two handles: the telescopic handle — or extendable handle — on the top of the suitcase and the grab-on strap on the side. Make sure both are sturdy and well attached to the body of the suitcase.

EXPERT TIP

Telescopic handles are very convenient, but make sure the handle is long enough so that the bag doesn’t clip your ankles when rolling behind you.


Staff  | BestReviews
Features

Pockets

It’s handy to have an outer pocket or two for passports, tickets, maps, and other necessities. Generally, hard-shell luggage does not have outer pockets but most soft-sided luggage does.

Some suitcases have multiple inner pockets, some have none, and some have just a single separate compartment. The ideal number of inner compartments is mostly a matter of personal preference.

Some travelers like to separate their clothing by type. Others may prefer to simply pack as much as possible without wasting space on separation.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

American Tourister Pop 3-Piece Spinner

Design

The smallest suitcase in the American Tourister Pop 3-Piece Spinner luggage set measures 21 inches, meeting most airline’s size requirements for a carry on bag. The larger pieces, which are 25 inches and 29 inches in height, can hold quite a bit of clothing, electronics, and other personal items. Because of the soft-shell design, users should pack fragile items and electronics under a protective layer of clothing to avoid crushing or damage. All three suitcases in the set nest comfortably when not in use.

Features

Color

Black luggage tends to disappear into a sea of similar bags on the airport luggage carousel.

By choosing a bright color or luggage with a distinctive pattern — you’ll find many hard-shell sets with colorful designs — it’ll be much easier to spot your bag quickly.

Some travelers dislike brightly colored luggage because they fear it makes them look “touristy.” Others appreciate a standout bag because it’s easier to spot on the airport baggage carousel.

Features

Weight

With today’s strict airline regulations on weight, you don’t want to waste precious pounds on a heavy suitcase.

Ideally, a bag with wheels should weigh no more than eight pounds, and a non-wheeled bag should be under four pounds.

While how you pack can certainly affect your suitcase's balance, four wheels typically prevent it from falling over, no matter what.
Features

Price

You’ll find luggage sets for less than $100 and sets costing more than $1,000.

For most travelers, the sweet spot is somewhere between $100 and $300 for a quality set of luggage that will last through many trips.

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