Lightweight yet durable w/spinner wheels. Large items fit effortlessly thanks to generous size.
Expensive, but you are paying for quality and longevity.
Durable polyester. Convenient self-locking handle system.
The larger bag is prone to wobbles and tips when completely full.
Lightweight yet rugged ABS with expandable function for ample interior space. Available in several fashionable colors. Comes with TSA approved locks. Mid-level price.
The handles and the wheels have been known to malfunction. Zippers are also prone to sticking or breaking.
Easy handling via four multi-directional spinner wheels. Pockets/expandable cases provide many storage options.
Lacks interior support, making it difficult to pack fragile items.
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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.
If you are ready to purchase your new luggage set, check out our top five picks. 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.
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.
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.
These suitcases are larger than carry on bags and must be checked when traveling by air.
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.
These are small cases for holding toiletries.
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.
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.
Most luggage sets are sized so that you can easily fit the smaller suitcase into the larger one when not in use.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most luggage sets sold today have wheels. Your choice generally comes down to two wheels or four.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sturdy zippers are crucial. Check that all zippers run smoothly before purchasing any piece of luggage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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