Buyer’s Guide

There are several factors to be considered when purchasing luggage.  Two key components are durability and space. Also, how often you travel will significantly influence your decision in the kind and often, the price point of the luggage you decide on. Do you travel often due to work? Do you take several trips a year? If you answered yes to these questions, you may want to invest in luggage that suits your lifestyle and travel habits. Inexpensive luggage would serve little purpose as it may fall apart quickly. There’s nothing worse then having a suitcase malfunction at baggage claim! Strong sturdy luggage will keep intact and keep your things safe and sound.

The way you travel can also have an impact on the kind of luggage you buy. Some vehicles have smaller spaces than others; and even though buses and airplanes have larger cargo areas, there are often restrictions as to the size of the luggage that can be carried on board, or placed in cargo hold. If you are going for a short day trip, a back pack or duffle bag may be the best ‘luggage style’ option. For weekend trips or other short trips, again totes and duffle bags are a great option. However, if you are traveling for an extended trip, then it may be best to use a more traditional style suitcase.  Also, if you are a frequent flyer, you may consider purchasing stackable suitcases. This kind of luggage system makes it easier on the traveler when transporting the luggage, free of falls, and free of mess.

For the frequent traveler, the purchase of luggage can be a long term investment. Also consider whether you want hard luggage or soft luggage. What size luggage will you need? Cabin sized luggage, which is 19 to 22 inches is compact and can be brought aboard a plane, train or placed in an automobile. They are ideal for use as an overnight bag that can hold a couple of outfits, toiletries, and other personal necessities. Mid size luggage, 23 to 26 inches, are perfect for trips that will be a week long or less. These bags must be checked when traveling. Large sized luggage, 27 to 30 inches, are ideal for long trips or carrying the belongings of more than one traveler. This size luggage also has to be checked. Familiarize yourself with different brands, styles, and prices. To save gas and time you can compare prices on line. Durable luggage is available at discounted stores, outlets, office supply stores, online and in catalogs.  Some of the more quality brands are Samsonite, Travelpro, Tumi, Kenneth Cole, and Eagle Creek, just to name a few.

When shopping, it is always best to not only check the outside but the inside of the luggage as well. What you are looking for are compartments for neatly packing your items, as well as seeing the capacity or how much the suitcase can actually hold. Decide whether you want a single compartment or multi compartments. Non- sectioned pieces allow you to place things where you want; divided luggage keeps things organized and in place. Consider how often you will use the luggage; this is for sure a determining factor in what type of luggage to purchase. Would you prefer something that has the capabilities of rolling? Maybe you would like something that you are able to carry on the shoulder?

Testing the frame of the luggage is very important. A strong frame assures that your luggage will be able to withstand the weight, sometimes rough handling by baggage attendants, and regular wear and tear from years of use. Fiberglass, aluminum, and durable molded plastic frames are good choices.

Luggage generally comes with a way to secure its contents. Decide if you prefer buckles, clasps, or lock and keys to lock your bags. Check the stitching of the bags and the zippers. Run the zipper up and down, and test the locks to make sure everything is working properly.

It is also important to look at the fabric or texture of the suitcase. Some materials are easy to acquire abrasions, scratches, and tears. Leather suitcases are very nice, but hard to maintain as they get water damaged easily.  Should you decide to purchase leather, you will probably need a leather protective coat to go along with it. This usually comes in the form of a spray.

Think about other pieces of luggage you may need. A carry on is designed for short trips. A carry on is a small bag or suitcase that can be stored overhead or underneath the airplanes seat .Tote bags are generally smaller than carry on bags. They can also double as a purse, beach bag, or shopping bag. Garment bags give you the pleasure of hanging your clothes on hangers and helps in keeping your clothes wrinkle free.

Lastly, some luggage comes with warranties. Be sure to inquire how long the warranty lasts and what specifically it covers. Some come with a year warranty and some with a 10 year warranty.  It would be beneficial to invest in any additional warranties the manufacturer or retailer may offer, as this would most likely save you money in the long run.