5 Questions for Choosing the Best Luggage for Your Next Trip
Updated: Sep 1
Almost all frequent travelers have a nightmare luggage story. You spent a lot of money on a fancy brand-name bag that broke on the first leg of the trip. Or you skimped on the spending and got exactly what you paid for. Or the bag that you thought would be comfortable and versatile turned out to be neither as you dragged it over the cobblestones of Rome or humped it on aching shoulders through the crowded, narrow streets of Florence. Been there, done that, right?
Choosing the wrong luggage can waste precious travel time and energy and can cause a lot of aches and pains. Choosing the right luggage will free you up to enjoy your trip without any unnecessary aggravation. To help you pick the best possible bag for your next adventure — here are five easy questions you can ask yourself to help you decide what type of bag is best for you.
What are the baggage restrictions and limits of all the airlines I will be traveling with? Some countries have more restrictive guidelines that are more stringently enforced. Smaller airlines in Europe, for example, require smaller and lighter bags than in the U.S. Make sure you know the requirements, so you don’t get stuck having to pay hefty overweight/oversize fees.
Am I an over-packer or a shopper? If you know that you tend to bring more than you need and buy when you get there, opt for an expandable bag as your carry-on and slip in an empty, durable nylon bag to bring back new things with you. (Note: be prepared to pay any additional fees that might apply for additional bags, or if your bag becomes too large/heavy as a result of over-packing!) I have a friend who literally will wear on the plane everything that doesn’t fit in her suitcase or that is over the weight limit. I have seen her wear two coats at one time. Needless to say, she is a shopper and will never apologize for it.
How much attention do I want my luggage to get? Yes, sometimes it’s tempting to get the stand-out, fashion-forward luggage set (think Louis Vuitton) — but if you’re heading to a destination that’s known for theft, sometimes the better option is to pick a suitcase that blends in with the crowd. There are always things you can do to help with identification — a colorful ribbon, a sticker, a unique tag. If theft inside or outside the airport is a concern, be sure to purchase luggage with TSA-approved locks.
How much transferring will I be doing on this trip? Are you heading to one main location that will be your “home base” of travel operations? Or will you be constantly on the move from city to city, hopping trains, getting taxis, taking buses? Will someone be available to help you lift your bags if you need assistance (partner, children, tour assistant), or will you be the one fully responsible for always handling your luggage? The more you’ll be moving and hefting, the more you should aim for simple, lightweight, durable, and versatile. Pack only the essentials, and look for bags that offer more than one transport method — for example, a carry-on with hidden pull-out straps that can be transformed into a comfy backpack for hands-free movement.
Does my luggage match the type and terrain of the trip I’m taking? Wheeled suitcases are great — if you have lots of flat floors and smooth sidewalks along which to roll them. But after two days of lugging a heavy suitcase through bumpy streets, broken sidewalks, dirt paths, or up endless flights of stairs in old, gorgeous elevator-less buildings, you’ll be praying for a simple backpack with padded shoulder straps.
The last thing you want to be focused on while you’re on the trip of a lifetime is some annoying, avoidable luggage irritation. With a little investigating and preparation before you pack up and head out, you can make sure your luggage fits seamlessly into your travel plans. You can view five of my favorite suitcases for 2022 here.
Ready to plan your dream vacation? Want an experienced Travel Advisor to advise you about the best luggage for your upcoming trip? I’ve got the knowledge and passion for great travel to help make your next trip, a journey to remember. You can set up a consultation with me now by clicking here.