There are a few tricks of the trade when it comes to shopping for a suitable travel luggage bag. We’ve put together a list of key considerations when buying your next travel companion on wheels.
1. SIZE: The best size for carry on suitcases is 9 in x 14 in x 22 in (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm) including the wheels, retracted handles, and compartment protrusions. This is the current airline standard to classify as a carry-on bag, but ultimately you should Review the airlines you fly most often, and pick a size that works best with all of them.
2. WEIGHT: To avoid overweight fees, check weight limit requirements with your airline and be aware that certain airport stations may have carry-on weight limits even if your airline doesn’t. Some experts recommend carry-on bags that are less than 10 lbs for easy lifting.
3. WHEELS: Bag with four wheels (called a spinner because the wheels turn 360 degrees) are the new standard. Four-wheelers beat two-wheelers in ergonomics because you can push, pull, turn it in any direction, and wheel it at your side. Two-wheelers tend to fall over when pushed from the upright position. :S
4. HANDLES: Look for multiple handles for lifting and pulling your luggage bag – versatility is key. Have a short top handle; a side handle for lifting; and a sturdy telescopic handle that’s tall enough to allow you to pull your luggage at arm’s length while also contracting midway. A comfortable grip goes without sayin.
5. POCKETS: Look for plenty of internal pockets for organization. One or two external pockets could come in handy for accessing that just-in-case granola bar.
6. HARD OR SOFT: Like the great debate over hard or soft-shelled tacos, the choice between a hard or soft-shelled luggage bag comes down to personal preference. No matter what, look for durable, weatherproof materials.
Soft luggage bags weigh less, are often expandable, and flex room due to nylon construction allows you to maximize storage within the luggage as well as squeeze the luggage into overhead airplane bins.
On the other hand, hard luggage bags have shock absorption capabilities (making them great for transporting fragile items), are often waterproof due to ABS or polycarbonate construction, and most come with a TSA approved lock, but dings and scratches tend to be noticeable.
7. WARRANTIES: Some brands like Briggs & Riley will repair your luggage free of charge for life. Tumi has a 5 year warranty that gives full protection that first year and covers defects until year five. Some of the Samsonite, TravelPro and Victorinox collections have limited lifetime warranties.