Lightweight sturdy luggage. Is it the most important thing to consider when purchasing luggage? There are other factors you might not have thought of that are just as important. Let’s explore the important characteristics of good luggage.
Size: Obviously size is a consideration. Whether you plan on carrying on your luggage or checking it, it’s important to remember that each airline has their own standards. For example, Air France has a carry on size restriction of 21 x 13 x 9 inches, whereas Southwest limits their carry ons to 24 x 16 x 10. If you fly various airlines, you might want to choose your luggage based on the smallest commonly found dimensions so that you will fit more airlines requirements.
Weight: Having lightweight luggage makes it easier to meet checked bag weight limits. If your empty bag weighs 10 pounds it is going to be that much harder to stay under the 50 limit most airlines have. No one wants to pay overweight charges if they don’t have to! Beyond that, it can also make transporting it easier. A few pounds might not seem like much but after carrying your suitcase for hours, you might think the bag that weighed 5 pounds less was the way to go!
Wheels/No Wheels: There are definitely pros and cons to having wheels on your luggage.
No Wheeled Luggage: Luggage without wheels such as backpacks or duffels can be very convenient if you need to cram a lot into a small bag (because of the soft sides) or need to fit it into a small space on a bus, plane or train. It can also make for easy transport because you can wear the bag instead of pulling it behind you. This might be for you if you are going somewhere with rugged terrain where it would be hard to pull a rolling suitcase. The major con of a no wheeled bag is that you’ll have no choice but to carry it. If you’re getting a sore back/neck just thinking about it, you might want to consider wheeled luggage.
Wheeled Luggage: The major pro of wheeled luggage is how easy it is to transport. It can save your back and neck if you can pull or push your luggage rather than carry it. Consider getting luggage with 4 wheels so you can push it without having to tilt it on two wheels. This is very convenient! The downside of wheeled luggage is that it is restricting. It can be a lot harder to fit things into your suitcase or fit your suitcase into things. We’ve all seen people trying to cram their over-sized wheeled luggage into the overhead bins!! Wheeled luggage can also be inconvenient if you are going somewhere with rugged or dirty terrain. The wheels likely wouldn’t roll very well and you would end up with a mess.
Sturdiness: In my opinion sturdiness is one of the most important characteristics to look for in luggage. You aren’t going to get too far if your luggage breaks part way through your trip. We all know baggage handlers are not gentle, so buy something that is going to take some abuse.
My choice in suitcase is a Nautica Rolling Duffel. It combines my favorite things about each type of bag into one. It fits a lot of stuff while at the same time fits easily into overhead bins. I have never had a problem getting it to fit, even though it is considered too large for some planes. The only thing that could make this bag better is if it could also be worn as a backpack. But now that I know what I’m looking for, I’m shopping around for my next one.
Do you have a favorite bag to travel with? Tell us about it!