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What Should I Consider When Buying Luggage?

By J. Beam
Updated May 23, 2024
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Luggage is an essential purchase for those who travel, even if it’s only on occasion. Because buying luggage can be expensive, it’s important to consider your purchase before you make it. There are several things to consider when buying luggage that may help you decide how much to spend on it.

Luggage can be both stylish and practical. The more usage your luggage gets, the more quickly it will wear out. If you are a frequent traveler, you should consider durability and practicality to be the most important features. If your travel always includes checked baggage, you should not only consider durability and practicality, but cost. Nothing is more frustrating than owning expensive, designer luggage only to find it lost by the airline. While statistically, lost luggage that is never recovered is fairly low, your odds increase the more often you travel.

Since luggage can be purchased by the individual piece and in a set, you should determine how much luggage you need. If you travel for business, a garment bag, suitcase, and travel bag may be essential pieces. You can generally purchase sets including all these pieces at a better value than purchasing them individually, but be sure to compare prices and brands. Having a four or five piece luggage set may prove to be more versatile over time making it the best value for your money.

If you really only need one or two pieces of luggage, buying luggage that fits your exact style and design should be simple. Keep in mind that the way you will transport your luggage to help you determine the style. Larger suitcases and bags become heavy when packed full, so look for styles that are convenient to move about, such as those with handles and wheels. Similarly, consider the inside design of the luggage and make sure there is enough room and compartments to hold the items you travel with securely and efficiently.

While designer luggage is generally considered well made, don't rule out buying luggage from a discount retailer for periodic or light use. Camping, going off to college, and the occasional road trip really only warrants a couple of pieces of luggage and it doesn't matter if they are mismatched. Experienced travelers warn against traveling by airplane with mismatched luggage since matching sets are easier for baggage handlers to identify.

You can check department stores, discount retailers, and online retailers to compare brands of luggage and prices. Also check with a consumer guide before buying luggage to see consumer ratings on various types of luggage you are comparing. Comparing cost, style, durability and practicality will help you select just the right luggage for your travel needs and will help assure you that your purchase is a good one. If you are buying luggage for someone as a gift and don't want to consult them, consider purchasing a basic three piece set in a neutral color and style.

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Discussion Comments

By cary — On Nov 19, 2011

One thing I don't see mentioned enough when choosing luggage is the color -- the last time I bought a new suitcase, I deliberately avoided black and navy blue because I wanted my luggage to be at least somewhat distinctive. Instead, I went with a light brown color, which isn't completely unique but still a little easier to spot.

And then, of course, the first time I used it, it came out of the luggage carousel absolutely filthy, with black streaks across it. So I guess there's a good reason to go with dark-colored luggage after all...

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