So, you need new luggage and can't decide which way to go? As a consumer, you're spoiled for choices with plenty of brands offering lots of styles and sizes. But it also makes your decision that much tougher. Here's a quick checklist of things that should help you pick the right luggage.Size: The first thing you need to determine is your primary usage of the bag. Whether you want to carry your luggage on board or check it. The standard carry-on size for most airlines is 22" x 14" x 9" and you'll find carry-on luggage in the range of 18 to 22 inches. Depending on which size you buy, a carry-on bag can be used for 1-4 day trips. Sizes ranging from 23" to 30" are referred to as mid-sized and large wheeled uprights. They are meant for longer trips of a week or more.Weight: With airlines levying hefty fees on overweight checked luggage, you want something that doesn't weigh too much when it is empty, so you can pack more in it. You'll find that hardshell bags are generally heavier than softshell. Within softshell luggage, bags made of ballistic nylon and other synthetic nylon blends like Cordura are lighter than leather.Durability: Just because you've bought lightweight luggage, it does not mean that you've compromised on its durability. Ballistic nylon is one of the most durable materials used for luggage. It is also resistant to abrasions, punctures and tears, and can be treated to repel water.Packability: A bag with various interior and exterior pockets offers better organization and packability. Think of it this way - if a bag already has pockets designed for intimates, shoes, toiletries, etc., it just makes your job easier. Also, how firmly you secure your garments in a bag will determine how many wrinkles they end up with. The more space clothing and other items have to shift around inside the bag, the more crumpled and wrinkled your clothes are likely to get.Additional Features: Features like expandability (bags that can be expanded for extra packing capacity if needed), built-in or detachable garment sleeves, computer sleeves, toiletry kits, and TSA-approved resettable locks make a suitcase more desirable. Not every bag from every brand will have these features, but they can really add some value to your luggage if present.Ease of transport: Most luggage these days come with wheels and a retractable handle for easy transport. The quality of the grip on the handle and the durability and maneuverability of the wheels will add to the ease of mobility. Some luggage manufacturers also provide 'add a bag' systems to attach one or more bags together for easier transport.
Price: Unless you want your suitcase to make a fashion statement, steer clear of designer luggage. Ask yourself if paying in excess of $1000 for designer luggage makes sense when you can get a top quality piece of luggage in the $200 to $600 price range. On the other hand, you must always keep in mind the age old saying 'you get what you pay for'. So beware of those bargain brands that offer multiple pieces at rock bottom prices. You'll likely be replacing such inexpensive luggage too soon and too often.Warranty: There are no two ways about this - any piece of luggage you buy must have a solid warranty. Warranties offered by various reputable luggage manufacturers range from five years to lifetime. Need I say which one is the pick of them?
Based on the above factors, I rated the top three luggage manufacturers as:#1 Briggs & Riley
For their Outsider handle wrinkle free packing system
For their multiple multi-purpose pockets
For their "Simple as that" lifetime warranty, it even covers airline damage!#2 Swiss Army Victorinox
For their durability
For their Carry with Confidence guarantee
For their ultra lightweight collectionsAbout the AuthorLuther Davis is a marketing executive with a California-based software firm. He travels extensively for work within the United States and Europe, which makes him sort of an expert on anything travel related. His other passions include learning different languages. He speaks fluent Spanish, limited French & German. When he is not brushing up on his French, you'll find him reading about different cultures around the world.