- 1 The Best Travel Luggage is the one that suits your needs
- 2 How to Choose a Suitcase for Travel
- 3 The Best Luggage Brands you can Trust
- 4 Cheap Luggage – the Pros and Cons
- 5 What type of travel will you use your suitcase for?
- 6 What type of luggage should I buy?
- 7 Best luggage with wheels
- 8 What size of luggage should I buy?
- 9 What are the best suitcase sizes?
- 10 Suitcase Size & Suitcase Weight
- 11 The Best Suitcase Features to Look For
- 12 Luggage price
- 13 Best Suitcases for Your Travels – Our Recommendations
- 14 Best Carry On Suitcases
- 15 Best Check in Suitcases
- 16 Best Suitcases for Kids
- 17 Subscribe
The Best Travel Luggage is the one that suits your needs
But there are a few key features of travel luggage that we look, to ensure the suitcase we invest in will not burst open and share the contents of our luggage with strangers!
We also want the luggage that won’t break, won’t bust the bank, and that will wheel effortlessly.
Because when you are planning to travel with kids, you need to minimise potential catastrophes.
How to Choose a Suitcase for Travel
Choose a trusted brand, with a decent warranty period, and you can’t go wrong.
Our team at Roam the Gnome™ Family Travel Website trust these suitcase brands absolutely.
The Best Luggage Brands you can Trust
- American Tourister
- Travel Pro
- Eagle Creek
- Briggs and Riley
Cheap Luggage – the Pros and Cons
While you can buy travel luggage in Kmart, Big W, and Ikea for next to nothing, we’ve made a point of investing and buying good quality luggage that will last for years and years. We’ve invested in one good travel jacket for much the same reason.
Buying quality luggage might seem like a bigger outlay than what you’d pay at a budget store, but the fact you don’t need to buy it again in a year or two, makes more sense. Having to buy two or three suitcases at the cheaper price ends up the same as the cost of one good suitcase at the outset.
What type of travel will you use your suitcase for?
Luggage for family travel?
Luggage for vacation travel?
Luggage for business travel?
Luggage for resort holiday?
Luggage for cruising?
What type of luggage should I buy?
Consider the journey of your luggage. Will you be flying, driving, or cruising? Where you will be storing it also matters.
Benefits of Hard Shell luggage
Hard shell suitcases protect all your belongings with extra security, but they are less flexible. It’s difficult to cram in extra souvenirs, or snacks for home.
Benefits of Soft shell luggage
More lightweight than hard shell suitcases, and they give and stretch, allowing you extra space for treasures and souvenirs. But they offer less protection for the things inside.
If you travel often, and need suitcase durability, go for a hard case. It’s a no brainer.
Hard shell vs. Soft shell suitcases
It’s personal preference mostly. I’ve had both, but I lean towards hard case these days.
Best luggage with wheels
Two Wheels suitcases (rollers)
Best for those who love to pull their suitcase behind them as they walk. Two wheel suitcases are good for walking around cities, as you can easily pull them up and over kerbs, and along walkways.
The downside is that you carry most of the weight.
Four wheel suitcases (spinners)
Four-wheeled suitcases make life easy when you travel with kids. They can push, pull, or walk beside their four wheeled suitcase with little effort.
Four-wheeled suitcases are good for those with mobility issues as they glide, and spin when you need them to. If you like to stuff your suitcase full of souvenirs, and regularly reach the 30kg weight limit, then a four-wheel suitcase is a must. They are definitely the easier suitcase to manage when it’s heavy.
Two-wheels vs. Four-wheel suitcases?
Four wheel suitcases rule the world. I’d never buy a two wheeler suitcase when travelling with kids again. It’s just another thing to battle.
What size of luggage should I buy?
The most important thing to remember is that you have to carry your suitcase around with you, unless you have tonnes of cash and your own personal driver. If it’s too heavy or cumbersome, a suitcase can make life hell.
What are the best suitcase sizes?
My mum is a master over-packer, and when we travelled to Japan together, she took a two-wheeled soft suitcase and stuffed it with every item known to man, and brought along a soft nylon bag to put on top for good measure. Guess who ended up wheeling that thing?
The best suitcase size really depends on the type of trip you want to take. Bigger suitcases are fine for European cruising, but not so great for jump-on-jump-off Eurail explorations.
The great thing is that most suitcase brands come in at least three or four different sizes.
- the smallest for carry-on luggage only
- the medium for single travellers, who may carry a tote or backpack separately for their electronics too
- the large size for longer vacations and European cruises, where you need multiple changes of clothing, and
- the extra large for parents who need to pack their children’s clothes and travel goods in with their own.
Suitcase Size & Suitcase Weight
Carry on luggage must be within the set limits – size and weight – that the airline you are traveling with uses. Check your weight AND dimensions with these portable luggage scales.
Be mindful that wheels and extendable handles do restrict your internal space and may limit how much you can fit.
Oversize carry-on luggage is the easiest one for the airline staff to bust. Airline staff don’t always check cabin baggage for size and weight but if they do, and the ground staff happen to be in a bad mood, or it’s a busy holiday period with lots of grumpy complaining passengers, your bag might be sent under the plane. Stay within the limits and you’ll have no problem.
Checked in luggage is checked for size and weight when you turn up at the counter. It’s luck of the draw as to who is sitting on the desk, and whether or not this person will be willing to let an overweight suitcase go through without extra charges on the day. We’ve had varied luck so now we pay for extra baggage kilos for the return trip only.
Weight and size restrictions vary
Weight and size restrictions vary from airline to airline. It’s vital to check with your airline before you go.
Most airlines restrict carry-on luggage to between 7kg and 10kg.
Check in suitcases can weigh anywhere between 15kg to 32kg, depending on whether you travel with a budget or full service airline.
Budget tip: Pay attention to the airlines guidelines to avoid additional fees.
Don’t risk it. If in doubt, call the airline before you go.
The Best Suitcase Features to Look For
Handles should be riveted to the suitcase body to prevent the handles flying off when you go to pick it up. (It’s happened to me!) Suitcases should have handles on both the long and short sides, so you can fling them into the back of cabs when you are in a rush.
This is a vital component of a suitcase and when it doesn’t work properly, it’s a big source of frustration. The extendable handle needs to extend and retract smoothly. It needs to lock in place at one or two heights, and these heights should be comfortable for you to pull along without having the suitcase bump into you every few steps.
Check the zips on the outside of the case, and also the ones on the inside. Zips that stick are useless.
My Samsonite case has a zipped compartment to separate one side from the rest of the case. This zip has broken three times so far. Luckily it’s under warranty and they fix it without question but it’s a bother to have to lug it back to the shop and then pick it up again. Better to have a quality zip in place first.
I lock all my zip handles on both my carry on and check in luggage with a TSA lock.
These help to hold my packing cells in place so need to be broad and strong.
Lightweight Luggage Weight
The weight of your suitcase counts towards your baggage allowance , so you need to be mindful of this when you purchase. With carry-on luggage especially, weight should be a deciding factor. A 3kg bag means less than 4kg for all your clothes and essentials. Doable, but tight.
The case should roll easily, and not bounce or tip when being pulled along. Four-wheel spinner models spin 360° making them easier to manoeuvre. You can push them alongside you, in front of you or pull them behind you (as you would with a two-wheeler), but some can be difficult to control when pushed across bumpy terrain and if you’re on an incline they could roll away. On the other hand, two-wheel models only move forwards and backwards but are usually better for clearing curbs and rolling on a variety of uneven surfaces.
Look for a 5 year minimum warranty at least. 10 or 15 years is better, although frequent travellers will replace their suitcase well before that warranty runs out. Some brands offer lifetime warranty. The rule of thumb is: the higher quality product, the longer the warranty period (and higher the price).
A warranty should cover manufacturing defects (such as workmanship and materials). You can return the luggage for repair to zips, handles, extendable handles, and fabric.
It will not cover cosmetic wear and tear (including on moving parts like wheels and component parts), damage from transport on aircraft or boats, misuse, water, or cleaning.
Most brands will only honour your warranty if you can provide proof of purchase with a store receipt to claim luggage repair. We suggest putting your warranty certificate in a safe place when you purchase it. I like to keep the product tags just in case too. Take note if you need to register your warranty at the time of purchase. If you don’t and it’s a requirement, your warranty might be voided. Read the fine print at the outset.
Go bold. Buy bright. It’s the best deterrent against thievery.
We love a good patterned suitcase, or one with character.
Kids love themed suitcases too.
These are the suitcases we bought for our Europe/Santa trip.
I love pockets with zips. External pockets are good for easy access to water bottles, band aids, ventolin puffers, tissues and ear plugs. Internal pockets are useful for keeping your itinerary and electronics such as a powerboard charger and universal electrical plugs in a safe place.
Another question to ask is ‘does the suitcase expand’? This is a cool trick for the return flight home when you need more room for gifts and souvenirs.
Hot tip: never use external pockets for your precious things such as passports or money.
No suitcase on the market is completely waterproof as water can definitely get in through the zips. However, a hard case suitcase can be wiped down. A soft shell suitcase might need time to dry completely.
Suitcases vary in price considerably depending on the brand, their reputation, their durability, and their style factor.
Our tip: don’t go too cheap. You’ll only end up having to replace it sooner rather than later.
Best Suitcases for Your Travels – Our Recommendations
We’ll be back here soon with the big list of our favourite suitcases for travel.
Best Carry On Suitcases
Best Check in Suitcases
Best Suitcases for Kids
These ride-on suitcases are the bees knees. Trunki’s Harley the Lady Bug suitcase is the cutest luggage we’ve ever seen.
Olli-Ella is the creator of our favourite ‘See-Ya’ suitcases for kids.
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