This blog post was updated on January 26, 2022.
It’s not uncommon for a veteran traveler to have a luggage graveyard somewhere in their home. If you were to look in their basement or attic, you would likely find a collection of bags and suitcases that have traveled just once or twice, but one or two that are almost always used for every trip. It’s not that their luggage collectors but have merely bought bag after bag, learning the hard way what luggage they actually need.
If you want to avoid your own dumping ground of bad rolling suitcases and duffel bags, you need to understand the criteria for purchasing the bag or suitcase that works best for you. Here are four easy steps on how to pick the right luggage.
Step One: Figure Out What Kind of Trip You’re Going to Take
A common mistake with luggage can begin long before you take off on your travels. When you shop for your luggage, you have to consider what kind of trip or trips you plan to take. Business trips usually call for rolling suitcases, as most surfaces will be smooth and easy to navigate with a suitcase on wheels. A whirlwind trip through Europe on the other hand might be better suited for a suitcase like a duffel bag or a backpack. Before you purchase a bag or even just select one out of your basement, ask yourself where this bag needs to go. Usually, this question will leave you making the decision between a rolling suitcase, backpack, duffel, or rolling duffel.
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Step Two: See If It Measures Up
Even if you have found a bag that you want to bring, you need to get out your measuring tape. The size of your luggage can create serious limitations on your travels — whether you’re taking cheap flights in February to Hawaii or flights deals in August to Italy. If you want to save money by going carry-on only, your bag should meet the carry-on dimension requirements of your airline. If you don’t care about carry-on sizes, you can afford to go a bit bigger.
Step Three: Weigh It
Luggage is something that you must lug around after all. One of the worst mistakes that you can make while shopping for luggage is not paying attention to the bag’s weight when it’s empty. Some suitcases are built to be lightweight while others start out weighing several pounds. If being light on your feet is important and you don’t want to hoist a heavy bag into the overhead bin, you have to pay attention to the weight of the bag. A bag that is already heavy without clothing and personal items is only going to be a pain to lug around the world when it is full.
Step Four: Compartmentalize
When you are tasked with picking the right luggage, you must figure out if the bag at hand works with you rather than against you. A bag that is merely an empty cavern with no rhyme or reason isn’t always the wisest choice. Luggage should compartmentalize in that it divides up your items in orderly places. If you are traveling long-term, organization is key when shopping for luggage. Compartments, added features and bonuses should all be examined first to see if this bag will keep you organized and on your toes as you travel.
Are you an experienced traveler who’s learned the ins and outs of picking the right luggage? Feel free to weigh in with any advice in the comments!
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