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How to Choose the Right Suitcase For Your Next Trip

How to Choose the Right Suitcase For Your Next Trip

Whether you're a frequent traveler or planning that one "trip of a lifetime," your journey begins with choosing a good set of luggage.

May 31st, 2022

Whether you’re a frequent traveler or planning that one “trip of a lifetime,” your journey begins with choosing a good set of luggage. Different travelers have different needs, and your choices will come down to how often you travel, your personal preferences, and your budget.

Avoid getting stuck with travel bags that are bulky, of poor quality, and don’t meet your travel needs with this guide for choosing the right suitcase for your next trip.

Consider Your Travel Style

Do you tend to take a series of short jaunts or extended one or two-week vacays? Perhaps you’re planning a month-long journey abroad. Each traveler and trip are different and fortunately, there are plenty of options from backpacks and duffle bags to larger, traditional suitcases.

Generally, backpacks and duffle bags are your best options for shorter trips when you don’t need to pack very much. Since they’re smaller, they can function as a carry-on and save you money on luggage fees. For short weekend getaways, a good quality backpack or duffle bag is a must. They come with great organizational features and are roomy enough to take what is needed for two or three days.

Many travelers take a combination of shorter and longer trips. If this is you, consider luxury luggage like Away or Monos if they meet your budget. High-quality brands such as these offer everything from carry-ons to larger check-ins. You may spend more, but you’ll be prepared for any trip with a few pieces that will last a lifetime.

Decide on Hard or Soft Materials

Hardshell or soft-sided luggage? There are good arguments for both. The argument for soft-sided luggage is that it is generally less expensive and best suited for carry-on bags. They’re lightweight for carrying and easier to squeeze into the overhead compartment or underneath the seat in front of you.

However, hardshell suitcases are much more durable, and airline workers may not handle check-on luggage gently. You’ll run the risk of it getting torn or stained. Hardshell luggage is also shock absorbent and better for protecting your belongings. It’s also easier to clean.

Whichever material you choose, look for a high-quality product that will last a long time. Ballistic nylon is the most durable soft-sided material and polycarbonate is the best hardshell material.

Consider Size and Maneuverability

When deciding on the size of your luggage, think about the duration of most of your trips and what items you typically pack. Smaller bags are easier to carry around but may not be large enough to pack all you need.

Keep in mind that each airline has its own requirement for the size of a carry-on. Dimensions of around 22″ x 14″ x 9″ are the most common so choose a bag this size or smaller. Otherwise, you may be forced to check your luggage and that will mean paying a fee.

Size is also important to consider when you aren’t traveling. You’ll need to store luggage at home when it’s not in use. If you purchase a set with several pieces, look for suitcases designed to nestle inside the largest one. This will save lots of space which is important if you have limited storage in your home.

You should also consider how easy your luggage will be able to maneuver. A telescoping handle and free-spinning wheels make it much easier. If your carry-on has wheels, keep in mind that most airlines will include them when they measure it.

Consider Extra Features

Luggage today comes with all kinds of features for convenience. Some brands come with built-in waterproof pouches for storing toiletries to prevent leakage. They’re also great for storing wet bathing suits after a beach trip.

Look for big sturdy zippers for durability. Choose metal zippers over plastic. Some zippers are self-repairing. If there’s a snag in the zipper’s teeth, simply pull the zipper back and over the snag and the teeth will reseal. The YKK zipper self-lubricates over time with use.

Some luggage comes with a built-in battery pack. This is a great feature to keep your devices charged on the go.

A detachable piggyback clip near the handle allows you to attach a carry-on or other personal item to a larger check-on bag. This way you’ll have a free hand.

Think About Security

The best luggage will have safety and security features. This is especially important if you carry electronics and other valuables in your check-in bag. Look for a suitcase with an internal or external locking system. You can purchase locks separately, but built-in ones are more convenient.

For extra security, purchase a suitcase and a carry-on with a TSA-approved lock. TSA agents will break a non-approved lock if they find it necessary to search your luggage.



Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.