Why is your luggage choice so important?
There isn’t one clear answer to that question and choosing that perfect piece of luggage is not easy… But that’s why we are here.
Your luggage first has to be safe and durable, it has to be agile and move quickly and smoothly through busy airports and finally, it has to look good whether you’re using it for a vacation or a business trip.
Although it is highly recommended to keep important personal belongings with you in your carry-on bag or luggage, you cannot bring EVERYTHING with you on board the aircraft. The reality is that things you pack in your checked luggage are still very important to you. That’s why you don’t want any damage or theft opportunities to arise.
To avoid security mishaps, look for luggage with mounted TSA locks, or purchase TSA locks for your luggage. If airport authorities have to search your bags (which they have every right to do so), you do not want them to have to break your non-TSA-approved lock or zipper. For a small fee, you can use luggage wrapping stations at various airports to fully protect your belongings inside.
Moving around with your luggage is all about the wheels and the handle. This ensures comfort and ergonomics while travelling. There are different types of both, as we will lay out shortly. They all have their pros and cons.
A suitcase can say a lot about your personality. It’s not a bad idea to have different luggage for a business trip, where you may want a more of a minimalist and simple look; whereas on vacation you may be fine with bright-coloured luggage.
Some things to keep in mind
There are many factors to break down before making the final call on what luggage you will purchase. To keep it nice and simple, how about the 5 Ws?
The Nit and Gritty
Softside vs. Hardside
- They usually weigh less, so you can lift and carry them a little easier on stairs and escalators, or lifting into overhead bins aboard the aircraft.
- A little more flexible – They can be squished into tight spaces if needed
- There are generally a little more compartments, pockets and features. This type of luggage usually has more exterior zipper compartments, interior zippered mesh pockets, shoe pockets, etc.
- Softside luggage, when handled by airport authorities, can be a little less protective of your contents inside.
- They can also be more prone to scuffs and rips if mishandled.
We recommend using these types of luggage on road trips or short domestic flights.
- Generally more durable with their hard-shell finish so they can resist a little better towards impact and shock. They can take a little more wear and tear!
- If they will be around water or humidity, the material will not absorb liquid, humidity or odors like softside luggage.
- They can be easily stacked on a luggage cart, conveyor belt or underneath the aircraft when checked, and your contents will be more protected.
- With polycarbonate or ABS finishes, these types of luggage can be more prone to scuffs and scratches.
- Generally, hardside luggage has more overall packing space, but less organization options such as exterior zippered compartments and interior zippered mesh pockets or shoe pockets.
We recommend hardside luggage on longer flights with several stops where it will be handled by many people or on cruises. Not as friendly for road trips, where you may need to compress it or fit it in tighter spaces inside your vehicle.
Consider where you’re going to take this new luggage. There are two main types of wheels:
- Two wheels are lighter than four wheels or even dual caster wheels. They are usually recessed or have protective wheel housing, which makes them less susceptible to damage.
- Often times, these wheels allow a little more packing space.
- If you have to do stairs, curbs or uneven surfaces (cobblestone, unpaved paths), two-wheeled luggage goes a little better as it is more tailored for straight line manoeuvring.
- Manoeuvring in tight spaces or corners is a little harder on the back, shoulders or wrists as it turns a little less smooth.
We recommend two-wheeled luggage around a little rougher terrain.
Spinner wheels (dual or single caster)
- This type of luggage absolutely does wonders in tight, crowded spaces as you need to make quick turns.
- If your luggage is fairly full and a little on the heavy side, 360° spinner wheels navigate much easier and put less stress on your back, shoulders and wrists.
- The wheels are externally mounted, so you may have less packing space and they may be a little harder to fit in overhead bins aboard the aircraft.
- If you are not on a flat surface, the luggage does not always stay put as the wheels cannot be locked into place.
- Spinner wheels can be more prone to accumulating debris, rocks or sand.
We recommend spinner wheeled luggage in busy airports where you have to move fast, or any sort of tight space you may come across on your trip.