Time to buy a new suitcase? Wondering what to know about luggage before you shop?

Here are some tips to get you started.

We know: Tips for Buying Luggage

What are the basic categories of luggage?

The basic categories are:

  • Small carry-on: Small enough to slip under an airplane seat, this category includes wheeled laptop and carry cases, carry-on bags, backpacks, duffle bags and totes.
  • Medium and large upright suitcases: Most of these suitcases now come equipped with a wheels and a pull handle. If the bag you’re considering does not, think twice about how you’re going to get it from the car to the counter.
  • Garment bags: Used for suits, dresses, shirts and items that travel best when not folded. Many larger upright suitcases have a garment bag enclosed.

What should I look for when I shop?

  1. The material the bag is made from is important. In general, nylon or ballistic nylon is more durable than polyester.
  2. Buy a size that gives you the storage room you need, but is not so big you can’t haul it around. Large bags are heavy, and if the wheel mechanism isn’t sturdy, they can be difficult to maneuver.
  3. Grips and handles are important, both for pulling and lifting. Get a pulling handle that is easy to unlock, pull out and is easy to push in. Also, make sure the length of the handle is a comfortable height for you. Look for a bottom (second) handle on both carry-on and large suitcases that can help you lift the bag into an overhead compartment or pull it out of a truck.
  4. Pockets and zippers can make a big difference in a bag’s utility. May people like lots of pockets to separate items when they’re stored. Also, look for plastic lined pockets to protect against liquid spills. If you buy a bag with an exposed zipper, make sure it has a protective rain flap. And, many suitcases come with an expansion gusset that unzips and allows you to enlarge the interior bag-size instantly.

How much does luggage cost?

You can almost always buy luggage at a discount if you take the time to shop around. So try to avoid paying full price for anything. The range is prices is considerable, but here are some sample brands and prices:


Samsonite 22” carry-on $60

Travelpro carry-on $70

Briggs and Riley 22” carry-on $230

Garment Bag

Travel Pro garment bag $100

Briggs and Riley garment bag $100

Samsomite garment bag $190


American Tourister 29” upright $90

Samonite 24’ upright $180

Briggs and Riley 24” upright $300

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