Traveling to and from a destination is no fun anymore. There are long lines for check-in, security clearance, immigration and customs and no one enjoys the travel experience (although we all love the adventure and being there). But the thing that can be most frustrating is the actual packing and the decision on which luggage is best for the trip (both size, weight and ease of carrying). Since I love to travel, I am constantly looking for the best luggage. Here are some ideas. Please note that I have not run any scientific comparative tests. My recommendations are based on my personal experience and those of my friends.
THE WEEKEND TRIP
If you are going on a short weekend trip and you want to pack in your carry-on luggage, here are some suggestions:
For the budget conscious, consider the Samsonite Leverage LTE. Although not stylish, this is a soft-sided spinner that has four strong wheels to glide you to your gate and sufficient pockets for anything you might need. It comes in 3 sizes and 2 colors, so it’s also easy to create a matching set for yourself, and other members in the family.
Samsonite, Leverage LTE
A friend of mine swears by the Cinda B weekender, or vacationer. Both of these are soft-sided, quilted and weigh under two pounds. They easily fit in the overhead compartment without any heavy lifting. Plus, they are good looking, can expand and hold a multitude of clothes. But the downside is that there are no wheels.
cinda b, weekender
cinda b, vacationer
If you want to spend a little more and want a hard-sided suitcase, consider the Away carry-on. This suitcase is a choice of millennials; it is 21st century chic and hip since it has a charger for your phone. It costs under $300 and comes in a variety of colors, including pink. The problem is that you must take out the charging element if you want to check the bag. This can be (and has been) a production.
FOR LONGER TRIPS
If you are traveling on a longer trip and have to check luggage, or you are looking to purchase a matching set of luggage in various sizes for all your future travels.
For those of you willing to make an investment in stylish and well-functioning luggage, I think you might want to consider Rimowa luggage. I love the ease of this luggage, how it is structured and its maneuverability. These are high quality aluminum suitcases with four wheels and you can buy them in different sizes and many fashionable colors. But, it is expensive and heavier than many, but these are great and stylish pieces to own. One caution: If you buy the large check-in suitcase, make sure you can lift it into your trunk after it is packed. It holds so much that it can become incredibly heavy (many times I have packed mine over the 50-pound limit).
Rimowa, Essential Cabin Spinner, 22in.
Rimowa Essential Check-In, 31in.
Others love the Briggs and Riley brand with its lifetime warranty (Rimowa is only 5 years). Again, this is relatively expensive, but durable, luggage with lots of options for size and functionality (including backpacks and rolling cabin bags). Some lines are hard-sided and some are soft-sided. But even the hard-sided luggage is expandable (there is a hard-side expandable carry-on for under $600.00).
Briggs & Riley, Kinzie Street Backpack
Briggs & Riley, Transcend VX Tall Carry-On
Briggs & Riley, Sympatico Large Expandable Spinner
Others like to invest in a long recognized, iconic brand, Hartmann. The Tweed Legend line sends a sophisticated vibe. There are lots of options on size and materials (some hard case models are in titanium) and the style, I think, epitomizes retro glamor. Users often buy this brand because their parents did, even though it is now owned by Samsonite. Not as trendy, but certainly this luggage makes a statement.
Hartmann Tweed Legend Garment Spinner
Hartmann Luggage Tweed Legend Extended Journey Expandable Spinner
Not all of us can afford the expensive brands. If you are looking for something more reasonable, Samsonite is always a great choice. They make a huge range of soft and hard cases and they have interesting colors and sizes. Plus, they offer a line of super-light hard cases, Cosmolite, including a 20-inch that weighs in at only 4.1 lbs! They’re really gorgeous pieces of luggage:
Samsonite, Cosmolite 2 Piece Spinner Luggage Set- 32in and 20in
There are so many options you may end up with your head spinning just like your luggage.
FOR THE SAFARI-TYPE TRIP
When you need something light and durable that can hold a lot of clothes, you start searching for some other alternatives. Your gym duffel bag will not do. But you need something water-repellent, compact and sturdy.
I love my Eagle Creek Gear Warrior wheeled duffel with four wheels. You can load this bag and it still is light. Plus, it rolls. You can also get a two wheel model. Most are under $300.00.
Eagle Creek Gear Warrior 3in” Rolling Duffel
Be sure to check out LL Bean. I have a duffel from them, with wheels, that I have often used when I need to take lots of stuff on a trip. These come in a multitude of colors and prints and they are light.
Other brands include Texbo (which has lots of pockets and comes in genuine leather), Komal (another leather duffel), Eastpak (a UK company with interesting designs) and Wool and Oak (the more expensive leather duffel that is sure to wow your friends). Some of these are reasonable and still very stylish, but they don’t have wheels.
So there are lots of luggage choices available, depending on where you are going, what you are doing and how long you are staying. But remember it is important to have the best luggage that not only is easy to maneuver and lasts but sends a statement that you are a sophisticated and savvy world traveler in her prime with lots more places to go.