Many travelers make do with assorted odds and ends of luggage such as totes, duffels and the like. However, those who travel frequently, especially flyers, will want to use sturdy, good-quality luggage. So how does the savvy traveler go about choosing luggage?
- Assess the need. What kind of luggage do you need? How often do you travel? How long are you generally away? Those who are away mostly on weekend trips will probably be fine with a standard-sized case or a duffel and a tote. For longer times away from home, a traveler may want a larger case to check on an airplane, a tote and a carry-on. Those who fly will certainly want to consider roll-along luggage for treks across large airports. If a traveler usually drives, a duffel or tote will probably suffice. Travelers who carry several pieces may want to be certain smaller pieces of their luggage will "stack" on to the larger ones, for ease of transport.
- Comparison shop. Luggage is available in discount stores, department stores, office supply stores, online and in catalogs. Check types of luggage against similar types. For instance, look at carry suitcases together, then rolling cases together. When looking at luggage sets, try to compare sets with items of similar type and size. Ask traveler friends what kinds of luggage they have found to be durable and sturdy. Remember that more expensive may not be better. The traveler may simply be paying for a name. Also look online for the same luggage set at different sites. Some Web sites will gather the prices of the same item from several retailers and will display the results in a chart so the traveler can compare prices at a glance.
- Look at luggage features. See if the telescoping handle on roll-along luggage slides in and out easily. Does it lock? Is it too short or too tall? Is the outer fabric of good quality? Does the luggage have enough pockets? Will it expand? Can it be locked? Is the frame sturdy? If it is carry-on luggage, is it easy to lift into an overhead bin, or will it fit under a seat? All of these features are important to consider when buying new luggage.
Assessing the luggage needs, comparison shopping, and paying attention to features will help a traveler choose luggage that is appropriate and well within the budget.