How To: Choose the Right Luggage


how to choose the right luggage

It’s one thing travelling from destination to destination but it’s another to make sure all your belongings reach the same place you do! Choosing the right luggage for you and for the type of trip you’re planning can make all the difference. It’s important to have the piece of mind that your luggage will arrive safely and securely when travelling to a foreign country, knowing you’ll need it most. As a recent luggage shopper myself (yay travel birthday gifts!), here are a few of the things I kept in mind when choosing the appropriate trunk:


First and foremost is the size. When travelling for long distances or periods of time, size becomes a valuable commodity. Ensuring you have the adequate space in your trunk for all the necessary clothes, shoes and accessories you’ll need for that wilderness backpacking hike through northern Canada or for the romantic island-hopping getaway to the islands of Greece is quite important. I would recommend having a couple varying sizes of luggage in order to accommodate different styles of travel. Typically I will use one large (28-inch) suitcase for very long trips (i.e. 6 + months) where I will not be doing a lot of moving around. A good example would be if you are temporarily relocating to a different city. For shorter trips, I normally use a smaller, carry on size (20-inch) suitcase in order to travel lighter (because having too much stuff can be very cumbersome) and avoid waiting for my luggage at the airport. As an added bonus, travelling carry-on only also reduces my chances of getting my luggage lost to 0. Lastly, a backpack (around 30-40L) is a must for trips where you will be moving around a lot.  If you do or plan to do a lot of travelling, these 3 bags will cover the majority of your travel needs.


After choosing the right size, choosing a suitcase that is lightweight is the number one thing I suggest you look for when shopping for a suitcase. Think about this way: you only have 20kg to work with when packing your suitcase and if your bag already weighs 5kg on its own, then that’s 1/4 of your allotted baggage weight gone! When you’re tight on space/weight, the investment in a light weight suitcase is always worth it, especially when you’re jet lagged and have to lug your stuff through the airport.

Wheels & Ease of Transport

As most animals would agree, four is better than two and this is no exception when it comes to wheels on your luggage! Opt for the spinner variety and ensure they rotate 360 degrees for maximum, multi-directional ease of transport. It’ll basically feel like you’re gliding on butter through the airport with your spinner suitcase. So smooth. Also make sure the handle extends to a comfortable height and that it feels secure in your hand. You’ll be able to wheel these babies with one hand leaving you open to check the map on your phone for your next destination or keep chowing down on that delicious handmade sandwich you ordered at the café down the road.

Hard shell vs Soft shell & Flexibility

Although this may seem like a personal preference, a hard shell luggage is clearly the winner in my opinion. As much as I don’t want to believe it’s true, the airport crew, the turbulence and the natural wear and tear on your luggage will not be kind to it. Hard shell varieties are built to withstand rugged handling and other bumps and bruises that come with travelling. It’s better to have a tough exterior in order to better protect your precious interior. In extreme cases, soft shell luggage could more easily be cut into thereby increasing the potential of theft or damage. When browsing the hard shell luggage market, be sure to keep in mind the flexibility of the outside casing. For example, the Samonsite Rhapsody Spinner line that I ended up choosing has a durable plastic exterior while still being able to bend and shape to whatever situation it is thrown into. This flexibility will help keep the shape of your trunk will continuing to provide protection to your belongings inside. Another plus of a hard shell suitcase: it prevents you from overpacking 😉

Other Features

Here’s the thing, not only do suitcase manufacturers try to make your luggage durable, light weight and nice to look at nowadays, they have also started adding some great features to their bags. The luggage line I just purchased has built-in TSA-approved locks, an expandable section, and a 10-year global warranty. Pretty sweet if you ask me. So when you’re shopping around, look for small features like this that could make travelling easier for you.


Razzle dazzle rose and mid-season summer lime are your only choices…but if you’re finding it difficult to find these then I guess the typical black, grey or blue should work just fine 😉 Though some people would tell you not to get black because ‘everyone else will have the same one’, I personally like the sleek look of a black suitcase. Put a little customized luggage tag on it and you’ll be able to spot your case a mile away!

Price $$

Okay, the most boring part about choosing luggage. Yes luggage can be pricey, but it is possible to find reasonably priced items that encompass all of the things I mentioned above. For example, though my Samsonite luggage normally retails at $525 (for ONE BAG), I actually got mine for 60% off at The Bay during their Bay Days Sale (you’re welcome family for letting you know about this awesome deal). So if you have your eye on a particular suitcase, wait until the price goes down because basically everything goes on sale eventually. If your short on time and can’t wait for a sale, this is a really great, reasonably priced alternative: HEYS The Rapide Spinner Suitcase. I should warn you though, I have noticed that the cheaper you go, the harder it is to find a quality suitcase that will meet all of your needs AND be light weight. Unfortunately this seems to be the first thing to go when you go down in price.

What’s your favourite luggage brand?

Share it with us in the comments below!

Disclaimer: There are some affiliate links on this page, which means when you click we might get a small percentage of the purchase, at no extra cost to you! This allows us to keep travelling and giving you great travel tips.

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How To: Choose the Right Luggage

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Co-founder of travel and lifestyle blog World Abound, Jordon has a passion for discovering what the world has to offer. When he isn't on the road, he can be found on the ice playing hockey or slaying monsters in the latest video game.

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