How to Choose a Suitcase

by Oliver Cooper
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What suitcase is better for a plane and which one is better for a train? What can you pack in the smallest suitcase and how many wheels do you need? You can find everything and much more in our following guide.

1 – Suitcase Size

Suitcase Size

• S (up to 20 inch in height) – ideal for those who travel carryon. Normally such a suitcase can include a small first-aid kit or cosmetic bag, one pair of shoes and no more than three items of clothing. A book and souvenirs for your family and friends can also be packed, but it can be a bit difficult. Be sure to check the weight of your suitcase including all stuff – a small size does not mean you’ll be certainly allowed to take it onboard during your flight.

• M (up to 24 inch) – the average and most popular size. The capacity is up to 90 liters. Most suitcases have such characteristics. If packed well, then only if it is necessary. And in this case it won’t be accepted as a carry-on luggage.

• (from 27 inch) is actually a large suitcase. The perfect option for family traveling: it can easily fit father’s T-shirts, mother’s dresses and children’s toys. We spent a lot of time to pick the Best 28 inch Luggage

Comparative Size Chart

20inch24inch28inch
Approx. Dimension
(excluding wheels)
19” x 15” x 8” 24” x 18” x 10” 28” x 20” x 12”
Approx. Dimension
(including wheels)
21” x 14” x 8” 26” x 18” x 10” 30” x 20” x 12”
Weight 6 LBS 8 LBS 10 LBS
Handle Height 20” 16” 12”
Travel Days 1 – 4 days4 – 7 days7 – 9 days

IMPORTANT!

A couple with two small children can easily use one L-size suitcase. If you have a large family, it makes sense to take two models of size M so that there is no overweight when checking in.

• XL (above 29 inch). Suitcases of “titanic” size XL are definitely not suitable for air flights: the luggage of such an enormous size just won’t be accepted. Nevertheless, it can be a great option for a cruise or a long trip by train, as well as for moving. Such a suitcase can easily hold the whole family’s stuff.

IMPORTANT!

If you fly by plane, it is important to first check with your airline on their luggage requirements. Do not overpay!

2 – Material: Hardside vs. Softside Suitcases

Softside Hardside
There are pockets Durable
Does not scratch Easy to wash
Stretched Suitable for fragile items

Softside luggage

Softside suitcases are a suitable for traveling by train, car and other ground transport. They are pleasant to touch and often have outside pockets therefore all the useful stuff is always at hand. This suitcase can hold a greater number of belongings than its plastic “brother”, thanks to the expansion function. Moreover, it is hardly to scratch soft suitcases.

Hardside luggage

Hardside luggage is perfect for flight. High-quality flexible plastic material is quite impact resistant, so these models are the most durable. The hard suitcase is light enough, durable and much more reliable than a soft one when transporting valuable and fragile things. What is more, it is easy to wash.

Hardside suitcases are different. Those made of polycarbonate with metal impregnations are resistant to impacts, do not bend, but “afraid” of scratches. And those with a titanium crumb are practically unkillable. They will serve until you erase handles or wheels, but they cost like three “simpler”.

3 – Wheels

Wheels in a suitcase are the most important thing to pay attention to. The higher their reliability, the better it is. After all, they should withstand kilometres of asphalt, puddles, sand and steps.

For example, if the surface is quite flat, like at the airport and train station, then you can choose four-wheelers. They move in any direction and do not need to make great efforts. But please note, if the wheels are protruded, they can easily break.

If the luggage is carried by an underground passage, sand or not an asphalt road, then you need to choose a suitcase with two large wheels. Two-wheeled suitcases are more maneuverable. It is necessary to carry only in the inclined position and therefore a part of weight falls on the owner of the baggage.

The best materials for wheels are plastic or half plastic, and maybe even silicone or semi-silicone. These latest options are the most convenient to use. They are durable, hardly scratched and without noise.

The wheels must be inside the body of the luggage. In this case, they will rarely break down. If the wheels are strongly protruding, then at the most inopportune moment you risk the wheels can be damaged.

2 wheels 4 wheels
+ Convenient to carry + Maneuverability
+ For any types of roads + Resilience
 One-third of weight per arm  For good roads

2 wheels

2 -wheeled is the most common design for Softside luggage. These are convenient to carry on any surface, whether it’s airport tiles or the paving stones of bad track. However, the bearing area of a 2-wheeled suitcase is small – a significant part of the weight during transportation falls on your hand.

4 wheels

4 wheels – this version is distinguished by increased maneuverability. Four-wheelers are easy to move in any direction with minimal efforts. Weight is felt less. But the “permeability” of the product is significantly inferior to its “fellow” with 2 wheels – such cases are excellent for smooth surfaces.

AND MORE:

It is important the wheels should not be on the same axis. In case when one wheel breaks down, all the rest will remain working. If the wheels are “recessed” in the case, they will serve much longer.

4 – Type of Lock

zipper is easier and more convenient in usage.

  • Expandability. The suitcase can expand when closing if it is filled up to the rim. But if it breaks, it will be a real disaster. (all the stuff will fall out and do what you want).
  • Moisture-resistant. The zipper should be wide and better rubberized. That way it can help to keep your belongings dry.
  • Often, the zipper tongues can have a combination.

Zipperless Luggage with a lock

  • Can be used as a safe
  • Tightness

Suitcases can be closed with a zipper or a latch lock with a combination. Padlocks are less common.

  • The latch can turn a suitcase into a real safe. The advantage of this model is almost complete tightness.
  • Padlocks allow you to close a suitcase with a key. This option is suitable for those who do not trust the codes. However, the padlock can also be broken.

IMPORTANT!

Do not forget the combination of numbers that have been installed as a code. Otherwise, you have to buy a new suitcase.

5 – Internal Organization Luggage Storage

Suitcases differ in models and prices as well as the internal organization. They can consist of many compartments and pockets or can be presented as a single unit.

The wheeled luggage must necessarily have a fabric of a dense material with a logo inside. Only a suitcase with such an insert can be called real and is worth buying.

Usually, there is a large compartment inside and a compartment with a small perimeter. It often happens you may need different things during the flight and it would be great to put them in the external suitcase pockets. So such pockets can be quite a useful addition to your luggage.

Tie-down straps must necessarily be inside. They are great for helping to fix your belongings if there are few of them or compress if there are too many.

More expensive options have a suit garment bag and a shoe-bag or travel cosmetic bags.

IDEA:

Place the necessary stuff in the pockets inside the suitcase, and pack the clothes in vacuum bags. So it will occupy a minimum of space.

6 – Color

The choice of color is largely down to personal preferences. A recognizable color can be easily spotted on the luggage carousel and among other bags. Usually spots are quite visible on bright and light suitcases, therefore it is necessary to choose some neutral color.

A one-color dark suitcase is suitable for business trips, when you need to look solid and formal.

Bright options are the best solution for the rest of cases. You will easily identify your luggage on the airport carousel.

And you can also please your kids by letting them carry their beautiful children’s models with everything they need for games.

7 – Suitcase Handles

What should we pay attention to?

Lifting a heavy load, we often grab a telescoping handle (it is more convenient!). But keep an eye out, if it breaks, you’ll have a terribly difficult time.

The best suitcases have three handles: one telescoping handle and two fixed (at the top and on the side). It is more convenient to carry the luggage in the horizontal position if you break a telescoping handle.

Pay attention to the handle, which is near a telescoping one. It takes the whole load when we lift a suitcase. It would be ideal if this handle has metal rivets – it is more reliable.

A telescoping handle should be tough and durable. The plastic fastener, which we hold, must be deeply inserted into the metal inserts and applied in a durable manner with screws. It will be a guarantee that a handle will not break down at the most inopportune moment.

8 – Weight

Airline companies around the world often have maximum weight limits. It is established that allow checked baggage weighs up to 50 pounds. Therefore, the greater the weight of the suitcase, the less things you can take with you.

The weight of the wheeled suitcases is especially important for a woman who travels alone. If it is difficult to lift an empty suitcase, then what to say when it is packed and even on wheels? Of course, the weight directly depends on the material of the suitcase: it Luggage – World’s Lightest Luggage.

9 – Price and Manufacturers

Thinking about price, you obviously need to determine how much you are ready to pay. If the price is not a problem for you, then choose world-class brands. For example, Samsonite suitcases. If you can’t afford to spend too much, analogs will do. The quality is not worse, and the price is much lower.

It is not recommended to choose a very cheap option. At the most inopportune moment, something will definitely break. The leading brands of wheeled suitcases are Samsonite, Delsey, American Tourister, Lancel, Tumi, Longchamp, Nautica. They offer a wide range of quality options at an affordable price. The cost ranges from $ 200.

Have a good journey!

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