One of the most important decisions that any traveller can make is what luggage to buy.
Bags come in a nearly infinite variety of sizes, materials, and prices. Just picture this; you’re standing in the airport terminal, watching a line of luggage move toward you on the conveyor belt and once you get your luggage, it appears to be dented, some broken parts or worse case, fail to show. Maybe the later can't be helped since it's not your fault anyway, but choosing the right luggage can help prevent these minor tragedies, in addition to other inconveniences.
If you do want to check out for a new travel suitcase, you’ll feel confident that it will remain intact if you select a sturdy, reliable brand. Here are a few things to consider before choosing luggage that’s right for you.
The most important thing to remember is to carefully consider the size of your bags.
As a general rule, go for a carry-on no larger than 22 x 14 x 9 inches and a checked bag no larger than 62 inches (length + width + height), which are the standard for most major airlines.
As an example, here is the AirAsia cabin baggage policy if you consider buying carry-on luggage.
The overall size of the bag should be limited to what you can handle, since there may be times when no one is around to help you lift it.
Tips: If you can’t lift your carry-on bag above your head, you will not be able to place it in the overhead bin
Another thing to be considered is the amount of weight that you want or you can carry. The lighter the case the more you can pack/souvenirs you can bring home!
One more thing, if the suitcase itself weighs a lot, that means you can take less stuff with you…or you pay more money for the privilege. Regardless, a bag made of lightweight materials will serve you well. No matter what bag you purchase, consider packing as efficiently as you can.
Bags generally come in hardside and soft side. In this matter, many travellers have different preferences when it comes to the hardside vs. softside luggage. There is no wrong answer here but either one can work well depending on your personal travel and packing style.
If you want flexibility, softside luggage is the way to go. Soft bags are more common than hard-shell luggage, especially for carry-on luggage, and are easier to squeeze into tight overhead compartments. These bags are lightweight—generally lighter than hard side bags.
On the other hand, hardside suitcases tend to protect fragile items better than soft bags and thanks to technologies, companies are now using ultra-lightweight materials, such as polycarbonate and special plastics, to make hardside bags that are featherweight but also extremely durable and strong.
You have two choices when it comes to wheels: two or four. Suitcases with two wheels tend to be lighter but have the risk of tipping over if they’re not balanced. Also, keep in mind that you must drag it behind you. This pulling motion can cause strain to wrists and shoulders.
On the other hand, four wheels bag or spinners will stand upright, plus they are easier to handle as it provides improved mobility and gives you options: You can roll the bag next to you, push it, or pull it.
Tips : Check the warranty coverage before purchasing any luggage
The most common approach is some kind of a retractable handle. Handles can either be two bars or a single bar. Two-bar handles add more stability but often come with extra weight.
The general rule here is to look for a sturdy handle that feels comfortable and is ergonomically designed. A handle system that is built into the inside of the bag is best because the handle is protected from damage.
Test out the handle: Extend it to its full length, make sure it locks (and stays locked), and take the bag for a spin.
Tips : If the suitcase is jabbing you in the backs of the legs, that means the handle isn’t long enough for your height.
Everyone wants to feel that their luggage is safe when it’s out of their sight. While locks may help with that, they are not foolproof. Since all checked baggage is subject to search, the TSA can cut the locks off bags.
Choose a bag that includes a TSA-approved lock. While you can also purchase a lock separately, many travellers find it more convenient if the lock is built into the suitcase.
Think about how you use your luggage and what features are important to you. Do you use a piggyback clip or luggage strap to hang your laptop case from your rolling suitcase? Do you use a lot of compartments inside your bag? Only you will know what features are truly necessary.