Buying new luggage can sometimes be a challenge with the multitude of styles and choices available on the market. Changes In Latitude Travel Store wants to help make choosing it easier for you by outlining some of the things you should be considering while you are shopping for a new piece of luggage and by reviewing what features to look for when comparing one suit case to another.

Consider your travel needs. There's no perfect bag; there's just the perfect bag for you and your type of travel. One of the reasons for the large number of luggage styles is that there is no single bag that is right for everyone. The type of traveling that you generally do determines the proper luggage for you. If you take shorter trips and/or tours that keep you moving every few days, one or two lighter mid-size bags (22” – 24”) are a great choice. They will be more manageable for getting in and out of hotels and lifting on and off tour buses and trains by yourself. If you like to take cruises or take longer vacations in a single location, a larger bag (26” – 30”) will work since you won’t have to be lifting it or moving it very often. As you are looking around at luggage, you will see that it has changed a great deal since the days of the hard, “clamshell-style” suit case that your parents once used. Be open to these new styles and materials that accommodate today’s travel. Take advantage of the various new features, lighter weights, new functionality and durability that they offer. Keep in mind that luggage is not just a bunch of bags; it is a “travel system” that should ease your packing and enhance your trip. A few brands now offer multiple bags and accessories that work together to make packing easier, to get your belongings there safe and to keep you organized throughout your trip.

Remember that luggage is an investment. Be willing to spend a little extra for luggage made with high quality parts and materials, which are backed by a lifetime guarantee. Cheaply made luggage will not stand up to frequent use, weather, and airport baggage handlers and will need to be replaced frequently. Sturdy, well-made baggage is an investment in your travel enjoyment and should last you for years. Let’s complete our topic of buying new luggage with a review of some of the physical features to consider when you are out shopping for a new piece of luggage.

  • Weight – This is one of the big differences between a new bag and an older bag. Look for a bag that takes advantage of the new, hi-tech materials which are sturdy but lightweight. Packing light starts with a light bag and will help you avoid airline surcharges for excess weight.

  • Material – You can buy a bag made of almost any type of material, but nylon is optimal for weight, strength, durability and style. Look for material with a tight, dense weave, and seams with solid stitching. Any extra reinforcement along the bottom and corners of the bag (which receive more wear) is another plus.

  • Hard-Sided vs. Soft-Sided – The debate on this continues. Although hard-sided bags provide better protection for their contents, the sturdier structure requires a bit more weight than a soft-sided bag of equal size. Soft-sided bags are lighter and a bit more expandable. Consider what you tend to carry in your suitcases and whether you usually check your bags or carry them onto the plane with you. The combination of a hard-sided bag that will be checked (and protects more fragile items) and a soft-sided bag that is lighter and easier to handle usually works out well.

  • Wheels – Why carry a suitcase when it is easier to roll it? Most bags today have wheels. Look for wheels that are at least 2.5 inches (6cm) in diameter for smoother rolling along surfaces from moving sidewalks to cobblestone to pavement. The wheels should definitely be mounted on the long edge of the suitcase for better stability and cornering. They should be partially recessed for protection and have ball bearings and metal axles for durability and longevity. 

  • Pull Handles – If a piece of luggage has wheels, it should have a handle for pulling it comfortably. Test drive the bag in the store to make sure you can pull it comfortably without it hitting your heels as you walk. The handle should lock into place both in the extended position for ease of use, and in the retracted position to prevent damage to the handle if the bag is checked.

  • Zippers - Don’t look for metal zippers, the new synthetic zippers are just as sturdy and lighter weight. Also, make sure the zipper pulls can be secured with a lock, so that you can protect the bag’s contents.

  • Added Features – Lastly, look for added features inside and out that will make the bag not only more functional, but easier and more convenient to use. You’ll greatly appreciate such features as extra zippered pockets, a key ring holder, organizer panels and compression straps. When shopping for new luggage, just remember that there is no single bag that is perfect for either every traveler or every type of travel. The best solution is usually to consider the type of traveling you do and build yourself a baggage “system” of several quality bags that you can combine as needed to accommodate all of your trips, whether long or short, business or pleasure.