family,  Travel

How to Shop For Luggage #travel

A set I almost bought.

I’ll admit it. When I was first married my husband and I bought our first set of luggage at Zeller’s. We didn’t really know what to look for and there really weren’t many choices 20 years ago. We looked for sizes, got the cheapest luggage we could find, and went on our merry way. That was a horrible decision. Luggage is one of those things that definitely falls under the category of “you get what you pay for.”

To save others the time and headache of getting terrible suitcases, I’ve put together some things to watch out for that will help you get the best buy for your money.

Shopping for Luggage the Right Way

It’s been my experience that shopping for luggage is a bit like shopping for a car in the old days. You know, you kick the tires. You check the undercarriage. You research and ask your friends their thoughts too. You look for quality and durability first, then go from there.

Kick the Tires

I wasn’t kidding about that. Don’t actually kick anything, but check those rollers. I’m not excited about carrying a huge object crammed full of my stuff, so I always check rollers. They should be tough and substantial. If you find a luggage set with dinky rollers, go the other way. They should wheel around 360 degrees now because any good luggage offers that and is easier to manipulate in the airport.

Check the Handle

This is another big one for me. I made the mistake of getting a suitcase without checking to be sure that the handle was tough, and I paid the price. You’ll be lifting, pulling, dragging, and cramming your suitcase into all sorts of areas, so the handle needs to be able to take some serious travel related abuse.


Stitching is right up there with wheels and a good handle. Your luggage is going to be taking a lot of abuse and carrying a lot of weight, bulk, or both. You want suitcases that can stand up to that strain. Look for suitcases that have nice, even stitching using heavy thread and that has no fraying or other visible defects. Or look for hard shell luggage.

Buy the Sizes You Need

This should go without saying, but I’m guilty of this. Buy the sizes you need. If you’re not an ultra heavy packer, don’t get the super ginormous suitcase. By the same token, don’t tell yourself, you’ll get everything into carry-on, when you’re known for packing three outfit options for each day of your trip. When you buy what you actually need, you can save money and hassle.

Research Brands

When you buy luggage, you absolutely need to research brands. Do your due diligence online. Read customer reviews and talk to your friends. Customer reviews are absolutely your best friend, no matter what you’re buying. Nothing beats real world experience from real shoppers to help you make a decision when you buy anything. Because I use social media for crowdsourcing so many things, this is also an area where I looked for help from Facebook friends.

Due Diligence Pays Off When Shopping for Luggage

Luggage is an item you should never buy quickly or without adequate research. If you try to cheap out or pick something that’s pretty, you’ll end up carrying your suitcases instead of rolling it or trying to carry it without a handle. Always do your due diligence and approach it like buying a car. When you think about it, luggage is just a car for your stuff. LOL.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Liz Mays

    These are good tips. I’m going to have to go shopping with my daughter to get her some better luggage. She’s traveling more often now, so it’s a good investment.

  • Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    I bought all my luggage based on color. It makes it easier to find on the luggage carousel at the airport that way!

  • Foodie. Wife. Life.

    These are great tips. I’m due for new luggage soon and I will be completely honest, I was probably going to buy the first set I happened upon that I liked. I definitely feel more knowledgeable going in after reading this post! Thank you! 🙂

  • Annemarie LeBlanc

    These are all great tips. I must keep this in mind so that I will get the best luggage for my money. I wouldn’t mind paying a bit more if the luggage I get would serve its purpose and last for many, many trips.

  • Pam

    These are great tips. I want to buy my son some nicer luggage since he is traveling a lot for work (recently Portugal). I will remember these tips when I do so.