Lightweight carry-on luggage for travelling via plane is now more than ever an important purchase.
Many Airlines now charge for carry-on luggage as well as checked travel luggage. Why pay for the weight of your heavy suitcase alone, when you could be adding a few more clothing items and a pair of shoes with a new replacement, lightweight suitcase.
Suitcases rarely last a lifetime, for one reason or another they are replaced at a minimum of every 10 years. Buy it once and buy it for life comes close for a lightweight, good quality, international travel luggage set. The recommendations below come from my 40 years of travel around the world. Buying a good, high-quality suitcase is now more than ever an important choice. Forty years ago there were no rolling suitcases. I could give the man or woman a big hug who thought of putting wheels on a suitcase! A simple, terrific idea that has really made travel so much easier. However getting ON THE PLANE with your luggage is a huge hassle, more costly and we all really need to pay attention to the details.
Smart suitcases were all the rage in the year 2017, these travel suitcases had a built-in battery to allow charging of your smartphone, iPad or tablet via a cord from the suitcase battery compartment. However, most airlines have BANNED these suitcases completely for fear of a fire being started by one of these travel luggage bags or travel suitcases. So PLEASE, do not buy one of these styles of suitcases.
A buyers guide for lightweight luggage
Imagine it is 1975 and you are carrying, yes carrying your suitcase from the taxi terminal to your hotel. Heavy thought, right? Well, if your wheels break off your suitcase that’s exactly what you will be doing even if it’s 2018! It happened to several of my friends while on their international travels. Even when just one wheel breaks on a 2 wheel-pull style suitcase you will still have to carry your heavy suitcase in the rain or hot, humid heat. Check the wheel design thoroughly. Wheels that are inside the suitcase outside dimensions are nice, but they take up a huge amount of space inside the suitcase. Look for wheels with strong metal axels that the wheel rotates around on. Hold the wheel and try to twist the wheel off the suitcase with your hand, there should be very little “play” or movement. Check out the overall material quality of the wheel assembly and how it is attached to the suitcase frame.
Next choice is 2 or 4 wheels. I am still undecided which is better. For me, a flat, smooth surface for the suitcase to travel on is fantastic with a 4 wheel “spinner suitcase” style. On rough surfaces such as streets and some sidewalks, I much prefer the 2 wheel style of luggage. Four-wheel, spinner style, of luggage can be difficult to handle on a bus or train as the suitcase will effortlessly roll right down the aisle. Ask me how I know this. Two wheel suitcase design tend to take up room inside the suitcase, however, 4 wheel design is much more susceptible to breaking off due to the wheels vulnerability
All rolling suitcases whether 2 wheels or 4 wheels have a telescopic handle. My recommendations below all have handles that feel good in the hand grip, collapse easily to stow away and feel solid when extended. Again the handle is vitally important to a rolling suitcase. A broken handle will also leave you having to carry the suitcase by its handles.
Speaking of handles, buy luggage that has, at the minimum, a traditional strap handle both at the top of the suitcase and on one of its sides.
Hard-sided Vs soft luggage
People buy hard sides luggage for security reasons, a knife cannot be used to cut open the suitcase and steal some contents. For me, this is not important, security is good everywhere and if a thief wants to get inside your suitcase..they will find a way. Some people like the style of hard sided, call me old fashioned but I like the fabric suitcase for style. Hard plastic sided suitcases scuff easier than fabric and marks can be difficult to remove. Buy a textured or ribbed, plastic hard sided luggage set, to minimize this sort of wear and tear
Soft-sided luggage has zippered out pockets, the hard-sided design rarely does. Fabric suitcases, soft-sided luggage, have the zips sewn to the fabric and this is often the failure point. However, by not overloading the suitcase and not being too hard on the zippers then this should not be a problem. A soft-sided suitcase can be squeezed under a seat or in the overhead bin, something you can not do with a hard-sided suitcase.
Another solution, albeit more expensive is hard sided aluminium luggage for travel. Impossible to cut through with a knife, retains its shape of the aluminium sides are not too thin and looks classy. They are more durable than the plastic hard-sided luggage. I actually own an older version of one of these Lanzzo aluminum suitcases. I have zero worries about my suitcase contents being spilt all over the baggage carousel on my arrival.
Check the Warranty
If you want your travel bag or luggage to last for a generation or more then get the one with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty. Replacement or repair for free for life, from these fine companies:
• Lands’ End
• Briggs& Riley
• eBags (house brand)