Suitcases were once bland, blah, and boring. Think back to images of the 1970s and 1980s. Luggage was a means to an end. A black, gray, or brown rectangle that you tossed in the trunk of your car or took to the airport.
Baggage carousels at the airport were strewn with endless suitcases that all seemed identical. Every once in a while, you’d see a cool antique steamer trunk or some other relic of the past, but luggage was rarely cool and trendy.
Fast-forward to today, and the world of luggage is much different, with mind-blowingly bright suitcases from trendy luggage brands littering conveyer belts at a million different styles, sizes, and price points. With so many options for luggage today, where do you go when you need a new piece of luggage?
As you might expect, some retailers do things better than others, and you’ll want to shop around to snag your ideal travel bags. Is it worth strolling into a store for your new luggage, or should you rely on the internet to find deals on the best luggage brands?
Here’s a rundown of the best places to buy luggage.
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Best Places to Buy Luggage (Both Online and In-Store)
Samsonite is one of the most familiar luggage brands travelers will recognize, founded over 100 years ago in Denver, Colorado. The brand was named after the Biblical character Samson, who was known as a particularly strong human (until he lost his hair). The founders of Samsonite wanted to convey the idea of strength in naming their product.
Today, Samsonite remains a well-known brand in the travel industry, with most of its offerings hanging out in the affordable or mid-range area for the price. The company manufactures softside and hardside luggage, each of which tends to hold up well during intense travel excursions for frequent travelers.
The different styles of Samsonite luggage are generally affordable or at least reasonably priced, but the company does charge quite a bit for its sturdiest models. You can generally rely on the durability of its offerings, but you’ll need to increase your budget substantially for its top-of-the-line checked and carry-on luggage.
Our Top 3 Samsonite Luggage Options
- SXK Prime Expandable Backpack – An aesthetically pleasing and feature-rich backpack that offers loads of packing space, a built-in USB port, and enough organization pockets to suit even the most demanding travelers.
- Freeform Carry-on Spinner – Weighs just 6.5 pounds while empty, ensuring easy transport throughout your trip. An affordable carry-on luggage option with superior maneuverability, durable spinner wheels, and an eye-catching design.
- Detour 34” Wheeled Duffel – Definitely not your average wheeled suitcase, the Detour 34” features loads of capacity, water-resistant material, and pockets throughout for easy organization.
- As its name suggests, Samsonite is one of the most durable luggage brands
- The brand’s overall prices haven’t really skyrocketed alongside inflation
- Samsonite isn’t a trendy brand, which may be off-putting for stylish jet setters
- The brand’s most sturdy luggage is priced well above their average luggage costs
See Related: BÉIS Luggage Review: Are They Worth the Price?
Travelpro is one of the newer luggage brands founded about 30 years ago by Bob Plath. As a commercial airline pilot, he saw a need for sturdier carry-on luggage for flight crews. With this in mind, he invented “The Original Rollaboard” luggage, which became super popular with the airlines and their flight teams and eventually made its way into the hands of the travel-going public.
One of the facets of travel where Travelpro excels is eco-friendly options. So you’ll want to explore the company’s options for super lightweight luggage, weekender bags, and other lightweight traveling companions.
One of the best ways to fly eco-friendly is to travel as lightly as possible. Doing so reduces the amount of jet fuel your plane uses to get you to your destination. Check out the Maxlite 5 Drop-Bottom Weekender bag for an excellent lightweight travel bag option (this traveler loves hers!). The company offers a wide variety of luggage options and bags, so take your time exploring their vast catalog.
Our Top 3 Travelpro Luggage Options
- Maxlite 5 Drop-Bottom Weekender – The Maxlite Weekender is a beautiful piece of luggage that’s easy to carry around the airport due to its lightweight. It’s a suitcase disguised as a weekend bag.
- Platinum Elite Carry-On Expandable Hardside Spinner – The Platinum Elite Carry-On is a stylish yet durable hard-side luggage spinner, so you can look good while you fly with cool features like USB charging ports.
- Travelpro x Travel + Leisure Large Check-In Trunk Spinner – The Travelpro large checked bag spinner offers beautifully modern aesthetics with loads of packing space, room for garment bags, and super strong spinner wheels.
- Appropriate for environmentally conscious travelers.
- One of the best luggage brands for flight crews also equals a great brand for frequent flyers.
- Some luggage types are a little much for basic traveling needs.
- Shipping runs a little expensive when you buy online.
See Related: Monos Luggage Review: Is it Worth it?
Away is one of the most trendy luggage brands that will reward you with excellent longevity should you spring for the above-average price of its luggage. The brand’s hardshell carry-on luggage is made of a strong polycarbonate that’s easily maneuverable and lightweight in cramped airplane walkways. The bags are also easy to lift over your head into the overhead bin.
One of the best reasons to try a piece of trendy baggage from this luggage brand is its generous return policy. The company will let you return your luggage for up to 100 days after your purchase for any reason. The company will still accept a return even if you’ve used your suitcase during those 100 days.
The brand has a large following of dedicated users (including us here at VT), from leisure travelers to frequent flyers, and the company routinely launches special edition colors. Away is a top choice if you’re looking for a popular brand with a dedicated following. However, the brand does live up to the hype by offering luggage that meets several standard travel needs for luggage: strength, longevity, and lightweight construction.
Our Top 3 Away Luggage Options
- The Large: Aluminum Edition – The large and spacious checked luggage aluminum suitcase from Away might be the most beautiful piece of luggage ever to see the inside of the cargo hold (oh my, the rose gold!)
- The Carry-On Flex – Replete with special edition colors, the Flex expandable carry-on luggage from Away is ideal for those trips where you couldn’t help yourself and bought 1,000 souvenirs at the street market and only brought a carry-on for your trip.
- The Medium Everywhere Bag – The medium travel bag from Away is a colorful yet spacious way to carry one or two days of clothing and accessories for brief stays and overnights.
- Lightweight carry-on yet durable suitcases which reduce the stress of flying with a carry-on.
- Possesses a dedicated following of fans proving its suitcases are worth the hype.
- Its carry-on bags are twice or thrice the cost of some of the best luggage brands.
- Buying Away in-store means living in a major metropolitan area where stores are located.
See Related: LEVEL8 Luggage & Cases Review: Worth the Price?
Behemoth online store Amazon not only sells every kind of luggage from almost every manufacturer available, but they also make their own “Amazon Basics” luggage line. The hallmark of the Amazon Basics luggage brand is that the products are usually priced below competitors, but you shouldn’t expect super-duper luxury from that line.
However, Amazon doesn’t require its shoppers to purchase its own branded merchandise. Many of the world’s best luggage brands sell luggage on Amazon. One of the perks of buying on Amazon is that you can often score free shipping even if the manufacturer you’re buying from charges shipping on their own website. Amazon is also a great website for picking up travel accessories like luggage tags and packing cubes.
Further, it’s pretty easy to return anything you don’t like, so you don’t need to worry about finding the perfect piece of carry-on luggage only to find out it’s not the right luggage when it arrives in the mail. The company partners with a few brick-and-mortar companies for return drop-offs, and you don’t even need to put the item in a box for shipping.
Our Top 3 Amazon Luggage Options
- American Tourister Kids’ Disney Softside Upright Luggage – Start the travel memories while they’re still young with a tiny carry-on suitcase from the well-known luggage brand American Tourister. Features several colorful options.
- Fochier F 3-piece Hard Shell Luggage Sets – Need a whole set of luggage at a bargain basement price? Try the Fochier 3-piece set, available in three colors and ideal for extended trips on a budget.
- urecity Vintage and Cute Carry-On Overnight Case – Pretend it’s 1965, and you’re boarding a Pan Am flight from New York to LA. The city vintage carry-on bags are fun, colorful, and available in three sizes.
- You can find almost all the best luggage brands imaginable on Amazon, often with discounts.
- Generous return policy and frequent opportunities for free shipping.
- The insane variety is fantastic but makes searches a little cumbersome with so many luggage brands.
- You may overspend due to the sheer amount of other products Amazon sells.
In its early days, REI sold outdoor gear for climbers, but it would eventually become known as one of the biggest companies for outdoor gear for all imaginable adventure travel and activities, from bicycling to camping. The company has grown to more than 100 stores and also maintains an active online store and outlet store.
One of the truly unique features of REI is its membership program, which costs $30 and rewards members with a yearly dividend check based on the dollar amount of the member’s purchases the previous year. If you purchase a hefty piece of hardside luggage for your trip this year, you’ll get a dividend check for 10 percent of the purchase price next year.
Like Amazon, REI manufactures its own luggage brand and also carries luggage from all the big adventure travel names like Patagonia, Thule, and Osprey. In addition to carrying many of the best luggage brands, REI is also a great option when planning a backpacking trip or requiring a suitcase that doubles as a backpack or a sturdy duffle bag. Outdoor enthusiasts will definitely find their perfect luggage at REI.
Our Top 3 REI Luggage Options
- Gregory Quadro Pro 28” Hardcase Wheeled Luggage – Awesome wet/dry storage feature for frequent travelers who regularly get their clothing wet on amazing outdoor adventures.
- REI Co-op Big Haul 40 Recycled Duffel – Pursue eco-friendly travel with this recycled duffel bag from REI. Meets the carry-on size requirements for most airlines with 40 liters of packing capacity.
- Osprey Aether Plus 60 Pack – Men’s – Meet the Cadillac of backpacking bags; you can’t get any more functional, long-lasting, and versatile than Osprey and their Aether Plus 60. Available in two sizes.
- A one-time membership fee offers a lifetime of yearly dividend checks based on the past year’s purchases.
- Excellent luggage brand for environmentally and socially conscious travelers.
- Their prices are usually higher than most, so hitting a sale is almost a must.
- You can’t maximize your savings if you don’t buy a membership.
See Related: Best Suitcase Covers For Travel
6. Briggs & Riley
Established in 1993, Briggs & Riley is based in New York and manufactures upscale luggage built to withstand airline travel’s rigors. One of the company’s unique offerings is its lifetime warranty. Through its “Simple as That” guarantee, customers can get their damaged luggage repaired free of charge, even if it was the airline that damaged the bag.
If you’re interested in the luggage sets from Briggs & Riley, you’ll need to be prepared for a higher-than-average price. The subtle hues and sophisticated lines of the company’s carry-ons and checked bags command prices that are easily double or triple those of more affordable brands. That said, you’re definitely going to get your money’s worth.
Briggs & Riley offers its customers the choice of online shopping on its homepage or buying luggage from any number of retailers nationwide. You’ll find the company’s iconic carry-on bags at high-end retailers like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.
Our Top 3 Briggs & Riley Luggage Options
- Extra Large Expandable Trunk Spinner – If you belong to the overpackers club, this spacious luggage should suit you perfectly. These rolling bags are ideal for long trips when you need to pack several weeks of clothing and want a large opening and easy access.
- 21″ Carry-On 2-Wheel Duffel – Great option for college students who wish to travel in style as they head back and forth to school, this rolling duffel bag is a lightweight and easily maneuverable piece of soft side luggage.
- Sim Backpack – The Slim Backpack from Briggs & Riley is one of the most beautiful laptop bags on the market, and its many pockets are a fantastic option for super organized travelers or business travel.
- Remarkable lifetime repair policy offering free repairs for life.
- Known for incredible durability for all of its luggage sets and accessories.
- It’s tough to find luggage deals from this luxury luggage brand.
- Some suitcases have two wheels when they might work better with four.
See Related: Best Camera Bags for Travel
Is soft or hard luggage better?
Softside luggage is often lighter than its hardside luggage counterparts but is much more susceptible to water damage, stains, and rips. However, softside luggage is ideal for road trips where you’re short on space.
Nothing beats a hardshell suitcase for air travel, especially international trips, which can withstand the rigors of getting tossed under the plane. Pro Tip: Make sure your large suitcase has solid spinner wheels, too, so it’s easy to get through the airport.
What is a reasonable price for a suitcase?
If your number one concern in buying new luggage is getting a good deal, search for luggage between $50 and $150. At this price, you’ll find well-reviewed suitcases that will hold up reasonably well during travel. If you’re looking for a strong piece of luggage with extras like smooth rolling wheels and tie-down straps, expect to spend at least $300 to $400 from one of the best luggage brands like Briggs & Riley, Tumi Luggage, or Away.
What time of year is the cheapest to buy luggage?
Even though people travel all year, there is one season where you’ll find the most sales on luggage. If cost is your primary concern, try to buy your luggage in late summer, which is the time of year with the fewest travelers. Most people focus on back-to-school purchases in the late summer, so travel retailers usually feel the pinch and offer great sales.
What size suitcase do I need for seven days?
Look at a suitcase around 25” to 27” for a weeklong trip. You’ll have more room than a cozy carry-on, but the size won’t overwhelm you when yanking it off the conveyer belt or pulling it out of the trunk. You can add a large backpack to your travels if you’re traveling with puffy winter clothes and need a little extra space for storage.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a seasoned traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers find their next adventure, whether it’s exploring new places or revisiting old favorites.
He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wonderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). He loves listening to people’s stories from around the world as well as sharing his own experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.