We’ve compared the best luggage brands of 2023 — tested by frequent fliers — and gathered our insider tips on how to choose the best suitcase for you!
Luggage is not one-size-fits-all, so it’s important to consider your travel style and cater to those needs when making your next luggage purchase. With that in mind, check out the most important things to consider before making your next travel investment.
Top Luggage Brands of 2023
These are a few of the best suitcase brands out there, which are favorites among experienced travelers, and even come with lifetime warranties!
Samsonite is one of the most famous luggage brands for a reason. Although Samsonite luggage only comes with a warranty limited to manufacturer defects, their typical hardside luggage is known for its durability. It’s a great option if you’re traveling with breakables, a camera, or plan on bringing back a bottle of wine from your trip. Plus, this hardside case features spinner wheels, TSA locks and a 10 year limited warranty.
For you outdoorsy types, check out North Face’s rolling duffels. They double as a backpack with straps, which is convenient for traveling in areas that don’t offer smooth walkways everywhere.
A great brand for space efficient travel backpacks, as well as personal organizers that can be used as your in-flight personal item – again, with a lifetime warranty!
Another popular brand for backpacks, especially for women; Osprey has travel backpacks designed to fit women’s bodies, and come in feminine colors like teal and purple – easy to spot on the baggage carousel! Their convertible luggage is also convenient for easy luggage-to-backpack transitions in difficult terrain.
Founded in New Jersey, TUMI is one of the most trusted and well-known luggage brands. They offer a variety of styles with an emphasis on high quality bags using only the finest materials, including ballistic nylon, leather, and aluminum — which is why this is also one of the most expensive brands on our list. This expandable hardside suitcase comes equipped with 4 spinner wheels, a TSA lock and it’s made with a recycled polycarbonate shell, so it’s lightweight and flexible, yet still durable.
Travelpro is the luggage brand of choice from many airline crews and is popular among frequent travelers. This platinum elite hardside luggage complies with check-in size restrictions, features self-aligning magnetic spinner wheels, and has an ultra-strong 100% polycarbonate hard shell with aluminum corner guards.
DELSEY PARIS is a line of luxury French luggage that originated the hard-sided suitcase in 1970. They pride themselves on elegant style, innovative design, and environmentally-friendly values. I personally own (and LOVE) their Helium Aero hardside expandable luggage.
Eagle Creek is another popular luggage brand who offers lightweight luggage for all types of travelers. This American luggage manufacturer is headquartered in Colorado and was founded in 1975. I personally love their wheeled duffle bags for trips where I need a collapsible bag such as traveling in a campervan or in a small sailboat.
Read more: What To Pack For A Sailing Trip
Created in Rhode Island, American Tourister is owned by Samsonite and is another very popular American luggage brand. This 2-piece expandable hardside luggage set features an ABS shell with metallic sheen and wear and tear tested ball wheel. I love their unique color options too!
Away is an American luggage manufacturer based in New York. They offer lightweight, durable luggage is on the higher-end of the other luggage brands mentioned here.
Brands are not everything, and nobody should pay the price for designer luggage unless they are proven durable and have a warranty. For those of you that don’t want to spend a fortune, don’t be afraid to buy those 3-piece luggage sets you see on Amazon. Wear and tear – like cracks and worn wheels – can be expected with these, but they’ll likely last you several years.
How to Choose the Best Suitcase for Your Trip
Hard vs. Soft Luggage
It’s important to choose the right type of luggage for your needs. Are you the adventurer type, or do you generally travel for business? Photography buff, or fashion enthusiast? A hardside carry-on is ideal for those traveling to areas with temperamental weather or toting cameras, as it offers ultimate protection.
Soft luggage is easy to stuff into overhead compartments and has expandability – perfect for “over packers” or people who want to bring home souvenirs from their travels. Soft-sided bags are also great for added organization!
How to Choose the Right Size Luggage
Don’t buy a carry-on larger than what you can lift overhead! Get one that meets both international and domestic requirements. Some European airlines have smaller size restrictions for carry-ons, so limit yourself to approximately 21 x 13 x 9 and 15-20lb. in weight to clear nearly all international airline restrictions.
Also consider getting two smaller suitcases versus one large, heavy one. You may have to pay to get the extra one checked, but stuffing everything into a larger one can incur oversize and overweight fees – ultimately costing you more money in the long run.
Luggage Buying Tips
- Pack your bags only 2/3 full. Since you’ll likely be bringing home items from your trip, you want to make sure you don’t over pack your bags to the point of breaking zippers. Roll your clothes (rather than folding) to create more space.
- Consider a TSA-approved lock (this Samsonite comes with one) or cable ties on zippers for added security.
- Don’t buy black. Avoid the endless search of your bag in sea of black luggage by buying a brightly-colored or printed suitcase. Checked bags should be easily recognizable to save time and avoid theft or mix-ups, because, unfortunately, leaving the airport with someone else’s bag unknowingly happens all too often. If you do end up buying a black bag, (sometimes options are limited!) place a few large stickers, buy a colorful luggage tag, or tie a brightly-colored ribbon or scarf around the handle.
- An under-seat bag doesn’t always mean “under seat.” Due to its compact size, these bags are technically considered a personal item – essentially allowing you to bring an additional carry-on. But if you’re traveling coach on a small or budget airline I wouldn’t suggest trying to fit it under tight seats and narrow aisles, and use it as your carry-on instead.
- If you know your seat will have a bit more room (e.g. business or first class) then an under-seat bag with wheels and a handle may just be your way of getting by with an additional small carry-on! Fashionable brands like Nicole Miller and Steve Madden offer such bags with a little style at an affordable cost.