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Your luggage is your most important travel essential. But there are so many types of bags available these days, that making an informed decision can be the most difficult part of your trip!

Whether it’s trying to lug a suitcase through the jungle and beating the crap out of your wheels (been there), or throwing everything into a hiking pack for a stay at a luxury hotel, a travel experience is often about choosing the right kind of bag.

The most important thing to remember is that different types of luggage will be suitable for different types of trips. So don’t fall into the trap of thinking any bag will do, because you just need something which will transport your things.

The right bag should fit with your travel preferences. So the following are things to consider when choosing the best suitcases, bags and carry on luggage which matches your style and needs.

Key Things to Consider When Buying Luggage for Your Next Trip

What Type of Luggage Are You Carrying?

When you’re choosing a bag to travel with, ask yourself what type of luggage you will be carrying. A bag should protect its contents, so you need to consider what you’ll be packing, and choose a bag accordingly.

For instance, delicate items like wine glasses, or fragile products which break easily might require you to choose bags that have a padded surface on the inside, and a hard shell on the outside for maximum protection.

Knowing how much luggage you plan on carrying is an important thing to consider as well. Bags with a soft exterior increase your capacity to add more stuff since they are able to stretch, where-as hard shell cases mean you can’t stretch your packing capacity.

When you're choosing a bag to travel with, consider what you'll be packing, and choose a bag accordingly. Click To Tweet

Instead of using disposable plastic bags when packing, it’s far more environmentally friendly (and a lot easier to stay organized) to use packing cubes.

The Intended Use of the Bag

The next question you should answer is the indented use of the bag / your type of trip. Are you trekking through the jungle? Will the bag be getting wet? Are you heading out on a business trip?

For instance, if you’re traveling on a business trip, you need a small bag that will carry your essential stuff. Packing for a business trip does not involve flare or a lot of stuff, so your packing will be precise. You can choose something that is professional, plain, and has pockets for storing your electronics.

Packing for a vacation on the other hand might require a larger suitcase for things like beachwear, dinner wear and party wear. And if you’re the type of person who is inclined to shop on vacation, you’ll need something with the capacity for extra space.

Going hiking requires the type of bag that accommodate your hiking gear; perhaps you need to strap a tent, or walking poles to the back. You’ll be looking for something you can go hands-free with, and won’t get tired carrying on your back.

A practical wheeled travel backpack, with the versatility of a zip-off daypack and generous internal space.

Your Style Specifications

The term quality differs from one individual to another. What you might be excited to carry won’t always be the same for somebody else. So you should have an idea of the type of style you like to travel with.

For instance, some people prefer to carry their luggage in backpacks while others prefer pulling suitcases to the airport. Or if you enjoy the benefits of both suitcases and backpacks and want the best of both worlds, you could opt for a backpack with wheels.

Lack of color choice shouldn’t put you off buying a bag which has all your boxes for comfort and technical aspects ticked, but can certainly reflect your style. If you can avoid a plain black bag, and choose something which is easy to identify on the luggage carousel, we recommend you do.

A bag that can take a beating and still retain it’s classy look, while lasting for a very long time.

Security Features

Security should be another main consideration when you’re looking at new luggage, and you need to make sure you’re getting a bag which is secure. Something strong and durable which isn’t going to tear or break, and something which thieves can’t get into.

Many suitcases these days come with built in security locks, though for those which don’t, make sure that you at least have a place where you can place your own lock.

ONCE YOUR BAG IS SORTED, OTHER TRAVEL ESSENTIALS WE RECOMMEND ↓

Compact First Aid Medical Kit

There are headphones, and then there are these.

Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless

The Fuji X-T20 uses a 24MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor, which delivers gorgeous, vibrant, clean and crisp images that rival even the best dSLR cameras.

Fuji X-T20 

INSPIRED? PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

If you enjoy getting social, you can follow their journey on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterest and Instagram.

    18 Comments

  1. I’m a hopeless over-packer so choosing the right bag for a trip is always hassle! Thank you for some great tips – I consider the security features of a bag to be one of the most important aspects of choosing which bag to travel with :)

    • You’re welcome – I’ve always been a hopeless overpacker too! I found hardshell bags tend to curb my overpacking problem though lol I can’t squeeze more stuff in than I need to!!

      Glad the post was helpful for you – totally agree on security being one of the most important aspects, especially in todays age.

  2. I really need to invest in the perfect roomy and stylish enough carry-on but the ones I love are too expensive! Definitely right about not getting a plain black bag……….do’nt do it! And I always add an identifiable luggage tag on mine or tie a scarf or something so there’s no way to confuse it with someone else’s

    • It’s definitely easy to get carried away with luxe versions, there are so many beautiful designs out there! Hope you do find something perfect for you :) – and awesome tip on the identifiable luggage tag or scarf – it’s so good being able to go “that’s mine!” straight away without any indecision!

  3. I’ve amassed a collection of luggage based on all the different styles of travel I do. The biggest thing for me is finding a suitcase with wheels that roll easily for plane trips or a pack that fits well when I’m hiking.

    • We’ve done the same – we have a cupboard under the stairs and a range of different bags for different trips – got out carry on packs for weekend trips, trekking packs, and then suitcases for luxury breaks :) I really love the Blackwolf Grand Tour – it’s a backpack on wheels which I got recently, and it’s been fabulous for versatility!

  4. These are great tips to put into practice, as it ready does depend on the type of trip you are going on. I personally like a pull suitcase, with two zip up sections for my essentials. But if I’m going on a small trip, a small pull suitcase or a backpack for ease of carrying. My favourite brand is Eastpak.

    • Glad the post was helpful for you Lucy :) Thanks for the tip on Eastpak – I’ll check it out!

  5. I didn’t know new suitcases came with built in security locks. Are these OK to use on US flights, I wonder? With all the restrictions nowadays, I didn’t think we could lock our bags, but if we can, that’s a major plus. I agree with you on the noise cancelling headphones. I can’t fly without them.

    • It will depend on the design, but yes, some suitcases now have built in combination locks, most of which are TSA friendly, so you’re find on US flights :) Check that it has a TSA tick of approval though before you buy if you’re concerned.

  6. Even though the hard exterior can decrease the baggage’s capacity, I prefer it as it gives me the impression of more durability for the suitcase. The style also plays an important role for me and especially the color. I would never buy a black suitcase! :)

    • Yes, durability vs bag capacity is one of those things you have to weigh when deciding between hard and soft case luggage. Will depend on what you prioritize for each trip :)

  7. Luggage is indeed most important part of travel preparation. I seriously searched my travel bag when I went to my first solo trip to Myanmar and hence can relate with this article as my choice of right bag made all the difference.
    I also opted for a luggage with soft interior and it helped me specially when I was coming back with loads of stuff from Myanmar. I prefer to pull my luggage and hence a backpack with wheel is my choice. I am yet to master the art of traveling light and you have given some good insights based on trip objective.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Himanshu, and we could give you some insights into bags for traveling light :)

      Sounds like you ended up with a great bag for your trip to Myanmar (can’t wait to visit myself one day!) – research really does pay off doesn’t it!

  8. Ever since that infamous backpack-getting-stuck-in-the-paris-metro-gates incident of 1999, I’ve been a far more savvy luggage-buyer! Note to self, don’t pack so much stuff you can’t lift your own pack. These days me and my husband share a medium sized roller case for anything longer than a week (we’ll share cabin luggage for less than that). These are great tips to assess your own packing reqs / styles – especially about assess what you’ll be carrying and where to! Be smart, don’t do a 1999 me! LOL

    • Oh no! So you walked through but it closed on your backpack? Yikes! Excellent tip on only packing as much as you can physically lift – I really like that!

      Mike and I have started to share luggage space too, and it works really well for cutting down on the bags we carry. Glad you enjoyed the tips Hannah! Hopefully we wont repeat a 1999 you lol!

  9. You are right, having the right back on your travels can make the difference between an enjoyable trip and a nightmare scenario. One thing I always consider is whether we are staying put for a long time in one place, or whether we are moving around. I learned recently in Portugal that wheeled bags do not work. Too many uneven sidewalks!
    These are great tips and I’d add one more – only pack what you can carry!! Cheers.

    • Ah yes wheeled bags on the cobblestoned cities of Europe! I enjoyed having a backpack for that I’ll admit!! That’s a fabulous tip, on considering if you’re moving around a lot, and then consider the environment you’ll be moving through.

      Thanks for the tip Rosemary!

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