Having the perfect luggage can make or break a trip. It’s not just about what size you need to carry your clothes, shoes and growing collection of novelty hats, but also about your convenience. With the many varied options on the market today, there’s no reason to settle when it comes to luggage. Let’s look at how you can create the perfect luggage set.

Do You Need More Than One Bag?

…Well, probably. You’re hardly going to use a 30-inch hardshell suitcase for an overnight stay at a bed and breakfast. And unless you’re one of those people who wears the same two outfits in rotation with one reversible jacket (er, well done, if you are) you won’t be using a daypack for a three-week cruise.

The real question is whether you need to buy more than one bag. You might have one perfect piece, and need one or two more to make a set. Or you might be buying an entire set from scratch. Knowing what you should be looking for will help you search effectively and make the best purchase. Never underestimate the power of a shopping list!

What Purpose Will Each Piece Serve?

Try to designate what each might be used for. You might need all of your luggage pieces at once for a long trip, and only one or two for a short one. A large wheeled case, for example, might be used for a trip over two weeks long. A smaller one might only be suitable for a week to ten days. Even if you are buying your luggage set in preparation for a particular trip, think about what future journeys you might take, and what kind of bags you can see yourself using long-term. That giant steamer trunk might look lovely, but if you only ever travel for a couple of weeks of a time, it will probably end up being used as a coffee table.

Types of Carry-Ons

Before we look at suitcases, let’s look at their smaller siblings. Carry-ons are becoming more and more of an art form, as some travelers are even opting to use them as their only luggage. (Reversible jacket, anyone?) These need to be suitable for taking on board an airplane. Size and weight are obviously important, but you also need to think about yourself. Would you be comfortable using this bag for a day-long layover? Will it be doubling up as a short-stay bag once you arrive at your destination?

Roll bags are always popular, and their types tend to line up with suitcase types. You might also choose a duffle bag, preferably one with wheels. Some luggage sets include backpacks or daypacks, which can be an excellent option. You will probably need one once you get to your destination, if only as a beach bag. However, these can simply be packed along with your clothing if you do not want to use them for travel.

Check out the Timberland Hampton Falls 3 Piece Luggage Set

Suitcase Decisions

The two main options for suitcases are hard cover and soft cover. Like books. (With wheels! Books with wheels. And zips. And handles. All right, scratch that metaphor.) Hardshell suitcases have risen in popularity in recent years. They can be very lightweight, which is a bonus. You can also use their shape to compress unwieldy luggage into something that seems more neat. Overstuffing is not recommended, however, as the shell or zip might break. Admittedly, breakage is less of a risk with more expensive makes.

Look at the Rockland Santorini 20×28 Inch Expandable Polycarbonate Set

Soft, fabric suitcases provide more flexibility. They have a more give to them, for squeezing in a few extra items. They also generally have the benefit of external pockets, which you might like to use while traveling. Additionally, if they are not completely full, then they can be squashed down to fit into smaller spaces.

For example, the Samsonite 5 Piece Nested Luggage Set

Wheels are also worth thinking about. Two wheels or four? It is difficult to make a recommendation without looking at personal choice. Two-wheeled luggage is dragged behind you as you walk, while four-wheeled can be pushed alongside. I have met people who prefer one or the other, and each has had their own reasons for their preference. However, as four-wheeled luggage is relatively new, if you have never tried it before, don’t let the novelty put you off.

(Wait…luggage can take you to new places. Like books. I changed my mind, I’m bringing back the metaphor.)

choosing your perfect luggage for travel

Try it Out in Person

More than anything else, remember that your luggage is not something to simply stand next to, looking amazing in your travel outfit. Although that is certainly a bonus, and if you have the option to buy a luggage set that will complement your shoes, don’t let me stop you.

Check out the American Flyer Luggage Signature 4 Piece Set

But you will be taking these bags to and from the airport. You will then be arriving at your destination, taking them to your taxi or train, to your hotel or cruise ship. You need to know that you will be able to carry, wheel and maneuver your chosen luggage yourself. Even if you are making your purchases online, go to a store and try out different types and sizes to get a feel for them. Make sure that you know what the bag will weigh when full!

This is for convenience, but also for your peace of mind. Muddling around with a suitcase in a place you have never been before can be stressful and distracting; it can even leave you unnecessarily vulnerable.