Making The Case For Good Quality Luggage

luggage, travel style

Travelling is a lot of fun. You get to set out and explore a different land and experience something outside of the day to day hussle of your life.
When we talk to our friends about out trips we recount the great meals we've had and the picture perfect sights we visited, but rarely do we talk about our luggage. It's seen as a means to an end. It holds your clothing and personal effects until you get to your destination.

Anyone who has even been stuck in a busy airport with subpar luggage will tell you what a nuisance it is. It's heavy, it seems as though all those free luggage carts have been taken and it looks exactly the same as everyone else's making it hard to find and identify quickly.

That was me once upon a time. Airports frustrate me to begin with. Standing in line, only to stand in another line. It's crowded. There's no fresh air. And now my all black (like everyone else's) cheap luggage just broke one of two wheels. Great. Another suitcase that didn't last two trips. But let me backup a little...

Our travels ('our' refers to AMH my husband and me) started out as road trips in our teens. All we needed was a backpack or duffle bag packed with enough clothes to last us the weekend and we were set. In our 20's, we upgraded to basic black cloth luggage for our first airplane trip to NYC for a four day weekend. Now in our 30's, we're seasoned travellers making frequent trips overseas and we have hardcover, quality luggage. The point is, I've travelled with them all. Every type and price point of luggage you can image. I've owned it and used it. Today, I'd like to make the case for good quality luggage for a number of reasons.

1. Pay more now, saves in the long run - I can't count the amount of times that we cheaped out and bought basic black cloth luggage only to find out on the way home that the luggage ripped in a place making it unfixable. I just chalked it up to that luggage was a disposable item and paying $50 for a piece of luggage each trip was the cost of travelling. That logic went out the window on trip number five when I realized we have now paid somewhere in the ballpark of $300 for luggage. Such a waste. The most expensive piece of luggage I own cost me $400 (and that was 50% off! Always watch for sales, friends!) and to date it has been on over 20 vacations and 30 work trips. I've even lent it to my kids and my mom when they've travelled overseas. That puts me at roughly $8 per use. And it looks and functions as well as the day I bought it. I still have many more trips to take with this luggage which will only bring the number lower.

2. The more unique, the easier to find - As I've mentioned, airports make me anxious and I know I'm not the only one. Airport anxiety is a real thing and I've heard from so many of you that you suffer through this as well. Something that helps me cope is knowing that I've got a plan to get out of the terminal quickly. I take advantage of upgrades that allow me to sit at the front of the plane and that mark my luggage as priority so they are offloaded first (each airline charges a different amount but it's usually around $50 extra). That means that as soon as the airplane doors open, we are off and moving towards the baggage claim area. Most of the time our bags are off first but in the few times that hasn't happened, our bags are still easy to spot. And that doesn't mean I travel with bright pink (although I wish I did!) Our bags just aren't standard black. Anything other than black stands out so really do your best to buy luggage in any colour. My brown/copper bag and my bright Lilly Pulitzer luggage tag always catches my eye!

3. Moving through crowded areas is so much easier - Good quality luggage comes with four wheels that can move in any direction. This is a lifesaver when moving through airports, hotels, buses or any other type of public transportation. The year we took our boys to Disney World for the week was big. It's a dream trip for every parent and child. When I started planning what to bring for everyone, I realized how heavy our bags were going to be. The boys were at an age where they could not carry their own luggage, but they could push it! The four of us each had our own luggage and the kids had no problem pushing their own through the airport until check in. It made all the difference because who wants to start out your vacation with stress and a potential backache.

Personally, I own three different sets of luggage for the three types of travel I regularly engage in -  weekend getaways, 4 day weekends and week long (or more) adventures. When they're not in use, I store them all inside each other, like those painted nesting dolls. That leaves one large suitcase to store. Not bad at all.

luggage, travel

The Weekender - Ok, I'll let you cheap out a little on a weekender bag. I bought this one for around $30 at Target last year and already it's been on seven weekend adventures, with another two coming up! There are no tears or signs of wear yet but I know it won't last forever. I have my eye on these potential replacements

travel luggage

A 21" Expandable Spinner and Satchel - This one excites me because it's best for a 4-5 day getaway. Why does that excite me? Well, believe it or not I get home sick about that time and always want to come home. I'm not even kidding. As much as I love travelling, really I do, I always get this weird twinge that makes me long for home. It's not anything that would derail an otherwise happy vacation. It's usually if I see a dog or some boys my kids age that I start to get homesick. So until they all grow up and leave the nest, 4-5 day trips are my favourite.

They're also great because they pack into a car trunk nicely or in an overhead compartment. No need to check your bags and deal with that nonsense! I just use the satchel in place of a purse which you are allowed to carry on with one additional bag. These London Fog bags have served me well. Here's a few others I have had my eye on recently

luggage, travel

Large 4 wheel Spinner Suitcase - This is it. The one bag to rule them all (my husband forces me to watch LOTR) I have a pair of these bags, his and hers, and they seriously make my life easier. It is a  standard split case design with divider panel and the compression straps help to keep everything in place. I usually store my shoes, toiletries and hairdryer on the side that zips closed and my clothes in the side with the compression straps. I can comfortably pack 12 days worth of clothing and personal effects in this bag. Or pack a little less and leave some room to bring home some new clothes (that's what I did in Scotland last fall 😁)

The four spinning wheels allow me to push this heavily packed bag (I've never claimed to be a light packer) with ease. The top handle stands pretty tall when open, enough that I can place my purse or carry-on on top and then I really don't have to carry much! As I mentioned, this bag was a bit of an investment for me but I have used it on more than 50 separate occasions bring that cost-per-use into a good place.

When I purchased this set the two main things on my mind was finding a reputable brand that offered something solid and sturdy feeling and something that wasn't black. You really can't go wrong with Samsonite. They have a great reputation in the industry and a wide variety of colours to choose from. When it comes time to replace these pieces (probably due to my boredom and nothing to do with wear) I would gladly look to them again. But there are a few other players that I wouldn't mind investigating as well, such as

There are a few things that you really should invest in in this life - quality pajamas, a good facial moisturizer, travel to enrich the soul, and great quality luggage to carry it all. Have I made the case for good quality luggage? What are your thoughts on investing in your bags?

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