The Best Checked Luggage

Amazon

The fastest way to ruin a vacation is by traveling with subpar luggage. If you're going to check a bag, it needs to have certain characteristics to make it equipped for the job. The best checked luggage usually has a combination of the following qualities:

  1. Lightweight: Just because the baggage handlers carry it during the flight doesn't mean you won't be hauling it around the other 95 percent of your trip. Plus, heavy suitcases eat into your total baggage weight. Find an option that's as light as possible, so that it's easy to handle and you don't risk any extra fees.
  2. Durable: It's always nice to have a tough suitcase, but when you're talking about checked luggage — the kind that gets tossed down turnstiles and manhandled by airline employees — it's even more important. Look for an exterior that's made with a sturdy material like polypropylene or polycarbonate.
  3. Easy to maneuver: With luggage, you don't want the handle to stick or the wheels to catch when you're trying to make a flight. Opt for a suitcase with a tough, telescoping handle and well-built wheels that rotate smoothly. The reviews are an excellent place to get started when evaluating these features.

Beyond that, consider additional features, like the interior liner (is it soft and snag-proof?) as well as the compartments (are there enough pockets and dividers to suit your needs?). To find the right option for your next trip, check out my list of the best checked luggage below.

1. The Most Popular Luggage

Dimensions: 28 by 19.75 by 12.5 inches

‌What's great about it: With more than 3,700 reviews, this Samsonite bag is among the most popular luggage on Amazon. Not only that, but it's also some of the best hardside checked luggage, period. It's made from strong yet lightweight polycarbonate on the exterior, with a soft nylon lining on the interior. The suitcase is designed to flex when pressed on, so you don't have to worry about it cracking or breaking. It has zippered pockets, a curtain divider, and a sturdy, TSA-approved lock. If you like this piece, it comes in a full set, too.

What fans say: "LOVE this luggage. Just returned from a 3 week, 7 flight, 3 continent trip and took all three pieces with me. I could handle them myself with ease, find them on baggage claim quickly and lock them securely. They were perfect travel companions and I look forward to our next adventure together!"

2. The Most Lightweight Luggage

Dimensions: 31 by 21 by 12 inches

What's great about it: Built with a tough polypropylene hardshell, this suitcase is some of the best lightweight luggage you can find. It has 360-degree spinner wheels that reviewers say turn easily and effortlessly, along with an airtight seal that blocks moisture from getting in. This suitcase features a built-in ID card, a strong, retractable handle, and a TSA-approved lock. It's available in four color choices, too.

What fans say: "This is a VERY light, but TOUGH suitcase. The interior is basic (not a lot of zippers and pockets) but totally useable. The rubber seal means your clothes won't all be damp if the baggage has to be loaded/unloaded in a hard rain. The wheels (most vulnerable part) are designed for durability and easy replacement. This suitcase will probably outlast us."

3. The Best For International Travel

Dimensions: 27 by 18.5 by 11.5 inches

What's great about it: For those who go abroad a lot, this is option from TravelPro is among the best checked luggage for international travel. It features extra durable spinner wheels that turn 360 degrees, along with a strong but lightweight handle that lets you steer your bag easily. It only weighs 7.3 pounds, which is impressive for its size, and the main compartment is expandable by up to 2 inches.

What fans say: "Travelpro is excellent. We took this bag to Europe recently and it was a breeze to get through the airports. I also didn't have to worry about being overweight because the bag itself is so light. I highly recommend!"

4. The Best Value

Dimensions: 29 by 17 by 12 inches

What's great about it: If you need a great suitcase but you don't want to spend an arm and a leg, this is pretty much the best value luggage out there. The soft-shell design is expandable, making it a great option if you want to pack extra, but it's also capable of fitting into tighter spaces when you need it to. The 150-denier polyester liner is super durable and features convenient pockets for smaller items. It has a strong telescoping handle and sturdy 360-degree spinner wheels that make it glide along smoothly.

What fans say: "This is a really, really nice suitcase for the price. The design is rather brilliant: the case reduces in depth as it travels up toward the top, so it's less prone to tipping over, but the expansion zipper offsets this decreasing depth by expanding toward the top, yielding a true rectangle when expansion is needed, so the volume ends up self-balancing. Really clever ... Great materials, solid construction, nice handle."

5. The Best Luggage For Suits

Dimensions: 29 by 20.25 by 12.5 inches

What's great about it: This TravelPro suitcase is a top contender when it comes to the best checked luggage for suits, thanks to its special built-in compartment that keeps garments protected. The exterior is made with top-grade ballistic nylon construction with a strong, scratch-resistant coating. The 360-degree spinner wheels move effortlessly, and the main handle features a smooth, contoured grip. The carry handles on the top and side are made with durable leather that adds an attractive touch. On top of all of that, it has a zippered mesh pocket inside as well as secure cross straps to keep clothes from wrinkling.

What fans say: "Very glad I purchased this bag for my recent solo trip to Europe ... I needed a bag that would hold everything I needed to bring for the nearly two weeks I would be traveling. This did the job admirably, and the fact that it's light but very sturdy and roomy made it a pleasure to pack and to roll along beside me. It didn't tip and it held everything I needed easily. It was a pleasure to use."

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