11 of the Best Suitcases for Travel (plus how to choose a suitcase size)

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Looking for the best suitcases for travel? And how to choose the best travel suitcase size for you?

We are here to help!

In case you don’t know, we travel a lot and like to share our best travel tips. On our list for 2020 is more domestic travel in the USA, and international travel to Europe and resort vacations, like to The Bahamas!

And since we were LONG overdue for new travel suitcases ourselves, we did a ton of research online to discover what are the best suitcase brands and which is the best suitcase for international travel (or domestic travel).

11 of the best suitcases for travel

I searched via Google, read blog posts and digesting endless Amazon reviews. Fun, fun.

So if you are planning a trip and are also in the market for some new travel luggage, or new travel clothes, then this article is written to help you choose the best suitcase.

From my research, I created a short list to help you narrow down your own list and to save you some valuable time.

Our old travel suitcases were American Tourister, but were at the end of their lifespan!

None of the handles retracted without wrestling with them, and Savannah’s suitcase was falling apart at the seams – four-year-olds tend to care less about looking after things, lol.

What are the best suitcases for travel? Read today's blog post to find out
At the airport ready for our flight to Singapore

How to Choose a Suitcase for Travel

Because we travel in so many different ways – road trips, flights, weekend getaways, cruises – I wanted a quality luggage brand that’s practical for a family of four, durable and good value for money!

I wanted to know the best suitcase brands in regards to:

  • weight
  • hard shell or soft shell
  • two wheels or four wheels
  • style and price point

I’m not looking for a $2,000+ Louis Vitton suitcase. And I’m not looking for a cheap one trip throw away either – I do that with cheap sunglasses – but it’s time we got some quality luggage!

So when I’m talking about the best suitcases for travel, I’m talking about a reputable brand that will stand the test of our lifestyle of constant travel – at a fair price!

Of course, we all have our own travel style, and there is no perfect suitcase for everyone.

Researching the best suitcases for overseas travel is time-consuming.

With so many options between different brands, price points, and features it’s hard to know where to start and what are the good suitcases from the bad.

What Type of Travel Will You Use Your Suitcase For?

Before we get into my list of suitcases (see point 14 below in table of contents), let’s consider a few things you need to keep in mind when deciding which suitcase brand is right for you.

But I do recommend you read this entire post so you don’t miss any important tips!

Is your suitcase is for flying?

Then know the weight limits for your airlines of choice.

Make sure you can handle the size and weight of your luggage getting to and from your home to the airport – lifting it into your car, upstairs, at check-in etc.

Is your luggage for road trips?

Make sure your suitcase will fit comfortably into the storage compartment of your vehicle.

Is your suitcase is for cruising?

Keep in mind they typically stack your luggage in the boat’s belly before departure so a flat, rigid suitcase may be best.

And make sure the size will fit comfortably in your cabin if you don’t like to unpack.

What are the Best Suitcase Sizes?

Just so you know, I’m not looking to purchase a carry-on suitcase but a CHECK-IN suitcase so this blog post and research focus on that type of luggage.

But I still want to get a size that’s most suitable for us without going too big!

And I’m not looking for a duffel bag!

Update – we have published a post on the best best carry-on suitcases.

If you’re like us and your style of travel fluctuates between flights, road trips, staycations, and the odd cruise, then you want to get one that’s most practical for all occasions – I don’t want to buy four different suitcases!

We also have young kids so we want suitcase sizes that they can manage comfortably and grow into over the years.

And I don’t need to tell you that airlines are getting tougher these days on size restrictions and weight limits, and we could all do without the excess baggage fees!

So you want to make sure your suitcase sizes can hold everything you need safely and securely and under the weight limit!

If you go too big on luggage size, the tendency will be to fill the space, just like the bigger the house, the more stuff you tend to fill it with.

Because we’re a family of four we want to cut back on the amount we carry around – I’m tired of lugging too much stuff around the world – thankfully we are done with strollers and portable cots!

There is the option of buying two large suitcases and splitting them between the four of us – as this would mean maneuvering less total luggage.

But there are occasions when we don’t always travel as a family of four with our travel blog business, and our kids like to be individual and pull their own kids suitcase around so we’re going to forget about that idea!

So we will get a checked-bag size for us, and probably a check-in size for the kids.

So what size do you need for your suitcase?

The best travel suitcase size for you really comes down to factors such as:

  • Type of trips you take (flights, road trips, cruises)
  • Length of your trips
  • Packing habits – some people can pack for a month in a carry-on.
  • Destinations and seasons
  • and of course, your travel budget

How Do You Measure the Size of luggage?

Let’s talk about carry-on luggage sizes quickly.

Most U.S. airlines have carry-on restrictions of 22 inches (22”x 14″ x 9″) and must not exceed 45 linear inches.

That means combined length + width + height (including any handles and wheels) e.g. 22” + 14” + 9” = 45 linear (or 115 centimeters: 23 x 36 x 56 cm).

Let’s be clear, we’re talking about the actual size of your carry on bag, not weight! Please refer to each individual airline for their own size and weight limits!

Because I’m interested in buying checked luggage, we’ll be looking at a large suitcase, well, bags bigger than 22 inches!

For us as adults, 24 inches will be too small.

So we’ll be looking at a big suitcase in the 27-29 inch range – these sizes are the most popular size of luggage to check-in with a large capacity without breaking our backs and have room for multiple outfits, shoes, and toiletries.

And I don’t want to go over 29 inches.

29 inches were popular when airlines used to allow 70 LB per bag (32kg) which is probably fine if you’re a rewards traveler flying business or first class internationally.

Suitcase Features

Delsey suitcase review.
Delsey Helium Aero Expandable Spinner Trolley

After you choose your size, the next things to consider when researching the best suitcases for overseas travel are what specific features are best for your traveling style.

Two-wheels vs. Four-wheel suitcases

Who wants to carry a suitcase these days?

Because we have young kids, and I’ve had back issues in the past, I’m looking for a four-wheel suitcase that will be easier to manage, for me and them. Let’s look at the reasons why:

Two Wheels suitcases (rolling suitcase)

Pros:

  • The wheels are recessed into the case which helps prevent from snapping off.
  • For getting around town, two wheels are better than four wheels for clearing curbs and rolling on uneven surfaces.

Cons:

  • Two wheel suitcases utilize wheels like on skateboards meaning they only roll forward and backward, so you either pull or push the suitcase with the extended handle.

Four wheel suitcases (spinners)

Pros: 

  • Spinner suitcases are more ergonomic and don’t put as much stress on your shoulders or back like rollers.
  • They’re easier to maneuver in tight spaces such as on trains, down aisles of planes, in lifts etc. 

Cons:

  • Because the wheels are externally mounted they’re more vulnerable to snapping off.
  • External wheels steal some of your valuable packing space as the length of the wheels is included in the overall allowable dimensions.
  • Your bag won’t remain stationary on an incline without laying it down or bracing it.

Hard Shell vs. Soft Shell suitcases

Travel can take its toll on your gear so the make and build or your suitcase is important for longevity.

These days when we think about the best suitcases for travel we have a choice between a hard sided or soft sided suitcase. Thinking about exterior quality these are your two main considerations. 

Soft shell suitcase

Pros: 

  • Typically lighter in weight and can conform to tight spaces such as the back of your car.
  • They enable you to squeeze in just one more item of clothing (a con if you tend to overpack).
  • If you love shopping an expanding suitcase could be what you need.
  • Can absorb shock better than hard shells.

Cons: 

  • Not as protective as hard-shell.
  • Are vulnerable to ripping if the material is not of high quality.
  • Not waterproof.

Hard shell suitcase

Pros: 

  • Better for protecting your contents from breakage.
  • Better security from thieves – can’t be quickly be ripped open with a blade.
  • Can act as a seat while you wait.
  • Stack easily on top of each other.
  • Typically waterproof.
  • Not expandable like a soft shell, so if you tend to overpack this can prevent you from stuffing more in.

Cons:

  • Can’t compress or expand a hard suitcase
  • Can scratch easily and cheap hard cases can crack. 
  • Can’t squeeze into tight storage spaces at home or in your car.
  • Few have outside pockets.

Suitcase Handles

Delsey Helium Aero Luggage - one of the best travel suitcases for style, ease, and durability.
Delsey Helium Aero Expandable Spinner Trolley

You know those retractable handles that come with wheeled suitcases?

Make sure you consider getting one with an adjustable length, is long enough for your height, is sturdy, and retracts completely inside the bag!

Also, get one with two posts. 

Our current suitcase has a two-post handle and we always use it to support either our laptop bag, camera bag, or our kids small day pack when moving through airports.

Two-posts provide more balance and support for this!

And get a suitcase with top and side handles that are durable and can withstand the weight of your belongings which will make lifting your travel suitcase easier.

Suitcase Weights

Traveling as light as possible is the way to go for us, not only to keep our backs from getting injured but for avoiding those baggage fees!

And if you’re like us and dragging young kids around airports as well as dragging your luggage, how much your bag weighs is an issue.

So not only should we consider how much we pack inside, but the actual weight of our suitcases.

Experts suggest that an empty wheeled suitcase should not weigh greater than 7.5 pounds (3.4 kilograms).

If your bag is heavy when it’s empty, then that limits you from the start when packing a suitcase. A lightweight suitcase can be the difference in paying hefty excess fees!

Warranty

If I’m going to invest a decent amount of money in one of the best suitcases for travel, I not only want it to last, but I want one with a decent manufacturer’s warranty to repair or replace the bag. 

I’ve already talked about what happens in the cargo hold, and kids being kids sometimes things get mishandled. 

The top suitcases – the more expensive luggage brands – often have warranties or guarantees versus the cheaper generic brands that typically don’t. 

Suitcase Colors

I want a suitcase that’s easily recognizable and spotted on the luggage belt and not mistaken for someone else’s bag or vice versa – especially handy if we are rushing between connecting flights!

I’m talking about you BLACK suitcase. It’s time to go alternative to black, and white or cream which can get dirty quick – never buy white furniture or luggage with kids, lol.

Luggage Compartments

Different compartments and pockets can be useful for separating your gear, especially any liquids or toiletries. Something to keep in mind.

We’ve had liquid spills in our luggage before, even red wine spills, never fun especially if it’s over your cherished dress or pants.

Waterproof Luggage

I’ve seen luggage sitting in the rain on the tarmac before getting loaded onto the plane whilst working for Delta. I’ve seen luggage in the belly of a plane that has had something broken inside and it’s affected other bags underneath it.

And I’ve been caught in rainstorms getting to and from the airport to our accommodation.

I want a bag with material that protects it from the rain and from spills from other bags.

Suitcase Durability

I’ve already mentioned what can go on behind the scenes with your luggage being loaded onto a plane.

You don’t need to pay top dollar, but a well-made suitcase that can withstand the test of time should be a consideration.

I’ve been rushing to catch a flight with our kids in the past and had wheels fall off and handles break – not much fun having to lug heavy suitcases (and kids whose legs can’t move fast enough).

Luggage Prices

Like everything in life, you get what you pay for.

If you want good suitcases that are durable, you’re going to have to spend more than a few bucks, although the quality of even the top brand products these days seems to be slipping whether we’re talking electronics, cars, whatever.

Designer luggage can be more about fashion and looks than quality construction and can be more of a target for thieves.

But most of us have budget constraints and you should only spend what you can afford.

But, if you travel a lot like us a suitcase becomes a serious part of your lifestyle and you want something you can count on to transport and protect your belongings, just like you want a trustworthy car transporting you!

I’ve searched around for the best suitcases for travel based on reviews on Amazon, features and value for money.

From my research, the same brands seem to get mentioned over and over.

Best Suitcases for Travels

In no particular order, here is my short list of the 11 best suitcases for international travel (or domestic) and best suitcase brands.

For budget reasons, I’ve decided to keep the list to suitcases under the $500 price tag and above $100 for quality of choice.

Remember, if you buy any of those cheap large suitcases, you get what you paid for!

And “Best” is a relative term, of course.

I’m sure there’s one on my list you disagree with, and I’m sure I’ve left a couple of top suitcases off the list (please share in the comments section down below).

Samsonite Luggage Fiero HS Spinner 28

One of the best suitcases for travel - Samsonite Luggage Fiero HS Spinner 28

Features:

  • 100% Polycarbonate
  • Micro diamond texture is scratch resistant
  • Four light weight wheels for effortless mobility
  • Expands for extra capacity
  • Hard case suitcase
  • Full-zip interior divider and cross straps for increased packing organization
  • Side mounted TSA approved lock ensures security while traveling

Delsey Helium Aero 29″ Exp. Spinner Trolley

One of the best suitcases for travel - the Delsey Luggage Helium Aero Expandable Spinner Trolley (29'')

Features:

  • 100% polycarbonate
  • lightweight and durable. 
  • Large front compartment with integrated padded sleeve for up to 15.6 inch laptop
  • 2 zippered mesh pockets for computer accessories, toiletries
  • Double spinner wheels assure exceptional maneuverability
  • Integrated 3 dial TSA combination lock, self-repairing zippers
  • Recessed “one-button” locking handle system with industrial grade aluminum tubes 

Read the reviews and buy the Delsey Helium Aero Expandable Spinner on Amazon

Travelpro Maxlite 3 Expandable Spinner (25″)

One of the best suitcases for travel - Travelpro Maxlite3 Expandable Spinner (25")

Features:

  • 100% Polyester
  • 4-wheel spinners rotate 360 degrees
  • Airline-grade aluminum handle locks in 2 positions 
  • Honeycomb frame system provides lightweight durability
  • Full length interior lid pocket, side accessory pocket, and adjustable hold down straps 
  • Manufacturer defects warranty

Victorinox Spectra 2.0 29 Luggage

One of the best suitcases for travel - Victorinox Spectra

Features:

  • 100% Bayer Polycarbonate
  • Global 10-year limited warranty
Read the reviews and buy the Victorinox Spectra 2.0 29 Luggage on Amazon.

Ricardo Beverly Hills Luggage Montecito Micro-Light 28 Inch

One of the best suitcases for travel - Ricardo Beverly Hills Luggage Montecito Micro Light 28 Inch

Features:

  • 100% Polyester 
  • Lightweight yet durable and tear-resistant
  • Glide rite spinner wheel system
  • Expand for additional packing capacity
  • Ergonomically designed locking handle system
  • Cushioned top and side carry handles
Read the reviews and buy the Ricardo Beverly Hills Luggage Montecito Micro Light on Amazon

Briggs and Riley Luggage 27 Inch Expandable Upright Bag

One of the best suitcases for travel - Briggs & Riley Luggage 27 Inch Expandable Upright Bag

Features:

  • Tuff-lite Nylon fabric/polyester Blend
  • Zip expansion increases packing capacity by 26%
  • speed thru pocket allows for quick storage of items at security checkpoints
  • tilt-resistant front feet for optimal stability
Read the reviews and buy the Briggs & Riley on Amazon

Ricardo Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive 29-Inch

One of the best suitcases for travel - Ricardo Beverly Hills Luggage Rodeo Drive 29-Inch 4-Wheel Expandable Upright

Features:

  • 100% Polycarbonate
  • scratch and wear resistant
  • Protective polypropylene corner guards at key stress points
  • Effortlessly push your spinner upright with the curved handle 
  • Silent spinner wheels specially engineered to be smooth and silent
Read the reviews and buy the Ricardo Beverly Hills on Amazon

Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 Hardside Spinner 26

One of the best suitcases for travel - Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 Hardside Spinner 26

Features:

  • 100% Polycarbonate
  • Push-button locking handle provides a comfortable grip
  • Flush-mounted TSA lock
  • Ultra sleek, protective rails near the base for extra protection
  • Lightweight corrugated tube handle
  • Integrated wet-pack pocket.
  • Two full zip divider panel
  • 3 large organizational pockets inside and modesty pocket for valuables
Read the reviews and buy the Samsonite Silhouette Sphere on Amazon

Luggage Sets

Samsonite Fiero 3 Piece Hardside Nested Spinner Set

One of the best suitcases for travel - Samsonite Fiero 3 Piece Hardside Nested Spinner Set

Features:

  • 100% Polycarbonate
  • Sets contains 1 x 20, 24, 28 inch spinners
  • Micro diamond texture is extremely scratch resistant
  • Four light weight wheels for effortless mobility
  • Expands for extra capacity
  • Full-zip interior divider and cross straps for increased packing organization
Read the reviews and buy the Samsonite Fiero on Amazon

Traveler’s Choice Tasmania Three-Piece Luggage Set

One of the best suitcases for travel - Traveler's Choice Tasmania Three Piece Luggage Set

  • 100% Polycarbonate
  • Dual spinner wheels provide smooth and quiet rolling
  • Expansion gusset offers 25% more packing capacity
  • Two interior zippered mesh pockets and a center zippered pouch for easy organization
  • Durable top and side carry handles 
  • Built-in TSA recognized 3-dial combination lock
  • Convenient add-a-bag strap for carrying additional bags
Read the reviews and buy the Traveler’s Choice Tasmania on Amazon

Samsonite 2 Piece Luggage suitcase Set 27″check in and 21″carry-on Spinner 4 Wheel

One of the best suitcases for travel - Samsonite 2-pc Spinner Luggage Set

  • 27″ Spinner and 21″ Carry-On 
  • Sizes (approx.) – Checkable: 27″ x 19 x 11; Carry On: 21 x 15 x 8
Read the reviews and buy the Samsonite 2-pc Spinner Luggage Set on Amazon

I hope you’ve found this article helpful in narrowing down your choice and saving you time doing your own research?

Yes, the Amazon links are affiliate links if you purchase via our links we will receive a small commission!

Can you add to this list of the best travel suitcases?

Help us choose one of these brands on my hit list. At this moment, I’m still unsure which suitcase to buy.

  • Should we go hard shell or soft shell suitcase?
  • Four wheels or two wheels suitcases?
  • And what size luggage would you buy?

Pin Below To Save On Pinterest:

What are the best suitcases for travel? After my extensive research, I've come up with this short list of 11 suitcases you should consider for your travels.

Do you own any of these brands? Can you recommend others? You can share in the comments at the bottom.

I’m almost certain we’ll go with four wheels but undecided on the exterior make.

Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on what you consider to be the best suitcases for travel?

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