With so many options to choose from, deciding what brand, type, style and how much you want to spend on a luggage set can be difficult. Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping and other consumer product review entities are a good starting point to understand what makes or doesn’t make a durable, well-made set of luggage.
Through my many years of travel, I have collected both hard and soft-sided luggage and have found that I prefer the hardside variety for the following reasons:
Your breakable purchases, tech equipment and liquids are much less likely to get damaged by the airlines, baggage conveyors or others who have your bags in their care while in transit.
They are easier to stack. Whether on an airport rolling luggage cart, in the cargo hole of a cruise ship or an airplane, hardside luggage tends to be more stationary.
You can sit on your luggage if where you are has no seating is available.
The new plastic materials offer many more trendy styling options.
If you have over packed or over purchased on your trip you can sit on the bag to force it closed!
Your purse or oversized tote rests more fixed on top of a hardside bag as you roll it through an airport.
You can pack both sides of the bag, which allows you to pack more items.
Hardside luggage will likely not experience water damage to the contents from rain or snow.
The luggage is less likely to fall over from uneven content weight distribution.
It's easier to lift because most have top and side handles.
For my recent 50-day around the world solo trip, I purchased a three piece, white set of IT Luggage for $129 from Amazon.com. I was a little unsure how this personally untested luggage set would hold up on a long, multi stop trip of this kind. I shared in a previous post that I would do a follow up blog when I returned home on how the luggage set performed. While I've been publishing several blog posts about my trip, I hadn't written this one until now because two different people have asked me recently about the luggage set.
First and most importantly, it made it through the trip with no damage to any of the bags. The set returned home with only a few minor scratches and marks of which most can be removed with a good cleaner. All the zippers held tight and none of the handles or wheels popped off from over packing or rough handling by baggage attendants. I was totally surprised that nothing broke. One thing I did do, that I highly recommend, is I reinforced the bags with exterior luggage straps for added protection. Straps are available online for $10 for a set of three.
Second, I had only one trip purchase break-- a souvenir coffee cup-- which was totally my fault. Not thinking, I packed it next to another hard object and somehow the cup handle broke off. I chalk this up to my carelessness.
Third, I was a little concerned about the white color. Would it show every little bit of grim or scratch marks? Would it end up looking cheap or kind of cheesy as the trip progressed? When you travel to many different countries and cultures you see a variety of styles of everything. I worried my white bags would be offensive or out-there to some locals. I was pleasantly surprised as I traversed the various airports and locales. What I found was white luggage was a trendy item. Many of the younger, most stylish travelers had this color of luggage. Some had all white versions that included the white wheels, handles and zippers, an ultra-chic look. Even though my set had black wheel, handle and zipper details, I felt very en vogue and relieved. Likewise, I received numerous compliments on my luggage from airline check in personnel and fellow travelers!
Fourth, because the bags sustained no damage except for minor scratches that are common in hardside luggage, I didn’t have to file a claim on the 10 year warranty that came with this set of IT Luggage. Filing a warranty claim is always a hassle.
Last, this unique set of luggage accompanied me on this unique travel journey. It was my first time around the world. I did it solo and it was a part of the launching of my new venture, Astrid Solo Travel Advisor. The trip was the most exciting and enjoyable travel experience I have had to date. I saw so many interesting things and sites, met so many interesting people, experienced a variety of cultures and had lots of wonderful solo travel moments. My IT Luggage was an integral part of this fabulous trip and thus, this luggage set will always hold a special place in my heart.
For my followers, this is my positive follow up report on my white luggage prior post, The Best Luggage Set for a Trip Around the World. I would love to hear comments or luggage related questions. I have had both good and bad experiences with different types and styles of luggage and I am happy to share my past experiences for each type.
Check out this informative video produced by the company.