The airlines are brutal on luggage. If you are a frequent international traveler like I am, it is really disheartening to see what just one trip can do to your luggage. With the stricter weight limits, you need to have light weight luggage, but it would be nice to have something durable as well.
Two years ago, we got up early on Black Friday to go to Kohls to get a really cheap luggage set. Not only was this a colossal mistake because Black Friday brings out the worst in humanity, but the luggage was trashed after one flight. We've continued to use it, but every trip brings new holes and shattered plastic on the inside. We have to wonder if the bag is going to hold together every time we take a trip.
You can buy luggage in a variety of price ranges but it all tends to look the same. The PX has a very limited selection and it is not that cheap, so we wanted to get some new bags for Curt to take back to Korea tomorrow. He already has two long trips scheduled for January so he needs some more reliable bags. I did some research online to see the best reviewed suitcases and a few recurring comments came up:
1. Avoid the 5-piece cheap luggage sets available at discount stores unless you will primarily be using the bags for car trips and only a few airline trips.
2. Choose bags made from ballistic nylon instead of polyester. I have a bag from college that is one its last legs but it has lasted at least 10 years. I think it is made of nylon instead of polyester. One review used a butter knife to stab luggage and it went through on some bags. The ones we got at Kohls would have definitely failed the butter knife test.
3. Avoid bags with designer names on them because they are usually poorly made and can also attract thieves.
4. Spinner bags did not get good reviews.
5. It is worth spending more on luggage if you are a frequent traveler. Briggs and Riley was mentioned as long lasting luggage with a great warranty and customer service. Travelpro was mentioned as a decent lower-end luggage.
We went to Macy's today because they carry Travelpro. They also had Samsonite and a few other brands. We found some Pathfinder bags on clearance which ended up being cheaper than the Travelpro. The original price of each bag was $460. Crazy. It might be worth it if they really do last, but I don't have $920 to spend on luggage. They were marked down to about $80 a bag and we had a coupon for 15% off on top of that. It was more expensive than the 5-piece cheapo sets we've been buying, but affordable enough for our experiment. If they work out, we will keep an eye out for more sales to get more bags. Luggage tends to be put on sale periodically.
Anyone have any favorite luggage brands?
*Update: The Pathfinder bags are awesome! High quality. Great compartments and divisions. Smooth gliding as you pull them. Easy touch one finger expansion feature.They have been on 7 international trips (Curt's return to Korea after Chistmas and then 3 roundtrips after that) and are holding up very well.
I bought one hard-sided Heys and several Delsey Helium Breeze bags. I bought them at TJ Maxx and Marshalls. It is hard to tell what you are getting because not all the tags are on and not all tags say all the information you need. I didn;t buy any Samsonite because no Samonsite bag said what material they were made of. There are several quality levels in each luggage line and they look and the names sound very similar, so you have to be careful. The Heys and Delsey bags have done well on this first trip, but there aren't as nice as the Pathfinders. I still don't think you should ever pay $460 for a suitcase, but if you are rolling in money or you find them on sale for under $200 a bag, I would highly recommend them.