With travel picking back up, many of us are dusting off our suitcases only to realise they’re… actually quite beat-up. Or at least that was the case for me, someone who’s planning a trip home to the US soon. I took one look at my dusty, mark-ridden suitcase and decided it was time for an upgrade.
And because I’m all about shelling out for quality upfront, both from a savings perspective — if you pay for better materials and the exact style you want, you’ll end up getting luggage that lasts longer — and for environmental reasons, as you’ll be producing less waste, I decided to reach out to a few frequent travellers, including one who even started his own luggage label, to find out what exactly to look for when picking a suitcase.
Chelsea Pottenger, International Motivational Speaker and Founder of EQ Minds
As an international keynote speaker who travels three times per week and always working on the road, there are a few key features I look for when choosing a suitcase.
One of the main things I look for is a polycarbonate shell. If I’m going to invest in good luggage, I want it to last and it also needs to be lightweight.
My luggage needs to be able to move well, through airports, over paths and roads. Manoeuvrability is important so I opt for 4 spinner wheels and aim for really smooth and quiet wheels.
When I travel, I pack corporate wear, activewear, loungewear and swimwear. If you are a variety-packer like me then some form of strap compression system to separate clothes and let you get more belongings in your suitcase is key.
I look for an inbuilt TSA lock that makes it easier to secure my luggage and travel with a calm mind.
I also always travel with matching luggage sets — another way to make connections, airport transfers and hotel porters’ job easy to allocate and keep your pieces together. (especially too if travelling with a workgroup).
Hot tip: I also always pack laundry bags in my luggage so I can separate my clean from my dirty and lessen my time rifling through my luggage and up my time enjoying holiday wines.
Aidan Walsh, Founder of AIDAN
I have always been an avid traveller and managed businesses globally over the years. Now that borders are open, I am travelling frequently between Australia, USA and Europe. This frequent long haul travel means I require a suitcase that not only is durable, wearable, aesthetically pleasing, but also practical and derives from some form of fashion that makes me feel a certain way when I use it.
It was this concept that spurred me into creating my own range of suitcases, luggage and travel accessories, AIDAN. My signature suitcases have a scratch-resistant and durable polycarbonate shell with aluminium framing and corners for extra protection, a TSA-approved latch coded lock, 360-degree Japanese Hinomoto run-silent wheels and an easy access compression pad that snaps and release with storing compartments to access my electronics or other personal goods.
This case gets me from A to B, ensuring my belongings are secure and are aesthetically pleasing so I can go straight to the airport to a meeting in LA or a beach club in the South of France, if required, and feel confident and suave when doing so.
Kasey Pearce, Business Relationship Manager at NAC Media Group
I’m fortunate enough to travel a lot for work, and so have nailed what to look for in a suitcase:
For reassurance your luggage won’t be destroyed in the event it is security checked opened during travel. You can fly easy knowing your items are safely secured.
A lightweight, sturdy shell case
Always! Especially with long haul flights and the many conveyor belts, connecting flights and some not-so-delicate luggage handlers along the way. However to note not all hard shell cases are equal, always check the weight when purchasing as that can equal an extra shoe or three.
Always a colour
Definitely no black luggage. I like to easily spot my luggage coming out on the baggage carousel. No one needs that extra time waiting for it to loop back around when missed spotting through a sea of black.
Four spinner wheels
They’re a necessity on my carry-on cases — so much easier to zip quickly around airports a la Rose Huntington-Whitley. Not to mention it is the perfect tote bag holder.