High quality, budget-friendly suitcase

What is a good brand of luggage that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? A reader wrote:Ogio 21 inch

I know you have done a lot of articles on what is the best piece of luggage for frequent travelers out there, but I have a different kind of question about luggage. I’m shopping for my mother for Mother’s Day/her Birthday, and she really doesn’t need one of those high-durability, high-end pieces. She just needs a new piece of luggage that is light so she can fit it into an over-head bin.  It would also be great if it could expand so she could do longer trips with it. She doesn’t travel much, but her luggage right now just makes me cry when I see it. I was hoping to stay under $150? Have you ever come across a piece that would be good for this?

That’s a great question! I have spent a lot of time focusing on high quality bags because, let’s face it, frequent travelers abuse their Tommy hilfiger suitcaseluggage. (If you’re looking for a higher end bag, check out my Top 5 Quality Travel Bags post from a while back.) However, not everyone is going to be on the road two weeks per month. What if you only travel a few times a year?

My two cents: even if you’re flying infrequently, it’s still a good idea to buy a quality bag. Many moons ago when I lived in Barcelona for a semester, I took an enormous suitcase full of every clothing item I owned. While I had lots of fabulous stuff to wear, when I wanted to hop a train to Madrid or Seville for the weekend I had a bit of a struggle. Halfway through my trip I purchased a super cheap small suitcase. Halfway through my first weekend excursion the zipper bust. Worthless, and a waste of money I couldn’t afford on a college budget. For future trips I taped it closed. Not classy or very functional!

But I digress. I still recommend a solid brand with a good warranty. One way to find expensive bags on a budget is to try stores like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. I got a really great Tommy Hilfiger suitcase at Marshall’s five or six years ago which has held up great through a number of vacations, including lugging my maternity pillow around Texas and Mexico (very similar to this navy one for $168, but bright pink)(pictured, bottom right). Another option is to wait until companies come out with their new colors for the season, as they will often sell the outgoing color at a steep discount. I have an eight-year-old black version of this 21″ Ogio bag for $109 (pictured, top right). It sounds exactly like what you want—good price, lightweight, expandable, with plenty of pockets. And I can vouch for the durability!

Readers, what do you recommend for budget-friendly quality suitcases?


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  1. I swear by this one:
    Samsonite Lift Spinner 21 Inch Expandable Wheeled Luggage- Amazon has it the cheapest on sale right now for $95. Has the 4 wheels (there is one with just 2 as well), is expandable, and has front pockets, which will make life wonderful for her travels. I’m a heavy duty traveler and this has withstood many many adventures!

  2. As a frequent traveler, I look for luggage with lifetime warranties.

    I usually go with Victorinox but also have used LL Bean as they have a warranty and excellent customer service.

  3. I agree with Shannon’s comments from above. I have the 21in Lift Spinner from Samsonite and recommend it to all of my family. It is indeed very light, easy to wheel down the center isle of a plane sideways, and it comes in great colors. I have taken it on over 100k miles of travel from Buenos Aires, London, and Hawaii to name a few cities. Samsonite makes additional sizes in the Lift series if she is looking to add a checked bag as well. Good luck and happy travels.

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