What to look for in hardside luggage

What features should travelers look for in hardside luggage? Reader B asks….

Hi RW! I need to get a new suitcase for my regular international trips. I always try to carry-on but sometimes have to check my bag. Since I know airlines can be tough on suitcases I’d like to get a hardside bag. What are the things to look for in a hardside? Do you have any that you can recommend? Thank you!

Great question! When choosing any type of suitcase the most important feature is quality construction. Beyond that, think about functionality . Does the handle slide smoothly, and is it tall enough? Is it comfortable to move around, and maneuver through crowded spaces? How much does it weigh?

If you’re happy about the construction, determine your packing needs. How many pockets do you like, and where do you want them? How much stuff will fit inside?

Hardside luggage has a lot of benefits (like the tough exterior), but there are plenty of things to consider as well. Many hardside suitcases open in half (50-50), rather than having a lid that closes (70-30). Another potential issue: many hardside suitcases don’t have an exterior pocket. This would not be a dealbreaker for me, but could be for someone else! Finally, do you anticipate needing an expandable suitcase? Again, some hardside luggage is expandable but some is not.

Here are a few hardside carry-ons that are highly rated, affordable, and recommended by readers:

The Samsonite Winfield 2 Spinner 20” is recommended frequently by readers. There are plenty of colors, and the $89 starting price is hard to beat.

The Delsey Helium line is the hardside suitcase line recommended most often. There are a variety of sizes available, including the Aero (pictured) and the slightly smaller Aero International.

The Travelpro Crew 11 21” Hardside Spinner is the hardside version of the suitcase I use most frequently. The price is affordable, the warranty is good, and the reviews are positive.

Also, how cool is this Amazon Carry-on Guide? They show you carry-on suitcases that will fit within each airline’s carry-on guidelines.

Readers, what do you look for in hardside luggage? Any specific suitcase you want to recommend?


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