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Top-quality luggage is stylish and tough enough to handle being thrown into a car trunk, cargo hold, or overhead bin or jostled around on a baggage carousel. We've spent hours researching and testing luggage from the top travel brands, evaluating durability, versatility, and value.
Our best overall pick, the Travelpro Platinum Elite Softside Expandable Spinner Wheel Bag, is stain- and abrasion-resistant, has precision glide wheels, and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Here is the best luggage available online.
Best Overall: Travelpro Platinum Elite Softside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage, 25 inches
The first Travelpro bag—and one of the first-ever wheeled suitcases—was created in the late 1980s by a commercial airline pilot who was looking for an easier way to transport his stuff. The idea took off (literally!) and today, Travelpro bags are known for being extremely durable, even under tough conditions. Although these bags certainly aren't the cheapest options out there, loyal fans say they last for years and can withstand lots of tossing around on the tarmac.
This particular bag is from the company's Platinum Elite line and has a built-in suiter (for items that tend to wrinkle), several accessory pockets, and the ability to expand by two inches if you tend to overpack. It also comes with a TSA-approved lock to keep your items secure.
Best Affordable: American Tourister Meridian NXT 25" Softside Spinner Luggage
American Tourister is part of Samsonite, and the brand is known for making dependable bags that won't blow the entire vacation budget. This bag has four multi-directional wheels that enable it to pivot in several different directions, a full interior lining, bumpers to help protect it from dings, and an expansion zipper for those trips where you need to bring just a few more things.
Besides basic black and gray, this pick also comes in red and blue, which will be a little easier to spot on the baggage carousel.
Best Set: Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage 3-Piece Set
It would be easy to love this three-piece set simply based on its good looks: It comes in an array of colors that includes teal, bright pink, and orange. But it's also a fairly wallet-friendly option, since you'll get three bags—a 20-inch carry-on as well as 24- and 28-inch suitcases—for what some brands charge for just one.
Hardside luggage used to get a bad rep for getting scratched easily and being cumbersome, but these bags are made from a high-tech polycarbonate that resists damage and is also incredibly lightweight, with the carry-on bag weighing about 7 pounds empty. A TSA lock is also included on each of the suitcases.
Best Carry-On: L.L. Bean Medium Carryall Spinner Pullman
This carry-on weighs just under eight pounds and has spinner wheels that give it 360-degree flexibility. The fabric is constructed to resist rips and abrasion, and the bag's core is rigid for extra protection. A slim, vertical pocket on the side has a key fob and space to stash small items like pens and headphones. It's available in plum, black, and a rich blue. At 22 inches high, it will fit in most airlines' overhead compartments.
Best Hard-Sided Case: Victorinox Swiss Army Connex Hardside Spinner, 27 inches
This seriously solid bag from the makers of Swiss Army knives weighs just 8.5 pounds, which is quite lightweight given the bag's size. It can expand about 1.5 inches, and has eight caster wheels that can pivot on a dime. Inside, there are mesh compartments to help you organize your smaller items and a strap to help you condense your folded clothes.
The bag comes with a TSA-approved lock as well as a multi-use tool inspired by the brand's popular knives that incorporates a built-in USB port, an ID tag, and a pen.
Best Duffle: Dagne Dover 365 Large Landon Neoprene Carryall Duffle Bag
This good-looking duffle bag, which measures 18 x 12 inches, balances the line between sporty and sleek, and works well for a weekend getaway or as a carry-on. It comes in black, gray, and moss green, and it's made from a tough Neoprene fabric that's lightweight (the bag weighs about three pounds when empty), protective, and easy to keep clean.
You'll be able to greatly reduce your airport stress levels thanks to the well-organized interior: There's a 15-inch sleeve for a laptop, a key chain, and a shoe bag and mesh tech pouch (both are removable). On the outside, you'll find two water bottle holders and an easily accessible pocket on the back to hold your passport and phone.
Best Smart Suitcase: Away Bigger Carry-On
Away suitcases have a devoted following among celebrities and Instagram travel influencers, thanks to their solid construction, clean lines, and gorgeous vibrant color options. This popular carry-on measures 22.7 inches high and currently comes in available in 17 different hues, including copper and lipstick-red.
Under the handle is a removable lithium battery that allows you to charge your cell phone or other devices at the airport, in a cab, or on the train. A hidden laundry bag helps keep worn clothing discreetly separate from everything else, and although the bag has a hard exterior, there are straps to help you compress your clothing down to give just a bit more space.
Best for Kids: Younglingz Green Lil' Flyer
This adorable carry-on suitcase is 18 x 20 inches, so it provides plenty of room for your little one's clothing and those essential in-flight distractions. And not only does it have wheels that pivot 360 degrees, making it easy for a kid to pull, they also light up, thanks to funky LED lights.
The bag comes with a padded seat, safety belt, and fold-out handlebars and foot pedals, so if your child is at least two years old and weighs less than 50 pounds, they can ride on top while you head through the airport or train station.
Best Lightweight: Tumi Latitude Short Trip Packing Case, 27 inches
To create the hard-shell exterior of this elegant, 27-inch case, Tumi uses multiple layers of a tough ballistic nylon material that's also used in the automotive industry: It has the ability to remain flexible even under pressure (an important quality for both bags and the travelers who carry them!). Inside are several zip pockets as well as mesh straps to help keep items in place.
Want to pack an outfit already on a hanger? There's a bracket inside to attach one of Tumi's special suitcase hangers—just note that these must be purchased separately. The bag weighs just 8.2 pounds when empty, which is quite lightweight given its size—the carry-on version clocks in at a mere 6.3 pounds. It's available in purple, black, navy, and silver.
With a fairly affordable price and a reputation for durability, the Travelpro Platinum Elite Softside luggage (view at Amazon) wins as our best overall choice, as it would work well for families or frequent business travelers. If you prefer a bag that's slightly more lightweight with a hardside exterior, try the Samsonite Omni PC line (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in Luggage
Are you planning to mostly carry on your luggage or will you need to check? A 22-inch bag should fit in most airlines' overhead bins, but if you want a suitcase that will definitely fit overhead, research your favorite carriers' rules before you commit.
Hard vs. Soft
Many hard-sided bags don't expand, so you'll be out of luck if you need to shove in a few last-minute items, and they also don't compress, which can make them hard to store when you're not traveling. On the plus side, they can be easily wiped down and are less vulnerable to damage from moisture. They're also great for protecting delicate items, which is why they're often favored by photographers for camera gear.
Today, suitcases might come with USB ports, zip-out pouches, hidden laundry bags, TSA-approved locks, and even a seat to transport a toddler. Though many of these features aren't must-haves, they're good to take note of if you travel often or with high-value items.
How do you reset a luggage lock if you forgot the combination?
If you didn’t reset the code on your TSA luggage lock, you can try to revert it to its factory setting, which is usually 000. If that doesn’t do the trick, you try to persuade a TSA officer at the airport to have mercy on you and open your lock using the corresponding master key, or buy a master key on the internet. Otherwise, you can contact the lock manufacturer for help resetting the lock. Or you can try to crack the code yourself by trying all possible combinations. TSA locks generally have 3 dials, so this means trying a maximum of 1,000 combinations starting with 001. If you can remember any of the numbers in your combination, you can save time by starting there.
How do you measure luggage?
When measuring luggage, it’s important to include the total dimensions of the bag from the ground to the top of the handle, rather than just taking into account the internal measurements of the bag. Keep in mind that while airports might enforce strict bag size requirements, luggage manufacturers don’t always take wheels and top handles into account when listing dimensions. Read the fine print and double check to avoid any unwelcome surprises at the airport. To measure luggage at home, you can use a measuring tape, or a measuring app on your smartphone.
What are the dimensions for carry-on luggage?
Carry-on luggage is required to fit in the overhead bin of an aircraft. Unfortunately, there is no absolute global standard for the size of carry-on luggage, which varies between regions and airline carriers. In the US, the standard carry-on size is generally 22x14x9 inches including wheels and handles, but can vary slightly depending on the airline. International carry-on sizes are generally 21 inches tall or less, and can vary between regional carriers, so check with the airline before flying. Don’t assume that your go-to carry-on for cross-country trips will work for a cross-continental hop to Paris.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Lexi Dwyer has written about sunscreens, games, and many different types of gifts for The Spruce. She's also a former magazine editor who once had the arduous job of researching honeymoons and travel products for a living. Her bright red Victorinox 24-inch suitcase—one of the original Werks Traveler models—has been around for almost two decades (older than her marriage!) and is still going strong.