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The top 5 best (and best value) suitcases, holdalls, backpacks and bags for holidays and travelling

Updated on April 15, 2013
Courtesy of Ambro
Courtesy of Ambro

Best carry on luggage or carry on bag (and best lightweight luggage for international travel)

So you’ve decided you are off on the best holiday you have ever had. You need to make sure your luggage is up to the job don’t you? Or perhaps you are going on a vitally important business trip. Dress to impress – and that includes your bags.

1) For the best bag for that all important business trip, you need sturdiness mixed with style. Many business travelers opt to take only carry-on luggage so there is no endless waiting at ticket counters and check in desks. Not to mention the free-for-all at the luggage carousel after the flight arrives. My top choice for this type of travel is the Briggs and Riley International Carry-on Expandable Case. It is not only a perfect size to fit in the overhead bins but has a built-in suit holder with a foam roll-bar to stop wrinkling. The rest of the body has lots of panels to keep clothes in and stop the contents moving around while travelling which really helps to stop everything coming back out as if it had never even seen an iron. It also looks extremely stylish and with a name like Briggs and Riley you know you are getting excellent quality and workmanship.

For a best value model, try the Samsonite B-Lite Spinner. Because this is considerably cheaper, it isn’t as stylish, however, it is very smart looking and easy to manoeuvre. As well as this, it is not as rigid as the Briggs and Riley but that only makes it easier to squeeze into the overhead cabin space.

Best luggage for frequent travelers

2) If you are going on a long trip, maybe backpacking on the journey of a lifetime, compartments and pockets are key. There are many things to consider when choosing a backpack; its size, whether it has wheels, how it opens, optional extras like a detachable day-pack. The main one of these though should be how big a bag you are prepared to lug around. 50-60 liters seems the optimal size that will stop you putting too many belongings in and risking an overbalancing, but still having enough space for essentials. Depending on your ability at packing, that should give you a packed weight of about 20kg which is just about right for most airlines’ limits. The main brands are Osprey, Lowe-Alpine and North Face (although Gregory and Deuter also have excellent bags). My favorite is the North Face La Loba. It is 60 liters and made for women I'm afraid - if you are slightly more of the male persuasion (!), I have been recommended the Osprey Atmos 65 as it is lightweight and very comfortable.

If money is an issue, then the AVS Ul 60 Plus is a nice price and a good buy. If you are going to carry any of these for an extended period of time though, it is essential you try them out in the department store first. You can always find a more reasonable price on-line when you know what you are looking for.

Best quality luggage brands

3) For a luxury annual holiday, you need panache, style and above all usability. Think brand names here for example Louis Vuitton, or Hermes luggage. These are everything you could ever need in a case but in case you need style with a little less cash, there are alternatives. Flight 001 has some really cute bags in lots of different colors that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Courtesy of Phaitoon
Courtesy of Phaitoon

Best hardcase luggage (hard shell luggage)

4) For an activity holiday, as well as looking stylish, the luggage needs to be the right size for your equipment. Obviously, it depends on the type of trip you are taking but of the large holdall type bags, I think Briggs and Riley’s expandable duffel is ideal. It has pockets at either end that expand for extra space if required but also separated pockets inside for those little bits and pieces that you want to be able to find!

On a lower budget level, IMAN’s Global Chic Duffels are gorgeous and will look excellent next to the skis or diving gear.

Best luggage brands for international travel

5) For an all-rounder that suits all the above categories, you need durability and style. The Victorinox Alpineer covers all the bases. It has wheels but also is very lightweight and extremely rugged. There is a sizable interior for lots of clothes but of course it does not necessarily need to be filled so the final dimensions are all dependent on how much you want to take with you.

For a more reasonable option, try the superbly named Samsonite Tote-a-ton duffel. Very reasonable and by a name you can trust.

Whichever of these you decide to purchase, good luck on your travels and enjoy every minute.


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