A FFU Reader emailed me over the weekend asking me for recommendations for luggage, so I thought it might be useful if I share what I use when I travel.
Where To Buy Luggage
Luggage I suspect is like most other things in life, in that people usually wait until their trip is coming up to buy luggage.
As I always talk about Long Term Planning, this also applies to purchasing luggage.
Don’t wait until the week before your trip to buy luggage because you will not get a good deal.
I don’t know how most people buy luggage but I have a sneaking suspicion that they just go to Macy’s or their local department store.
DON’T DO THAT!
9/10 times, it is a huge rip off!
With the Internet, there are numerous websites that cater exclusively to luggage, so for the price of 1 bag at Macy’s, you can get an entire set.
Also most luggage websites offer free shipping and no tax!
So if you are buying luggage, opt for buying it online.
For my personal travel needs, I have 2 sets of luggage that each serve a unique purpose.
Samsonite Winfield 3 Piece Hardshell Spinner Set
This Winfield luggage set by Samsonite, I bought in 2009 and it has been to Sydney, Europe, India, Hawaii, and a whole host of other places all without any issue.
This set I mostly use when I am traveling for an extended period of time and staying at Hotels.
There are a few features that I absolutely love about this set.
4 Wheels aka Spinners
If there was ever a “technological revolution” in luggage, the addition of 4 wheels has to be it.
While this may not seem like a huge deal, when your bag is filled to the brim with 50 pounds of stuff, it is a lifesaver.
Instead of pulling the bag behind you at an angle, with 4 wheels you can actually just push the bag fairly easy.
Also the wheels rotate 360 degree, which is nice.
Hardshell With Built In TSA Locks
The outside of my Samsonite bags are made of 100% Polycarbonate, which is extremely lightweight and durable hard “plastic”.
Since it isn’t made out of fabric, you don’t ever have to worry about any tears.
While this is a “Hardshell”, this is absolutely nothing like those super Hardshell Plastic bags from the 1980s that weigh 40 pounds empty.
While the Hardshell can get scratches, my Bags have flown over 50,000 miles and the few scratches that they have can’t be seen because they blend in with the black color.
Also the Hardshell is fairly useful because it protects everything inside.
I have transported many wine bottles wrapped in clothes within my checked bags, and I have never had a single bottle break.
10 Year Warranty
Possibly the best part of this luggage set is that there is a 10 Year Warranty, which I believe is standard on all Samsonite bags.
When originally researching which luggage to buy, I started with Tumi (until I saw the price tag), and I was shocked to find out that Tumi Bags only have a “Limited Warranty” for 5 years.
Anyways, for the price I paid, it is hard to beat a 10 Year Warranty.
Due to the Polycarbonate Shell, I doubt I’ll ever have to replace the bags for structural reasons.
I bought these bags in 2009 when they were new to the market.
However I bought them over Thanksgiving and with some clever cash-back tricks, I believe I got all 3 bags for around $350 total.
The best part about this is that shipping is free and there is most likely no sales tax.
When you divide the price of the set by the 3 bags included, it is only $141 a bag, which is a steal.
Also if you first clear your cookies and go to Evreward.com, and search for either eBags or LuggageOnline, you can get an additional 8 Ultimate Rewards Points per $1 spent.
If you prefer Cashback, you can get 10% cashback from TopCashBack.com at LuggageOnline, effectively bringing the price down to only $381 for the set.
Not a bad deal!
REI Vagabond Backpack
In addition to my Samsonite Set, I also have a REI Vagabond Backpack.
This backpack is a more recent purchase, as I bought it after my friend Chris let me borrow his extra one when we went to Spain last year.
Chris has always promoted the gospel of backpacks, and I never could figure out why because they don’t have wheels which means you have to carry them everywhere.
However after using Chris’s extra Vagabond backpack for an entire week, I was sold.
The reason why Backpacks are extremely useful, especially if you are “backpacking” from one Hostel to another, is because Backpacks don’t have any internal junk taking up valuable space.
Typically luggage with wheels like my Hardshell Set above, have internal housing for the wheels that can take up valuable space.
My REI Vagabond backpack is great because it holds 40 Liters of stuff and has tons of pockets.
The best part about this backpack is that it qualifies as a Carry On!
For my past trip to LA & Seattle, I took this bag because it held way more stuff than a normal Carry On, however it fit right in the over-head compartment without issue. No one even questioned me about it.
Also if you have a REI Membership ($20), it automatically gives you lifetime warranty on any REI branded gear such as the REI Vagabond backpack and a member rebate annually.
I paid only $89 for my backpack because it was on-sale, however it currently retails for $149.
If you sign up for a REI emails, they always send out coupons for REI related gear.
But for $149, I have a backpack that will last a lifetime, so you can’t beat that.
Anyways that is my luggage situation in a nutshell.
I’d love to hear what type of luggage you guys have and what you would recommend.