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Best Checked Luggage To Travel The World With You

Checked Luggage
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Updated March 19, 2024

There’s nothing quite like getting your checked bag back, seeing it whirl around the belt to then notice that a wheel is missing or there’s a giant scratch. Checked bags go through a beating, despite slapping a few fragile stickers on it, so having some sturdy luggage is important, especially if you’re a frequent traveler. As a travel journalist, I’ve gone through a few checked bags in my day, and with the help of others’ suggestions and reviews, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best checked bags.

What to consider when choosing checked luggage

Size

When you’re choosing luggage, bigger doesn’t always mean better. It’s important to think about what kind of trips you take, and that you’re going to be the one lugging this around. If you tend to hotel jump, use public transportation, or hop on buses, trains, etc., you might want something more manageable and not necessarily the biggest suitcase you can find. Choose a bag that gives you plenty of room, while still being manageable, comfortable to walk with, and easy to lift.

Flexibility and stretch

We’ve all been there when you buy one too many souvenirs. I traveled to a few of the European Christmas Markets during the holidays and came back with everything from bottles of wine and ornaments, to Christmas gifts for loved ones, so at times your bag will be a little overstuffed. Some flexibility, stretch, and expandable zippers are a really nice feature if your bag is a bit more full than expected and you don’t want to crush anything.

Wheels

There’s a huge difference between four wheels and two wheels. The 360-degree, four-wheel bags are easier to navigate through the airport, in my opinion.

Organization

This isn’t necessarily the most important feature. You can always get toiletry bags, makeup bags, packing cubes, and your own separate organization, but you’ll want some built-in pockets to be able to separate important items.

Our picks for the best checked luggage

Best checked bag with locks: Samsonite Winfield

Best checked bag with locks
Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels, Teal, Carry-On 20-Inch

Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels, Teal, Carry-On 20-Inch

I use a Samsonite as a full-time travel journalist, and I know a lot of people who use a Samsonite in the industry. They have an incredible reputation for a reason. Although the Samsonite Winfield is what I essentially ended up choosing as the best checked bag for most travelers, the Samsonite brand is a great choice in general. The bag is backed by a 10-year limited warranty and the spinner wheels make it easy to navigate through the airport. This bag comes with TSA locks for added protection and pockets for storage and organization.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 14.5 x 23 inches
  • Weight: 6.7 pounds
  • Material: Polycarbonate
  • Price on publish: $103.99 - $149.32

The bottom line:

Any Samsonite bag, especially the Samsonite Winfield, is a reliable option for most travelers.

Get it here: Samsonite Winfield


Best budget checked luggage: Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner

Best budget checked luggage
Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage, Black, Checked-Large 28-Inch

Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage, Black, Checked-Large 28-Inch

For a budget choice that is under the $100 mark (though certain colors command higher prices), the Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner is a great option on the market. It has 360-degree wheels, pockets for storing essentials, a telescope handle, all protected by a hardside exterior. It even comes in 14 different colors.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 17 x 12 x 28 inches
  • Weight: 11 pounds
  • Material: ABS
  • Price on publish: $87.94 - $180 depending on color

The bottom line:

For a great piece of hardside luggage under $100, the Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner comes in 14 colors and is a solid option.

Get it here: Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner


Best durable checked luggage: Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage

Best durable checked luggage
Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage

Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage

For a durable option when it comes to checked luggage, the Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable bag is the way to go. It gives you durability, with a solid exterior made from micro polycarbonate that protects your items and is scratch-resistant. It also comes in nine colors.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 15 x 22 inches
  • Weight: 6.81 pounds
  • Material: 100% polycarbonate construction
  • Price on publish: $110.54 - $159.99 depending on color

The bottom line:

For a durable option that comes in nine colors, go for the Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable bag.

Get it here: Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage


Best lightweight checked luggage: Rimowa Essential Lite Cabin

Best lightweight checked luggage
RIMOWA Essential Lite Cabin Carry-On Suitcase in Green Gloss - Polycarbonate - 21,7x15,8x9,1

RIMOWA Essential Lite Cabin Carry-On Suitcase in Green Gloss - Polycarbonate - 21,7x15,8x9,1

For a lightweight checked luggage option, Rimowa has a wonderful selection of suitcases that won’t weigh you down, including the Rimowa Essential Lite Cabin that’s under 5 pounds. Pretty good for hard shell luggage! Although it has a bit of a hefty price tag, it’s built to last you a long time.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 21.7 x 15.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Weight: 4.9 pounds
  • Material: Polycarbonate and poly jacquard
  • Price on publish: $760

The bottom line:

For a lightweight luggage option under five pounds, the Rimowa Cabin is a wise investment.

Get it here: Rimowa Essential Lite Cabin


Best checked hardside luggage: Monos Check-In Medium

Best checked hardside luggage
Monos Check-In Medium

Monos Check-In Medium

For the best checked hardside luggage, go with the Monos Check-In Medium. With checked luggage, you don’t want to go too big because it can be a hassle. The Monos Check-In has plenty of space, without being huge and annoying to lug around. There’s a telescopic handle and a TSA lock for extra privacy, in addition to a variety of colors, five of which are limited edition.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 26.5 x 18.5 x 10.5 inches
  • Weight: 9.59 pounds
  • Material: Aerospace-grade polycarbonate shell
  • Price on publish: $325 - $395 depending on color

The bottom line:

For a reliable and stylish piece of hard side luggage, go with the Monos Check-In Medium.

Get it here: Monos Check-In Medium


Best checked softside luggage: SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable Roller Luggage

Best checked softside luggage
SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable Roller Luggage, Dark Grey, Checked-Medium 25-Inch

SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable Roller Luggage, Dark Grey, Checked-Medium 25-Inch

For the best softside luggage, the SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable Roller Luggage is a great option. It has 360-degree spinner wheels, front pockets, and an expandable zipper to give you more room, if needed. There’s also great organization inside the bag, and secure spaces to keep things in place. It comes in seven colors and is made with a scuff-resistant fabric.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 16.75 x 11 x 26.25 inches
  • Weight: 9.5 pounds
  • Material: Scuff-resistant polyester fabric
  • Price on publish: $105.99 - $129.99 depending on color

The bottom line:

If you’re looking for softside luggage that has plenty of space for your next big trip, go with the SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable Roller Luggage.

Get it here: SwissGear Sion Softside Expandable Roller Luggage


Best expandable checked luggage: Samsonite Solyte DLX Softside Expandable Luggage

Best expandable checked luggage
Samsonite Solyte DLX Softside Expandable Luggage

Samsonite Solyte DLX Softside Expandable Luggage

For a spacious, expandable bag for the trips where you buy one too many souvenirs (we’ve all been there), it’s good to have an option to give your bag a little bit of extra legroom. Bringing it back to Samsonite, backed by a 10-year warranty, the Samsonite Solyte DLX Softside Expandable Luggage is an expandable option for when you just need a little bit more space than usual.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 13 x 21 x 33 inches
  • Weight: 10.5 pounds
  • Material: Polyester
  • Price on publish: $229.99 - $349.99 depending on color

The bottom line:

For an expandable option, go with the Samsonite Solyte DLX Softside Expandable Luggage to give you a little more room when you need it on your next trip.

Get it here: Samsonite Solyte DLX Softside Expandable Luggage


Best value checked luggage: Amazon Basics 20-Inch Hardside Spinner

Best value checked luggage
Amazon Basics Expandable Hardside Carry-On Luggage, 20-Inch Spinner with Four Spinner Wheels and Scratch-Resistant Surface, Black

Amazon Basics Expandable Hardside Carry-On Luggage, 20-Inch Spinner with Four Spinner Wheels and Scratch-Resistant Surface, Black

Luggage can be pretty expensive at times, so the Amazon Basics section offers budget friendly bag options for a great value. This Amazon Basics 20-Inch Hardside Spinner has four double wheels and a telescopic handle to make it easy to pull your bag next to you through the airport. Priced at under $100, this is a great value.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 14.76 x 9.45 x 21.46 inches
  • Weight: 7.34 pounds
  • Material: ABS
  • Price on publish: $80.52

The bottom line:

If you’re looking for a great checked bag to get you through your next big trip, the Amazon Basics 20-Inch Hardside Spinner is a wonderful option at a great value.

Get it here: Amazon Basics 20-Inch Hardside Spinner


Best checked trunk luggage: LEVEL8 Trunk Luggage

Best checked trunk luggage
LEVEL8 Trunk Luggage

LEVEL8 Trunk Luggage

For a lightweight piece of trunk luggage, this LEVEL8 made from polycarbonate is secure with a TSA lock and a ton of space. This trunk is sleek, with spinner wheels to help you get through the airport with ease. It even comes with a two-year warranty.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 13.3 x 16.6 x 29.1 inches
  • Weight: 11.44 pounds
  • Material: 100% polycarbonate
  • Price on publish: $299.99

The bottom line:

For a piece of trunk luggage that is stylish, sleek, and incredibly spacious, go with the LEVEL8 Trunk Luggage.

Get it here: LEVEL8 Trunk Luggage


Best checked duffle bag: The North Face Base Camp Voyager Duffel

Best checked duffle bag
The North Face Base Camp Voyager Duffel

The North Face Base Camp Voyager Duffel

There are quite a few good duffel bags on the market, but nothing really beats the North Face Base Camp Voyager Duffel. This high-quality duffel can get you through anything from backpacking through Europe to a safari in Botswana. I personally have this one and it can fit so much more than you think, with cushioned shoulder straps to help you stay comfortable while you’re traveling.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 22.7' x 13.8' x 8.7 inches
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Material: 300D recycled polyester tarpaulin with TPU laminate
  • Price on publish: $125

The bottom line:

For a spacious duffel that can also be worn as a backpack, go with the North Face Base Camp Voyager Duffel.

Get it here: The North Face Base Camp Voyager Duffel


Best checked luggage for organization: OGIO Terminal Travel Bag

Best checked luggage for organization
OGIO Terminal Travel Bag

OGIO Terminal Travel Bag

If you’re looking for a lot of organization, the OGIO Terminal Travel Bag is a solid choice. There are large pockets to hold your shoes, clothes, and larger items, with external pockets and dividers to keep smaller items organized and easy to reach. It comes in 10 colors, so you can choose your favorite!

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 29 x 16 x 13 inches
  • Weight: 10.6 pounds
  • Material: Interior neoprene lining, 420 D doby nylon
  • Price on publish: $208.10 - $239.99

The bottom line:

If you’re looking for a little extra organization in your next travel bag, the OGIO Terminal Travel Bag is a wonderful option.

Get it here: OGIO Terminal Travel Bag


What is the difference between hard-sided and soft-sided luggage?

When choosing between hard-sided and soft-sided luggage, it’s really a matter of preference. I tend to lean more towards hard-sided luggage, but I do have a few bags that are soft-sided. Soft-side bags are generally lighter, so you can subtract that from the weight and fill your bag with more items that you need. Personally, I feel like the hard shell bags protect my items from breaking a little better than the soft bags.

How we selected the best checked luggage

When it comes to selecting the bags, a number of things were taken into consideration. I’m a travel journalist and have gone through a number of checked bags and carry-ons, so I feel like I can provide a certain level of input on a professional level. In addition to my personal opinion, I looked at positively reviewed items on Amazon and scoured the internet for good products with positive ratings.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is the best type of suitcase for traveling?

This is a matter of personal preference. I would say as a brand, Samsonite has a really great reputation for a reason. Even if you don’t get the exact bag suggested, the brand is reliable in the travel industry. You can read more in our guides on luggage brands and places to buy luggage.

Is soft or hard luggage better?

Also a matter of personal preference. If you tend to overpack, or generally like to bring back things like bottles of wine or collect fragile souvenirs like ornaments, hardside luggage might be best for you just to add another layer of protection, and to avoid stretching and overpacking. If you’re looking to fit the most items in your bag and have the bag be a lower weight to begin with, soft bags are a great option.

What to avoid when buying luggage?

I have to admit, I’m guilty of this. I love the color black, so I tend to get fun luggage tags and choose black bags that have a little bit of a feature. My current Samsonite hardshell bag has two brown stripes, so it’s easier to pick out with my luggage tags, but generally, it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid black luggage. If you can choose a color that sparks your interest, that’s always best because it’s easier to spot on the luggage belt.

What is the best size suitcase for international travel?

It depends on the type of trip. For an expedition trip where you need a lot of equipment, boots, maybe even coats, you might need a bigger bag to fit everything. If you’re going on an international trip to country hop, using trains, buses, cars, etc., a smaller, more manageable bag might be worth it. It really depends on the trip.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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