Best U.S. traveler luggage

Luggage

Depending on how much luggage you need for your travels, buying luggage sets may be your most cost-effective option.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which U.S. traveler luggage is best?

With travel back on the rise, people everywhere are preparing for postponed trips and long-awaited vacations. These days, quality luggage comes in various models and sizes, each equipped with different features that can either make or break your travel experience. Although deciding between hard-sided and soft-sided luggage is enough to make your head spin, choosing the right luggage ensures your travel experience is as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.

If you want a full luggage set that provides protection and durability at an affordable price, the U.S. Traveler New Yorker Lightweight Softside Expandable Travel Rolling Luggage Set is a great top choice. This four-piece, soft-sided set offers ample space, protection and security in one smooth-rolling package.

What to know before you buy U.S. traveler luggage 

Size and capacity 

One of the most important factors to consider before buying any piece of luggage is what size you need. You can determine this by how often you plan to use it and what type of travel you are planning. You can purchase luggage individually or in sets from two to five pieces each. These may differ in size, capacity and interior organization. Larger sets are perfect for longer excursions, while smaller, one-piece suitcases are ideal for short getaways. You should also consider how many people will share the luggage space. If you need luggage for a family of five, it’s best to purchase a luggage set with various sizes that have at least one bag for check-in and some carry-on options. 

Protection

Luggage companies usually group their bags into two categories based on exterior, which comes in hard plastics or soft fabrics. While both hard-sided and soft-sided pieces offer protection, the choice comes down to individual preference. 

  • Hard-sided cases are primarily made with high-tech plastics that provide superior protection for your belongings and valuables. Despite their thick appearance, hard-shell cases are surprisingly lightweight, meaning you can keep your things safe without exceeding a weight limit. Plus, their waterproof shells protect against rain and any harsh weather you might run into during your travels. 
  • While soft-sided luggage doesn’t offer as much protection, people still seek it out for its padded exteriors and classic look. Most soft-shelled pieces allow for additional packing space and include exterior compartments for easy access. 

Portability 

Since travelling involves a lot of movement, you should also consider how much portability you need in a piece of luggage. Depending on what kind of trip you’re taking and how long you’re gone, you might need a checked bag, a carry-on or all of the above.   

What to look for in quality U.S. traveler luggage 

Pockets and compartments 

One of the first things a traveler looks for are spacious pockets and hidden compartments. They maximize packing capacity and organization. Larger suitcases usually have space-optimizing features, such as interior zipper pockets, dividers and cross straps. Smaller suitcases tend to offer multiple exterior compartments. Whether you need a spacious suitcase or compact carry-on, purchase a luggage set that allows you to keep your necessities stored in a secure and organized way at all times. 

Wheels 

The last thing any traveler wants to worry about is dragging a clunky suitcase through a crowded airport or train station. Luckily, most spinner or roller suitcases come equipped with two or four wheels.

  • Spinner suitcases have four 360-degree rolling wheels, making it easy to maneuver your luggage in several directions. Their mobility also makes them a great option for those who lack the physical strength needed to pull a suitcase over curbs or other rough surfaces. 
  • Roller suitcases come with two recessed wheels, which are usually more durable than rotating wheels. Although spinner luggage has become increasingly popular in recent years, many travelers still prefer traditional roller models for their mobility and portability.

Handles 

Whether you’re taking a week-long vacation or a quick day trip, most travelers require a sturdy handle on their luggage. Larger suitcases often feature at least two handles, one on the side and an expandable one on top. In addition to regular and extendable handles, many smaller carry-ons also come with adjustable straps for easy pick up. 

Color and style

Luggage sets come in many colors, styles and designs. Feel free to mix and match your luggage pieces by buying them individually or choose a luggage set with several matching pieces.  

How much you can expect to spend on U.S. traveler luggage 

How much you’ll spend on luggage sets will depend on how many pieces you need, their size and their quality. While you can find a simple soft-sided two-piece set for as little as $30 at some retailers, expect to spend $100-$500 if you’re looking for a luggage set with at least three pieces that you’d like to last for a few years.  

U.S. traveler luggage FAQ

What types of suitcases come in a luggage set?

A. Generally, traditional suitcase sizes range anywhere from 18-32 inches. The standard size for carry-on pieces is 22 inches. Anything larger classifies as a checked bag. Most luggage collections include at least one large bag and one carry-on size, as well as a toiletry or garment bag. 

What is expandable luggage?

A. Expandable luggage stretches out so you can fit in more of your belongings. Typically, expandable luggage features a wrap-around expansion zipper that adds depth to the suitcase’s interior. While this is a useful feature, it can also be problematic. Many travellers use the extra space to pack more things, pushing the bag over standard weight limits. To avoid overpacking, think of the expandable zipper as a way to give your initial belongings a little more breathing room. 

What’s the best U.S. traveler luggage to buy?

Top U.S. traveler luggage 

U.S. Traveler New Yorker Lightweight Softside Expandable Travel Rolling Luggage Set, Gray, 4-Piece

U.S. Traveler New Yorker Lightweight Softside Expandable Travel Rolling Luggage Set

What you need to know: This four-piece soft-sided luggage set is popular among international travelers and heavy packers. Its tear-resistant exterior offers ample protection and durability. 

What you’ll love: The set comes in several attractive colors and convenient travel sizes. Its inline skate wheels make for smooth rolling and the expandable feature allows for 25% more packing capacity. Buyers also rave over the cross-tie straps and roomy interior pockets. 

What you should consider: Some users described the plastic expandable handle as flimsy. Not all the colors are available. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top U.S. traveler luggage for the money

Rio Expandable Carry-on Luggage Set

Rio Expandable Carry-on Luggage Set

What you need to know: This two-piece, soft-shelled luggage set includes a fully-lined interior with tie-down straps. It also has a large, mesh zipper pocket, durable inline wheels and expandable features.

What you’ll love: As its name suggests, travellers love this set for its portability, lightweight construction and impressive affordability. 

What you should consider: The plastic handle has a tendency to crack and some users wished it came with four wheels. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Aviron Bay Expandable Softside Luggage 

Aviron Bay Expandable Softside Luggage 

What you need to know: Composed of durable and expandable polyester fabric, this soft-sided luggage piece boasts two large exterior pockets and four 360-degree spinner wheels for easy mobility. 

What you’ll love: The retractable multi-stage handle system adjusts to different heights and the large interior mesh pocket allows for easy organization. 

What you should consider: The wheels may crack or break due to excessive weight or use on hard surfaces. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Shannon Donnelly writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

Most Popular