Unless you’re travelling for a short business trip, you’ll likely need a full-sized check-in bag – one that’s easy to push around, holds all your possessions comfortably, and is sturdy enough to handle the demands of air travel. But with so many different kinds of luggage in the market, where do you start?
Softside or hardshell - which is better?
Fazal Imam, founder of Dubai Repairs, has seen a lot of suitcases come and go in his experience of servicing and repairing luggage. According to Imam, softside suitcases are far more resilient and durable than hardshell ones. He said: “Hardshell bags are easier to move around, but their exterior can damage easily with minor shocks or mishandling. Common problems we see are broken bodies, missing wheels and broken handles.”
He suggests buying either softside or semi-hardshell suitcases – both are easily available. Another thing to look out for, when buying check-in luggage, is a brand that provides a good warranty. Imam said: “Nearly every popular brand offers at least a five-year warranty, and after that period, if there is any damage, then companies like ours help repair any type of damage.”
Which suitcase is best for me?
In terms of brands, a few stand out for Imam. He recommends Samsonite, Delsey, American Tourister and Para John, because they usually rack up minimal damage over the years. He added: “If you have a higher budget, go for Briggs & Riley, Rimowa, Tumi and Victorinox.” These brands are well-known for their exceptionally high-quality build, design, and durability.
We did some research for you and curated the best check-in luggage you can buy for your next trip. If you're looking for cabin bags, check out our best picks. Purchase your favourite item through Amazon Prime and get free and fast delivery!
1. Best Overall: American Tourister Jamaica
- Three-digit TSA (Transportation Security Administration) combination lock
- Three-year international warranty
- Heavy for a softside suitcase (4.1kg)
If you’re looking for a bag that’s big enough to comfortably fit your business or vacation clothing, spacious enough for your shoes, sturdy and safe, look no further than the American Tourister Jamaica. This softside piece of baggage is already large, at 80cm, but can be expanded to fit all your possessions (a couple of reviewers even packed their computer monitors in this bag). There’s plenty of extra space in the multiple front pockets, too. Made with high density polyester, the bag won’t wear out easily, even on long-haul flights.
Bonus: Buy with 0% installments and pay Dh50 for 12 months with select banks.
2. Best Hardshell: Samsonite Omni Pc Hardside Expandable Luggage with Spinner Wheels
- 10-year limited warranty
- On the heavier side (3.7kg)
With an injection-moulded, micro diamond polycarbonate shell, this Samsonite suitcase is tough as nails, and perfect for long-haul flights. It doesn’t hurt that the bag looks great too. Known for being scratch-resistant, this Samsonite suitcase has four spinner wheels for easy movement, comes with an integrated TSA lock, and can be expanded if you need the space. Choose from three striking colours – Caribbean blue, teal, and white – and enjoy the durable stylishness of this hardshell suitcase.
Warranty: Manufacturer provides a 10-year limited warranty.
3. Best Expandable: Briggs & Riley Baseline-Softside CX Expandable Spinner Trunk
- Double swivel wheels
- Compression-expansion system increases packing capacity
- Lockable double zipper pulls for extra security
- Ensures wrinkle-free flat packing
- Lifetime guarantee by manufacturer
Upgrade your luggage to Briggs & Riley’s expandable trunk for benefits that you will enjoy for years. Made with ballistic nylon, the outer fabric resists moisture, dirt, and wear and tear. It has a lot of thoughtful touches, like the fact that its pull-out handle provides a flat interior surface, so that your clothes remain wrinkle-free. The suitcase includes a hideaway ID tag, so your information is not on display for all to see; mesh panels within the suitcase ensure your items and clothes don’t shift much during travel, and its compression-expansion system helps increase packing capacity. Enjoy the effortless elegance of this piece of luggage – it’s well worth it!
4. Best Design: Delsey Paris Chatelet Air Hardside Luggage
- Double spinner wheels
- 3-dial TSA approved combination lock
- Stylish faux leather accents
- Reviewers say the bag gets scuffed easily
Who says you have to choose between durability and style? Delsey’s Chatelet luggage series is known for embodying affordable luxury, and is inspired by France – particularly Parisian architecture. Its vintage design – with faux leather accents – is both modern and chic, so you’re always looking great while on the move. The check-in bag comes with other great features too. Its double spinner wheels mean excellent maneuverability, and its SecuriTech 2 zip system means its three times more resistant to intrusion than conventional zippers. The deluxe interior compartments even feature a removable hanger, laundry and shoe bags!
5. Best Budget: Amazon Basics Navy Blue Softsided Check-in Trolley
- Great price
- No TSA lock
- Single spinner wheels
If you’d prefer a suitcase that does the job – carries your items safely to your destination with minimal wear at tear, at a good price – this Amazon Basics check-in trolley will serve you well. It’s a softside piece of luggage, so it’s lightweight and will allow you to pack all your items comfortably. While there are no frills, like double spinner wheels (this one has single wheels), or double zippers, the suitcase does have an expandable design to create extra space when you need it. The wheels easily navigate 360 degrees, as you’d expect with today’s trolley bags, and even though it doesn’t come with an in-built TSA lock, it’s great price means you’ll have plenty left over to buy one for this handy suitcase.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.