While carry-on bags might suffice for short holidays of up to a week, they’re not going to work when you’re planning a two-month vacation in another country. For that, you’ll need a proper suitcase that’s bigger so they can hold more of your stuff.
But what exactly is a “proper” suitcase? That depends a lot on your personal preferences and budget. But to help make sure you’re getting the right suitcase for checked luggage that’s appropriate for your needs, you’ll need to factor in the following considerations for your choice:
Size and Weight
While the checked luggage is usually bigger than a carry-on, it can’t be too big or too heavy either. The checked baggage guidelines at Porter Airlines are quite typical across the airline industry.
- The checked bag dimensions cannot exceed 62 linear inches, or else you’ll pay extra.
- If the total liner inches add up to more than 80 inches, it won’t be accepted.
- You’ll pay extra if your bag weighs more than 50 pounds.
- If it weighs more than 70 pounds, it won’t be accepted.
You should double-check the airline requirements for checked luggage before you buy your bag, to be on the safe side.
Suitcase or Backpack?
If you’re actually planning to backpack on your travels, then the backpack might be the more suitable choice. Just make sure it’s tough enough when it’s manhandled by the airline employees. This works nicely if you’re not staying too long in your travel destination.
But if you’re carrying a lot more stuff, then go with the tougher suitcase.
2 Wheels or 4?
Wheels on your bag make a lot of sense, which is why even some travel backpacks have wheels these days. Why actually carry a heavy bag when you can just have it rolling on the floor?
But now you have the choice of either having 2 wheels or 4. Both have their own sets of pros and cons.
With 2 wheels, your bag is better at rolling over rougher terrain. But it can be quite unwieldly, and sometimes it’s not all that steady.
On the other hand, 4-wheeled bags glide much more smoothly on the floor, and they’re easier to maneuver in airplane aisles and other tight spaces. But they’re not as good on uneven sidewalks and bumpy paths. Plus, having 2 extra wheels means you’re paying more, and you have more things that can go wrong.
How’s the Handle?
Don’t overlook the handle. At the very least it should be telescopic, so it’s easier to carry around.
It’s great if the handle is ergonomic and it seems like it was designed to fit your hand. That way, your hands are less likely to hurt after many hours of pulling the bag along.
It has to be tough as well, as you don’t want a handle breaking on you during your trip.
TSA Zips and Locks
This is a requirement these days. You’ll want TSA-approved locks, or else the TSA agents will destroy the bag’s locks to gain access to what’s inside.
Hard or Soft
In most circumstances, you’re better off with the hard case. You have better protection for your stuff inside, and these bags are very durable.
But soft cases generally cost less, they don’t weigh as much, and they offer plenty of outside pockets and internal space. It’s just up to you whether those advantages are worth increasing the risk of damage to your stuff inside!