Congratulations! You’ve advanced from Spartan travels to upscale trips with exotic destinations, luxury cruises, and extended journeys abroad. A backpack or carry-on crammed in the overhead won’t work anymore. It’s time to start looking for a set of suitcases so you can travel in style.

Look for luggage that comes in sets so you can pack the piece or pieces appropriate for your excursion. You’ll need a suitcase roomy enough for your belongings, strong enough to withstand rigorous travels, and features, like handles and wheels, to make walking with it easier. There are three categories to select good, basic luggage for extended travel. 

Let’s look at size, durability, and mobility. 

Suitcase Sizing Guide

Domestic carry-on: This is the most popular size for a suitcase. A domestic carry-on is between 21 and 22 inches (53-54 cms) in size. With the right packing techniques, this suitcase size will allow you to pack for at least a week’s journey to a domestic destination.

International carry-on: Although it may vary from airline to airline, the size for an international carry-on bag is around 18 to 22 inches (46 to 50 cms). Always check ahead of time. Some European airlines have strict rules.

Medium checked: At 23 to 24 inches, (58-59 cms), this size is for those who need a little more space than a carry-on. When paired with one carry-on and with careful packing, you should have enough room for a week or two without having to do laundry. 

Large checked: This is another popular size in suitcases. At a size of 25 to 27 inches, (63-68 cms) you’ll have plenty of room for the longest of journeys for one and enough for a typical one or two-week trip for two traveling with one suitcase. And, two of these suitcases can be used for traveling families. 

Extra Large Checked: With a size of between 28 and 32 inches, it’ll probably be rare to need a suitcase this large, but lucky you if you do. You’ll be able to pack clothing and gear for multiple destinations. Don’t forget to consider weight limits. It will be easy to go over when packing a suitcase over 25 inches.

black luggage for travel

Durability is Quality

When it comes to suitcases, durability and quality are synonymous. Other than lost luggage, nothing spoils a trip more than a damaged suitcase upon arrival. A quality piece of luggage should last a lifetime. One of the best ways to ensure quality is to read customer reviews online. Look for signs of durability such as rigorous testing, scratch and water resistance, and strong zippers or latch systems.

Luggage comes in hard side and soft side styles. Soft side bags are better as carry-ons because you can squeeze them into overhead compartments and lockers more easily. When choosing soft-side luggage, look for a strong, durable material that is easy to wipe clean. Poorly made hard-side suitcases will crack under plenty of weight. A low price tag usually means low quality.

While they look great, you should probably steer clear of designer bags for extreme travel. They can be more of a fashion statement than long-lasting quality. They’re also more likely to get stolen.

To give you another example, while traveling in Switzerland, I noticed that our more durable suitcase had better wheels that could handle the cobbled streets. Our cheaper, less durable one was very much worse for wear after the trip. So, if you think quality and durability are not important, just remember – it lasts longer!


A quality piece of luggage should be easy to roll and maneuver. If shopping in person, you can try the suitcases out, but keep in mind that an empty suitcase is easier to maneuver than a full one. You can choose from two or four-wheeled suitcases. If you want the suitcase to stand upright, choose the four-wheeled. 

If you’re purchasing your luggage online, the best thing to do is to search for in-line skate wheels made of polyurethane. High-quality ball bearings will prevent jamming and make moving around easier. Stay away from other hard plastic or rubber wheels. They’re more likely to break or crack if the suitcase gets tossed around and dropped. Rubber wheels can wear down more quickly and are more roll resistant.

Other than the wheeling system, consider the handles. Telescoping handles are retractable and easy to handle.