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How to Find the Best Travel Suitcase on a Budget-My Gaia Travel Buddy

You want to travel the world, not pay for it. That's why you've found the perfect, out-of-the-way vacation destination and booked your trip during the offseason. But there are sneaky costs that push your trip up a price tier, and baggage is one of them.

Chances are that you want to pack more than a raggedy backpack or duffle bag. You need a sturdy, reliable travel suitcase that sticks to your financial priorities.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options when it comes to finding such luggage. In fact, the choices can be overwhelming.

Start your search with this step-by-step guide. We'll give you the criteria and the tools you need to select the best travel suitcase that makes possible the trip of your dreams.

Step 1: Plan Ahead

The best time to buy a new suitcase is before you need it. That way, you're not stuck buying a bag at the last minute and sacrificing the most important features to you because of the urgency.

Sure, you could buy the luggage equivalent of a paper grocery bag, or you could choose something that lasts up to a decade.

Which would you prefer?

Durability is the name of the game when planning your suitcase purchase.

The best suitcases that combine low prices with high-quality materials are going to be within a moderate price range. You can expect to spend around $180 to $275.

Step 2: Decide on Hard or Soft Shell

Both kinds of bags have pros and cons. Choosing one depends on your needs.

Here are the arguments in favor of a soft shell bag:

  • Flexible
  • Can squeeze in tight spaces
  • Tend to be lighter weight
  • Have plenty of room

Here are the benefits of a hard shell suitcase:

  • More protection for valuables
  • Often waterproof
  • Provide better security from theft

Step 3: Pick the Features of Your Personal Best Travel Suitcase

Buying literal baggage comes with a lot of metaphorical baggage. There are a seemingly infinite number of special features manufacturers add to set their bags apart, many of which you may find unnecessary.

Do you really need four wheels, or will two suffice? Is a waterproof zipper or adjustable handle absolutely critical?

Are you looking for style or functionality? If the latter, you likely don't need a bag that comes in an array of color or pattern options.

On the flip side, many extra features can be helpful.

A long, thorough warranty? You'll want that. And a TSA-friendly lock helps too.

One of the most important factors is not exactly a feature at all: the weight and size of the luggage.

The best luggage for traveling is usually under 10 pounds. Some lightweight bags weigh less than five pounds.

Step 4: Comparison Shop

Never pay the listed retail price on a piece of luggage. Even designer brands can come at discounts of over 50 percent if you buy at the right time and from the right retailer.

Shopping online makes it easy to compare similar bags. Then, you can head to a brick-and-mortar store to get a feel for those bags in person. Their price can guide your decision from there.

Buy Your Bag and Fly Away

By doing thorough research, you can find the best travel suitcase for your needs, not some all-purpose bag that's supposed to be the best. Once you've found what you're looking for, you'll have a bag that will last for years.

Take a look at our suitcase collections to get a sense of the options and savings we offer!

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