But First, Buy a Suitcase: 10 Steps to Finding the Perfect Luggage

Written by Elizabeth September 8, 2015

So many options!

My shopping buddy

Hello, CIMBA friends!

My name is Elizabeth, and this post is coming to you from my hometown in Worthington, Minnesota. I’m a junior at the University of Minnesota, I’m studying Business Marketing & Mass Communication, and I’m a blog ambassador for CIMBA this semester! Starting next week, I’ll be writing blog entries from my dorm room in Paderno del Grappa… I can hardly believe it, but we’re down to a mere 5 days before take-off!

With just a few days left at home, I’ve been busy making lists, doing laundry, and trying to condense my entire closet into a sensible wardrobe for 12 weeks abroad. One big prerequisite for traveling is having the proper luggage to bring along. So, before I was able to start packing, I had to purchase a suitcase! Here are a few tips from my experience.

  • Tip #1: There are a lot of choices, which can be a little bit overwhelming! My mom came along when I bought my suitcase and I would recommend having someone there to help you compare prices & features of luggage.
  • Tip #2: Go to more than one place. We started by going to several department stores to see what was available and to check if any sales were happening. Macy’s happened to be having a sale on luggage at the time, so that was where we decided to buy my suitcase.
  • Tip #3: Be prepared to spend a minimum of $200 on your big suitcase, though they can get a lot more expensive than that!
  • Tip #4: Look for a suitcase that has protected wheels. Luggage gets thrown around at airports, so if your wheels are protected, there’s a better chance that they won’t get damaged while you’re traveling.
  • Tip #5: Consider the wheels on the luggage you’re looking at. Suitcases either have two wheels or four wheels, and I’d recommend a suitcase that has four wheels that are on spinners. My suitcase can roll in all directions, which will be especially helpful when it’s packed to capacity.
  • Tip #6: The more zippered compartments, the better! This may be my opinion, but it’s definitely something to think about.
  • Tip #7: If possible, avoid black. There are tons of options for suitcases out there, so you might as well get a bag that won’t be identical to all the other ones at the baggage claim. My bag is navy, and I’m also planning to tie some colorful ribbon on the handle that will make it easier to identify.
  • Tip #8: Think light. Airlines typically allow a maximum of 50 pounds for checked bags, and the overweight fees are steep. If your suitcase is light to begin with, that means you’ll have more of the 50 pounds to use for what you’re packing. My suitcase is 9.5 pounds, so I get to bring 40.5 pounds of clothes! 🙂
  • Tip #9: Don’t forget to check sizing. Airlines also have rules about the dimensions of bags you can use as carry-ons. It can vary from company to company, so look online to see what it is for your flight. For me, it’s 22″ x 14″ x 9″.
  • Tip #10: Remember to have a bag that you can use for weekend travels. You probably don’t want to be rolling around a large suitcase when you go to Rome for the weekend, so make sure to have a backpack along that will fit enough clothing for a few days and can be carried comfortably.

With these tips in mind, I hope you can find the perfect suitcase for your trip! I’m planning to fill my Samsonite 30″ Spinner Sphere Lite all the way full, as well as my backpack & carry-on. Wish me luck, and I’ll let you know if I have any updated luggage tips upon my arrival in Italy.