Whether you travel for business or pleasure, it's important to have the right travel bags to store and transport your gear. Suitcases aren't the only important options to consider. You'll travel more comfortably and in style when you have a selection of pieces that meet your needs, such as garment bags, backpacks, duffel bags and more. There are plenty of choices to organize your gear the next time you hit the road or take to the skies.
When selecting suitcases, consider your mode of transportation, the types of items you need to pack and - of course - your personal style preferences.
Wheeled Carry-On Suitcases
If you travel by air and want to avoid unnecessary fees for checking your bags, you'll need an airline carry-on bag that meets your airline's size restrictions. For the ease of navigating through busy airports to catch tight connections, it's generally a good idea to get a small suitcase with spinner wheels. These bags are equally handy for car, bus, train and cruise travel.
Samsonite Silhouette Sphere Spinner Boarding Bag: This soft-sided bag from Samsonite will carry enough clothing for a night or two and it also has a compartment designed to hold a laptop up to 15.6 inches. The bag's wheels spin in multiple directions and it comes with a removable organizer bag. It comes in five elegant colors and costs around $200.
Olympia Blossom 21" Spinner Carry-On: If you like colorful luggage and prefer a hard-side bag, this lovely floral pattern is a great option. This expandable bag has a number of compartments to organize your gear and has dual spinner wheels for easy pulling. It comes in four brightly-colored floral patterns and costs less than $100.
Delsey Helium Colours - 30" 4-Wheel Trolley: If you're looking for a super-size suitcase, this sturdy, 30-inch lightweight, hard-sided bag from Delsey is a great option. It's big enough to pack for a multi-week trip and has a built-in TSA-compliant combination lock. This bag comes in black as well as bright shades of blue, green and violet and costs $300 directly from Delsey. It is also available in a 26-inch size for around $260.
IT Luggage MegaLite™ Premium Collection 33" Spinner: If you're looking for an even larger suitcase, this super-sized 33" bag from IT Luggage is an excellent choice. The design is frameless, an important factor in making IT Luggage bags extra-light. It has numerous organizer pockets and can expand by up to 2.2 inches for extra space. This bag comes in purple and red and costs just over $125 from eBags.
If you're carrying suits, formalwear or dresses, you may find it helpful to use a garment bag. These bags are well-suited for long items that travel best with minimal folding.
Travel Select Rolling Garment Bag: This wheeled garment bag is a great choice if you want to minimize folding your clothes but prefer not to have to carry a bag in your hand or on your shoulder. It has an interior garment hook and folds over one time to keep wrinkles to a minimum. You can transport up to four suits or dresses in this black bag. It costs less than $50 and is available from Walmart.
WallyBags® 52-Inch Dress Length Garment Bag with Pockets: If you aren't concerned with wheels, this lightweight option is a great choice to consider. It has a specially designed hanger to keep garments securely in place, is deigned to be easy-to-carry and has exterior zipper pockets. It comes in blue and purple and costs less than $55 at Bed, Bath and Beyond. A 40-inch style designed for suits is available for under $50.
Less-Structured Gear Bags
Duffel bags are a great casual option for packing and transporting clothes. Most duffels have handles, some feature a shoulder strap, and some come with wheels that allow them to function like a carry-on suitcase.
- Ful 30in Hybrid Rolling Duffel: This stylish rolling duffel bag from Ful is a great choice. It has a retractable handle, so you can easily pull the bag behind you or push the handle in and use the top or side handles. This bag has two separate storage compartments; the bottom compartment has a hard shell while the top is soft. It costs around $130 and comes in black with red trim, gray with red trim or a red top with gray bottom.
Under Armour Undeniable Large Duffle Bag: If you don't need a wheeled duffel bag, this roomy gear bag from Under Armour is a great option to consider. It works just as well for travel as it does for carrying your gear to and from the gym or sports field. It has shoulder and hand-carrying straps to suit your preferences and a pocket that allows you to separate dirty items from clean gear. This bag is black with white trim and costs around $55 at Dick's Sporting Goods.
Backpacks are a great option for stashing your gear, especially if you want to keep your hands free and would prefer to distribute weight evenly across your back and both shoulders rather than relying on a single shoulder strap.
- Laptop Backpacks: There are a number of excellent backpacks designed especially to store and carry laptops and related gear, including tablets and other technology devices. Some options cost $75 or less, while higher end models designed for durability and packed with features can cost several hundred dollars.
- Backpacks for Camping: Not all backpacks are designed to carry high-tech devices. If you're more interested in packing your gear for camping, you'll be pleased by the selection of lightweight backpacks available to purchase. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars for a quality camping backpack, whether you opt for a model with or without an external frame.
You can opt for a basic bag or a luxury travel tote, depending on your preference. Luxury bags are ideal for business travel and upscale expeditions, while less expensive and more casual options are better for relaxed travel.
- Luxury Leather Totes: You can find an excellent selection of luxurious leather totes from well-known designer labels including Prada, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and more. Expect to pay between $1,800 and $3,000 for a luxurious tote - but take care of it and it will last a lifetime.
- Casual Tote Bags: There are many casual tote bags, most of which you can purchase for well under $50. From plastic totes for beach trips to totes with lots of pockets and other cute styles, you can find stylish bags designed to carry your gear. For a look all your own, you can even create your own homemade tote bags.
If you travel frequently or take large trips, you may want to invest in a set of nesting suitcases and other types of travel bags so you have matching pieces in a variety of sizes.
- Samsonite 5 Piece Nested Luggage Set: This set features five basic pieces of soft-sided Samsonite luggage, including a 26-inch and a 22-inch wheeled suitcases. The set also features a duffel bag and a travel tote bag, both of which feature handles and shoulder straps. It also comes with a package toiletry kit. This set is available from Wayfair in black and red for less than $120.
American Tourister Fieldbrook II 4 Pc Nested Luggage Set: If you prefer bright colors and don't need a toiletry kit, this American Tourister set is a great option. The wheeled suitcases are 25 inches and 21 inches, and the set includes a duffel bag and a zip-top tote bag with handles. This set is available from Amazon for around $90 and comes in bright green and violet.
Don't just focus on gear bags and luggage when selecting travel bags - the purse that you select to use during travel is also important. The best travel purses are cross-shoulder bags like the Piazza Day Bag from eBags ($35) and backpack purses. These styles allow you to carry your purse securely while leaving your hands free for other purposes.
It is also helpful to choose a style that has organizer compartments, to minimize the need for separate containers to organize your essentials. The lighter you can keep your purse when traveling, the more comfortable you will be. Select a purse that is small enough to fit inside a larger piece of luggage to keep it tucked away and out of site when necessary.