With vacations postponed, work trips cancelled, and travel restrictions in full force last year, a hopeful and vaccinated 2021 has us all longing for some type of wanderlust. And even though travel may look a little different these days—whether it’s a family road trip, an Airbnb staycation, or finally taking that European tour you’ve been dreaming about, you’ll need the proper luggage to get you through it all.
But choosing the best luggage is not always that easy. The variety of options on the market can make shopping for a new large suitcase or carry-on feel like driving through a dark tunnel without a navigation system. But we’re here to shine a light on your trek, with a guide to choosing the right luggage for you and your budget. Whether you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all carry-on or an entire stylish luggage set, these are the best luggage brands for 2021 that have all the right options to get you cruising from point A to point B, without the hassle or stress of schlepping that raggedy, old case in the back of your closet. Plus, many of them contain travel accessories and lap top bags to keep you moving and organized during all facets of your trip.
How to Find the Right Luggage
The most popular luggage comes in either a hard-sided or soft-sided structured bag. The pros and cons to both depend on what you prioritize when you pack. Soft-sided luggage typically has more room for movement, more organizational pockets, and can compress to fit into tight spaces (like the overhead of an airplane). They open with a top flap zip, placing the bulk of storage at the bottom. This offers more packing room, but it can throw off the balance of your goods when it’s tossed around and stowed away by airline employees. Basically, soft-sided luggage does not provide as much protection as hard-sided bags, but they are roomier.
Hard-sided bags started gaining popularity in the past few years, due to advances in making polycarbonate more durable and lighter. They feature a 50/50 split opening, making each side an equal stabilizer with an outer shell of hard protection. The polycarbonate shells are typically better for business travel. They stack easily, but are usually rigid with zero room to expand like a soft-sided bag. The latest hard-sided bags look sleeker, are easier to clean and move, but require you to be more strategic in your packing.
Other features that you’ll want to consider are weight and wheel-ability. The most modern luggage comes in the lightest possible form on four spinner wheels that can swivel 360 degrees to make rolling around the airport, pavement, or hotel floor a breeze.
Ahead, you’ll learn all that the 15 best luggage brands of 2021 have to offer, all at a variety of price points, highlighting each brand’s star products to help you choose the best suitcase or luggage set that fits your lifestyle, as well as editor-tested favorites. Take stumbling upon this article as a sign for you to book the trip, pack that bag, and just go, because if covid taught us anything, it’s that life is too short not to travel.
You must be living under a rock if this is your first time hearing about the magic that is AWAY luggage. The modern marketing behind this millennial-favorite travel brand made us a bit skeptical of the product hype, but after one stroll through the airport, we were hooked on the wheel-ability (fast walkers, rejoice!). The simple-yet-modern design makes you actually love to carry their bags and give them for spin or two. AWAY’s claim to fame comes from their built-in battery packs that can power up your devices. The carry on sizes come in a traditional option and a bigger carry-on for certain airlines that allow it. They innovated their hard-sided luggage collection, and now make a full-line of soft-sided durable ballistic nylon and outer pocket additions.
“I’m a big fan of AWAY luggage! The brand’s pieces are thoughtfully designed with great attention to detail for travelers looking to commute with ease. The interior of the suitcase has a streamlined design, which offers ample space to fit all your necessary items in an uncluttered and organized way. Plus, AWAY’s suitcases are extremely lightweight, so you can easily maneuver to and from your destination without pulling your muscles or overexerting unnecessary energy—to me that kind of ease is invaluable (at a price that’s very fair).” – Ted Stafford, Fashion Director
Samsonite makes the best affordable suitcases and luggage sets to this day. While the brand is in just about every major department store, we’ve found that the best place to buy Samsonite luggage is on Amazon. The retailer carries some of their highest rated products that won’t burn a hole in your wallet. You can score an entire hard-sided set for under $300 or shop their durable nylon singles. The items might not be as lightweight and advanced as some of the others, but if you’re a few-times-a-year traveler, you will get enough bang for your buck with Samsonite luggage.
“I have one large Samsonite hard-sided suitcase I refer to as my give-zero-f*cks luggage, because no matter how I mistreat it, from accidentally dropping down flights of stairs to slamming the trunk lid on it, the case has the durability to withstand it all. I know a lot of people who are a bit too precious with their suitcases, but I appreciate any luggage that can take a beating due to my clumsy mishaps and protect my pricey valuables inside.” – Adam Mansuroglu, Senior Style & Commerce Editor
Calpak’s popularity is right up there with AWAY’s. A major difference is the organizational pockets on the inside. Almost all of Calpak’s luggage has separate sleeves for shoes, zip pockets for smaller items, compartments for magazines, and straps to hold it all in place. While the luggage doesn’t have the same tech features, the outer shell will keep your liquids intact and the surface area is a bit wider. Plus, they make some of the best matching luggage sets around, including a full line of accessories that make packing easier.
As someone who used to frequently sit on her suitcase to close it, I can confidently say that Calpak has turned me into an efficient packing pro. I use their packing cubes and organizers to categorize my items. The suitcases are deep, roomy, and keep me organized at all times.
Most people don’t know that Amazon makes an in-house line of basic lifestyle items. Among the mega retailer’s top-rated goods are its luggage (I know what you’re thinking…and we were skeptical at first, too). It turns out, their carry-on works efficiently for a product under $75. The Amazon Basics carry-on is super lightweight and swivels nicely. It’s a smaller than most, but perfect for a weekend getaway or the light packer. For an essential line-up of packing tools, look no further than your favorite destination with two-day shipping. We’ll give this the “best carry-on luggage for under $100” award.
You’re probably going to be most impressed by Monos on this list. The Canadian brand makes luggage with a cool minimalist aesthetic, and it’s extremely efficient. They have thoroughly thought of every travel hiccup and reflected their products to improve them. Their carry-on features a fold-out tech pocket that doesn’t compromise the unbreakable aluminum and polycarbonate hybrid shell. The result of all of this: durable aluminum, lightweight polycarbonate, and soft-sided organization features. Plus, their wheels are virtually noiseless, and the brand’s accessories snap perfectly into place among the entire line of luggage. It all looks and feels expensive, probably because it isn’t cheap—but it will make your travel dreams so much better.
Calling all gear heads! If you’re an adventure traveler, YETI has your back (literally, with their first Crossroads backpack series). In this line of luggage, you’ll find dry bags for white water rafting, carryalls, and classic rolling luggage and duffels that can withstand just about anything without showing much wear and tear. They are made for utility and function with a willingness to get tossed around and dirty with an easy clean. Most are water resistant while some styles are completely waterproof.
Tumi is for the slick traveler on the move that appreciates design as much as they do function. They are the industry standard when it comes to testing, so you know a piece of Tumi luggage is well worth the investment.
“I’ve had my Tumi 19 Degree carry-on case for a few years now. Whenever I want to feel a bit more fancy and pretend like I live that jet-set life, I make sure to carry that silver stunner. But it not only looks sleek and stylish—it can hold a surprising amount of shoes for a fashion editor who can’t seem to ever travel light.” – Adam Mansuroglu, Style & Commerce Editor
Victorinox is known for seamless ergonomics in all of their products. Their luggage category is specifically is made to be handled with utmost ease. The brand makes some of the best carry-ons, messengers, and briefcases, all with a sophisticated look. The hard-sided shell and built-in locks keeps your goods secured and protected at all times, while the soft-sided options come at a more affordable price.
For over 120 years, Rimowa has been making hard-sided luggage. From the first wooden suitcases, to a sturdy aluminum, and now, ultra lightweight-polycarbonate, the brand is known for pushing the boundaries of innovation. They come in at a luxury price point, but will last for well over a decade. The hard-sided shell might look intimidating at first, but once you feel how lightweight and easy this is to wheel, you’ll wonder why you haven’t invested in it sooner.
Bric‘s best line of luggage to date is the latest Porsche collection (yes, as in the car brand). It mirrors that same level of sexy: a sleek technical design with flashy, fast features. The hard-sided items are made of an extremely lightweight polycarbonate that is flexible, resistant, and their products come with a charging USB connection. Each piece has leather handles that marry the worlds of high-tech innovation and timeless style.
If you’re looking for unique luggage that will stand out in baggage claim, look no further. Not only are Roam‘s designs multi-colored, the brand even offers the option to make it uniquely yours in their own design studio. Roam makes the best checked luggage of 2021 for that reason along with being light in weight, easy to wheel around, and extra secure with a locking system. They carry-on might look small, but it can actually fit more inside it than most others on this list. The only con is that is comes without outer organizational pockets.
Paravel makes some of the best luggage sets in the game. And by set, we mean entire system. Each size suitcase is made specifically for their packing cubes, so all of your goods can seamlessly sit happy next to one another. Plus, the brand is one of the most sustainable luggage brands on the market, making most of their pieces from recycled polycarbonate. From hard shell carry-ons to backpacks, tote bags, and more, you can outfit your accoutrements with custom monogramming in their classic, sophisticated line of travel gear.
Travelpro was born from a pilot’s need of maneuvering luggage with ease. The age-old brand was the first to patent a suitcase on wheels. This invention has been innovated time and time again, not only by other brands, but in-house at Travelpro as well. In 2021, they create simple luggage sets for the masses, all at an accessible price point. The best place to shop for Travelpro luggage is on Amazon.
Briggs & Riley
Briggs & Riley makes our list as the best luggage for families. Their sets are full of organizational pockets that can keep everyone’s accouterments organized on the road. Their soft-sided suitcases come highly-rated from thousands of customers, especially noting small details, like extra straps for carrying, expandable sections, and multiple inner and outer pockets.
Kipling is one of the only expressive luggage brands that doesn’t compromise their quality of product. You’ll find fun styles and colors that set your bags apart from the rest to channel creativity and personal style. They are made for all types of weather, and are extra roomy for over-packers.
For over 75 years, Thule has been a leader in gear-specific luggage that comfortably and efficiently houses the most precious goods of any adventure-enthusiast. More recently the brand emerged into a greater space of protective luggage that is rugged, versatile and easy to transport. Thule is all about efficiency—whether it’s a duffle bag on wheels, a carry-on style travel backpack or smart organization systems through lightweight and comfortable materials.
“The durable Subterra Wheeled Duffle Bag is a jack of all trades, with separate compartments and a handy zipper system that allows you to choose between one big piece of luggage or two smaller pieces.” -Brett Williams, Fitness Editor
COOLIFE prides themselves on constant innovation. The company was started in the ’80s and has evolved to be as modern and relevant as today’s big players, like AWAY and Calpak. The aesthetic is quite similar, in minimal colored hardshell cases that protect your precious goods and spin nicely. While you don’t get the popular brand name, you will get a far better price point, (we’re talking under-$200 for a two piece set), making COOLIFE luggage a major bang for the buck you’re spending. Plus, the Amazon reviews on COOLIFE luggage are exceptional. The three piece set, below has over 1,000 five-star reviews. Check out some top-rated styles, below including everything from their best-selling hard shell colors to a soft rolling duffle.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io