Even if you don’t enjoy the process of packing or getting from point A to point B, one thing that all smart travelers should have is a good suitcase. The last thing you need is a faulty zipper, broken wheels, or another baggage malfunction to sour your trip, whether it’s by land, air, or sea. And you don’t have to sacrifice function for fashion, either: some of today’s best travel suitcase brands allow you to customize your carryalls down to the interior lining color, ensuring your belongings stand out from the sea of lookalike luggage at the baggage claim.
What to Look for When Shopping for Luggage
If you’re shopping for the best suitcase for traveling, keep these things in mind:
Wheels: If you’re looking for maximum maneuverability, a four-wheeled suitcase can spin 360 degrees, so it can be pulled behind or beside you, or pushed in front of you. Two-wheeled suitcases can only move forward and backward, but they may be easier to pull on uneven ground.
Removable chargers: Some of the latest luggage brands include built-in battery chargers with their suitcases. They can be convenient for sure, but make sure you pick a bag with a removable charger. Lest you want any setbacks at the security checkpoints, your luggage’s built-in tech chargers should be removable for inspection purposes.
Size: If you’re flying, note that there isn’t really an “official” standard for luggage size, so you’ll want to always check each airline company’s guidelines for carry-on and checked baggage. Better yet, measure your bags on your own to ensure that they abide by your carrier’s rules. Still, if you stick to a suitcase size around 14 x 22 inches, you should be safe (some airlines allow bags up to 24 inches to be carried on as well).
Material: Consider a hard suitcase if you expect your baggage to take a beating, or want to make sure that your belongings are secure and protected. If luggage weight is a concern and you’re not worried about rips and tears, a soft-side bag (preferably one made of durable, high-dernier fabric) might be your best bet.
What Are the Best Places to Shop for Luggage Online?
The best places to buy luggage online offer everything from lightweight hard-shelled cases designed to take knocks, to soft and sleek bags that afford you more storage space. We’ve selected some of the best travel brands and retailers that offer suitcases for international and domestic trips, plus all of the accessories you need to keep your belongings organized.
1. Arlo Skye
Arlo Skye‘s design-minded luxury luggage in stylish shades is exactly what you’d expect from its founders, who were previously at Louis Vuitton and Tumi. Inside its check-in and carry-on hardcases is an anti-microbial interior lining that helps stave off germs, while the shells are made from durable virgin polycarbonate or aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. The company also boasts that its spinner wheels “are 15% quieter than the industry standard.”
The brand’s latest launch is a carry-on with a front pocket that makes it easy to stow things away (say, when your gate is finally called and you need to pack your laptop quickly). Arlo Skye also offers other flight-ready goods, such as a pet carrier, a compact zippered travel kit, luggage tags, and more, and it also offers custom laser-engraving for suitcases.
Arlo Skye The Zipper Carry-On Max with Front Pocket, $375, available at Arlo Skye
Launched in 2019, it’s easy to see why the Canadian company bills itself as “the Apple of suitcases.” Available in six carry-on and check-in sizes, Monos’ minimalist and sleek luggage is made with high-end materials such as “aerospace-grade” Makrolon polycarbonate from Germany, super-quiet wheels developed by a renowned Japanese manufacturer, a waterproof and anti-bacterial interior polyester liner, and a leather-like microfiber trim that’s 100% vegan.
Other products include structured packing cubes, a UVC sanitizing light, and luggage covers. Each suitcase also comes with nylon laundry, shoe and sorting bags for easy organization. The brand also offers a 100-day trial and a lifetime warranty on its products.
Monos Carry-On Pro Plus, $295 (regularly $369), available at Monos
Known for pioneering the direct-to-consumer approach in the travel sector, Away offers hard and soft rolling luggage in a wide variety of sizes and colors alongside an array of backpacks, day bags, organizers, tech cases, pet carriers, colorful monogram stickers, and more. What’s great about the formerly online-only brand is that it has brick-and-mortar stores in major U.S. cities, so shoppers in Austin, Boston, Chicago, LA, NYC, and San Francisco (to name a few) can get a feel for Away’s products IRL.
The suitcase startup recently teamed with high-end audio brand Master & Dynamic on a limited-edition range ($249 to $545) for traveling audiophiles: think luxe headphones, an aluminum suitcase, a cool leather backpack, and a day bag. The company offers a 100-day trial on its products and a limited lifetime warranty.
Away x Master & Dynamic Aluminum Edition Carry-On, $525, available at Away
A favorite among the business class set, Tumi offers a vast selection of luggage and accessories for every type of traveler, from cross-body bags and duffels to carry-ons and check-in suitcases. Their bags are designed for commuting, casual trips, everyday errands, and international flights in styles ranging from utilitarian to all leather or aluminum.
We like this expanded carry-on for its polished, professional look, and for its ergonomic handle, lightweight materials and superior durability.
Tumi V4 International Expandable 4-Wheeled Carry-On, $595, available at Amazon
The California-based, family-owned brand got a cool rebrand when its founders’ kids joined the company, resulting in modern colorways and industry insider collaborations. Calpak offers “accessible” price points on its range of products for everyday life and vacations alike, so you can expect to find lightweight duffle bags, laptop-friendly backpacks, rolling suitcases, luggage sets, travel organizers, toiletry bags, wallets, and more, for less than some of the pricier big-name brands on the market.
Calpak Astyll 2-Piece Luggage Set, $325 (regularly $360), available at Calpak
Founded in 1898 in Germany, the heritage luxury company started out making high-end travel trunks and is renowned for its grooved aluminum rolling suitcases. (Apparently, BTS are fans.) It also makes polycarbonate luggage in a wide array of cool colors as well as tech accessories inspired by its classic designs, and regularly collaborates with streetwear brands and luxury fashion houses (think Supreme, Moncler, and Dior, to name a few).
Rimowa also has brick-and-mortar stores if you prefer to shop in person, and we also like that customer-centric brand will even send a repairperson to your hotel if your luggage gets damaged in transit.
Rimowa Essential Check-In M, $770, available at Rimowa
Founded by two former Tumi execs, Roam sets itself part from the pack by offering fully customizable luggage in more than one million color combinations. Their rolling carry-on and check-in hardcases are made in the U.S. of virgin polycarbonate that “shrugs off scratches and dents,” and shoppers can select specific colors for the front and back shell, zipper, stitching, wheel hubcaps, and other parts, to create a unique color-blocked suitcase that’s uniquely theirs.
Every suitcase features water-resistant and washable lining, a TSA-approved lock, and a monogrammable leather patch on the back. We like that the interiors feature a compression system so you can really squeeze in your belongings into the main compartments and three pockets (one for laundry, two for accessories). Their luggage comes with a 100-day trial and a limited lifetime warranty.
Roam The Jaunt Carry-On, $495, available at Roam
The largest online store in the world is also a great one-stop travel spot. You can find a range of popular luggage brands including Samsonite, Briggs & Riley, and American Tourister as well as the e-commerce giant’s own AmazonBasics line of travel bags and accessories, plus nearly every on-the-go accessory under the sun, from universal plug adapters and compression storage bags to money belts and airplane footrests.
Amazon also delivers the most bang for your buck too when it comes to luggage. This set gets you three different hard cases for less than the price of one bag from many of the other brands on the market. Multiple colors available too, so you never lose your bag at baggage claim.
AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Three-Piece Set, $186, available at Amazon
More from Rolling Stone
See where your favorite artists and songs rank on the Rolling Stone Charts.
Sign up for Rolling Stone’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.