The Value of Good Quality Luggage

I could write thousands of words on suitcases and the huge variety of sizes, styles, materials and brands available, but there is really no point. What I want to focus on is the new range of suitcases that are coming out designed specifically as lifelong purchases.

Unlike most brands, these are designed with strength, value for money and maximum functionality in mind.

I once had to buy 3 different suitcases (in various price points) in the space of a month because the wheels kept breaking while I was in Europe. What a colossal waste of money, not to mention that they are not exactly biodegradable or easily recyclable!

My current set has lasted just over 4 years, through multiple trips and countless cobble stones, dirt tracks, rocks, stairs, luggage handlers and more. They are now very dented, the zips are struggling to close properly and the cases shows definite wear but they have been well worth the very expensive price tag!

The most recent trip has shown that my little set are almost ready to retire. As a result it is time to start researching and looking into what is available now.

My luggage set purchased in 2015 which has survived cobble stones, dirt roads, staircases and heavy-handed airport handlers!

Are eco-friendly suitcases actually sustainable?

It has been unexpectedly difficult to find out how legitimate ‘eco’ luggage is, many companies certainty claim to be, but just because the materials are recycled does not mean it was not made using the same techniques as standard luggage (or that any parts are non recyclable).

I am no eco-warrior, but I have become a lot more conscious of my ecological footprint recently and do not want to invest in anything that is cheaply made using environmentally harsh methods (even if it is made from recycled materials) – the point here is to have something that lasts a long time, not a short time!

You can certainly buy luggage made from 100% post-industrial recycled A.B.S plastic, 100% post recycled plastic bottles, as well as recycled polyester and vegan leather. So there is definitely no lack of options to pick from, it just depends on the style and size you are after.

Samsonite’s Eco Range are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic

Merax P.E.T. Luggage Set is made from P.E.T. eco friendly plastic, non-toxic and designed to last for over 50 years

Outsmarting Smart Luggage

Luggage has come incredibly far in terms of technology. Add-ons such as removable batteries, GPS tracking, solar powered batteries and remote locking systems mean we now have the ability to truly change the way we travel.

Of course airline restrictions do apply, so the first suitcases with built-in batteries were not ideal, but the new wave of suitcases with removal batteries are a significant improvement.

Normally I always travel with a portable charger anyway, but it is a definite bonus to have a spare charger built into the suitcase.

Now while remote locking systems and code protected locks are fantastic outside of the airport (i.e. trains, buses, taxis), during transit it is a different issue. TSA approved locks need to be used during transit, though once you are through the airport you can activate your secondary lock.

A similar issue exists with GPS tracking, it cannot be used while in the air (no signal), but can be activated once the plane has landed (think of it as flight mode). There are now a number of options available that use a combination of GPS, GMS/Mobile Tech and Bluetooth. None of these are 100% accurate of course, but they can provide some reassurance at least that your luggage landed in the same place as you!

Dollar Value

Everyone’s budget is different, with prices ranging from mere dollars all the way to the thousands. Sales certainly help, but not every brand has sales and usually it is a small percentage for first time buyers.

Of course if you only travel once a year or are staying in one place for most of the time, then quality is not as big as issue. It is when you are doing extensive travel with regular use, that really tests your luggage.

I have no doubt most people have purchased a cheap suitcase at some point, the question is what price do you consider to be good value for a suitcase that will (hopefully) last a lifetime?

This is of course where good research comes in handy, once you know what you want then it just becomes a matter of time until it comes down to an acceptable price point.

Luggage as an Investment

Good quality luggage is an investment, and while it may not appreciate in value, it certainty won’t cost you more (as you should in theory only need the one set).

So for my next set I will be looking for the following qualities:

  • Quality of materials (is it from recycled materials or was the method sustainable?)
  • Price (it is often said you get what you pay for, so it is worth paying a bit more for better quality)
  • Style (if it is going to last then hopefully it looks good as well! Something practical in a nice colour or classic design on it)
  • Removal battery
  • Remote locking system (ideal but not compulsory)

With all the options available there is no doubt I should be able to find something that meets the above list!

 

This post was updated on 1st June 2021

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.

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8 Comments

  1. Hi Gigi, thank you very much for this good writing! I agree with you that luggage as an investment.
    I once used a luggage when traveling by plane. And at that time, I put my luggage in the trunk of the plane during the check-in process. When I arrived at the destination airport, I went to get my luggage at the airport carousel. After waiting a while, my suitcase appeared on the carousel and I took it.
    However, I was surprised when I found my luggage was damaged in the body. This caused my luggage to be very difficult to open. Even though it was successfully opened, my suitcase could not be closed again.
    Indeed, the price of my suitcase is not up to $ 100, but the effect is that the items inside the damaged luggage are worth more than $ 100. Since then, I went to buy a more expensive luggage. And luckily, after that, I never experienced a similar incident.
    By the way, is the style of the luggage important? Because I feel that the luggage is always put in the trunk of the car, bus or plane.

    • Gigi Reply

      Hi Kylie, I’ve heard some horror stories about luggage handlers! Unfortunately they don’t seem to care about taking reasonable care when handling luggage. You are right that the cost of the suitcase is not the point. Your belongings are what is valuable, and you most likely had things of sentimental value that can’t be easily replaced in there as well. 

      Style is a very personal decision, it is what suits you best. I prefer hard shell ones as they provide better protection overall and stack better. However fabric ones do squish in when fitting lots of bags into a small space and can cortort a bit more into odd sized spaces. It comes down to how you travel and what you are more comfortable with.

  2. I do agree with the importance of quality luggage.  

    I usually travel with cabin luggage. Once I landed on Schipol and, for commodity, I saved my laptop inside my suitcase. At some point, I was distracted and the suitcase slips out of my hand. My suitcase went all the way down the escalator, I was so worried, all my work was on that laptop. Luckily, my suitcase is a good quality one and nothing happened. 

    I can’t stop thinking how terrible would have ended up if I wouldn’t prioritize the quality when buying a suitcase. 

    • Gigi Reply

      It is so true that quality can make the difference! I’ve also worried whenever there was anything the slightest bit delicate in my luggage, and knowing that the case is sturdy and there was no risk of the zips popping open is a big relief. You were very fortunate with your laptop, thankfully it ended well for you!

  3. Hey, I found that eco-friendly suitcases actually sustainable for everyone. We can certainly buy luggage made from 100% post-industrial recycled A.B.S plastic, 100% post recycled plastic bottles, as well as recycled polyester and vegan leather. So there is no lack of options to pick from, it just depends on the style and size. Good quality luggage is an awesome  investment for everyone in my views.

    • Gigi Reply

      Hi, it is true that there are plenty of eco-friendly options available. Once they become more mainstream instead of the expensive option I’m sure more people will start to purchase sustainable luggage. 

  4. Hi Gigi,

    Thanks a lot for the informative and insightful article. I really liked the creativity in the blog post title.

    Being a traveler, I was looking for a new suitcase and while doing some research online I came across your helpful post. I got helpful insights from your article and you have given great value here.

    Eco-friendly suitcases will be great. Sharing your experience adds more value to this post and I am interested in the suitcase with removable batteries. Being a full-time blogger as you mentioned having a spare charger built into the suitcase will be an added advantage.

    I will implement the things that I learned from this amazing article while doing my new suitcase purchase.

    • Gigi Reply

      Hi Paul, 

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m really glad you found the article helpful and I hope it helps in your search. 

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