The choice of the suitcase is always one of the first great indecisions of the traveler. With wheels, without wheels, big, small, more expensive, cheaper, there are so many factors that usually the traveler doesn´t know what to choose.
Well, I recommend you to think first about the type of trip you want to do more often and buy a durable suitcase (even if it´s more expensive) more suitable for this type of trip.
I’ll give you an example: if you want to travel in more luxurious style, you will not buy a backpack (epic fail lol). Or if you are traveling in backpacker style, you will not buy a four-wheeled rigid case (another epic fail lol) It is important that the choice of suitcase is appropriate to the style of travel you want.
Next 7 factors will help you decide:
1-Size and weight
This is the most important. See the restrictions of the airlines that you expect to travel. Decide for the sizes of the companies that restrict more.
As for the weight, the lighter the bag, the better, so you will have greater weight margin for the contents.
If you buy a rigid case, try to buy polypropylene, which is a lighter case. The flexible bags are usually lighter, but pay attention to the material, try to always buy suitcases with quality material.
The advantage of these suitcases it’s because usually they are a lot lighter, much used by backpackers, but it has the disadvantage that sometimes it is a bit difficult to always carry all the luggage on your back, especially on longer journeys, such as a World travel, as was mine.
With two wheels
These bags are the most frequent, it has the advantage of more easy transportation on both flat floors and more uncertain floors. Another advantage is that the wheels are protected by the body of the suitcase, avoiding further degradation of the wheels.
With 4 wheels
This is the suitcase whose transportation requires less physical effort, allowing it to turn the suitcase in any direction. The disadvantage is that these wheels, having a more protruding arrangement, take up more space and degrade more easily.
3-Material of the suitcase
Semi-rigid or soft
This suitcases are more lighter, more resistant against shocks and more adaptable. Please note that the material must be very strong, washable and preferably waterproof.
It´s more resistant and protects better the contents of the suitcase. But space is not adjustable.
4- External appearance of the suitcase
If you decide for a more colorful and patterned suitcase, it is easier to locate on the treadmill and difficult to be confused. Choosing a more classic color is important to mark the suitcase with a tape, sticker or other mark well visible to be easily identifiable.
Although it is not necessary to buy a luxury suitcase of exaggerated values, it is important to sometimes spend a little more for quality material.
Check the warranty conditions before buying. There are suitcases with very advantageous guarantee conditions.
7-Extras and accessories
• Telescopic handle
Make sure the adjustment is suitable for you, if it locks in several extension positions;
• Side and top handles of the suitcase;
It is very important to check their resistance, because they facilitate the transport of the suitcase;
• Ability to expand the body of the suitcase;
The suitcases with this extra has a half zip that when opened allows to increase the capacity of the suitcase, sometimes very useful;
• Pockets and compartments
Very useful at the organization level of the suitcase, especially the smaller belongings;
It is always a security increase, but if you do not have it, do not forget the padlock;
• Water proof material
It is a great advantage if the suitcase has a waterproof treatment. Otherwise it is important to have a cover to protect in rainy conditions;
• Adjustable inner ribbons
Essential to keep the contents of the bag tied, fixed and secure;
My own experience
I will give you my personal experience. For my trip around the World for 9 months, with completely unpredictable and diversified scenarios, I decided for a flexible bag with a strong material, two-wheeled, an extendable telescopic handle and backpack-style back straps.
It turned out to be a wise decision. For more rugged terrain, I putted my suitcase on my back and I was on my way, and on other occasions, the fact that I had wheels helped me a lot to ease the weight of my back and travel more comfortably.
During the trip I ended up buying a smaller backpack to carry on my back, which was very useful when I left the main suitcase in the hotels and set out to adventure.