Planning to hop on a flight in the future? Before you book those tickets, it’s going to give you peace of mind when you prepare for your trip with the best checked luggage.
If you’re a light traveller, then check out our top picks of the best hand-carry luggage. However, if you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum, this is the page to be on—especially if you’re a chronic over-packer. Our top picks can easily fit two weeks’ worth of outfits, look sleek, and are easy to manoeuvre. Some even come with lifetime warranties so that you can travel worry-free.
Before we get into the best checked luggage options out there, familiarise yourself with common airline rules for check-in baggage, particularly the sizes allowed and items that may be on the prohibited list.
What you need to know about check-in baggage rules
Rules around checked luggage sizes
When travelling with checked luggage, your baggage is stored in the cargo hold. There are certain rules that apply to all passengers, and baggage not in compliance with the rules cannot be accepted onboard. To spare yourself the anguish, it’s best to stick to the rules in place.
Whether you are flying domestically or internationally, you should pay attention to the weight and quantity limits. Per the International Air Transport Association (IATA), luggage that goes beyond 32 kg cannot be stored on the aircraft as checked luggage. For those flying in economy class, this limit could be lower. If you are travelling in a group, it’s possible to pool together your allowances, but this fully depends on the airline policy—so be sure to read through the terms and conditions.
As a general rule of thumb, try to keep the bag’s linear dimensions (that is the sum of its length, width, and height) under 158 cm, or 62 in.
Prohibited items for checked luggage
Whether you’re a frequent flyer or the occasional air traveller, it’s always good practice to run through the list of prohibited items—just to be on the safe side. These items include:
- sharp objects such as knives, scissors, razors, skewers
- lithium-ion batteries and cameras, phones, laptops, or similar portable electronic devices with more than 2 g of lithium metal content
- flammable or explosive materials
There might be less obvious items on the list, so be sure to check with your airline to confirm. Items in this category may include:
- securities or negotiable papers
- precious metals
- money, jewellery, or other valuable items
- business, travel, or identification documents
- perishable items
Hard shell luggage vs. softside luggage
Beyond just aesthetics, hard shell luggage and softside luggage have their specific pros and cons, and it depends on your travelling needs.
Durability may be the first thing on your mind when you’re shopping around for the best checked luggage. Hardside luggage, while lightweight and strong, can be prone to splitting and cracking. On the other hand, softside luggage can tear or rip should it be made of the wrong fabric. It can also stain and trap moisture, so be sure to triple check the materials. Besides the materials, check also for resilient zippers, sturdy handles and wheels.
However, don’t leave what you’re packing out of the shopping equation. After all, it’s what is on the inside that counts. When travelling with particularly fragile or breakable items, you may want to opt for the softside luggage, as it has more give that acts like a cushion. You can get hard shell luggage, provided that it comes with additional cushion.
Now that you have these in consideration, check out our top picks.