Cheap luggage vs. luxury luggage: How much do you really need to spend?


If you choose a suitcase with a built-in battery for portable charging, make sure the battery is compliant with airline rules. Many airlines have banned certain types of lithium-ion batteries in recent years.

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Is cheap luggage or luxury luggage best?

With luxury retreats in the forest and affordable apartments in the city popping up on all the most popular vacation home-sharing websites, choosing the right suitcase for your budget and destination has never been more confusing. And if there’s one thing all travelers can agree on, it’s that every great adventure starts with the right suitcase. But should you snag a budget bag or luxury luggage for your next trip? 

The biggest difference between luxury and cheap luggage, aside from the price of course, is the fact that luxury luggage is designed for a lifetime of journeys, while cheap luggage is ideal for short-term use or traveling to places with rough environments. 

Is luxury luggage worth it? 

Luxury luggage is made from premium materials like buttery leather, ballistic nylon and bulletproof (in some cases literally) polycarbonate. If you choose a piece of luxury luggage, it will come with expensive details like leather-wrapped handles and full ball-bearing wheels that make it easier and more pleasurable to move. 

Luxury luggage pros

The high-quality materials used in luxury suitcases are more durable. When properly managed, luxury suitcases can easily last a lifetime. Each detail on a premium piece of luggage has been carefully considered and each pocket meticulously placed. When you purchase a luxury suitcase you get maximum functionality and equally good looks. 

Luxury luggage is also a great way to make a statement or complete an outfit. Premium suitcases will turn heads with their eye-catching designs or popping logos. Plus, designer luggage tends to hold its value, so if you get tired of your current suitcase, you can sell it and get a new look. 

Luxury luggage cons

As the name implies, luxury luggage is quite expensive — so expensive that a single suitcase is likely to cost well over $1,000. If you want a set, get ready to shell out upwards of $3,000. 

In the wrong environment, luxury luggage can be your worst nightmare. The last thing you want to do is go on vacation only to worry about the safety and cleanliness of your prized luggage. Luxury luggage is limited in terms of where it can go without being visually damaged and costs a fortune to fix. 

Best luxury luggage 

TUMI - Latitude Continental Carry-On

TUMI – Latitude Continental Carry-On

What you need to know: This is a lightweight-yet-durable option, made from ballistic material, offering protection from high impact and harsh climates.

What you’ll love: It offers premium features, such as an integrated TSA lock and TUMI Tracer. It features a lined interior, two packing compartments, multiple zip pockets, mesh tie-down straps and a hanger bracket.

What to consider: This suitcase is on the pricier side for a carry-on.  

Sold by Macy’s and Amazon

Is cheap luggage worth it? 

What cheap luggage lacks in quality materials and longevity, it makes up for in versatility and affordability. While luxury luggage is ideal for an avid vacationer or weekend get-away warrior, cheap luggage is suited for eager explorers and adventurers. For less than $100, there are quality suitcases you can rely on to carry your items to your destination. If you choose cheap luggage, you’ll also have more money to spend once you arrive. 

Cheap luggage pros

Sustaining a few minor scratches and dings isn’t a big deal if you own a cheap suitcase. If there’s rough terrain in your future, cheap luggage is probably the way to go. 

You can purchase multiple pieces or an entire set for a fraction of the cost of a single designer suitcase. This is also great for frequent flyers who need multiple individual pieces to meet varying airline guidelines. If you’re traveling with the family or going on a multi-month trip, you can hold a lot more luggage for a lot less money. Plus, if it breaks or you get tired of it, replacing it won’t be a financial burden. 

Cheap luggage cons

Usually made from ABS plastic or thin nylon, cheap luggage is more prone to scratches, cracks and ultimately critical damage than luxury luggage is. If you regularly travel with fragile or valuable items, cheap luggage isn’t right for you. 

Cheap luggage usually isn’t backed by a reputable company, let alone a warranty. On top of that, finding replacement parts can be near impossible, depending on where your suitcase was manufactured. 

Best cheap luggage 

Samsonite Adante

Samsonite Adante

What you need to know: Made by a renowned brand, this rolling duffel bag offers astounding features for an affordable price. 

What you’ll love: At less than $100 it’s hard to beat the Adante for the price. This suitcase is packed with helpful features like a waterproof end pocket for wet items, an ergonomic handle, wheels and corner guards for protection. It’s made from durable, water-resistant polyester. 

What you should consider: With only two wheels, this suitcase is harder to maneuver and less capable on rough terrain. 

Sold by Amazon 

Should you get luxury or cheap luggage?

Determining whether you should get luxury or cheap luggage involves considering your budget and travel style. If you’re looking for something to protect your favorite designer outfits and other valuables on your way to a relaxing destination, luxury luggage may be right for you. If you keep it on your person, it’s easy to maintain year over year and it doubles as a designer accessory. 

However, if you’re going somewhere with bad weather or where you plan to be outside a lot, going the cheaper route is probably a better choice. It’s also the right choice if you have a tight budget. Since it can be battered without consequence, you can take a cheap suitcase anywhere on any type of transport. 


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Will Briskin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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