TPG Staff Picks for Best Luggage

Jun 20, 2016

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Are you in the market for some new luggage? TPG International Contributor Lori Zaino recently asked TPG’s editorial staff to share their favorite suitcases. Here are their recommendations for your next great travel bag, plus a few of her own. 

TPG readers are constantly asking us about our favorite luggage and wondering what bags and suitcases we use when we travel. I have a few favorites and thought it would be fun to reach out to the members of TPG’s editorial team and see what their go-to travel bags were. From super-stylish carry-ons to a bag that works as mobile dresser, these are the travel bags we can’t leave home without.

1. The Rimowa Salsa Cabin Matte Collection

Rimowa's Salsa Cabin Matte collection comes in several sizes. Image courtesy of Rimowa.
Rimowa’s Salsa Cabin Matte collection comes in several sizes. Image courtesy of Rimowa.

A favorite of TPG himself, Rimowa suitcases are some of the best on the market, but be prepared to fork over a pretty penny for a rolling suitcase in this collection, as prices hover around the $500 mark for even the smallest bag.

The heavy duty polycarbonate shell exterior of these suitcases ensures maximum protection for your belongings and is actually extremely light. The bags in this collection roll seamlessly thanks to extra smooth-gliding wheels and can be rolled over pretty much any terrain — after TPG’s recent trips to Accra, Rwanda and Vietnam, we can attest to that!

The bags in the collection also come with a mesh divider for easy organization, a multi-stage telescopic handle and a TSA-approved combination lock. The collection’s muted style works well for pretty much anyone, with bags available in matte black, blue or bronze.

Bags from this collection can be purchased at Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus or Zappos.com — you might also want to consider using airline shopping portals to make your purchase.

2. Tumi Alpha 2 Expandable Carry-On

 

This Tumi Alpha 2 bag doesn't look too flashy on the outside, but is quite functional. Image courtesy of Tumi.
This Tumi Alpha 2 bag doesn’t look too flashy on the outside, but is quite functional. Image courtesy of Tumi.

This soft-shell bag is a lightweight, practical item with all the bells and whistles, like impact-resistant corner caps, a three-stage telescoping handle and space-providing recessed 360° wheels. The suitcase is especially cool for travelers who tend to shop or accumulate more goods on the road, as the Lever Lock Expansion system provides two stages of expansion for more space. TPG Editor-in-Chief Zach Honig swears by this durable bag and won’t be caught on the road without it.

Be prepared to fork over at least $600 for this carry-on bag as most retailers will charge between $595-$675. The bag is available on Amazon.com, and you can use Citi ThankYou Points to pay for your purchase on Amazon, although we don’t think this is necessarily the the best use of your ThankYou points. Another option is to redeem Amex airline fee credits for Amazon gift cards. The bag can also be purchased at Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus or Zappos.com.

3. Lipault Paris Luggage

Make a statement with Lipault’s colorful luggage. Image courtesy of Lipault.

If you’re looking for something bright and bold to match your vibrant personality, Lipault is a French brand that creates functional, lightweight luggage with a fashionable flair. Aluminum handles, durable straps, strong zippers and water-resistant nylon leave no question as to the quality of the product. The bags also come in plenty of bright colors and shapes. The foldable line allows the suitcases to collapse for storage — even the 22-inch bag can be pressed to just four inches and stored in a clear, protective bag.

Most small items like toiletry bags start at about $20, while rolling carry-on suitcases and other, larger-wheeled bags range from $119-$259. Though you can order online through Lipault’s USA website, Bloomingdales or Zappos, and there are plenty of shops in Europe where you can make your purchase if you’re already traveling — just be sure to use a credit card that doesn’t tack on pesky foreign transaction fees like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Citi Prestige. To see more cards without these fees, check out our post, Top Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees.

 

4. High Sierra Upright Combo Bags

High Sierra offers wheeled bags that double as duffels or backpacks. Image courtesy of High Sierra.
High Sierra offers wheeled bags that double as duffels or backpacks. Image courtesy of High Sierra.

For those opting for a sportier style but who don’t want a traditional knapsack, the High Sierra Upright collection consists of relaxed duffel-style bags or backpacks that often double as rolling suitcases.

These two-in-one style bags can be carried as backpacks or duffels or wheeled around depending on your travel situation and preference. The line comes with plenty of zippered compartments for easy and accessible storage, and most are made with Ripstop polyester fabric. I’d recommend these types of bags for anyone who’s planning to do a little off-the-beaten-path travel because of the flexibility they offer. Bags range from $100-$200 — check out the website’s sale section to find some items for up to 50% off. They can also be purchased at eBags or Zappos.com.

5. Joy Mangano’s Carry-On Wheeled Dresser and Tote Set

Ladies will adore this bag that's basically a dresser on wheels. Image courtesy of HSN.
Ladies will adore this bag that’s basically a dresser on wheels. Image courtesy of HSN.

Senior Editor Kaeli Conforti adores her Joy Mangano wheeled dresser luggage — isn’t it every woman’s dream to travel with a closet as opposed to smashing her precious belongings into a suitcase?

Officially called the Joy Couture City Collection Tote and Carry-On Wheeled Dresser, the wheeled carry-on features two removable drawers to pack your belongings in, making it feel like you are traveling with your very own set of dresser drawers. The luggage is also very stylish and comes in six colors — emerald, navy, cognac, gray, black and lipstick red.

The set is available for purchase through the Home Shopping Network and HSN.com, and offers the option of paying one single payment of $199.95 or four payments of about $49.99 each. The bag also comes with the manufacturer’s 10-year limited warranty.

6. Tumi Tegra-Lite Max Continental Expandable Carry-On

The Tumi Continental expands up to 2". Image courtesy of Tumi.
The Tumi Continental expands up to 2″. Image courtesy of Tumi.

This understated Tumi Continental suitcase is favored by TPG Director of Marketing Kate O’Brien because it expands up to 2″ for extra space when she packs one too many sweaters. There’s a hanger bracket as well as a smaller compartment perfect for fitting in shoes, while mesh tie-down straps help when you need to squeeze in a few extra things. This expandable bag comes with a TSA-integrated lock and is made from polypropylene to withstand being tossed around. It’s listed on Tumi’s website for $645 and is available in black. The bag can also be purchased at Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus or Zappos.com.

A Final Tip

TPG Senior Points and Miles Contributor Jason Steele swears by purchasing low-cost luggage from outlet stores like TJ Maxx or Ross, as they often have discontinued merchandise from high-end travel manufacturers like Samsonite or Tumi. This way, if the bags are damaged by airlines or use, it’s no big deal.

Do you have a favorite luggage brand or specific suitcase you love to travel with? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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