The 12 Best Luggage Sets to Buy for Your Most Amazing Trip Yet
You’ve booked your ticket, gawked at all the stunning Instagram photos of your destination and now, it’s time to pack. Whether you’re traveling as part of a group or on your own, flying international or staying close to home, having a solid set of luggage is crucial to keep your belongings safe and organized. We found the best luggage sets that are durable, stylish and full of features that will make your travel experience one for the books.
Hard vs. Soft Luggage
The best material for your luggage set will largely depend on the type of vacay you’re about to take. For a weekend road trip, for instance, you’ll likely be fine throwing a soft set of bags into the backseat, while a long-distance flight may require something more heavy-duty. As with most things, each type has its pros and cons.
- Hardside Luggage: When it comes to hardshell luggage, which will better protect your belongings and clean up easily, you’ll largely be dealing with acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (aka ABS plastic), a hardshell material that's popular for its high strength-to-weight ratio and its ability to withstand corrosion and adverse environmental conditions. Polycarbonate, meanwhile, is slightly stronger, more heat resistant and a more malleable type of plastic that costs more, but gives your belongings better security. While this type of luggage can’t be beat in an under-carriage pile-up, it can also be heavy and less-than-spacious, with little room for expansion.
- Soft Luggage: Those looking for a softside luggage set, which promises to be lighter and more storage-friendly, will want to opt for a durable polyester that will optimize your packing capabilities and facilitate expansion. The polyester should also be padded to further protect your belongings from potential impact (though it likely won't perform as well as a hard set would). You’ll also want to take care with this type of luggage, since it’s more prone to tears and stains.
Features to Look for in a Luggage Set
Other things to consider when investing in these travel collections include:
- Size: A great carry-on will do you no good if it’s too big to board your flight or train with. Carry-on size regulations vary by airline, but you’ll generally be safe with a bag that’s 22 inches x 14 inches by 9 inches from top to bottom.
- Safety features: Without a lock, it will be easy for anyone to reach into your luggage and help themselves to your precious belongings. Look for a TSA lock, which will allow only you and airport personnel to open it up and inspect your things. Combination or key style locks are both great bets, but you might be more likely to lose a key than, say, forget your combination, which you can mark down somewhere discrete in your phone or wallet.
- Extra compartments: While a large piece of luggage can help you transport your items in bulk, the addition of pockets, slips and compartments will be clutch for staying organized on-the-go. Look for mesh pockets to separate your shoes or dirty laundry from your clean clothes and dividers to help split luggage space between two travelers.
- Hardware: When it comes to hardware, seek out metal zippers, clasps, locks and handles that won’t be prone to cracking, like plastic might.
- Maneuverability: The type of wheels your luggage is equipped with will determine how well you’re able to get around with it, so it pays to know what you’re looking for before picking out a set. The most common options are in-line skate wheels, which are durable and recessed into your bag, allowing it to be pulled along behind you. Spinner wheels, by contrast, which are external, see your bag’s wheels rotating by a full 360 degrees, so you can pull it alongside or in front of you. Wheels should also be secured by metal joints in order to facilitate transportation of your luggage from one end of the airport to the other.
Now that you know everything there is to know about picking out luggage, check out some of the best options below.
The Best Luggage Sets At A Glance
- Best Travel Luggage Set: Kenneth Cole Reaction 3-Piece Luggage Set
- Best Hard Luggage Set: Samsonite Novaire 2-Piece Luggage Set
- Best Soft Carry-On Luggage: Mark & Graham Carry-On and Weekender 2-Piece Luggage Set
- Best Cute Luggage Set: Away The Carry-On and The Medium
- Best Disney Luggage Set: American Tourister Disney 2-Piece Luggage Set
- Best Carry-On Luggage Set: Traveler’s Club Sky+ 3-Piece Luggage Set
- Best 2-Piece Luggage Set: July 2-Piece Trunk Set
- Best Designer Luggage Set: Badgley Mischka Snakeskin Luggage Set
- Best Large Luggage Set: Betsey Johnson 3-Piece Luggage Set
- Best Modern Luggage Set: Calvin Klein Filmore 3-Piece Luggage Set
- Best Retro Luggage Set: Urecity 2-Piece Trunk Luggage Set
- Most Secure Luggage Set: Calpak Astyll 3-Piece Luggage Set
- Why We Love It: Lots of colors, each piece expands by up to 2 inches, multi-directional wheels
If you’re often on-the-go, you’ll want to invest in this sleek luggage set from Kenneth Cole. With a 20-inch carry-on and 24- and 28-inch checked suitcases, it's great for traveling, since it's got multi-directional wheels that spin at 360 degrees that mean you won't be stumbling over yourself while rushing through the airport. Each piece expands by up to 2 inches should you overpack (which, let's face it, you probably will), and you can keep things organized thanks to the multiple pockets found within.
- Why We Love It: Scratch-resistant, TSA locks
The definition of durable, this Makrolon (a form of polycarbonate) set, which consists of a carry-on and a spinner suitcase, comes with a scratch-resistant finish that’ll keep it from looking like junk the second it's slid into the overhead bin or thrown into the airplane's stowage area. We’re also big fans of the built-in TSA combination locks that'll make you feel more secure. Right now, you can also get it for 15 percent off with coupon code MAYSALE.
- Why We Love It: Vegan leather, can be personalized
The best part about soft-luggage sets? They fit more easily into tight places and are less likely to go over weight limits, in large part thanks to the lightweight design. This one from Mark & Graham can be customized with your initials and is made with a sleek vegan leather that's friendly to animals, yet still chic. Note that this set won't be delivered until July, so you'll want to check out one of the other options on our list if your trip is coming up quickly.
- Why We Love It: Mix and match, customizable luggage tag
OK, OK, so this one technically isn't a set, but you'll get a $50 discount for creating your own with two Away luggage pieces of your choice. The Carry-On, which is designed at 21.7-inches to fit regulations for most major aircrafts and features TSA locks, is the brand's quintessential luggage. It's got luxe leather detailing, including the tag, which can be customized with your initials. There's also a hidden laundry bag for keeping your soiled clothes separated out from your clean ones. The Medium, meanwhile, features many of the same niceties, only in a 26-inch size.
- Why We Love It: Affordable, kid-friendly
You don’t have to be traveling to Disneyland to enjoy this whimsical luggage set (although we’re totally jealous if you are). Not only do the 21- and 28-inch spinner have a nostalgic Mickey Mouse print that lovers of the House of Mouse will go gaga for, it's practical, too, thanks to the interior cross straps that will prevent your items from jostling around and the spinner wheels that are reportedly smooth enough for even a child to roll.
- Why We Love It: Convenient, expandable
Sick of paying pesky check-on fees and waiting forever at baggage claim? This set includes three pieces that can all fit inside the plane, including a small 20-inch suitcase, a boarding tote that will fit over the suitcase's trolley handle and a travel kit. You'll also get the best of both worlds with its mix of hardshell and softshell pieces. All that for less than $75? Sign us up!
- Why We Love It: Mod design, tons of features, lifetime guarantee
Sure, it's pricey, but this two-piece collection from July also comes with a lifetime guarantee. It also has just about everything you could ever ask for in a luggage set, from the durable polycarbonate material to the water- and stain-resistant lining that will help to protect your belongings. Leather detailing lends an air of luxury, and there'll be no fear of finding a seat at the airport with a charger—this baby has an ejectable power bank built right into the carry-on trunk. The checked trunk, meanwhile, is on the larger side at 28.25 inches, too, so you'll have plenty of room for extra storage.
- Why We Love It: Chic exterior, expandable bodies, adjustable handles
Fashion gals will adore traveling with this glamorous set from Vogue-approved designer Badgley Mischka. If the trendy snakeskin pattern doesn’t sell you, the expandable bodies and multi-level trolley handles, which can be adjusted to best suit your height, definitely will—especially since it's currently a whopping 50 percent off at Macy's.
- Why We Love It: Larger-than-average, expandable
Raise your hand if you’re a heavy packer (guilty!). Luckily, with this expandable luggage set, you won’t have to choose between your favorite outfits. The largest piece in this set of three measures 30 inches, which is bigger than most you're likely to find (26 to 28 inches for the largest case is more typical for a collection). You'll just want to be careful not to overload it past your airline's weight limit!
- Why We Love It: Bold colors, easy-to-clean surface
Made with durable-yet-lightweight ABS plastic, this hard luggage set has a clean, modern look and comes in vibrant hues that will make it super easy to spot on the carousel following your flight. It's got tie-down belts inside to help you smush down your denim pile and a sturdy exterior that will be a breeze to wipe down should someone knock into you (and your coffee).
- Why We Love It: Timeless design, three-foot lock
If you long for the elegance of yore, this collection is the one for you. It's got a trunk-like design and comes in a timeless Tiffany blue that will never go out of style. Appearances can be deceiving, however, as its features are plenty 21st-century, from the three-foot password lock and waterproof exterior to the copious organizational pockets. You can also choose to pair the 12-inch case with its 20-, 22- 24- or 26-inch big sister to best suit your preferences.
- Why We Love It: Sleek design, reliable
If you're a nervous flyer, this set, which features a TSA-approved lock and a durable hard shell, will give you one less thing to worry about. To make things even better, it expands by up to 2 inches and comes with handy pocket dividers. But our favorite part? The super-chic marble pattern that’ll make it easy to spot at baggage claim.