— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. However, our picks and opinions are independent from USA Today’s newsroom and any business incentives.
Having the right luggage can make traveling for a business trip or vacation a lot less stressful. But which bag should you bring? Your decision on what to haul along with you to the airport should be informed by how long you’ll be gone, whether you prefer to pack light or bring the kitchen sink with you, and the amount of space your airline allows, per passenger, for baggage.
No matter the style of travel you prefer or the duration of your next trip, we’ve got a well-researched, thoroughly tested luggage option to suit your needs.
1. The best checked luggage bag we tested: Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 29″ Expandable Spinner Suiter
Travelpro’s Platinum Magna 2 is the best large suitcase to invest in right now. It’s made well enough that it’ll survive years of vacations, trips back and forth from university, or extended business travel.
The 29-inch design offers 137 liters of packing space, which was more than adequate to house all of the items we packed into it during testing. Its rugged Cordura exterior ensures it’ll come out of your plane’s cargo hold in one piece, no worse for wear.
There are also plenty of pockets to fit and house your every need on both the interior and exterior of the bag, while the bag itself is expandable, too. You should know that while this suitcase does come in a couple of different colors, it’s not the most stylish bag. For something a little more fashionable, check out The Large AWAY Travel Suitcase or the Briggs & Riley Large Expandable Spinner.
Get the Travelpro Platinum Magna Expandable Spinner Suiter on Amazon for $321.81
2. The best hard-sided checked bag we tested: The Large AWAY Travel Suitcase
If you’re looking for a new hard-sided suitcase to take on your next adventure, we think that The Large AWAY Travel Suitcase is a great option. Its tough yet flexible polycarbonate outer shell is available in a wide variety of colors and—with its textured, matte finish—is less susceptible to picking up scuffs and dirt than other hard-sided suitcases that we considered or tested.
There aren’t any pockets on the outside of this suitcase, but the roomy interior features several mesh pockets and a clip-in compression panel that’ll help you keep your belongings organized while you’re on the road. As your trip wears on, you’ll be able to separate your dirty clothes from your clean stuff using the suitcase’s included laundry bag. And once everything you want to take with you is safely packed away, you can secure your belongings with the built-in combination lock.
Get the Large AWAY Travel Suitcase from AWAY for $295
3. The best wheeled carry-on bag we tested: Samsonite Flexis 21″ Spinner
The Samsonite Flexis 21″ Spinner is the best carry-on bag of the moment. It’s total dimensions, at 22.5 x 15.0 x 9.0 inches, should allow it to fit into the overhead bins of the majority of flights offered by North America’s largest airlines. With 2520 cubic inches of packing space, this bag should allow a smart traveler to carry a week’s worth of clothes.
The Flexis 21” Spinner’s high-quality wheels and retractable handle make crossing over sun-cracked pavement, concrete sidewalks, wood floors and tile comfortable and easy. As it’s a four-wheeled spinner, you’ll have no trouble maneuvering the Flexis around obstacles.
There are, in addition to its roomy main compartment, three pockets sewn into the outside of this bag: the large exterior pocket is ideal for stuffing a sweater, iPad, or magazines into it. Two smaller zippered pockets—which are well-sized for an e-reader, passport, and charging cables—are built into the bag’s zippered lid.
Get the Samsonite Flexis 21″ Spinner on Amazon for $121.06
4. The best soft-sided carry-on bag we tested: Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45
The Aeronaut 45 is small enough to fit easily into an overhead compartment and can be compressed to make it even smaller for storage. It has waterproof zippers and comes in two different fabrics that will wear tough or stay cleaner in a variety of colors.
The frameless Aeronaut 45 feels featherlight compared to a spinner. Tom Bihn equipped the bag with handles, backpack straps and the ability to attach a shoulder strap for all modes of transportation.
And in terms of compartments, the bag has a big main compartment that allows for organization in any way you choose and smaller ones on either end of the bag with tiny compartments in them.
Get the Tom Binh Aeronaut from Tom Bihn for $300
5. One of our favorite hard-shell carry-ons: The AWAY Carry-On
While we haven’t tested AWAY’s The Carry-On yes, but the company’s checked luggage performed so well that we don’t have any hesitation in recommending it. While its rigid construction might not allow it into as many tight spaces as a soft-sided bag can be jammed into, this carry-on’s stylish exterior is easy to clean and tough enough to ensure that whatever you pack inside of it will arrive at your destination in one piece.
Get the AWAY Carry-On from AWAY for $225
6. Our favorite luxury checked bags: The Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable 28″ Spinner
We’ve never encountered a more robustly constructed suitcase than the Briggs & Riley Large Expandable Spinner. Its heavy-duty Cordura exterior is protected by tons of plastic bumpers and reinforcement points to ensure that it’ll last through a lifetime of travel. Sueded leather handles and smooth sliding zippers provide touches of luxury in what’s usually a merely functional piece of equipment. We also loved its internal expansion/compression mechanism, since it made it a cinch to size the suitcase to suit our needs.
Get the Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Expandable 28″ Spinner on Amazon for $715
7. The best packing cubes for travelers who need every inch: eBags Six-Piece Packing Cube Value Set
This set of six packing cubes from eBags is a great choice for anyone looking to organize the contents of their suitcase or carry-on.
For just under $50, you get a number of different-sized cubes for different items that allow you to organize with ease.
The cubes are made of lightweight nylon and boast durable, fully finished interior seams, along with YKK zippers that open and close easily. eBags also sells similar cubes in a sets of three and four, in case you usually have more or less stuff to pack.
Get the eBags Packing Cubes on Amazon for $44.99
8. The best luggage scales for travelers to pre-weigh bags: Dr. Meter Digital Luggage Scale
The Dr. Meter Digital Luggage Scale is our pick for the best luggage scale, and it wins on a number of fronts. Most importantly, it was able to accurately measure all of the weights we threw at it to within a few decimal places, and it can do so in either pounds or kilograms. It comes with a bright and easy-to-read backlit display, its buttons are well placed, and its aluminum and plastic body feels tough enough to provide years of service. Since it only weighs 3.25 ounces, you’ll never even notice that you have it with you until it comes time to put it to use.
To use it, you simply turn it on, attach it to the handle of your luggage, and lift. Easy. Once it obtains a solid reading, the measurement shows up solidly on the display.
Get the Dr. Meter Digital Luggage Scale on Amazonfor $9.69
The contents of this story originally appeared on Reviewed.com. For more info on checked luggage, carry-on bags, packing cubes, luggage scales and more, check out Reviewed.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.