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Going away? Here’s the best luggage for every kind of trip

Which suitcases look smart but also fit into overhead lockers? What sort of rucksack is best for backpacking? And is the latest gadget-laden design really worth the money? The Pool finds out

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By Hannah Banks-Walker on

If there’s one thing The Pool team could agree on when it came to luggage, it was that very cheap luggage should be avoided if you want any sort of longevity out of it. There are plenty of suitcases on the market for almost the same price as your suncream but, as deputy editor Lucy says: “My one and only tip? Spend money on luggage, as the handlers throw them around. You might think you are being clever saving cash, but you are not, especially when you see a pair of pants peeking out of a case circling on a conveyor belt and realise they are your pants, in your "bargain lightweight soft case", which has been slashed on the flight. Also, wheels on a cheap case can give up the ghost on the first outing. And we all know a case without wheels is murder. I am speaking from bitter experience.”

So, if you are going to spend a bit more on a suitcase, you want to ensure it’s actually worth it. With that in mind, these are The Pool team’s favourites, for every kind of trip you’ll ever have to make… 

the Best carry-on: Sam Baker’s Brics bag

Now you've hit on my favourite subject. I LOVE a good suitcase. I have this one from Bric's (£199) and I love it. It's light, fits a surprising amount of crap in, goes in most overhead lockers (when I got it in John Lewis, the very lovely woman advised me on the locker measurements of the airlines I most often fly with). It wasn't cheap but, in terms of cost-per-use, I'm sure it will eventually be a bargain.

I actually went in to buy one of these, but they're not the most chic, so my shallow self was thrilled to discover their funny square-ish shape meant they wouldn’t go overhead on either Virgin or British Airways. 


The best bag for a business trip: Jo Morrell's Knomo tote

I’ve been looking for a great business bag for a while, as I had one that I used for so long it was battered. There are lots of great ones on the market, but I didn’t really want to spend a fortune on something that I’ll mostly use for work. This expandable tote from Knomo (£179) is ideal, though – it’s sleek, it has a padded laptop section, a hidden magnetic pocket for things like your keys and phone, which you need regular access to, and it has a pocket with RFID blocking, which keeps your phone, bank cards and passports safe from identity theft. On top of all that, you get an ID to register, meaning you can find your bag more easily if you lose it. 


the Best long-lasting suitcase: Lynn Enright’s Samsonite case

I am so passionate about this subject! I swear by a Samsonite one I bought in a sale 10-ish years ago. It's a bit like this one with a hard shell and four wheels, which makes it easy to travel with. 

I think key points to consider are: do you like suitcases that you pack on both sides and that zip in the middle, or do you prefer those that zip at the top? Also: do you favour lightweight styles or cases with a hard outside shell? 


The best gadget suitcase: Frankie Graddon’s AWAY case 

For what it's worth I'm really into this carry-on case from Away (£225). It's ludicrously expensive but super light weight, four wheel drive, inner compartments to keep everything tidy and has a lock. The pièce de resistance is that it has an inbuilt phone charger for all the times you're at the airport without a plug socket. If you've got a bit to spend then this is the one. It looks super chic and will last an age.


the Best weekend bag: Hannah Banks-Walker’s Mipac 

I initially bought a Mi-Pac weekender because it was affordable and I just needed a bag at the last minute, but I ended up buying two more because they were so handy and I’d use them until they were worn out.

I had a printed one that people would always think was from Goyard (which sells bags for over £1,000) because it looked so lovely, and I’ve more recently got this plain version (£34.99), which is glossy and chic, and I think it looks far more expensive than £35. They’re really durable, too – the only reason mine wear out is because I overfill them with more stuff than I ever need for two days. I don't travel light, that's for sure. 


the Best long-haul suitcase: Erica Leavesley’s Reiss suitcase

I would love a set of Globe-Trotter cases, but they're mega expensive (as in, thousands of pounds). Reiss has done a similar style, though, and I love the grey because it feels very chic. It is still pricey, but it will last for ever and feels timeless, too. 


the Best bag for backpacking: Melanie Hearn's Karrimor rucksack

My husband has had his Karrimor rucksack for about 100 years and it’s still going strong. A colleague also told me her dad has had one since the 70s and it’s only just falling apart, so that must be a good sign. It’s got all you’d need if you were backpacking – lots of room, padded straps and a lower strap for extra support, too. There are loads of pockets and even a rain cover, in case you get caught in a downpour.


The best suitcase under £200: Elle Turner's Herschel case

As suitcases go – and I'll be frank, it takes a lot to get me excited about a suitcase – this one from Herschel Supply (£150) is downright perfect. It's compact, sleek and – crucially – it has four wheels (multi-directional, may I add) so when I overfill it, which I inevitably always do, it doesn't topple over. The mesh compartments inside are also great, to restore some level of order when I bung bits in.

I assumed it would be quite expensive, as most cases are, but it’s actually £150, which seems pretty reasonable, considering how long it will last, how often I’ll use it and how much it offers. It’s small enough for me to store easily at home, but fits a lot more than you might expect. There’s also a bigger version if you need something for a longer trip, which is still under the £200 mark at £160. 


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