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When it comes to major travel gear purchases, a checked bag typically tops the list in regards to both importance and price. It’s a staple for longer trips (anywhere from 10 to 14 days) and for anyone who wants or needs to have more room in their suitcase. And while large luggage tends to be relatively costly, a quality bag should last you for years to come. That said, deciding what is the best checked luggage for you—whether you’re buying your first one or looking to upgrade from an older model—isn’t a decision that should be made lightly. You’ll want to consider a few factors:
- Material: Hard-shell suitcases usually function as clamshells (giving you space to pack on both sides); soft-sided suitcases often have one large compartment and a few exterior pockets.
- Organizational elements: If you're a packing cube devotee, you might not care about extra pockets; overpackers—or anyone traveling with bulky items—will likely want a bag with compression straps.
- Wheel count: Two wheels are better for speed and rough terrain, while four wheels cater to maneuverability. If you go with two wheels, you’ll be pulling your bag from point A to point B; four wheels give you the ability to push or pull, depending on your preference.
- Cost: Checked luggage ranges anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand. A higher price tag can indicate more features and higher-quality materials, but there are occasions when you’re simply paying for the brand name.
To help you narrow down the search, our editors and contributors spent the last year reviewing models from top luggage brands like Away, Calpak, Monos, Tumi, and Béis to determine which ones we recommend most. Read on to discover the best checked luggage to buy right now—all of which have been thoroughly road-tested for their durability, functionality, and capacity.
This article is part of Condé Nast Traveler’s first-ever Luggage Week, for which dozens of suitcases, backpacks, and weekender bags were road-tested by our editors.
“For the first time ever as an overpacker, I had room to spare,” says associate commerce editor Meaghan Kenny, who traveled with the Béis 26” Check-In Roller on a nine-day trip to Italy this summer. A large part of that spaciousness comes from the hard-sided suitcase’s many compartments and its ability to expand an additional two inches to accommodate more volume. On one side, a U-zip flap and its two zip pockets keep contents securely packed away; the opposite side uses a detachable compression flap with another U-zip pocket and four-point compression straps to provide security and stability. There are also two more pouches—for small valuables and for dirty or wet clothing—which Kenny likens to having “built-in packing cubes.” While Béis says the suitcase can hold up to 99 pounds, it also features a weight limit indicator to ensure you don’t go over any weight limit specifications when flying.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Ambeur Large Luggage from Calpak is its size: The checked bag can carry up to 112L. “An individual traveler could easily get away with packing a week’s worth of clothes and accessories, possibly even two travelers with the right packing skills,” says Lara Kramer, global director of audience development, social, and analytics, who also shared that the suitcase is expandable by two inches, “ensuring you can bring home those extra souvenirs.” Overpackers—or those packing for multiple travelers—will appreciate the spacious main compartments, as well as the three additional zipper compartments that Kramer says are “perfect for packing your smaller or more delicate items.” The Ambeur Large Luggage is a great option if you’re headed abroad for an extended period of time, or if you’re traveling as a family.
Some trips result in more luggage wear and tear than others—international flights, multiple layovers, and cross-country moves, to name a few. If you’re expecting particularly grueling journeys over the next couple of years, invest in the Herschel Heritage Hardshell Medium Luggage. Two European adventures later, the impact-resistant suitcase has “held up very well” for Kenny: Scuffs are minimal, and there were no issues with the zippers or locks. Typically, two wheels are better for navigating cobblestones and less-than-even surfaces, but she noticed that the suitcase’s four inset Hinomoto wheels “rolled easily and quietly” through both the airport and the bumpy streets of Florence.
Away has become known for its minimal yet functional luggage; it’s a reliable go-to for light, spacious suitcases that get the job done. Recently, the brand released upgraded versions of several of its classic bags, including The Medium, which destinations editorial assistant Charlie Hobbs describes as a kind of bag made for “young people on the go.” After bringing The Medium on a trip to Rhode Island and Martha’s Vineyard, he confirmed it held enough clothes for a full two weeks (without doing laundry), and its four 360-degree wheels ensure the luggage is easily maneuverable. The suitcase’s interior features three mesh pockets as well as a small hanging pocket, so you’ll be able to maintain a certain level of organization—even without packing cubes. The only downside of The Medium is the highly scuffable polycarbonate hardshell. Frequent travel, particularly air travel, may result in a less-than-flawless look.
Style meets function in the 70L, four-wheeled Monos Check-in Medium, which comes in seven standard colors and as well as a selection of limited edition patterns and shades. The Aerospace-grade, water-resistant polycarbonate hard shell pairs with the TSA–approved lock for ultimate security, and global digital director Arati Menon had no complaints about the storage space: “One half of the suitcase comes with compression straps and a covered panel with pockets—I use this section for my clothes, and put my shoes into the two pockets. The other section is covered, keeping any other shoes, toiletries, and other sundry items protected and tucked in.” There’s also the added bonus of a removable laundry bag, two shoe bags, and a vegan leather luggage tag. If you’re hunting for a reliable, does-it-all suitcase, this is the one. In Menon’s words, “It feels light, looks great, glides like a dream, and is super functional to boot.”
If you’re interested in a trunk, it means one thing: You’re not planning on traveling light. Hobbs was impressed with the Peugeot Voyages 29" Trunk Wheeled Trunk’s “abundant space,” which he says can hold “a month’s worth of clothing, easily.” When empty, the trunk—including its impact-resistant shell, aluminum frame, two TSA–approved combination locks, and four spinner wheels—weighs 12.3 pounds. Given its size, 50 pounds will come sooner than you think, especially since the two interior compartments (complete with tie straps and zip mesh pockets) are extra roomy. That said, the Peugeot Voyages trunk is great for travelers who have more forgiving luggage weight restrictions, those who are able to haul a heavier suitcase, or those traveling by car.
Tested by senior editor Megan Spurrell on two long-haul trips—Peru and Antarctica—this bag rivals pricier options on this list and will blend in with them, too: “This July number is light, easy to lift, and a spacious interior means I can fit quite a bit inside,” Spurrell says. “It seamlessly pairs with two carry-ons I have, too—both navy blue, from Paravel and Arlo Skye—for a stylish set when I’m traveling heavy on a longer trip.” She notes that the wheels glide smoothly, particularly for a larger bag, and the solid exterior instills hope that it’ll be able to take a number of rough unloadings without any issues. And while the suitcase itself is “simple in design,” she says, the bright colorways (especially the yellow, blush pink, green, and red) are easy to spot at the baggage carousel. Some features, like the handles spanning over 20 different heights, feel nonessential, and the interior material, while spill-resistant, is stiffer and less luxe than pricier picks. The odor-resistant laundry bag and compression pad are welcome perks, though.
At $180, the Quince 24” Check-In Hard Shell Suitcase comes in on the more affordable end of the luggage price spectrum. However, space isn’t sacrificed for cost: “The interiors would hold 10 outfits quite easily in any season, and even more in the summer, when clothing tends to be less bulky,” says Menon. She credits this quality to the compression system on one side of the suitcase “which presses down on your clothes and magically produces extra room just when you think you’re all out of it.” If you’re familiar with more expensive suitcases, you may notice that the polycarbonate shell is relatively lightweight; before any packing occurs, the bag only weighs 8.8 pounds. Considering the price, packing capabilities, and flimsier shell of the Quince checked bag, it makes the most sense for travelers who prefer to travel with a carry-on, but still want to have a large suitcase on hand.
Tumi’s Extended Trip Expandable 4-Wheeled Packing Case is not for everyone, or for quick trips—but there’s no doubt its overall quality and capacious compartments (126L in total) appeal to luxury travelers. Its “smooth-rolling zippers and telescope handle that doesn't stick” stood out to research director Alexandra Sanidad, who used the suitcase on a cross-country trip to help move her son into his college dorm. The soft-sided suitcase is also armed with a removable garment sleeve, a hanger bracket, and a large mesh zip pocket, and three additional zip pockets. All in all, it weighs 17 pounds prior to packing, but there’s enough space to “bring enough clothing for a month without having to wash anything.” The price tag, the highest out of all the luggage we reviewed, should be the deciding factor in purchasing the bag; if you want the Tumi name and are willing to pay nearly $1,400, you’ll have a roomy, well-designed piece of luggage. If your budget doesn’t allow for this type of spending, you’ll be fine with something like the Calpak Ambeur Large Luggage.
First tested while we were on the hunt for the best hard-shell luggage back in 2021, Paravel's Aviator Grand suitcase passed with flying colors. It's a solid, elegantly sleek, eco-friendly suitcase that's great for extended travel. Inside, it's spacious if minimalistic, with two open sides—you'll want to use packing cubes for added organization, though there are two zippered compartments on either side (one of those acts as a compression flap to secure the items underneath). It has since gone on three more international trips; senior commerce editor Madison Flager noted that “for the size of the bag—without an expansion system to add room—it fits quite a bit,” about 10 to 14 days' worth of clothes. While the double spinner wheels have continued to hold up well a few years in, the recycled polycarbonate shell “does scuff easily.” Though with the help of a Magic Eraser, you can polish your bag back up if the marks are bothersome.
Former Traveler editor Meredith Carey used this suitcase when she traveled for a month and had to pack for three weddings with three distinctly different climates in mind. “Roam’s Large Check-In worked perfectly, mainly because its capacity (89 liters, unexpanded), relatively lightweight (10.6 pounds), and thin, flexible polycarbonate shell meant I could pack it to the brim without worrying about putting any baggage handler’s back out.” Inside, the compression system—two free-floating compression boards, each with a large mesh pocket—means that you can compress both sides down. The bag handled travel well, thanks to its sturdy telescopic handle and 360-degree, ball-bearing wheels—plus the grab handles on the top and side made it easy to pull off the carousel. Plus, it’s easy to spot at baggage claim since the brand's color customization means it’s highly unlikely anyone has a matching suitcase.