Courtesy of Rimowa
Courtesy of Steamline
The Entrepreneur Collection from Steamline is made of vegan leather.
A good suitcase is a travel essential, but whether you’re headed for a two-day business trip or two weeks in Europe, strutting through the airport with a bag that reflects your personal style makes the journey all the more enjoyable.
It can be a challenge to find luggage that is both enjoyable to use and enjoyable to look at. We get it—things like pockets, locks, zippers, spinner wheels, charging ports, and weight are all important aspects to consider when selecting a new inanimate travel companion. But hey, so is how it will look in that arrival Instagram.
The trick is finding the right piece of luggage for you when there are so many options. Do you want a wheeled carry-on suitcase? A weekender? A travel backpack? And what size, shape, and color? Although they may be slightly more difficult to find, Holy Grail luggage brands—those that balance high quality, durability, and design—do exist. You just need to know where to find them. To help you choose your next suitcase, whether it’s a duffel bag or a spinner, we’ve rounded up 12 of the best luggage brands, each of which is as easy on the eyes as it is on the airport floor.
With the motto “handmade meets high tech” leading the way, Rimowa has effectively helped to revolutionize the way high-quality luggage is designed. Products come in aluminum or polycarbonate hard shells; aluminum lines are reminiscent of futuristic flights, while the polycarbonate models have an additional flair of color and style. In 2018, the brand updated the engineering of its classic cases, making them even more durable and resilient than before; additionally, each bag now comes with an anodised aluminum badge engraved with the Rimowa logo.
In a lot of ways, we can thank Herschel Supply Co. for making functional bags cool again. With its hip designs and various patterns, the company has become a favorite with millennials—and has proved that backpacks aren’t only for students and fanny packs aren’t just for tourists, among other things. But Herschel’s luggage products are undeniably among its best. For experiential travelers who are constantly on the go, these travel bags are made of durable materials and finished with leather detailing.
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Away is the picture of simplicity in design-minded luggage. Each bag features a hard polycarbonate shell, four spinner wheels, a removable laundry bag, TSA-approved locks, and a patent-pending compression system on the interior, while certain models also offer a battery pack and USB charger which are removable, in compliance with recent TSA requirements. The brand has also recently expanded its offerings to include weekenders, soft-sided luggage, and backpacks. Affordable yet incredibly functional and well-made, Away’s products are ideal for the jet-setter who wants it all: the right price, the right features, and the right look.
Any trip that involves one of Baboon's vibrant bags is sure to be a fun one. The company’s flagship travel bag, a duffel built for adventures, comes in two sizes and features with plenty of pockets, adjustable straps that can turn the bag into a backpack, and a waterproof shell. Baboon also offers smaller day bags (fanny packs and backpacks), all in their bright, bold colors and funky pop-art prints.
Calpak accurately brands itself as a line of modern luggage ideal for the savvy 21st-century traveler and suited for weight restrictions and notorious TSA wear and tear. The brand’s signature products are its lines of hardside spinner sets, many in fun colors and patterns (how gorgeous is this marble design?!). And each suitcase is remarkably lightweight yet impressively tough—the perfect combination for those who travel frequently.
The words “reliable,” “universal,” and “beloved” sum up Tumi, a company that offers a wide range of luggage, backpacks, and bags in a variety of designs and materials. While it is always releasing new colors, patterns, and materials, Tumi really sets itself apart with the classics—the soft duffel, garment bag, and wheeled carry-on. Ideal for business travelers, Tumi bags are made with both convenience and longevity in mind.
Swedish company Fjallraven embodies the spirit that makes the Scandinavian country one of the happiest on Earth. Seriously, look at these products with their cute little fox logo and try not to smile. But the brand’s merit doesn’t end with its whimsical colors and lightweight material—each bag is also designed for outdoor and active use, with strong fabric, hefty straps and carry handles, and a variety of clever pockets. The full line of bags is easily shoppable via the U.S. website but can also be found in select stores.
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French luggage and travel accessory brand Delsey truly does it all—carry-ons, garment bags, sets, duffel bags, and much, much more. It offers a number of separate collections categorized by style and material, ranging from hard titanium to expandable cloth, and from subdued neutrals to shiny pinks and blues. Products are sold in retail stores as well as directly online with free standard shipping.
Travelpro excels in the realm of usability and is clearly designed for travelers, by travelers. It’s no wonder you see these bags rolling along the tarmac at airports around the world. The suitcases feature expandable zippers, removable dividers, and resilient fabric. The brand offers a huge selection of products and product lines and their bags range in weight, wheels, color, and size, so it’s easy to find the perfect bag for your next trip.
Reminiscent of vintage trunks, Steamline Luggage products make us want to toss on a fancy hat and jump on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. The brand offers nearly two dozen different sets, ranging from two pieces to eight pieces each, available together or individually. Products include hat boxes, stowaways, carry-ons, vanity cases, and spinners in a variety of styles and classic colors. Steamline also has a line for kids.
The world’s first fully customizable premium luggage brand, Roam makes bags for those of us who can’t ever seem to find a suitcase that, well, suits our style. The company currently offers four sizes of polycarbonate-shell bags—all of which have fully integrated TSA-approved locks—and travelers can browse suggested color combinations or design their own. If you really go all out with the customization, your bag could have different colors for the front shell, back shell, zipper, binding, stitching, wheels—even the handle!
You know what they say: If you’re going to buy leather, make it Italian leather. OK, we’re not sure if “they” say that, but it’s true—the buttery leathers from the boot are excellent. Piquadro puts these high-quality materials into its various travel items, including rolling backpacks, trolleys, and duffels, each especially designed for functionality and perfect for the stylish business traveler. The company is aware of our technological needs (thank goodness) and offers a variety of bags with specialized computer or tablet compartments.
This article originally appeared online in August 29, 2016; it was updated on October 10, 2019, to include current information. Products we write about are independently vetted and recommended by our editors. AFAR may earn a commission if you buy through our links, which helps support our independent publication.
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