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The holidays are a hectic travel period, consisting of long lines, packed airports and the occasional lost and damaged luggage. You may even find this to be a good time to invest in new luggage that will survive the hectic travel season.
Quality luggage can be expensive and inflation continues to wreak havoc on most people’s travel and shopping budgets. Luckily, a new set of travel wheels doesn’t have to cost a lot. In fact, with so many great holiday sales in full swing, now is the ideal time to snag that shiny new carry-on or pick up a new weekend bag.
Even if you’re getting free checked bags from your credit card, you might benefit from carrying your bag onboard to avoid damage or loss.
Here’s a look at some of the best travel bags you should consider for the holidays:
Best overall: Away Bigger Carry-on
Away’s Bigger Carry-on has a lot going for it. It’s a hard-shell bag at a reasonable price (compared to high-end brands like Rimowa). It’s stylish, sturdy and secure. Most importantly, the bag offers more room than the brand’s base carry-on, providing lots of space to pack your holiday wardrobe or bring home gifts without checking a bag.
The bag has TSA-approved locks, 360 spinner wheels and a laundry bag. A removable power bank is optional for a $20 upcharge and provides 10,000 mAh of charging power for your cellphone and other electronic devices.
Best budget luggage: Amazon Basics spinner
If you’re looking for quality luggage at an affordable price, Amazon Basics has a wide range of bags to choose from. Their softside spinner is sturdy and an excellent value.
You can get the most bang for your buck by picking up a three-piece spinner set, which is currently on sale for under $160. The bags range from 21 to 30 inches and include multiple front zipper compartments for accessible storage. The bags also expand to provide up to an additional 25 percent space, making them great for holiday travel.
At this price point, these spinners are an excellent way to stock up on carry-on bags for the whole family without spending a fortune.
Best extra-secure luggage: Samsara Tag Smart
If you’re looking for extra security in your luggage, look no further than the Samsara Tag Smart Aluminum suitcase. The bag’s sleek aluminum shell is not just durable but fire-proof, keeping your belongings safe in even the worst travel disasters. The bag comes equipped with double TSA-approved locks for added security, while interior LED lights make rummaging through the bag easier in the dark.
Lastly, the bag comes equipped with an Apple Airtag within a hidden compartment. This will come in handy if your bag is lost or delayed – a very real possibility during the busy holiday travel season. The Samsara provides durability, security and peace of mind, making it an ideal bag for holiday travel and beyond.
Best high-tech: Cowarobot R1
When it comes to high-tech luggage, Cowarobot’s auto-follow smart luggage is in a league of its own. That’s because you don’t need to wheel this bag around — it’s equipped with technology that enables it to wheel itself around the airport.
Through a combination of artificial intelligence and Bluetooth technology, the bag can detect its owner and follow behind at up to 5.2 miles per hour. If you download the mobile app, you’ll even receive alerts when the bag falls behind by more than six feet. When fully charged, the bag can travel up to 12 miles.
Aside from the self-wheeling feature, the Cowarobot auto-follow bag offers a smart lock that you can operate manually or through the mobile app. You can keep your electronics fully charged with a removable power bank, offering convenience on the go. If you want high-tech luggage that provides convenience, security and the wow factor, Cowarobot is tough to beat.
Best for business travel: LEVEL8 Road Runner
The LEVEL8 Road Runner Carry On is great for business travelers who want a sturdy spinner with a front pocket and enough space for the essentials. The bag is practical and functional, providing a durable hard side shell with a front pocket for your electronics. The compartment is easily accessible through a zipper and provides a padded space to keep your laptop, phone and any travel documents you need easy access to.
The Road Runner is fitted with TSA-approved locks to keep your belongings safe when checking your bag. I’ve had mine for six years and it has proven more durable than my Away and Samsonite bags. This is an excellent bag if you’re traveling for work during this busy season and want a bag that’s functional and durable.
Best weekender: Beis Weekender
If you’re planning a quick holiday getaway, The Weekender from Beis is an excellent addition to your luggage collection. The bag is already reasonably priced at $98, though you can save 25 percent during the current sale. This bag is an excellent pick because it provides enough space for a weekend’s worth of clothes, plus a separate compartment for shoes.
The bag is well structured yet flexible enough to expand if you overfill it. With multiple internal pockets, it’s easy to keep your things organized. The trolley passthrough ensures that you can easily attach it to your carry-on bag if you bring it along for an extended trip. Whether you’re a light packer or need extra space outside your carry-on bag, the Beis Weekender is an excellent choice at a reasonable price.
How to save on travel bags
If you’re in the market for new luggage, now is an excellent time to buy some. Most retailers are running holiday sales that save you 20 percent or more on a new set of bags. You can also stack savings through an online shopping portal like Rakuten or take advantage of credit card discount programs like Amex Offers and Chase Offers. Combine these discounts and you might come away with savings of 50 percent or more.
The bottom line
Traveling during the holidays can be stressful and expensive, but your luggage doesn’t have to fall into that category. By taking advantage of current sales and choosing the right brands, you can get a new set of travel luggage without spending a fortune. Your budget will stay on track and you’ll be better equipped to take on the mayhem of getting from Point A to Point B alongside everyone else.