Do your homework before buying new luggage

CHOOSING luggage always brings with it a certain tumble of excitement because more often than not it means a trip is in the offing.

Like most purchases the best luggage for you is whatever suits your purpose and budget.

There is such a variety on offer now - hard top or soft, traditional or space age, duffel or backpack; the choices seem endless.

You also have to decide whether you opt for wheels or go without, do you go for a retractable handle, what about outside pockets and don't get me started on the quality of zips.

Perhaps the best rule of thumb is let your purpose be your guide.

The needs of a business traveller are different, for example, from the needs of a family or someone planning to go trekking for a week.

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We'll use this category to cover large and medium-size bags so the first decision you have to make here apart from size is what type of material you prefer.

Hard-sided luggage (Samsonite Colory Rollercase, from $209.30) are typically more water resistant, can offer greater protection to fragile items and are considered rather fashionable.

But they are obviously less flexible, generally more expensive, scratch easily and need more storage room.

Cases with semi-soft covers (partially framed) are a popular choice (Antler Duolite Large, from $161.40) because they are durable but generally lighter, cheaper and easier to store than hard cases.

They are also usually expandable which increases capacity but on the downside they are less water-resistant and not exceptional when it comes to protecting fragile contents.

Whichever way you swing, ensure straps and seams are double-stitched and wheels are tough and robust and easy to manoeuvre.

Synthetic zippers made of interlocking nylon coils may be a better bet than metal zips for durability and if you chose a retractable handle ensure it slides in and out smoothly and locks in position.



Children are important travellers and, in addition to car travel holidays, statistics show that at least 60% of Australian children under the age of six have taken at least one aeroplane journey, which involved a holiday of more than three nights duration.

Here the rules for durability and purpose are much the same as luggage for adults but children are also more likely to be attracted to bright colours (Bobble Art Cabin Luggage, from $89.95) or packs depicting their favourite cartoon characters (Giggle and Hoot backpack, $22.95).


Carry-on luggage

Most airlines, especially those of the budget variety, offer discounts for passengers travelling with carry-on baggage only so this has become a much-improved category especially in terms of choice and quality.

These bags like the Lanza WM IV Domestic (Strandbags, from $59) are great for overnight stays and for businesspeople who need to get on and off flights quickly.

If you are flying be sure you check sizes and weights with airlines before you wheel that bag aboard because restrictions can range from 5kg-11kg depending on who your carrier is.

There are also a host of choices for those doing quick business trips (CBD Business Collection, from $99.95), which allows for the safe transport of personal electronic goods in the overhead lockers.

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