Five Steps to Buying a Suitcase (By a Backpacker!!)

You might be somewhat surprised at my decision to write about suitcases as I’m almost always seen with a backpack, I’m very much a backpacker but do you know that I did the opposite to most people? I started off with a suitcase when I first “went suitcasing” instead of “backpacking”! Yes – it’s true!!

Five steps to buying a perfect suitcase to go "backpacking" ("suitcasing") in.

Five steps to buying a perfect suitcase to go “backpacking” (“suitcasing”) in.

So whether you need some new luggage for a holiday, a wedding or a sporting event, have a look at our five step guide to buying the perfect suitcase, just to spice things up a bit from the usual backpacking posts:


Never buy a suitcase until you know what size limitations your airline imposes or what you really need to put in it – get your research done. Once you’ve got that figured out, it’s wise to invest in a bag with a little more room than you need; the less you take with you, the more you can bring back. (See my rants on shit airlines here).

backpacking travel

This was once all my possessions – including the red suitcase!! I wasn’t always a backpacker you know!


Airlines have different allowances for luggage weight. This isn’t a problem if you’re only packing sarongs and sandals, but if you’re carrying heavier clothes or sports equipment, finding a lightweight case should be a priority; exceeding your baggage allowance could result in a hefty fine or some of your belongings being left behind.

Soft-shell cases are usually the lightest and have the flexibility to expand and accommodate everything you need.

I'm a backpacker but that doesn't I don't understand suitcase travel...

I’m a backpacker but that doesn’t I don’t understand suitcase travel…


How are you going to move your suitcase around? If you’ll be spending a lot of time getting on and off different types of transport, your best option is a backpack or duffel bag. These are ideal for stowing overhead on planes and trains and can be easily carried on your shoulder which makes getting through crowds or moving at speed, easy.

For everything else, save your back and get a case on wheels. There are two types; a 2-wheel case can be tilted and pulled with an extending handle. A 4-wheel case known as a ‘spinner’ is better suited to heavy luggage as there’s no need to tilt, just steer it where you need it to go.


Once you’re clear on where you’re going and what you need to take with you, you’re ready to choose your luggage. When shopping, ask yourself whether you need just one packing space or a number of compartments and pockets? Do you need a hard-shell case to protect valuable contents or a soft-shell case for convenient storage at home? How important is the security? If you’re carrying items of sentimental or financial value, find a case with metal zippers and locks as opposed to plastic ones. Knowing what you need makes it easy to track down the perfect luggage for your trip.


Do you want your case, and you, to blend in or stand out among the holiday crowd? Being bold and opting for a brightly coloured case pays off; not only is it easier to spot as it comes off the carousel but it’s less likely than a black case to get stolen.

When shopping for a suitcase you like the look of, it’s always best to invest in one that will last. Briggs and Riley offer a wide choice of luggage designs in cool colours or classic blacks and each one comes with a lifetime guarantee; not only are they incredibly high quality, they also make sure you arrive in style. Longevity is key whether it’s a backpack or a suitcase. WHich reminds me – I need a new backpack – my current one is FOUR years old now!

For help in finding the perfect bag, contact the experts at Global Luggage.

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