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Luggage Buying Guide – Key Features & Travel Accessories

The right luggage helps make travelling easier and more enjoyable. Learning about luggage is the first step towards a trip you won’t forget.


Key Features & Travel Accessories

Key Features

Locks & Zippers

Built-in combination locks are often found in hard-sided luggage and are quite secure. Padlocks and key locks typically attach to zipper pulls in soft-sided luggage.

You might consider locks that are “TSA approved.” This means that the locks can be opened by a Transportation Security Administration employee with a special key, thus avoiding the lock being cut or damaged if it needs to be inspected by security.

Look for zippers that have taped seams – where a strip of cloth reinforces the zipper to the bag. Reinforced zippers do not fray easily. A quality zipper is one that is strong enough to support the weight that the bag is designed to hold. Top of the line zippers carry a ‘YKK’ designation. Other markers of zipper quality are multiple rows of lock-stitch stitching and when the zipper is installed off the corners of a piece of luggage. Larger zippers are easier to use and usually last longer than smaller zippers.

Self-repairing zippers are more durable than traditional zippers and when damaged can be reset by sliding them from end to end.


Recessed locking handles have a push button to extend the telescopic handle and reduce the risk of accidental deployment. One-stage locks will lock only when fully extended or retracted. Two-stage locks can lock when fully or partially extended.

Non-locking handles are held in place by friction and are a less expensive alternative to locking handles. These suitcases should be pulled, because they may retract when pushed. Square tubing is the stronger of the tubing options and is generally more expensive. Round tubing is less durable and therefore a less costly option.


Ideally, wheels should be recessed into the bag's frame, as an exposed wheel can be severed from your bag by a pothole or an uneven surface. Large, sturdy in-line-skate wheels provide the ultimate in rollability and performance. They are very durable and provide stability and easy maneuverability. Look for wheels that have a wide track and a bearing system. When considering a wheel’s durability, bags that have wheels with full-corner protectors are preferable to bags that have partial or no corner-wheel protection.

Expanding Capability

Ideal for extended and international trips, expandable luggage pieces features a versatile design that allows for extra space to accommodate a larger storage capacity as needed.


Waterproofing can be an important feature in luggage. Most bags are treated on the inside with a moisture-resisting sealant but not waterproofed on their exterior. If unsure whether a piece you are interested in is waterproof check the informational tag on the luggage or its published product details.

Travel Accessories

While always keeping your luggage’s weight in mind it is often a good idea to have some useful tools to make your trip a smooth one. Accessories such as passport wallets, adapters and pillows can keep you organized, connected and comfortable.

  • Locks: If your luggage does not have built-in security ensure that your valuables are protected with a good lock.
  • Carts: Great for moving around any of your bags that don’t feature wheels.
  • Straps: Extra luggage straps are handy in case originals become lost or damaged.
  • Travel tags: These ensure that your luggage has your name, address and phone number.
  • Garment steamer: Handy for removing any wrinkles your clothes might develop when packed and stored.
  • Laptop cases/bags: A variety of smart-looking, protective waterproof options are available, including cases with handles, straps, rolling wheeled units and personalized designer pieces with vibrant prints.
  • Tablet cases: Keeping tablets protected while travelling is a good idea, especially for business travellers who rely on their devices for work and presentation purposes. Some tablet cases feature designs that allow multiple viewing angles and the option to detach the skin for comfortable lightweight use.
  • Pet carriers: These hard- and soft-sided carriers can help make travel quicker and easier, and are often required for pets on many modes of commercial transport.
  • Flash drives: It's a good idea to bring along a device onto which you can back up your work or view media files while abroad. Their small lightweight size is ideal for travel and their low cost makes them a useful accessory for both business and leisure travellers to consider.
  • Backpacks: Ideal for daily touring when you want to keep extras clothes, maps, gear and odds and ends with you. Backpacks vary widely in size, storage capacity and support features. They offer a versatile range of uses – from backpacking trips to adventure vacations to general everyday use when not travelling.
  • Toiletry bags & beauty cases: These kits are handy for storing grooming tools during travel. Often used to store a razor, shaving cream, comb, shampoo, toothbrush, cosmetics, makeup brushes, fragrances, etc.