Every time I start packing for a new trip I get asked what’s your favorite luggage? Do you use packing cubes? How do you plan your outfits? Can you film a packing video?
It’s no secret, packing is like a game of Tetris. I know it can seem overwhelming to many, but it’s a task I actually love! Shoutout to my dad – he is really the one who taught me the art of packing from a young age.
As a kid, my dad traveled a lot and I remember I would sit with him and watch him pack. It was the most satisfying thing seeing him strategically shift things and maximize space. Is packing porn a thing? Does anyone else feel oddly satisfied when your luggage is all perfectly packed?
The secret to packing is something everyone wants to understand. So after countless requests, I’m finally sitting down to share with you all my packing tips & favorite luggage brands.
Take it from me, I’ve spent the last 5 years traveling the world. I’ve done everything from backpacking to luxury travel and everything in between!
Now, I wish I could tell you I’m a quick packer but I’m not. I’m a planner. I need to try everything on and lay it all out so I know I have specific outfits which makes it easier for me while on the go and helps me not overpack too much. Thus making more room for shopping!
Best Luggage Brands for Travel
After testing out countless luggage brands, I can tell you there are three that I really love. I’ve used these brands for years, taken them around the world, and really pushed their boundaries. Whenever I am shopping for new luggage, I look for durability, security, and ease of transport (aka the wheels).
How to choose – Depending on the type of travel I’m doing there’s a reason I choose one over the other when it comes to hard case or soft.
Typically I prefer a hard case, mainly because I know it will protect anything fragile like makeup or souvenirs. The most annoying thing is getting to a destination, opening up your luggage and finding a smashed bronzer.
This is why I learned early on to always pack my makeup in my carry on. Sometimes the altitude alone can cause makeup to crack, but if it’s with me at least I know I’m not tossing my luggage around.
These makeup organizers off Amazon are amazing!
One of the things I hate most is when a suitcase is already heavy without anything in it. Away luggage is durable and pretty lightweight if you don’t go for the aluminum ones (featured below). The one thing I will say about the aluminum edition is I love the locking clips rather than a zipper. Think of the way a briefcase locks, same concept.
Away offers 4 different luggage sizes:
- The Carry-On – Meant for the smallest carry-on size restrictions
- The Bigger Carry-On – Works as a carry-on on most planes, but you may have trouble on budget airlines
- The Medium – The standard check-in size luggage
- The Large – Slightly larger, ideal for long term travel or when packing bulkier items
Retail price: $295-$325 for a carry-on and $365-$385 for the check-in luggage.
I personally have every size but the carry-on (smallest size). It’s a little too small for my needs whereas the slightly larger carry-on can fit a camera cube if I want to travel without my camera bag on my shoulders.
Their locking system on the luggage is another reason why I love them. I’m always paranoid about my luggage getting opened, but the TSA lock makes it easy for security to open your bag without breaking the lock. I know this is common with many luggage brands now, but Away was one of the first I bought that had the TSA lock and it’s worth mentioning.
Another reason I love their suitcases is I honestly love the way they roll. The wheels are so smooth that no matter how heavy your luggage is, it makes rolling through the airport a breeze!
Finally, Away luggage always comes with a 100-day trial. This means after trying the luggage for 100-days you can return it, no questions asked, and get your money back. Plus they also provide a lifetime warranty – so give it all you got! 😉
I was gifted a Samsonite luggage last year for a project, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by it’s lightweight and easy-rolling wheels!
Samsonite has a large range of luggage, but I personally have the Large Cosmolite Spinner (middle image). The obvious difference is the price, ranging from $500-$700 but they have more affordable collections as well.
Another noticeable difference that definitely impacts the price is how lightweight the luggage is. Both the carry-on and the checked luggage weigh nearly 2 lbs less than other more affordable Samsonite options.
That’s because it’s a patented material exclusive to Samsonite in the travel industry, making it one of the lightest luggage on the market and exceptionally resistant to impact.
Lastly, it’s a small detail, but as a frequent flyer, we look for attention to detail. I love the handle. It sounds silly, but I loved pushing it when rolling was easy and shifting between pulling it between your middle and ring finger when in rougher terrain like sand or cobblestone.
Douchebags style is unique; it’s more like a hockey bag shape. Now I know I said I prefer a hard case, but I promise this luggage is equally amazing, particularly for cold-weather trips where you need to pack bulkier items. Soft luggage is more forgiving when trying to squeeze in an extra outfit or pair of boots!
Douchebags offers 2 different luggage sizes:
- Little Bastard 60 L – considered a mid-rise roller bag but I still find it pretty spacious.
- Big Bastard 90 L – a true hockey bag size that let’s you bring it all!
Yes, these are really the names lol. I own both sizes and will say that I generally can fit all I need in the 60 L but sometimes it’s nice to have a little more space. This is especially true if you are traveling for a long period of time (1 month or more) when you may need the extra room.
The luggage is also really lightweight, so if you are someone who tends to overpack, this luggage will help you maximize every pound! Honestly, the reason I say I like it for cold-weather is that I can never fill it enough for a tropical destination. Summer clothing is just so small, it doesn’t take up much space. But if you plan to be traveling for longer than 2 weeks and you aren’t backpacking, stop your scroll and check out Douchebags!
The coolest feature of these bags is their hook-up system! It’s genius! Every bag has hooks so you can easily attach your carry-on to your checked luggage and roll your luggage all together as one unit.
Use my link for 15% off your first order off Douchebags!
I never believed in packing cubes until I finally tried them last year. Ever since then, I’ve never looked back. They honestly fill all my organizational needs. When you’re living out of a suitcase for a long period of time, they make it so much easier to find things.
Each of these brands also makes great packing cubes but you can also order some great ones off Amazon like these:
You can also shop more of my travel gear and items I never travel without in my Amazon storefront!
Douchebags also make my absolute favorite bag that always gets packed on trips called the Petite (featured above). It’s the perfect little backpack for day trips and is not only cute with any outfit but is surprisingly spacious. I can fit my full-frame camera + 2 lenses or my camera + a spare outfit and then use the front pocket for my wallet, sunnies, and lipstick!
As far as a camera bag, the backpack pro is a great camera bag option. It’s spacious enough and comes with a large camera cube to fit all your gear! I love how the bag opens right up so you can see all your gear clearly.
But hands down my love #1 gear bag is from Wandrd. This been my go-to camera bag for the past 2 years. I have their PRVKE 21L and I absolutely love it! It’s the perfect size for a female. Although with a full-frame camera, drone, laptop, and 2 lenses I’m totally maxed out. I’m actually looking to upgrade to the 31L (the larger size) to accommodate any extra gear.
Another important test for me is making sure my equipment fits under the seat in front of me on a plane. In case you’re new here, my camera bag was stolen in Paris. Ever since then I will never again use the overhead compartment for any bag that can fit under my seat. I’d rather sacrafice leg room for my own peace of mind. Both these bags pass the airplane seat test.
For my full breakdown on camera gear and how I pack my equipment check out my complete Best Travel Photography Gear blog post!
And don’t forget to check out my Amazon storefront for all my travel essentials.
I hope this post was helpful when planning your next travels!
Do you have a favourite luggage brand or are you now considering buying a suitcase from my favourite brands? Let me know in the comments below!
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