When you’re going away for business or leisure, you want something stylish yet practical for your luggage. Here are a few handy tips before you decide what works best for you. Firstly, have a think about what how you’re going to travel. Are you travelling by car, or will you be flying and have to think of weight restrictions? The size of the luggage you need may be determined by the amount of clothing you’re taking, and the length of your holiday. Make sure that however you travel and whatever you’ll be taking, your luggage is the right size.
There are lots of lovely extras when it comes to buying luggage but the more features, the more expensive. Do you really need tilted wheels and a telescopic handle? Are wheels more important than extra pockets? Think about how and when you’ll be using your luggage.
Type of Travelling
Are you travelling for business, pleasure, or will you be using your luggage for both? Fun bright colours are great for holidaying abroad. For business, you may want to choose something less bright and giving a more professional look.
Soft Sided Suitcases
These suitcases are very popular, and mostly used for holiday travel. Made from materials like polyester or nylon, they allow more flexibility when you pack. This can be handy if you like to take away everything but the kitchen sink! Expandable sides are a great way of squeezing in last minute buys, so look out for these on soft sided luggage. Damage to these suitcases is less noticeable, as they have more ‘give’. If your case falls from the airport baggage conveyor, the impact to your luggage is much less than that of a hard sided suitcase.
Hard Sided suitcases
Hard-sided luggage ususally has a rigid shell that stands up to knocks and bumps, so it's ideal if you're a frequent flyer or if you like to bring home fragile souvenirs from your trips abroad. If you're worried about security, then look for a hard-shelled case with lock. They do show wear and tear quicker than soft sided suitcases but are sturdier.
Some people prefer the elegant appearance of hard-sided luggage; especially on cruise holidays where 'dock appeal' is all part of the romance of the journey. If you buy a Luggage Set they will often nest inside each other when not being used – ideal to make the most of limited cabin space.
Hard sided suitcases do not usually have exterior pockets, which are handy to put your tickets in. If you do need to access things quickly, like your boarding pass, you then have to stop and open the whole case. If security and protecting your items is paramount, these are a good buy for you.
Baggage Allowance and Restrictions
Baggage allowances can be complicated, varying according to routes and class of seat and taking into account the number, weight and dimensions of bags, free allowances, and ever-changing aviation rules.
For all airlines flying into and out of the UK, a recent safety requirement has been introduced restricting the weight of each single item of luggage to 32kg. This is not your full baggage allowance, rather a measure to reduce strains to baggage handling staff.
This information can always change so always check on your airline and airport websites before you start packing.
Aer Lingus Hold baggage allowance is generally two bags weighing a maximum of 20kg (short haul) or 36kg (long haul) for Aer Lingus flights. Cabin baggage is limited to one piece per passenger, weighing less than 6kg.
Air France Free hand and hold allowances are measured by weight or number of items, according to destination and class of travel. See website for details.
bmi There are various free hand and hold baggage allowances in place for bmi passengers, depending on route and fare type.
British Airways British Airways passengers are permitted one standard-sized bag and one laptop-sized bag, handbag or briefcase as free hand luggage. There is a free hold baggage allowance on every BA flight of 23kg.
Cyprus Airways Cyprus Airways has a 20kg free allowance of checked baggage for passengers travelling in economy class and 30 kg for passengers travelling in business class. The free hand luggage allowance is one piece weighing 5 kg maximum plus an additional item such as duty free or a handbag, all with size restrictions.
easyJet easyJet passengers are allowed to carry one piece of hand baggage plus an additional accessory such as a laptop or handbag for free. Every item of standard checked hold baggage incurs a fee, payable at the time of booking or at the airport for a higher charge. Total hold baggage allowance is 20kg per person.
FlyBe FlyBe has varying weight and size restrictions for hand and hold luggage, depending on class of travel.
Jet2 Passengers flying with Jet2 are permitted one small piece of hand baggage of not more than 10kg with size restrictions. This is free when checking in online, however there will be a charge of £2 if travelling with hand baggage only and checking in at the airport.
Hold baggage allowance is 22kg per person with a fee payable and a limit of five bags per person.
Lufthansa Lufthansa's hold baggage allowances range from 20kg to 40kg or number of bags depending on destination and class of travel, and are free of charge.
Monarch Monarch allows up to 10kg of hand baggage free of charge. Total hold baggage allowance is up to 20kg per person, which can be split into up to five separate bags. There is a fee payable for all hold baggage, with savings of up to 40 per cent available if paying online.
Ryanair Every passenger is permitted to check in up to three bags with a maximum combined weight of 15kg, subject to the payment of the applicable checked baggage fees. Ryanair offers a discounted checked baggage fee for those travelers paying online in advance. Passengers who wish to check-in baggage do not qualify for online check-in and must check in at the airport and pay the appropriate airport check-in fee.
Thomson Airways Thomson Airways offers a free hand luggage allowance of up to 10kg. Each passenger who has opted to pay for check-in luggage has a 20kg and five item limit on checked-in luggage.
Virgin Various free hold baggage allowances are in place, ranging from 23kg to 32kg per person with size restrictions and limits on the number of bags, depending on class of ticket and route. Virgin's free hand baggage allowances depend on ticket class.