The 10 Best Luggage Sets
This wiki has been updated 35 times since it was first published in April of 2015. Airline travel isn't much fun anymore, what with long security lines and intrusive searches. But at least you can protect all your clothing and other personal items while looking good with one of these luggage sets. These suitcases come in a variety of designs to suit any taste and at prices to meet any traveler's budget. We've included both hard- and soft-sided models. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 05, 2019:
After careful consideration, we have elected to remove options from two popular brands: the Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds and the Samsonite Nested 5-piece. The former has occasional issues with the wheels, while the latter's problems can be found in the zippers. Because of these issues, they are perhaps not the best investment for the price. For those who have the budget, we like the Travelpro Luggage Maxlite 5, instead. They're soft-sided, making them very lightweight, and they offer quality materials and construction. We still like the Caribbean Joe Castaway, as well, another soft-sided set with handsome two-tone styling.
If it's hardside luggage you're looking for, then the Delsey Helium Aero remains an affordable selection, while the Samsonite Winfield 2 Fashion Hardside is for those who have a bit more to spend. We also added the AmazonBasics Geometric, but note that setting and opening its combination lock can be difficult. If you don't have the patience for such things, you might want to give it a pass.
Away Set of Two At first glance, the Away Set of Two is not much to look at, but you shouldn't mistake this simplicity for a poor or flimsy design. In fact, each piece boasts top-notch materials you can rely on for flight after flight, a TSA-friendly lock, and quiet wheels that won't clack or thump. awaytravel.com
Mark & Graham Terminal 1 If you prefer to blend in with the crowd, the Mark & Graham Terminal 1 is perhaps not for you. If, on the other hand, you prefer attractive detailing and customization that is sure to get you noticed, then this set should be right up your alley. It's not exactly cheap, but it does come with a lifetime limited warranty for peace of mind. markandgraham.com
Packed Up And Ready To Go
Two weeks is still plenty of time to inspire you toward over-packing, though, and even the average packers among us require a few bags for a trip that long.
From where does wanderlust come? How do we explain the sheer, unintelligible joy that elicits when traveling?
Sometimes it's satisfying enough to take a small trip for only a day or two to some nearby relaxation spot. The journey there and back may take no more than a few accumulated hours, but they can account for a massive break from our quotidian monotony. For such short trips, you scarcely need to pack anything at all; a few dollars in your pocket and the clothes on your back ought to be enough. Maybe bring a sweater, just to be safe.
Other times, however, the need to roam is much greater, necessitating a longer, more thorough journey. In America, that journey usually can't last more than two weeks out of every year unless you want to risk losing your job. Two weeks is still plenty of time to inspire you toward over-packing, though, and even the average packers among us require a few bags for a trip that long.
When you want to get away for a while, and you want to do so with a kind of uniform style, you reach for a luggage set. For the first 20 or 30 years of our lives, we're content with a mishmash of suitcases and bags, but, as we glide on into true adulthood, the luggage set makes more and more sense to our increasingly sophisticated brains. Having upwards of a half-dozen matching bags will make organizing even a whole family's vacation that much easier.
The sets on our list come in hard or soft shells depending on the brand, but all of them have casters along the bottoms of the larger bags, allowing your to roll them around the airports and train stations of the world to your heart's content. The smaller bags intended for carry-on use don't usually have wheels, but they double as great weekend getaway bags when that wanderlust hits you a little more lightly.
The Nuclear Family Abroad
For a long time, the ideal family in the US consisted of a pair of parents, 2.5 children, and a pet or two. Add in a green lawn, a white picket fence, and a Cadillac in the driveway, and you've got yourself a picture of what some consider to be the American Dream. Those numbers and ideals keep changing, which is a good thing, but let's use them as a model for one perspective on evaluating luggage sets.
You want to find something that compliments both your wardrobe and your traveling ways.
It's possible that you're looking at these sets as an investment for the family, with the biggest of the pieces going to the parents, and the smaller bags going to the children. In a set with only three or four bags, that's just enough for one bag to go to each person. Any carry on luggage likely won't match the set.
Conversely, for an individual, three or four pieces might be overkill unless you're an unusually heavy packer or you fly to destinations for months at a time. The ideal scenario is one in which you can get a couple of sets, one to split between one parent and child, and another to split between a second parent and child. This gives everybody options for size and style.
After all, even more than the pure numbers, it's the size and style of the bags that will draw you to them. You want to find something that compliments both your wardrobe and your traveling ways.
Some folks, for example, disdain the endless and unnecessary rolling of each and every bag through an airport terminal. At a certain point, the additional space taken up by the distance created by a rolling bag's arm nullifies any advantages in ease of movement, as the space to which your movement is confined gets so much smaller. A set with carry-on bags designed to be carried and not rolled might appeal to your sensibilities.
Other passengers will prefer to focus on the protection of their stuff, and any bag set without hard shells, a lot of locking compartments, and a system for securing neatly folded clothes in place during flight will quickly be disqualified from competition.
Travel Comes To Us
For most of the history of mankind, travel was a practical undertaking. One went from point a to point b in search of work, or family, or discovery. Exploration accounted for the vast majority of travel, though most people lived lives of agrarian simplicity, being born, growing up, and dying in a single town.
For most of the history of mankind, travel was a practical undertaking.
Toward the end of the 19th century, travel for its own sake saw an unprecedented increase in frequency, as the tail end of industrial revolution and the end of the American Civil War saw the growth of a new middle class.
Those travelers relied mostly on trunks and carpet bags for the transportation of their belongings, with the former belonging to the wealthier journeymen and women, and the latter belonging to those more accustomed to steerage.
At a certain point, some providers of travel accessories began outfitting their carpet bags with iron frames, increasing their durability and their ability to be stacked in transit. The popularity of this new style soared, and the first suitcases as we might call them today were born.