5 best luggage brands for students and travellers

travelling abroad
Say goodbye to your travel worries when you choose the best luggage that is functional and durable. Source: AFP

Travelling abroad to study opens up the world of many possibilities. The moments that lead up to you boarding the plane are exciting and anxiety-inducing, but it’s a key step towards making your long-held dream come true.

But first things first, and that is finding the best luggage brands that can bring all your necessities and more into the next chapter of your life.

The best luggage brands are capable of withstanding the rigours of travel and keeping your belongings safe and organised. A well-designed bag with ample space and compartments can make navigating airports, train stations, and streets much easier.

Unfortunately, no one has figured out the magic behind Mary Poppins’s bag, so students have to be smart about what they pack. Necessities like clothes (bulky winterwear takes up a fair bit of space) and electronics aside, some would want to bring things that remind them of home.

This Reddit post is a prime example where a Singaporean student heading to the UK was found asking for advice on local comfort foods to pack. Chinese and African commenters on this post asking if anyone was bringing a rice cooker to university were insistent that they couldn’t live without one.

So everything is up in the air, aside from those banned on airlines, of course.

A reliable bag is also essential as you travel to another city or country during semester breaks. So whether you’re exploring nearby towns, venturing into the countryside, or discovering islands, having the right luggage is important.

travelling abroad

Lost luggage is one of those things we all dread, but it is actually very common. Source: AFP

What happens if you lose your luggage?

According to 2023 Baggage Insights from the aviation technology company SITA, 26 million bags were misplaced in 2022. This means roughly 7.6 bags were lost for every 1,000 travellers who flew.

The possibilities are low, but it’s there. As such, it is important to know what to do if you find yourself in this situation:

  • Report it ASAP: Inform the airline immediately of the missing bag. Most airlines have dedicated baggage service counters or online reporting systems for such incidents.
  • Ask for reimbursements or free delivery: Airlines often reimburse essential purchases like toiletries, clothes, and undergarments while you wait for your luggage to be returned. Some may even offer free delivery of the lost luggage to your location once it’s found.

In the best-case scenario, your lost luggage is found and returned to you, typically within a few hours or days. When you receive your bag, remember to thoroughly check it for any damages. 

However, there are instances where luggage is never recovered. In such cases, you may have to claim compensation from your travel insurance or accept the loss.

While it isn’t fool-proof, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk or the inconvenience that may come with losing your belongings:

  • Choose direct flights: Though not always possible or feasible, opting for direct flights reduces the chances of your luggage being mishandled during layovers.
  • Pack smart in your carry-on bag: Pack essential items such as medications, toiletries, and a change of clothes in your carry-on bag. This ensures you have these items in case your checked luggage goes missing.
  • Get travel insurance: Investing in travel insurance can cover lost or delayed luggage, offering financial protection and peace of mind during your journey.
travelling abroad

Choosing a brightly coloured suitcase will make it easier for you to find it at the airport. Source: AFP

Tips to keep your luggage safe while travelling 

Taking extra measures to keep your luggage safe when travelling helps protect your belongings, avoid theft, and allows you to have a smooth and enjoyable journey. 

Here are some steps to follow: 

  • Tie a ribbon: Attaching a colourful ribbon to your luggage can help you identify it among other bags on the luggage carousel. 
  • Luggage strap: Using a luggage strap adds an extra layer of security to keep your bag closed and secure. A strap can also prevent the accidental opening of your bag during transit.
  • Use the right locks: Invest in TSA-approved locks for your luggage. Security authorities can open these locks if necessary without damaging your bag. Locks also make it difficult for unauthorised people to access your belongings.
  • Don’t leave your bag unattended: Unattended bags are easy targets for theft or tampering. Keep your bags within sight or arm’s reach at all times. 
  • Keep your valuables with you: Important documents, electronics, medications, and other valuables should be kept in your carry-on bag rather than checked luggage. 
  • Remove previous luggage tags: Removing old luggage tags reduces the chances of confusion and ensures that your bag is properly routed to your destination. 
  • Label your luggage: Label your luggage with your name and contact information. This makes it easier for airport staff to contact you if your bag is lost or misplaced. This also increases the chances of your bag being returned to you.
  • Take a photo of your bag: Taking a photo of your luggage before travelling will be useful if you need to describe it when filing a report. 

Features that make up the best luggage brands

The best luggage brands stand out, and not only for their price tags. They often share several key features that take it from mediocre to excellent. 


ABS is known to be the best material for luggage bags as it is the most scratch-resistant material. Nylon bags came in second as they resist tears and abrasions better than polyester.

Size and capacity

The size should adhere to airline regulations. Choosing a bag with expandable options can give you flexibility while still meeting size restrictions.

Four wheels

Four-wheel luggage, also known as spinner luggage, is great as it allows you to move through crowded airports or narrow aisles easily. Spinner wheels also reduce strain on your arms and shoulders compared to two-wheel bags.


The weight of the bag itself is important as it contributes to the overall weight limit. 

Colour and design

Opting for luggage in a distinct colour or pattern can make it easier to spot on a baggage carousel. While black luggage looks sleek, it is very common, which means people could easily mistake it for their own.

Hard shell vs soft shell

Hard shell luggage provides better protection for fragile items and is more water-resistant, making it ideal for longer trips or when travelling with delicate belongings.

Soft-shell luggage is more flexible and can often expand to accommodate extra baggage. It is also lighter and easier to squeeze into tight spaces.

5 best luggage brands for students and travellers

travelling abroad

Samsonite is one of the best luggage brands that has been around for over a century. Source: AFP

1. Samsonite

For a company that has been making luggage for over a century, it is no surprise that Samsonite is one of the best in the market.

It is known for its high quality, durability, and functionality. Samsonite uses high-quality materials such as impact-resistant polycarbonate for hard-shell luggage and durable, abrasion-resistant fabrics for soft-shell luggage. Its advanced manufacturing techniques mean that these bags are built to withstand the rigours of travelling abroad.

Whether you require a spacious suitcase for your study abroad journey or a compact carry-on for your summer travels, Samsonite has many options. Features like multi-directional spinner wheels, TSA-approved locks, and organised interior compartments make it one of the best luggage brands for students. 

While the price of the products is often considered to be above average, Samsonite provides excellent value for price. The brand offers different prices to accommodate different budgets, ranging from affordable to higher-end models. 

2. Muji 

Muji is the best luggage brand for you if you are looking for a suitcase with a minimalistic design, functional features, and high durability.

The brand is renowned for its minimalist aesthetic and the bags are designed with practicality in mind. 

The suitcases typically include features such as multi-directional spinner wheels for easy manoeuvrability, telescopic handles for adjustable height, and interior compartments for organisation. 

While it is not the cheapest, the prices are more affordable than most luxury luggage brands. 

travelling abroad

When travelling abroad, it is important to find a luggage bag that allows you to carry all your essentials in one bag. Source: AFP

3. Briggs & Riley 

Briggs & Riley is renowned for its durability, backed by its “Simple as that®” lifetime warranty. This warranty covers all functional aspects of the luggage, including zippers, handles, and wheels.

The bags are made of premium materials such as ballistic nylon and high-grade aluminium frames to ensure their luggage can withstand any weather condition.

The luggages are designed with innovative features such as the brand’s patented CX™ compression-expansion technology, which allows you to increase packing capacity by up to 25% while still meeting airline carry-on requirements. 

Other features include the Outsider® handle system, which provides a flat packing surface inside the suitcase for wrinkle-free packing, and the SmartLink™ system, which allows multiple bags to be securely linked together for easier transport.

However, Briggs & Riley can be quite expensive, but if you are looking to invest in a suitcase that is built to last, this is the one for you. 

4. Away 

Away has quickly gained a strong reputation as one of the best luggage brands for international students travelling abroad. The brand’s focus on quality, design, and customer experience has made it popular with everyone. 

The brand’s direct-to-consumer model allows it to offer quality luggage at more affordable prices by eliminating retail markups. The combination of quality craftsmanship and reasonable pricing makes Away luggage a great option for international students seeking value without compromising style or functionality.

The suitcases are constructed from durable materials such as polycarbonate shells, which are lightweight yet impact-resistant. Away also offers a limited lifetime warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship, providing customers with added confidence in the durability of their purchase. 

One Reddit user shared her experience: “You can’t beat Away’s lifetime warranty. I stupidly broke a piece of the compression sack, and they sent me a new one. Just two weeks ago, the shell of my large suitcase cracked in transit. I messaged them with my order number and pictures of the damage, and they sent me a new replacement suitcase immediately.”

travelling abroad

The best luggage brands offer high-quality products and affordable prices. Source: AFP

5. Amazon Basics

If you are travelling abroad and looking for one of the best luggage brands without breaking the bank, Amazon Basics is the best option for you. 

One of the most appealing aspects of Amazon Basics luggage is its affordability. The brand offers budget-friendly options that are significantly cheaper than many other luggage brands on the market. 

Despite its lower price point, it provides many options to suit your different travel needs. From carry-on suitcases to larger checked bags, you can definitely find a size and style that fits your needs. 

While it may lack some of the premium features found in higher-end brands, it still offers functional features essential for travel. Many Amazon Basics suitcases include inner compartments for easy organisation, spinner wheels for easy manoeuvrability, and telescoping handles for adjustable height.