After almost three years of closed borders, it feels like everyone is off to Europe for a much-needed vacation — and for good reason. If you happen to be one of those lucky people that are jet-setting away this month, the whole packing process can be overwhelming as hell. The best place to start? Investing in solid travel luggage.
Whether that be a big suitcase, a backpack to live out that rugged Euro dream, or carry-on travel luggage for those short-haul trips within Australia, we’ve rounded up the best of the best when it comes to luggage, so your holiday goes off without a hitch.
The age-old question when it comes to going on a big long-haul trip is always: should you take a suitcase or a backpack? Conveniently, we’ve tried both, and we truly think it really comes down to where you’re going and how much you’re packing. Unpopular opinion, but if you’re spending most of your time in and out of hotels/hostels and aren’t planning on taking your luggage up on a damn hike, we’d say suitcases are the go — especially if you’re walking between accommodations and travelling to multiple destinations in the same trip. Why? Rolling a case is way easier than lugging a heavy backpack with all your winter knits (oh, and don’t worry about the cobblestone streets of Europe — chances are, your case will do just fine over them).
One of our luggage faves for this very scenario is the Samsonite Large Hardside Suitcase ($279) that’s super spacious and comes with a hard shell to stop your belongings from being ruined or squashed in transit. The Antler Juno Medium Hardside Suitcase ($229) also has a similar shell, but this baby is a little smaller if you want something easier to manoeuvre in busy spaces.
If you want to step it up a notch, this gorgeous July Checked Suitcase ($375) is as spacious and functional as it is sleek and aesthetic. So, if you’re one of those people that packs three months worth of clothes for a week-long holiday, this 80L baby has got you covered. It’s also fitted with July’s durable German polycarbonate shell and a TSA-approved lock for your valuables. The best part? While it’s a little more bougie, you’ll get a lifetime warranty and a 100-day free trial with free returns — how’s that for neat?
Alternatively, if you’re not a frequent traveller and don’t need something as durable and sturdy as someone who might be travelling every month, this Slimbridge Two-Piece Travel Luggage Set ($79.99, usually $159.99) is a great value option. Not only does it come with two pieces — both a smaller, and a larger case — this baby has a built-in lock and a bunch of colours available.
If you’re going to be in more rugged terrain and will be taking your luggage on any hikes, transport boats or need to squish your bags onto any small overnight buses, sometimes a backpack can be easier in that regard. It also helps when you’re heading to summer climates as you can stuff it with a bunch of thin tank tops and shorts without it making your back give way every time you put it on.
If this sounds more like your style of travelling, a backpack will do you good. Some of our favourite choices are of course the classic Kathmandu Hybrid 70L Trolley ($229.98, usually $549.98) and the pictured Macpac Torlesse 65L Hiking Backpack ($279.99, usually $399). Not only are they both going for an epic markdown, but their large capacities make them great at storing a solid amount of belongings. One thing you should know before you buy, though, is that the Kathmandu one opens from the side which gives you easy access to all your clothes without having to unpack everything to find a clean pair of undies. The Macpac one opens only from the top, so if you use packing cubes or don’t mind accessing your bag from one end only, this one will still work for you.
If you think 65-70L still won’t cut it, this RipCurl F-Light Global Midnight 100L Travel Bag ($249.99) is a step up, especially if you’re packing as a family or couple. With the added space for stuff comes more weight you’ll have to carry, though. Thankfully, this baby accounts for that and comes with wheels and a handle — making it almost a suitcase hybrid — so you can roll it around, too.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re an ace packer and actually need a smaller backpack, rather than something bigger, this 40L Large Waterproof Camping Bag ($19.79) is cheap and does the job, friends. It also comes in a bunch of different colours.
Carry on travel bags
For our extra light travellers who can fit all their belongings into the 7kg carry-on limit (read: could never be me), it might be time to invest in a carry-on that’ll be there for you in the long haul (as opposed to using that weird duffle you got as merch from some uni camp you attended five years ago). We can happily recommend this minimalist Staple Superior Downtown Weekender ($59.99) that’ll store a couple of nights’ worth of clothes. A lot of people we know tend to also use this Nike Brasilia 9.5 Medium Duffle Bag ($55) for its spaciousness, too. Both of them are made from a thin (but durable) material, meaning they won’t cost you half the baggage allowance in weight either.
For a carry-on with wheels (because even 7kgs can be heavy when you’re lugging it all over the airport), then hit up this Osprey Transporter Global Wheeled Carry-On ($224.96, usually $299.95) that fits a bunch of stuff in the main compartment, alongside a heap of extras in all the side compartment.
Alternatively, we know might be a pretty big investment for a carry-on, but if you travel a lot, the July Carry-On Pro ($425) might be worth it. Why? July has an epic range of sturdy, durable cases. Much like the bigger Checked case we recommended earlier, this baby comes with a hard shell, a TSA-approved lock, a lifetime warranty and a free trial. What makes it extra unique, though, is that it also has a detachable snap sleeve to store your laptop and essentials.