How to Choose the Right Type of Luggage or Bag for Your Travels

How to Choose the Right Type of Luggage or Bag for Your Travels

Written by Jessica Dodson on

Jessica was in-house at Eagle Creek for more than 7 years. What’s most interesting about her, is her passion to travel and connect others with authentic experiences. Having been all over Europe, to Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Kenya, Russia, and so many more places, she is legitimately a world traveler. You’ll see Jessica hosting our packing and product videos.

Adventure Travel Checklist | Eagle Creek

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a trusted travel bag. At Eagle Creek, we believe one of the most important parts of that journey is packing smart. That's why we've been obsessed with making durable and compelling bags since the day we opened our doors. Even more though, we’re obsessed with helping you choose exactly the right luggage for your next trip. Here’s exactly what you need to know about picking a wheeled luggage versus rolling suitcases versus duffels, travel packs, and more.

We know how hard it can be to squeeze everything you need into one piece of luggage. When you're cramming everything into that your suitcase, you need the bag itself to have plenty of pockets for organization, and you also want it to have other smart travel features (like lockable zippers and beefy wheels). After all, we all know the “joy” of sprinting from Gate A3 to Gate Q36 to make a connecting flight. Whether you're checking your bags or looking for the best lightweight carry-on or travel backpack, we've got the solution for you. This handy buying guide will help you choose the right type of luggage for your journey.

Whether you're a frequent jet setter or an occasional traveler, you don't want to get stuck with bulky, poor-quality travel bags that get in the way of your trip. Take the time to think about the needs of your trip, and choose your bags and packing organizers accordingly. Knowing what to expect—and how much you'll need to pack—will enable you to easily choose between different travel packs and duffels, as well as individual features such as wheels, handles, sizes, and organizational travel accessories.

What is the Best Luggage for Your Travels?

To ensure that you choose luggage, suitcases, and travel bags that are a perfect fit for your needs, here are a few important things to consider.

1. Length of journey. How long will you be traveling? For a weekend trip, you may be able to fit everything into a lightweight carry-on. For a longer adventure, you'll want to consider a piece of rolling luggage depending what type of gear you'll need to bring.

2. Modes of transportation. Will you have multiple layovers or include budget flights? Will your journey include train or bus rides? If you'll be on the go and moving between multiple types of transportation, you'll absolutely want a lightweight carry-on, wheeled backpack, or even a backpack duffel that's easy to handle and fits in overhead compartments of trains, planes, and buses.

3. Type of travel. Will you be camping in remote locations or staying at a posh hotel? Depending on where and how you're traveling, the amount and type of gear you'll need may vary. A traveler on the go will be looking for the lightest travel pack possible, while those staying in a hotel or hostel will be able to more easily consider a piece of rolling luggage.

4. Activities. What type of activities will you be doing and what do you need to pack to do them? If you'll be laying on a beach and plan on packing bathing suits and sarongs, your suitcase needs will likely be much different than someone who will be packing climbing gear and using multiple modes of transportation to get there. Some situations call for an adventurous bag capable of holding up to mud, rain, and being strapped to the roof of a bus, while other in situations you’ll be glad for a versatile bag with a separate wet compartment to hold swimsuits and beach gear.

5. Research. Check out packing organization tips on our Travel Blog to get ideas of exactly what to bring with you on your next trip!

There's a correct piece of luggage for every type of trip. Whether you're shopping for one piece or an entire collection, you can make your travel so much easier when you are well-equipped. So now that you know your travel needs, you're ready to choose the perfect travel bag. We've broken each type of bag down by category and recommended use.

Lightweight Carry-Ons

Recommended use: International travel, weekend trips, overnight stays, or single-day business trips

Most people try to maximize their carry-on packing, fitting everything they can into the luggage dimensions allowed by the airline. This is the way to go when traveling (if you can do it) because it's really nice to know your bag will be arriving at your destination with you. Eagle Creek's lightweight carry-ons offer all the features you love—retractable handles, durable wheels, multiple compartments for organization, and more—but in compact sizes that are light, super easy to carry, and designed specifically to fit in the overhead bin (without cramming and slamming).

Rolling Luggage

Recommended use: Use rolling luggage for business travel, weekend trips, and well... most of the time.

The tried and true favorites of most seasoned travelers are large rolling bags. Gone are the days of lugging a massive suitcase by a single handle. Now you have a variety of rolling luggage to choose from to carry your heavy belongings with ease.

Make sure you're focused on quality when choosing one of these handy travel mates as wheels can break and sometimes get stuck. Luckily with an Eagle Creek bag, this is something you won’t have to worry about because our bags are backed by our No Matter What Warranty. The best part about our warranty is that you’ll never have to use it. Large rolling bags or wheeled duffels are a great option if you need a lot of space—the spacious main compartment allows you to fit a ton of gear, which is easily organized once you understand how to use packing cubes. But for those who'd like a little more organization in their luggage, a wheeled upright typically comes with more compartments to separate your goods. You may also want to consider convertible luggage, which offer the convenience of wheels, backpack straps, retractable handles and so much more.

It's also a good idea to think about whether you want your rolling luggage to have the traditional two wheels or four. Many people enjoy having 4-wheeled luggage because the bag glides almost effortlessly by your side, easily rolling down the aisle of the plane. Four wheels also makes travel less strenuous because you're not putting a ton of weight on your wrists. Plus, a 4-wheeled bag gives you a little more versatility—for example, if you're pulling your bag up a curb, simply tilt the bag back and pull it on two wheels. However, one thing to note about 4-wheeled luggage is if you are doing lots of travel by bus, and will need to store your bag in an upright position, you may want to opt for 2-wheeled luggage, because 4-wheeled bags can move around easily on buses in motion.

Backpacks and Wheeled Backpacks

Recommended use: Day trips, adventure travel, multi-destination, and international travel

Rolling uprights are a great option for carrying lots of gear, but depending on where you're going, you may find it more comfortable and convenient to carry a travel backpack or backpack duffel instead. If you want to merge the concept of travel backpack and rolling bag, consider a convertible backpack which converts from one into the other. The Gear Warrior™ Convertible Carry On is a wheeled backpack that comes with a zip-off backpack for day trip use. Whichever bag you decide to travel with, you may be surprised at how light today's packs are when you carry them on your back—instead of having to constant roll them behind you.

Travel Packs and Duffels

Recommended use: Business travel, day trips, round the world trips, and adventure travel

A travel pack is a great alternative to traditional piece of luggage or suitcase. You may find that it offers versatility that many other bags don't. When packing for any kind of trip, remember that you don't always want to lug around a giant rolling upright behind you. Travel backpacks are great for folks that plan to be on the go a lot and may face the challenge of cobblestone and dirt streets. And travel duffels work well for adventure travel—the bathtub construction and water repellent fabric are a great boon on certain types of trips. Many times, Eagle Creek conversion bags transform into backpacks for multi-carry options ... but if you are just looking for a tried-and-true and newly innovative redesigned travel pack with a ton of smart travel features, check out our Global Companion Travel Packs.

Looking for a day pack? Read our buying guide for choosing the right day pack, laptop bag, or backpack.

Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):

What Are the Best Ways to Use Packing Cubes?

Buying Guide: Pack-It Packing Organizers and Compression Bags

How to Choose a Duffel Bag for Your Travel Style

What to Pack: The Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist