There are some trips that are too long (more than a week or two) or too complicated (you're going to multiple destinations or events) to only pack a carry-on suitcase. In those situations, a large suitcase or checked luggage is necessary.
How big does your checked luggage need to be? It depends how much you're bringing with you, but normally, checked suitcases come in at around 27" x 21" x 14"—and you may face a fine if it's over the weight limit (50 to 70 pounds, depending on airline and fare class) or deemed oversized.
What to Look for in a Large Suitcase or Checked Luggage
A suitcase is one of those things you only want to have to buy one or two times in your lifetime. If you decide to save money and go for the cheaper option, you'll probably end up with a broken bag and another expense when you need to replace it. From experience, we can tell you lugging a checked bag through the airport with two broken wheels is miserable—a true trip ruiner. While there are other places you can save money (booking Airbnbs instead of hotels, for example), buying good luggage is not one of them. Splurge now, thank yourself later.
You also want to find a suitcase that isn't too heavy; you want to be able to load it down with your own clothing, shoes, and toiletries. If the suitcase hits 20 pounds before you even start adding in your essentials, you're going to hit the limit before you know it.
That said, we've done our due diligence and finally found checked luggage that will last forever, holding up trip after trip. See our editors' picks below.
We rarely fly with large suitcases (it helps us force ourselves to pack lightly), but when we do, we bring our Briggs & Riley Large Expandable Spinners. We'll admit it's pricey, but after taking it on a long trip with multiple destinations or events, you'll sing its praises to anyone who would listen. While the wheels tend to catch on surfaces like cobblestones, it's worth it for the ease you'll experience gliding it through the airport. The expanding and compressing features are also crucial for packing for colder destinations—you can fit a down coat, boots, and heavy sweaters with ease. Some travelers may prefer hardshell suitcases, but this nylon outer fabric makes it easy to store in your closet when you're not on the road or in the air.
If you're bothering to check a bag, you want to go big. And when carrying a big bag (29.5” x 20” x 11”, to be exact), you want to make a big statement. That's why we love Roam: All of its luggage is totally customizable, so your color combos are unique to your style. Plus, coming from the founder of Tumi, you can tell its pieces are high quality, and that's important, because there's nothing worse than lugging around a big, broken suitcase. This one's 100% polycarbonate, water-repellent, and comes with interior compression (so you can pack more), a TSA-approved lock, smooth wheels, and a handle with four height settings.