No matter whether you are an occasional traveller, a summer holidaymaker or a world traveller – no one can do without a good suitcase. The variety has become so great that the selection is not easy. From the practical spinner, which can also be carried in hand luggage, to the large family suitcase, in which the utensils of a multi-person family can be stored.
The Different Types of Suitcases
There are many different types of suitcases, which are usually divided into three different categories: Suitcases with hard shell, models with semi-hard shell, i.e. a combination of hard and soft, and soft shell suitcases.
- Hard Shell:
Polycarbonate or metal is the most commonly used material for the hard shell suitcase. Despite its stability, its own weight is usually quite low. A disadvantage is that the volume or size is fixed. Here no squeezing and pressing helps to tickle out a few more cm. Such suitcases are usually equipped with a stable housing as well as wheels and tension straps, which makes transport considerably easier.
- Hybrid Shell:
The semi-hard shell suitcases are also known as hybrids. They combine the good properties of a hard shell suitcase with those of a soft shell model. The material used is usually polycarbonate or polypropylene, which makes the shell less rigid. The corners and edges are usually reinforced for greater stability and these cases are also equipped with wheels and a telescopic handle as standard.
- Soft Shell:
Suitcases with a soft shell are very robust and flexible. They are mainly made of resistant leather or polyester and are reinforced at the bottom and sides. This makes these models extremely lightweight and above all very elastic. When not in use, they can simply be folded and stowed away. In addition, most soft shell suitcases are much cheaper to buy.
Which Luggage Size Is the Right One?
Most travellers and holidaymakers ask themselves before almost every trip what size of luggage they need. A suitcase with a volume of about 20 to 40 litres is sufficient for a journey lasting two days. For a journey of up to seven days, you should choose a luggage volume of 50 to 70 litres. For journeys lasting two to three weeks, it is recommended to use a suitcase with a volume of 90 to 120 litres. Especially when there is no washing machine available, more clothes are needed.
Tip: If you want to know exactly, just do some calculations. Fold your luggage neatly and measure it. Calculate now: Length x width x height (in cm) / 1000 and you will receive your required case size in litres.
Important Equipment Details
The right size: For larger holidays you should also use large pieces of luggage. For smaller weekend trips or short trips, a medium-size spinner is sufficient. For case manufacturers, there is no uniform information on what can be described as „large“, „medium“ or „small“. As a basic guideline, a suitcase is considered to be large if it reaches a height of at least 70-75 cm. Medium baggage is usually 60-69 cm high and small about 50-59 cm.
Sturdy material: Light in weight, spinners are made of fabric and are equipped with a metal frame (consisting of stainless steel or aluminium). Unfortunately, they are also relatively short-lived, because hard-wearing materials are less durable than hard surfaces. Shell cases are extremely stable suitcases, but also have a relatively high dead weight. Aluminium suitcases are stable, durable but also relatively expensive, but these suitcases also last very long.
TSA lock: When travelling to the USA, every suitcase can be opened at any time by the „Transportation Security Administration“. So-called „TSA locks“ were developed to prevent forced opening. The American Security Service can open these locks with a special key. Otherwise, conventional locks will be broken open as required and not replaced.
High-quality wheels: High-quality suitcases and spinners usually have four twin wheels with ball bearings. These twin wheels can be rotated through 360°, resulting in excellent rolling characteristics in any chosen direction. However, when fully loaded, the case should never be pushed on all four rollers, otherwise the wheels may break off.
Low weight: When buying a suitcase, you should of course also pay attention to the weight that the suitcase itself weighs. Logically, a sturdy and robust suitcase also weighs more. Nevertheless, higher-priced models are usually lighter than inexpensive models.
The interior equipment: In principle, the fewer storage possibilities, the cheaper the suitcase is. One should rather distance oneself from a suitcase with many compartments. In case of doubt, you should prefer a suitcase with a large interior, instead of being annoyed with many straps and attachments.
Striking design: Last year more than 21,6 million pieces of luggage were reported missing worldwide. Be brave and pick strong colors or patterns so that you can recognize your suitcase among all the others. Another way to uniquely identify your baggage is to affix a sticker or a distinctive strap.
What Size and Weight Qualifies as Hand Luggage?
Many airlines meticulously check the dimensions and exact weight of hand luggage. For this reason, you should obtain precise information about the maximum permitted dimensions and maximum weight for hand luggage before departure.
For most airlines, Wikipedia provides an overview of the permitted sizes. For the largest German airlines such as Air Berlin, Eurowings or Lufthansa, the maximum baggage size is 55 x 40 x 23 cm with a weight of 8 kg.
Hand luggage that is too large or heavy is often rejected and may have to be checked in at a later date. Usually only one piece of hand luggage is allowed per passenger in economy class. In Business Class it is often allowed to carry two pieces of luggage.
Lock Suitcases Only With TSA
Are you planning to travel to the USA? Then you should read the following lines. Since 2002, all suitcases in the United States have been screened by the North American Aviation Safety Administration (TSA). If the officer notices something or if your suitcase is selected as a sample, it will be opened and searched. If the baggage is locked, the authority is entitled to break open the baggage.
However, this only happens if there is no TSA lock on your luggage. The TSA has a master key for these locks, which allows the case to be opened without having the numerical code or the „correct“ key. This master key is not commercially available and is only used by a few selected TSA officials.