Quality luggage can be found at reasonable prices

More questions have been coming my way this week as travelers plan their summer trips. This week: Luggage.

Question: Do you have any advice about how to buy luggage — what to look for, what brands are best, what kind is recommended, how much is reasonable to spend, etc.?

Answer: Unless you’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars per suitcase (Tumi, etc.), brand won’t make much difference, in my opinion. I suspect most mid- and low-range baggage is made by a few manufacturers, then just labeled — they sure look a lot alike, anyway.

The No. 1 way I test soft-sided luggage is to stand the suitcase on its long side and press down. There should be good bracing there, and it should be fairly stiff. If it feels like mushy cardboard, keep looking.

Do you need to go high-end? Personal preference. The 22-inch roller bag I bought for $55 survived more than a decade of rough treatment: bouncing over cobblestones, curbs and train tracks, up and down stairs, over deep sand and on and off airline luggage belts from Duluth to Casablanca. I replaced it last year — but keeppt it as a backup.

Its replacement is a Samsonite 21-inch spinner for which I spent less than $80. Pro tip: Never pay retail. Discounters such as TJ Maxx and Tuesday Morning are worth checking out, and luggage goes on sale often in stores and online.

Travel party

Local travelers Jim Grabinski and Michael Smith will host a Grand Circle Travel Party from 10-11 a.m. June 22 at the Whitney Center, St. Cloud. The session is for people considering group travel and independent travelers who want information about various destinations. It’s free. RSVP at 251-2209 or info@ traveltalkin.com.

Get travel news daily at www.sctimes.com/travel, on Twitter @LisaSSchwarz, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sctimeslisa. Send questions to lschwarz@stcloudtimes.com.
Lisa Schwarz

About Lisa Schwarz

By day, I'm a St. Cloud Times editor guiding coverage of politics, government, public safety and business beats. By night, I'm leading the cubicle jailbreak as the Times Traveler. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LisaSSchwarz and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sctimeslisa
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