Travel Products of the Week: The Checked Luggage Bags I Recommend

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is what type of luggage I use. If you subscribe to my free weekly newsletter or follow me on social media (@JohnnyJet), you know that one of my top tips is to travel with carry-on luggage only. I recommend this for a number of reasons: not having to show up to the airport early to check bags, not having to pay for checked luggage, not having to wait around baggage claim (it seems like an eternity for luggage to come out—if it even does come out), having the flexibility to jump on an earlier flight, and having more flexibility to use public transportation more easily.

However, there are those trips on which I can’t get away with just carry-on. Those include long multi-destination trips, work trips where I need to have lots of business attire, winter trips, and trips via airlines that I know crack down hard on carry-on luggage size requirements.

I’m sure the percentage of times I check a bag is about to increase astronomically since my wife and I are expecting our first child in early October! And I’m okay with that! I’ve noticed over the years that when I do check a bag, I seem to be much more relaxed for a number of reasons. One is that I don’t have to worry about getting on the plane first to make sure my carry-on will fit in the overhead bin. I also don’t have to make a mad dash to the exit even when I’m not in a hurry (I have a weird mental issue that insists I need to be the first person out of the airport) since I know it’s going to take a while for my bag to come out. One of the best parts about checking bags is that I can buy souvenirs in a destination and/or bring home the hotel’s fancy toiletries.

So, when I do check a bag, what do I use? Below, I’ll tell you about the bags my wife (@NatalieDiScala) and I use when we check our luggage:

Use the promo code JOHNNY for 15% off and free shipping on orders of at least $50!

Upright1. Briggs & Riley Baseline Medium Expandable Upright ($549)
I’m a big fan of Briggs & Riley bags because they’re so durable. I’m really tough on my bags since I’m always in a hurry and normally pulling them up or down stairs. It’s usually a lot faster to take the stairs than the slow escalators when rushing to the immigration line (see, I told you I have a thing about finishing first!). What I love about the Briggs & Riley Baseline Medium Expandable Upright bag is that it can expand by 33% for packing, then compress down for a slimmer profile if you don’t need the extra room. The bag has an external mounted handle to maximize the interior space and cinch-down mesh panels to secure clothes and minimize wrinkles, which is really helpful for me (I hate ironing)! This bag is lightweight but very sturdy and best of all, it’s backed by Briggs & Riley’s lifetime warranty, which includes free repairs for any reason.

 

Spinner2. Briggs & Riley Baseline CX Medium Expandable Spinner ($569)
My wife Natalie’s preferred bag to check is almost identical to mine but she loves the version with four wheels. The Briggs & Riley Baseline CX Medium Expandable Spinner offers many of the same benefits of the bag I described above but with four double-swivel wheels. This bag has improved maneuverability and makes it much easier for her to navigate her way through busy airports. I like this bag too but find that it can be tricky to roll on carpeted surfaces, so you end up pulling it anyway. But Natalie loves this bag and uses it every time we take a longer trip that requires a larger suitcase than her carry-on. And of course, she loves the fact that it also has an expansion-compression system, which means that unzipping the sides increases the capacity of the suitcase by 25%. The smooth, easy-to-use telescopic handle, durable nylon exterior and the tri-fold garment folder—which prevents clothing from wrinkling—all combine to make this a great suitcase for any traveler.

What’s your favorite bag to use when you check luggage? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Use the promo code JOHNNY for 15% off and free shipping on orders of at least $50!

Full disclosure: I work as a partner of TravelSmith, which sells both of these bags. That said, we really do use these bags—and I stand by my recommendations!

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Johnny Jet

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About the Author

Johnny Jet
I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

1 Comment on "Travel Products of the Week: The Checked Luggage Bags I Recommend"

  1. I would love to take this to barbados with me and use it as a carry-on so I wouldn’t need to bring a checked luggage.

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