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Luggage for International Travel

Luggage can be expensive, but when you are traveling internationally and/or for long periods of time, quality luggage is a must! Selecting the right luggage for international travel can make your life abroad so much easier. I always tell students that they want a bag that is 27-29 inches tall (anything larger will always be overweight), on wheels (spinners preferred), light weight, and of high quality construction. If your luggage is missing any of these features, you will struggle!

Every year I see students battle with too large, too heavy, and super cheap luggage that they drag (or end up pushing or kicking) from city to city. Remember when traveling around Europe (especially on a study abroad program or on group trips) you often have to carry your luggage a couple blocks (since large buses can’t fit down small streets) and up flights of stairs (since many European elevators are tiny, or there are 30+ people trying to use it at the same time).

I recommend investing in three pieces: 1) a large checked bag (27-29 inches), 2) a carry on bag (20-21 inches), and 3) for the ladies, a tote or larger purse for the plane. Now this is the important part, all pieces should be able to attach to one another. Trust me, this will make your life so much easier!

Here is what I use:

If travel is not a part of your profession or something you do often, you don’t need to invest in a premium luggage brand like Briggs & Riley (although from my personal experience, I cannot say enough good things about this luggage). For my career and lifestyle these pieces were a worthwhile investment (still in perfect condition, ten years and countering!). But you can find similar, less expensive, and just as functional options. I recommend Samsonite and Travelpro, and here are some options:

laptop tote (love this tote and such a good deal!) // large spinner // carry on spinner
One last tip – many luggage companies are now offering 20″ wide-body international carry ons. These bags are slightly larger to give you more space, but because they are wider, not longer, they still easily fit in the overhead compartment. I highly recommend them for international travel!
Happy Travels!