What’s the point of a suitcase that costs more than a holiday?

From £15 to £1,500, our tests reveal how cheap luggage can be just as good as the…




Suddenly, that scuffed and straining-at-the-sides old suit- case just doesn t cut it this summer, luggage has gone super-luxurious.

Designer label Louis Vuitton has unveiled a light-as-a-feather carry-on for an eye-watering 1,510 as part of its Rolling Luggage line, already seen in the hands of stars such as David Beckham and Charlize Theron.

British brand Smythson, meanwhile, has brought out the Greenwich Collection cabin trolley, which, for 1,795, is handcrafted from calf leather and lacquered cotton.

But is it really worth paying a premium for something that s going to be stuffed fit to burst and thrown around in the aircraft hold? Does pricey luggage pack a punch over its cheap rivals or just hit you in the wallet?

JENNY WOOD enlisted the help of suitcase expert Nic Crossick from CaseLuggage.com, the UK s leading luggage and travel goods store, to put a selection to the test ranging in price from 15 to 1,500.


Bluesmart suitcase, 349.99, firebox.com

Serapian carry-on case, 1,450, caseluggage.com

Jenny says: I ve heard Taylor Swift carries this brand and I can see why in beautiful, thick calfskin leather, it oozes class, with a leather-covered padlock and luggage tag. It only has two fixed-position wheels, but they re very sturdy. It s heavy for a carry-on, at 3.5kg, but if you can afford to pay this much for a suitcase, you can probably afford staff to carry it for you.

Nic s verdict: Nothing says luxury like a detailed handmade product. Some cases use leather-look materials, but this uses the real thing throughout. I really like the suede lining so soft it won t even scratch your jewellery.

You definitely get what you pay for with luggage. Invest in a really good suitcase and it ll last for decades. Buying a cheap one is a false economy, especially if you travel frequently; you re likely to get a split zip, or a broken wheel or handle at the worst moment.


Sovereign 55cm suitcase, 14.99, bmstores.co.uk

Sovereign 55cm suitcase, 14.99, bmstores.co.uk

Jenny says: At first glance, you d never guess this costs only 15. A teal shade in surprisingly thick fabric, it s like the Tardis, with two decent-sized exterior pockets, and an expander zip for extra room. Inside is a simple pocket and two straps to keep clothes neat. The handle feels a bit flimsy, and while the zips and wheels run smoothly, I don t know how well they d withstand rough treatment. But, at this price, you could almost afford to buy one per trip!

Nic s verdict: I m not sure how durable this would be long-term. High-quality manufacturers use rigorous tests designed to meet the strains and stresses a suitcase goes through.

These include pulling the handles thousands of times to ensure they don t break; tumble tests, where a case is put inside a rotating drum with obstacles; tests where the case is dropped from a height on to its wheels, base, hinges, handles and corners; and zip tests, where the zips are opened and fastened, and then put in a machine that pulls the zipper tape apart, to simulate the pressure of the case being overpacked. Still, a good choice for those who don t go away that often.


Radley large four-wheeled Cheshire Street case, radley.co.uk, 139

Radley large four-wheeled Cheshire Street case, radley.co.uk, 139

Jenny says: A soft-shell suitcase with a fun spotty print, it feels light at 3.1kg compared with hard-shelled alternatives, and is impressively robust the thick fabric would keep the contents dry in the rain. The interior is roomy and well-organised, and it s easy to manoeuvre thanks to four spinning wheels. My only grumble is that if you re carrying it, the non-padded top and side handles might chafe over long distances.

Nic s verdict: This has a great exterior print and the interior is well thought out, with several zipped compartments. There s a good outside pocket too, which means easy access to items you might need at the airport.


Ted Baker hanging gardens medium suitcase, 245, tedbaker.com

Ted Baker hanging gardens medium suitcase, 245, tedbaker.com

Jenny says: This pink case is unashamedly girly. The hard outer shell is decorated with an unusual oil paint-style floral design, and I particularly like the brightly coloured hummingbird print lining. It s full of lovely details, from the padded carry handles to the on-trend rose gold zip pulls, telescopic handles and spinner wheels.

Nic s verdict: Very fashion-forward and the attention to detail is impressive, with nice touches like the Transportation Security Administration TSA lock which can be opened safely by airport security, bird-print lining and rose-gold button-like wheels.


Photo upload small suitcase, 107.99, gettingpersonal.co.uk

Photo upload small suitcase, 107.99, gettingpersonal.co.uk

Jenny says: No more searching for your case on the carousel you ll spot this one a mile off. It can be printed with a photo of your choice but as well as being fun, it s a decent suitcase. The photo is protected by a hard see-through shell, the case s corners have bumpers to guard against knocks, the zip is strong, plus there s a built-in combination lock, internal pockets, comfy padded handles and four wheels. It s not light at 3.4kg, or cheap, but you d never lose your luggage again.

Nic s verdict: A standard case with TSA lock, four double wheels and a lightweight handle. The uniqueness is in the personalisation.

This effect is tricky to achieve, so I can t say how long this will look good for.


Samsonite Cosmolite 81cm spinner case, 369.99, very.co.uk

Samsonite Cosmolite 81cm spinner case, 369.99, very.co.uk

Jenny says: For such a huge suitcase, this is seriously impressive when it s empty I can lift it with one finger. It s all down to a specially designed polypropylene plastic, which makes it rigid and strong, yet incredibly light at 2.9kg. It looks good too I liked the sleek copper-coloured shell. It has a built ‘in combination lock, four spinner wheels and the good quality zip teeth are covered to stop snags in transit all things you d expect for nearly 400.

Nic s verdict: This is made of an advanced impact-resistant material which means the case, not your items, will absorb the impact of being thrown around. It also features four double wheels, rather than two singles, which makes manoeuvrability much easier.


Tripp leaf medium two-wheel suitcase, 39 on sale, debenhams.com

Tripp leaf medium two-wheel suitcase, 39 on sale, debenhams.com

Jenny says: I wasn t expecting much for under 50, and it s certainly a no-frills design, without internal pockets or a built-in lock. But it s as sturdy as some of the pricier options. The short pull handle pops up evenly, the smooth-running zips make it easy to open and the structured body and water-resistance means it should be able to take a pounding on the baggage carousel. The raspberry leaf print on the outside is eye-catching, and I loved the navy lining with red spots. A respectable all-rounder.

Nic s verdict: You can t argue with the reduced price, and the strong signature print means you ll spot it straight away on the carousel.

The only downside is the basic interior layout and lack of compartments people tend to like to keep things separate.


Bric s Bellagio 70cm four-wheeled trolley case, 455, selfridges.com

Bric s Bellagio 70cm four-wheeled trolley case, 455, selfridges.com

Jenny says: This elegant and huge case with leather trimmings reminds me of trunks from old Hollywood movies. And, like the rigid cases of old, you could happily rest your travel-weary bottom on it during flight delays. It s slightly let down by the handle, which feels disappointingly plastic-like, but otherwise it s well-designed. There s a built-in combination lock, four spinner wheels, a padded lining with handy mesh-covered section and pocket, stylish gold zip pulls and rubberized fabric over the zip teeth to stop them snagging in transit. You re getting what you re paying for here.

Nic s verdict: This is a beautiful case, blending traditional looks with modern design. It has four double rubber wheels for ease of movement, a tough polypropylene shell to withstand knocks, plus several interior section dividers and even hangers for suits. Perfect for style-conscious frequent fliers.


Bluesmart suitcase, 349.99, firebox.com

Bluesmart suitcase, 349.99, firebox.com

Jenny says: Always going over the luggage limit? Not any more! This clever case has a built-in scale to weigh itself and you can also lock and unlock it from your smartphone and use GPS tracking to locate it anywhere in the world. Other hi-tech features include an in-built battery to charge your phone, and a padded front section for laptops. The zip feels good quality, there are four spinner wheels, and the handles are thick and comfortable. The downside? It s heavy at 4.39kg.

Nic s verdict: It s great to see GPS tracking, remote locking and in-built scales but smart technology is new and still advancing, so you may want to wait to invest in such a case until any glitches have been ironed out.


Rimowa salsa air four-wheel cabin trolley, 355, selfridges.com

Rimowa salsa air four-wheel cabin trolley, 355, selfridges.com

Jenny says: Unbelievably, at just 1.9kg, this weighs less than two bags of sugar. To keep weight down, the shell is hard yet wafer-thin, there s a T-shaped telescopic pole instead of a pull handle, and there s no carry handle on the side. Four wheels make it easy to manoeuvre, the zips move smoothly and the inside is divided into two with mesh pockets. It s expensive for a small case, but it s stylish, is a dream to use, and will let you save your precious weight allowance for the things you put in it, rather than the case itself.

Nic s verdict: One of the most lightweight premium cases I ve seen. The exterior design is beautiful and the interior, with mesh pockets, is well thought out.

The only downside is that it would be difficult to balance it on another suitcase as the mono-telescopic cane-style handle would get in the way.

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