For a lot of people, the phrase “living out of your suitcase” implies that one’s life isn’t going particularly well. For those who’ve been bitten by the travel bug, it’s quite the opposite – it implies that you’re usually jetting off on a new adventure. Because we spend large chunks of our lives away from home, there’s perhaps nothing more important to seasoned travelers than a good set of luggage. 

In a sense, our luggage is our home away from home, offering storage and protection for everything we need to get through the days and nights. And just like our homes, we want our luggage to be as functional as possible while having what a realtor might call “curb appeal”. But just because something is beautiful doesn’t mean it has to be delicate. Today’s luxury luggage combines cutting-edge durability (and in some cases technology) with timeless and modern design aesthetics. 

There are a number of great high-end luggage brands on the market. Here’s a look at some of the best.

The High-End Carry-On

We here at Classic Journeys firmly believe that you can take any of our trips using only carry-on luggage.

Luxury luggage - high end carry on
Courtesy of Briggs & Riley

Briggs and Riley’s International Carry-On Wide Body Spinner is a great choice for veteran suitcase-packers and solo travelers. Its dimensions allow it to find into the overhead compartment, and Briggs and Riley’s exclusive CX technology allows the bag to expand an additional 34%; once packed, it can compress back to its original size. (Of course, if you know how to pack a suitcase, you might not need to expand the bag.) Briggs and Riley’s confidence in their products is reflected in their lifetime guarantee policy: if a Briggs and Riley suitcase is ever damaged or broken, the company will repair it free of charge, no proof of purchase needed and no questions asked.

The Luxury Duffle
Luxury luggage - luxury duffle
Courtesy of Filson’s

If you’re not quite ready to shed your vagabond/backpacker image, invest in legendary American gear manufacturer Filson’s Weatherproof Leather Dufflebag. For those who like to travel light, duffles are an easily portable alternative to a suitcase – and they don’t have to be made out of cheap nylon. Indeed, this bespoke bag is made from proprietary leathers procured from a 150-year old tannery. The leather is then treated to resist water and salt, making it a good choice for adventure travelers. Its 43-liter capacity is enough to hold a week’s worth of clothing, and its wool felt-lined shoulder strap makes for comfortable carrying.

The Aluminum Classic
Luxury luggage - aluminum classic
Courtesy of Rimowa

There’s just something cool about aluminum luggage. It looks great, of course, but it’s also practical – the lightweight metal is a great material for suitcases, protecting what’s inside without causing your suitcase to weigh a ton. The pioneer of aluminum luggage, German brand Rimowa, has been building aluminum luggage since the 1920s. Rimowa makes a variety of sizes, from carry-on to a full-fledged Trunk; the aluminum models also come in a variety of colors. But we think the best choice is Rimowa’s Classic Check-in. It comes in Medium and Large sizes, and apart from adding four wheels retains the brand’s Art Deco vibe.

The Colorful Hardshell

Tumi has become known for its eye-catching designs; it’s hard to miss a Tumi suitcase when walking through the airport. The brand’s luggage isn’t just eye candy, though. Tumi was a pioneer in lightweight, durable and functional travel bags; in the 1980s, the brand’s soft but rugged ballistic nylon bags quickly made them popular with frequent flyers.

Luxury luggage - colorful hardshell
Courtesy of Tumi

A focus on developing lightweight but tough materials – and making sure that their bags look as good as they perform – has kept Tumi at the top of the Best Luggage lists for years. The brand is known for its ubiquitous black bags, but we like Tumi’s Extended Trip 4 Wheeled Packing Case. Yes, it comes in black, but there are 9 other colors from which to choose, including a multi-colored floral print. These hardshell cases come in smaller and carry-on sizes as well – if you’re looking to outfit the kids for a Classic Journeys family trip, this line is a great choice.

The Modern Throwback

British luggage maker Globe-Trotter’s offerings look very…well, British, in the best possible way.

Luxury luggage - modern throwback
Courtesy of Globe-Trotter

Refined, with signature leather trimming and straps, Globe-Trotter luggage harkens back to the era of great British explorers and adventurers – Antarctic traveler Robert Falcon Scott and Winston Churchill were both longtime customers. Even though a Globe-Trotter suitcase would fit right in on Agatha Christie’s Orient Express, the brand has combined its classic design with modern features. The Globe-Trotter St. Moritz touts all of Globe-Trotter’s classic features and materials, but sports a pair of wheels, making it easy to move through a busy airport. 

The Connected Carry On

It’s becoming harder to completely “unplug” these days, and sometimes you need to stay connected while traveling. But the challenge of finding a place to charge your phone, or being able to power up your laptop to do some work while waiting for your connecting flight, can make that difficult. Enter Planet Traveler’s SC1.

Luxury luggage - connected carry on
Courtesy of Planet Traveler

The company calls it The World’s Smartest Suitcase, and it’s hard to argue with them. The SC1 is a carry-on that might have been designed by James Bond’s equipment manager Q. As with many “smart” suitcases, the SC1 has a power source that allows you to charge up to 3 separate items. But there’s much more. You might not need to bother charging your phone – the SC1 has a built-in speakerphone, which doubles as a digital music player. It also has a global tracking system, in case you lose it; if someone tries to steal it, it has a proximity alarm and a biometric lock. It’ll even weigh itself, thanks to a built-in digital scale. 

There are a lot of great options when it comes to luxury luggage. These are just a few of the brands making amazing suitcases; high-end luggage these days means much more than merely looking good. Both style and functionality can be found in all of these products, making them all excellent choices for your next Classic Journeys trip. About the only thing these suitcases won’t do is drive you to the gate.

Luxury luggage - cta