Best Lightweight Luggage for International Travel of 2021: Top 6 Picks

Last update: 2021-01-20

If you are preparing for an international trip, you will definitely need luggage to pack your stuff. Regarding this matter, there are several questions to answer before you can buy the right luggage: What type of luggage? What size? What material? Where to buy? In case you’re confused and overwhelmed with these questions, we are here to give you thorough answers to help you find the best lightweight luggage for international travel.

Here are the best lightweight luggages for international travel (Jan 2021 Update):

  • Best Overall (Hardside Luggage): Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage
  • Best For Tight Packing (Hardside Luggage): Kenneth Cole Luggage
  • Best For Work Travel (Hardside Luggage): DELSEY Paris Helium Aero Hardside Expandable Luggage
  • Best Overall (Softside Luggage): Travelpro Platinum Elite-Softside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage
  • Best For Long Trips (Softside Luggage): AmazonBasics Softside Spinner Luggage Suitcase
  • Stylish (Softside Luggage): Steve Madden Designer 20 Inch Carry On Luggage
6 Best Lightweight Luggages For International Travel
Best Overall
Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage
  • Hardside Luggage
Best For Tight Packing
Kenneth Cole Luggage
  • Hardside Luggage
Best For Work Travel
DELSEY Paris Helium Aero Hardside Expandable Luggage
  • Hardside Luggage
Best Overall
Travelpro Platinum Elite-Softside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage
  • Softside Luggage
Best For Long Trips
AmazonBasics Softside Spinner Luggage Suitcase
  • Softside Luggage
Stylish
Steve Madden Designer 20 Inch Carry On Luggage
  • Softside Luggage

Best Overall (Hardside Luggage): Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage

Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage
Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage
10Perfect
Pros
  • Buy it with ultimate confidence – a 10-year warranty
  • Anti-theft - side-mounted TSA locks
  • Durable – scratch-resistant micro-diamond polycarbonate texture
Cons
  • A bit overpriced

Start off with the Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage.

Just like other options in this category, it features push-button locking handles, an expansion for extra storage space, and four multi-directional spinner wheels. But what set it apart from the competition is its 10-year warranty against defects in workmanship and materials.

Besides, it highlights side-mounted TSA locks for effective theft protection, and the material is micro-diamond polycarbonate texture with scratch-resistance properties.

Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Expandable Luggage Specifications

Size

24”

Weight

8.34 lbs.

Material

Micro diamond polycarbonate texture

Highlight Features

a 10-year warranty

side-mounted TSA locks

scratch-resistant micro-diamond polycarbonate texture

If you’re looking for the best, this is it!

Best For Tight Packing (Hardside Luggage): Kenneth Cole Luggage

Kenneth Cole Luggage
Kenneth Cole Luggage
9.4Outstanding
Pros
  • Ultra-lightweight – a 20” size & made of ABS materials
  • Simple maneuverability – a telescoping handle + easy-grab sided handles
  • Extra protection - a tear-resistant, fully lined interior, and molded-corner guard reinforcements
Cons
  • No other compartments for packing smaller items separately
  • No TSA locks
  • Only feature a zippered compartment on one side

Featuring a 20-inch size while meeting most international and US-based airline carry-on size requirements, the Kenneth Cole Luggage is a shining candidate for tight packing.

It’s also the lightest option out of the three, weighing only 6.25 pounds. The lightweight yet heavy-duty ABS exterior is a key element for that incredible lightness while still ensuring great protection to your essentials.

For extra support, it is added with a tear-resistant, fully lined interior and molded-corner guard reinforcements.

It also provides an easy-grab sided handle for enhanced maneuverability.

Kenneth Cole Luggage Specifications

Size

20”

Weight

6.25 pounds

Material

ABS

Highlight Features

a 20” size & made of ABS materials

a telescoping handle + easy-grab sided handles

a tear-resistant, fully lined interior, and molded-corner guard reinforcements

The Kenneth Cole Luggage, with an emphasis on lightweight yet durable ABS exterior and compact measurement, is our top choice for tight packing.

Best For Work Travel (Hardside Luggage): DELSEY Paris Helium Aero Hardside Expandable Luggage

DELSEY Paris Helium Aero Hardside Expandable Luggage
DELSEY Paris Helium Aero Hardside Expandable Luggage
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Roomy and well-organized – a 25” size with two-inch extension & 2 compartments with multiple pockets
  • Ultra-protective and secure - built-in three-dial TSA-accepted lock
Cons
  • Expensive

The DELSEY is honestly our most favorite pick, especially for long-term work travel because it boasts a 25” size with two-inch extension, designed with superior protection, security, and organization in mind.

Aside from the high-grade polycarbonate exterior and fully lined interior with two functional compartments, it stands out for the built-in three-dial TSA-accepted lock and a handle system.

The only thing that stops it from earning our Editors’ Choice Award is its expensive price. But if your budget is on the table, this is our solid recommendation.

DELSEY Paris Helium Aero Hardside Expandable Luggage Specifications

Size

25”

Weight

10.2 pounds

Material

100% Polycarbonate

Highlight Features

a 25” size with two-inch extension & 2 compartments with multiple pockets

built-in three-dial TSA-accepted lock

Offering superior protection, durability, and spacious storage space with a good organization to other counterparts, the DELSEY is a great choice for travel work.

Best Overall (Softside Luggage): Travelpro Platinum Elite-Softside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage

Travelpro Platinum Elite-Softside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage
Travelpro Platinum Elite-Softside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage
9.8Outstanding
Pros
  • Superior durability and quality - water- and stain-resistant DuraGuard coating and indestructible Supra zipper heads
  • Smooth and easy to maneuver - Magnatrac self-aligning magnetic spinner wheels & PowerScope telescoping handle
  • Extra protection - TSA-accepted locks and tie-down system on the inside
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Heavy

As its name implies, the Travelpro Platinum Elite isn’t your ordinary soft side luggage.

It’s built with perfectionism outside in, highlighting water- and stain-resistant DuraGuard coating, indestructible Supra zipper heads, and Magnatrac self-aligning magnetic spinner wheels that roll straight in all directions.

The PowerScope telescoping handle is a state-of-art design, giving a superior stable handling experience with ease of height adjustments. It also relieves stress on your hands efficiently, thanks to the PrecisionGlide system.

For extra protection, it’s built with TSA-accepted locks and a tie-down system on the inside.

The price also includes a removable TSA-compliant toiletry bag for organizing your personal items.

Travelpro Platinum Elite-Softside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage Specifications

Size

25”

Weight

9.8 pounds

Material

High-density nylon

Highlight Features

water- and stain-resistant DuraGuard coating and indestructible Supra zipper heads

Magnatrac self-aligning magnetic spinner wheels & PowerScope telescoping handle

TSA-accepted locks and tie-down system on the inside

Travelpro Platinum Elite is our always go-to option for the best softside luggage.

Best For Long Trips (Softside Luggage): AmazonBasics Softside Spinner Luggage Suitcase

AmazonBasics Softside Spinner Luggage Suitcase
AmazonBasics Softside Spinner Luggage Suitcase
9.2Outstanding
Pros
  • Scratch-resistant and durable - 150D polyester fabric & strong zippers
  • Perfect for over a-week packing – a 77L capacity with 25% expansion
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Not waterproof
  • Lack of organization

AmazonBasics Softside Spinner Luggage Suitcase is a more option for people with a tight budget.

It’s also perfect for long-term trips (up to two weeks), thanks to the 77-liter inner capacity and an extra-large 30” size with 25% expansion. The zippers are strong while the handle system all comes in handy.

Despite the marvelous storage space, it looks neat on the outside and is a breeze to fit any tight space. Take note that its 150D polyester fabric is scratch-resistant but not waterproof.

AmazonBasics Softside Spinner Luggage Suitcase Specifications

Size

30.9”

Weight

7.87 lbs.

Material

150D-polyester

Highlight Features

150D polyester fabric & strong zippers

a 77L capacity with 25% expansion

We highly recommend choosing the AmazonBasics Softside Spinner Luggage Suitcase if you’re in need of a softside luggage for long trips without breaking the bank.

Stylish (Softside Luggage): Steve Madden Designer 20 Inch Carry On Luggage

Steve Madden Designer 20 Inch Carry On Luggage
Steve Madden Designer 20 Inch Carry On Luggage
9.2Outstanding
Pros
  • Look stylish and perfect for different occasions – 8 color options
  • Hi-stability, convenience, and comfort - unique base structure, 360-degree spinner wheels, and ergonomic handle system
  • Help you avoid unwanted airport fees - lightweight and expandable
  • Reliable - backed by a 5-year limited warranty
Cons
  • The exterior material isn’t stain-resistant
  • The handle wobbles a bit
  • Lots of unclipped threads coming out of the seams after using for a while

Some people, aside from the need of a functional and protective softside suitcase, love traveling in style.

For them, we’ve got this fantastic option – the Steve Madden Designer 20 Inch Carry On Luggage.

It provides you with 8 color options to choose from (note that some come at a bit higher prices), all of which are versatile enough for use on different occasions. Such as travel, work, or a gift.

Lots of customers commended for its hi-stability, convenience, and comfort, all thanks to the unique base structure, 360-degree spinner wheels, and ergonomic handle system. If you’re new to this brand, rest assured, your purchase is backed by a 5-year limited warranty.

The best part is that it’s lightweight and expandable for packing more whereas still meet international airline carry-on size requirements to help you avoid unwanted airport fees.

Steve Madden Designer 20 Inch Carry On Luggage Specifications

Size

20”

Weight

7.8 lbs

Material

polyester

Highlight Features

8 color options

Feature unique base structure, 360-degree spinner wheels, and ergonomic handle system

lightweight and expandable

backed by a 5-year limited warranty

The Steve Madden Designer 20 Inch Carry On Luggage is our top choice for short trips, light travel, or people who are looking for a stylish suitcase.

How To Choose The Best Lightweight Luggage For International Travel?

Size

How big do you need your suitcase to be?

To answer these questions, you must take the total items and the duration of your trip into account.

Regarding this matter, you have to be realistic and pack only the thing you will definitely use instead of all the things you hope you will use, otherwise you will waste all the precious space in your suitcase.

Here’s our suggestion for the luggage size based on trip durations.

For a 2-day trip, you can use a 21.6-inch tall suitcase; for a 1-week trip, you can use a 27.2-inch suitcase; for a 2-week trip, you can use a 29.5-inch suitcase; and for a trip longer than 2 weeks, you should use a suitcase of 31.5 inches or larger.

Types

When choosing a type of luggage to buy, you have three options:

Rolling Suitcase

This is a traditional type with wheels so you can easily transport them between places.

There are two models, the first of which is the hard-side suitcase made from polycarbonate and polypropylene, and the second is soft-side bags made from polyester, PVC, nylon, leather, or microfiber. Softside suitcases are often expandable, offering 25% more space.

Backpacks

This type of luggage comes in various sizes, with or without frames, suitable for active travelers who look to go camping on their trips. Some backpacks include wheels to help you transport more easily.

Duffel Bags

Travel duffels often have a retractable handle and wheels. They can fit in the overhead compartment on the plane, but can also strain your shoulder and arm if you carry them for a long time.

Hard Or Soft Luggage?

Hard luggage and soft luggage have their own pros and cons, and the choice comes down to your own preference. So, in this section, we will break down the difference to give you a complete picture and help you make the best decision.

Softside Luggage:

  • More common than hard-side type, especially for carry-on luggage.
  • Flexible, offering up to 25% extra space for your stuff.
  • Easier to squeeze in the overhead compartment.
  • Better at absorbing shock.
  • Generally, more lightweight.
  • Less durable if not made of high-quality materials.

Hardside Luggage:

  • Durable and strong.
  • Better at protecting fragile items.
  • Harder to squeeze in the overhead compartment.
  • Easier to clean.
  • Prone to scuffs.

Others

Handles

You should look for a sturdy, comfortable, ergonomically designed handle. It’s a plus if the handle is built into the luggage’s inside for better protection from damage.

Besides, make sure you test out the handle by extending it to the full length, seeing if it locks, and taking the luggage for a full spin.

Zippers

You should opt for big and sturdy zippers as they are more durable. In addition, metal zippers are better than plastic ones, and you may want to find self-repairing zippers that in case of a snag, you can pull it back down and over to fix the problem.

Which Brands Make The Best Lightweight Luggage For International Travel?

Samsonite

Founded in 1910, the brand was aimed to create perfect, best-crafted luggage that can resist any risk in your trips. Here, you will find the strongest suitcases on the market.

Kenneth

Over the past three decades, this brand has specialized in making luggage and other accessories. If you’re looking for small-sized suitcases, this is your go-to brand with carry-on, 24-inch, and 28-inch luggage.

DELSEY

Since its establishment in 1946, Delsey has been focusing on making luggage. Its products are trusted for innovation, modernization, and practicality for travelers.

Travelpro

This brand was founded 30 years ago with the purpose to innovate luggage. Its products promise easier packing, simplicity, and dependability.

Steve Madden

With 120 years of experience in the industry, this brand has expanded from footwear to luggage products. Its products are about authenticity and individuality.

FAQs

What is the best size suitcase for international travel?

The ideal size for a suitcase is 22x14x9 inches or smaller. At this size, the suitcase can fit into the overhead compartment on most planes.

Is hard or soft luggage better?

The answer to this question depends on your own preference and how you want to use the luggage. If you like flexible, expandable luggage for more space and easier fitting, you should go with soft luggage. But if you want a strong, durable, more organized luggage, you should opt for hard-side luggage.

What type of wheels are best for luggage?

The best type of wheels for luggage is in-line skate wheels that are made of polyurethane. They are the most durable and hardwearing wheels available on the market.

How long can luggage last?

The lifespan of luggage varies among brands, models, and users. But typically, it can last 8 years or even more.

How much does luggage cost?

Depending on the size and type of luggage, the price can be as low as $40 or as high as $400 if you buy a multiple-suitcase set.

Conclusion

This is the end of our comprehensive guide on finding find the best lightweight luggage for international travel. We hope that you have figured out what you want in your new luggage to use on your next trip. Good luck!

Bryan Listor
Bryan Listor

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