You don’t have to spend a lot on travel luggage, but you probably should.

For traveling the world, there’s simply no substitute for well-made, high-quality travel luggage.
Photo of travel luggage

There's simply no substitute for well-made, high-quality luggage. Sure, you can get by with cheaper bags — and I'm including many “designer” brands here — but as I recently learned, you'll inevitably pay for badly constructed luggage in other, potentially far more expensive ways.

orange and black leather satchel bag
Photo by @ge yonk

Why you should buy high-quality travel luggage.

Don't bring a sack to Bali.

Cheap luggage is a classic case of being penny wise and pound foolish. As an example, I recently had a spot of trouble with a piece of travel luggage. I received a laptop bag, gratis, from some company that was giving them away at a conference or trade show or something (I don't actually remember which).

The bag itself appeared to be of high quality, reinforced nylon. I'd successfully used it many times when I traveled, as its over-the-shoulder “messenger”-styling worked better walking through than my dual-strap, Thule backpack, which is more suited to bicycle commuting.

Shit happens when you least expect it.

My busted Pro. Ouch.

A recent trip demonstrated clearly and painfully how woefully wrong my assessment was of this travel luggage. While descending a flight of concrete stairs at the , one of the links attached to the strap broke and sent my MacBook Pro plummeting straight to the ground.

My laptop slammed into the edge of one of the steps and slid down the remaining stairs. It only fell about three feet in total, but that was enough to stultify the computer's motherboard, according to the Genius with whom I spoke.

They sent my laptop away and returned it only after I agreed to part with US$610. That's about a third of the machine's original cost and, more importantly, about three times the cost of a well-made, dependable travel luggage. Lesson learned.

So the next time you're looking to buy travel luggage, make sure it's from a top-notch brand like TravelPro, or TUMI, or you may end up paying for it in the long run.

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