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Traveler’s Choice luggage

Hey everyone. My husband and I are headed to London and Paris in December. I’ve been considering buying Traveler’s Choice Ultimax II medium trunk spinners for each of us. Dimensions are 27.5x16x13.75 inches. We each will have a small duffel to carry on as well as the checked bags. Do any fellow travelers have an opinion on this brand of luggage? I’d also like any other recommendations on similar sized luggage if anyone has a preference of another brand. Our current suitcases are old, heavy and bigger than we would like to take so we are in need of something new. Thanks.

Posted by
3491 posts

Your old bags are bigger than 28"? How long are you planning on travelling? No opinion on the brand, but I hope you also have a luggage scale, because it's really easy to go over the weight limit with those big rolling trunks. Unless you fly first class, then I think you are allowed a heavier bag. From the specs, it weighs over 10 lbs empty.

My 28" (which is actually 30" including the wheels), which I only use on very long cruises only weighs 6 pounds.

Posted by
53 posts

We are in London and Paris December 6th to 20th. What should I look for as far as luggage weight while empty? We are flying Delta Comfort + so I believe we each get one free checked bag, up to 50lbs.

Posted by
22024 posts

That is a lot of suitcase. Since most people on this site travel with much less luggage his is not the best site to ask that question. Many here believe in taking one carry on size bag and you will get push back for considering luggage that large -- And I would agree. At that size you can easily pack it near 50 lb or even more. That is a lot of weight. The problem with luggage that size in addition to your carry-on makes for a lot of luggage to handle especially on public transit and trains. So you are restricted to taxis. And that is fine but I am guessing you will take the Eurostar to Paris and there is no checked luggage. You handle it all yourself.

I look for discount luggage at places like Costco, Ross, Walmart. It is just as easy to damage an expensive bag as a cheap one. I see little merit to high end, expensive bags but some on this site love them. Good luck with what ever you decide.

Posted by
53 posts

Thank you both for your advice. I’ll continue searching for something more lightweight. I know many travelers on this forum are strictly carry on but I’m not sure we can do that with winter clothes. I am hesitant to check a bag but I also would like to have what I think is necessary. I have looked at Costco and Sam’s Club online but will head to the stores soon to look in person. I’ll also try TJ Maxx and others. We will be traveling to Paris on Eurostar so I understand we do have to be mindful of size. I will be taking a couple of changes of clothing in my carry on (in case of a baggage delay) and wearing my coat on the plane, perhaps I can try packing in a smaller suitcase to make it all fit.

Posted by
1069 posts

I do not believe you’re going to get pushback on your choice of luggage or even what you pack. It’s your trip. Enjoy.

However, if you’re looking for advice on packing, you can spend hours searching back through this forum. Please start another thread if you have specific questions.

I looked up your model. I’ve not heard of the brand. At almost $200 and eleven pounds, that’s a bit of a whale. 28” hardside bags can be found at stores everywhere, in a wide range of prices, materials, and weights. But if that’s the bag you like, buy it and have fun getting ready.

Posted by
814 posts

If this helps: my current luggage is two main pieces: a rectangle-shaped bag ballistic nylon bag, with zippers, without wheels, with a shoulder strap, that I carry one to two changes of clothes in. Sometimes the strap digs into my neck; maybe my next luggage be a sort of backpack that fits my clothes and everything else too. My other luggage is a Jansport school-backpack without wheels, with padded back and sides, and a leather bottom. It looks reasonably durable. I use it for everything that is not clothes. Using luggage without wheels forces you to pack lightly. Are you physically able to carry 20 to 25 pounds worth of luggage that does not have wheels + whatever you are taking to and from London and Paris? Do you have a body scale at home? Weigh yourself, then weigh yourself holding your fully-packed luggage.

Posted by
53 posts

I’m going to try to find something lighter in weight since our winter clothing will be heavier, in order to be under the 50lb limit. I will do practice runs with my packing choices and see what I can do there. However we will most likely have a carry on and checked. Our carry ons are lightweight canvas bags that can be put over a suitcase handle. No wheels on those. On our last London trip, my husband and I shared one large checked bag but returned over the weight limit. I didn’t worry about it too much because my husband handled the suitcase. So, I thought we would both use a checked bag this time so we could have room for anything we purchased. We will use a car service from LHR and to CDG when leaving Paris as well as to and from train stations so that will minimize some of the luggage struggle. Your responses have given me lots to think about.

Posted by
365 posts

For lightweight luggage, I like the IT brand. I like a big suitcase when traveling to family because, hey, grandkids need presents! ITs have a light infrastructure and are pretty durable. You can get them at a discount at TJ Maxx and Marshalls. I got my go-to for a song at the Macy's discount area. Airlines beat up bags so much that I'm good with basically disposable luggage. For international travel, I like my rolling, backpack that's carry-on size but I usually check it. It's amazing how much it fits.

Posted by
8 posts

Make sure to check the size limit of your airline for international travel, it can vary from domestic travel. In fact, one airline I considered flying on even gave the size allowed for the bag that goes under the seat, and it was small. I'm in the market for lightweight luggage also and found "Travel Fashion Girl", and she has many great lightweight luggage articles, and great outfit tips. Her readers' recommendation is TravelPro Maxlite, I have a larger one already and really like it.
I hope you have a wonderful time.

Posted by
11754 posts

Traveler's Choice is an okay brand for occasional travelers. It should do the job but I would agree that a trip to a TJMaxx or Ross or Marshalls might prove successful. (Take a tape measure with you. )

You need to be aware of Delta's checked bag restrictions. Maximum total length of 62"(L x W x H) and a total weight of 50 lbs.

One thing I did notice on the Traveler's Choice bag was the telescoping handle. If you plan to piggyback a carry on bag on top of the checked bag--especially if you use a luggage handle pass thru--the top of the handle is much wider than others while the shaft is much thinner. This may cause a problem.

One last thing.....for checked luggage--polycarbonate bags are sent in for repair more than soft sided bags. Odds are nothing will happen but just be aware of that.

Posted by
3745 posts

Assuming that you arrive on the 6th and depart on the 20th, you will have 2 weeks for your trip. That's not very long.

I did a 5-week trip to Ireland and Wales this summer with a 4.5 pound, 38 L Osprey Ozone Global 2-Wheeled Carry-On.  (Dimensions including wheels and handles: 50x36x23 cm, 19.5x16x8 in.)  I could've used any of the four 2-wheeled carry-ons that I have, the heaviest being 5.5 pounds. Traveling solo, I have no BOB (Beast of Burden) along to help, so I manage my luggage myself.

Interestingly, the bag I used had the smallest capacity and wasn't expandable like 2 of the others, but its European design (notice how wide it is) made packing it so easy and efficient that I was able to take everything I needed using it and an 11 oz Eddie Bauer Stowaway 25 L Backpack.  (Dimensions: 43x30x15 cm, 17x12x6 in.) for my meds, devices and other absolute essentials.

Note that I'm a devotee of compression packing cubes. The good thing about them is that they take the air out of what's inside. The bad thing is that they don't take the weight out. Still, my Osprey met my weight goal of 20 pounds fully loaded.

I had to pack for inclement weather, including layers, long underwear, zip-up fleece and a long raincoat. Depending on the weather history and forecast for London and Paris in December, you might need a puffer coat instead of the fleece. Having lived just a bit southwest of Tucson for the past 17 years, I can understand your concern about staying warm. But you can do that without packing or wearing heavy winter clothes.

And what you take need not be only boring black, beige, etc. You can liven your base colors up with a scarf from which you draw your accent colors.

Wardrobe coordination is one key to keeping the number of garments down. Personally, I pack only for a week no matter how long I'm gone. Accepting that you can wear the same outer garments 2-3 times before washing is another. As is recognizing that you will have to sink wash and/or do laundry once a week is another.

The killer for some people is the need to limit the number of pairs of shoes to 2, one comfortable and supportive for lots of walking and one also comfortable but perhaps nicer for going out.

There are lots of packing light discussions here on the packing forum. Many people pack much lighter than I do. Others don't. I mention all this because for me, form follows function. If you have a well-coordinated wardrobe, where everything goes together and functions well, you don't need a huge suitcase.

Posted by
581 posts

Erica it might be helpful if you posted your packing list. You may be overpacking for a 2 week trip. Even for a late fall / early winter trip.

Posted by
81 posts

Yes, agree with others, you're looking at a larger suitcase than most of us would carry. A hard-shelled suitcase really does add weight, do you really need it? A bit of "Marie Kondo-esque' advice here, but have you looked at what you really need to bring before buying a new suitcase? (She recommends containers or storage systems last, not first.) Literally lay what you want to pack out on the dining room table, review it a few days, plan outfits that match. December in London & Paris can be chilly & rainy. I carry an Eddie Bower Girl on the Go trench coat & a light weight puffer coat from Uniqlo that hits mid thigh & won't stick out the bottom of the coat. The previous poster is so right, too many pairs of shoes can doom traveling light. I usually end up with 3 pairs; flip flops for hotel rooms, hiking boots & slip ons for dinners out. I can make do with a 21" soft sided carryon with 2 wheels, 20~ 24 lbs total, which BTW I always check because I can't deal with schlepping it through security & connecting airports. Hope that helps!

Posted by
1533 posts

Erica, here are a couple of thoughts:

  1. You mentioned that you and your husband shared a bag last trip but went over limit with weight. I think that you might consider that two carry-on bags in the 21" range might give you the same if not a bit more volume than you had with your previous large checked bag. Generally a large suitcase will have around 90-100L of volume, whereas two 21" bags will give you around 45-50L.

  2. Even though you are using a car service to get to the train stations, you will still need to maneuver bags through the stations, possibly go up and down on escalators, and deal with transfers, which means lifting them on and off the train (this to me, is the biggest hurdle).

  3. If you still decide to go with the larger bag, TravelPro has a line of luggage that is especially lightweight, called the Maxlite5 link. You might want to look at those - their medium hard-sided spinner is little over 8 lbs, which is 2 lbs less than your choice. Or you could go with the soft-sided Maxlite5 medium spinner, which is even lighter, at a little over 7 lbs. You can find these on Amazon and other places for a lower cost sometimes.

Posted by
680 posts

I was shopping rolling bags recently. I have a very high quality almost bullet-proof 20" CalPak rolling carry-on bag which I bought for $20 (regular $200) about 10 years ago, but it weighed close to 10lbs. Traveler's Choice, aka US Traveler, makes some affordable lightweight products with good reviews on Amazon. From what I can see, TravelPro will cost almost double for a similar product, but may have better quality. If I were to buy, I would buy something similar to this (but in black):

In the end, I removed some internal padding and pockets from the CalPak and reduced the weight to just under 8 lbs and freed up some valuable internal volume. Still not as light as newer luggage, but good enough. My wife will use the carryon CalPak and I will use a carryon backpack for an upcoming trip to Spain. I am not sure we are going to make the weight limit for Lufthansa (18 lbs), but we are going to try. We can always check the bags if necessary.

We also own a 25" Samsonite which we used in past trips. This one big bag was large enough for the both of us. If I acted as the Sherpa, my wife was totally unencumbered, which was not a bad arrangement. It was also nice not worrying about weight limits and having the room to buy lots of stuff for trip home. How large and how many pieces of luggage you need is your personal choice. Good luck.

Posted by
2090 posts

Just an additional thought - I am traveling for 6 weeks with this TravelPro Maxlite and love it. The expandable will give me room for shopping (that I currently don’t need) and has a handle on the side that the non-expandable doesn’t.

Posted by
18467 posts

I think you might be over-thinking your clothing needs.

I see that you are from Arizona, so you are probably not accostomed to cold weather. I remember when my parents, who had been raised in So. California, came to visit me in Pennsylvania one Christmas. Ha, Ha.

History: I skied for over 30 years and was on a ski patrol for 20 of it. One thing I learned from skiing was to dress in layers to stay warm.

When I go to Europe, normally I go in shoulder months. I pack normal street clothes and a light-to-medium weight sweater. I wear a pair of leather shoes and a lightweight summer jacket on the plane. When I went there once in December/January, I added one pair of thermal underwear in my luggage, and wore hiking boots (for walking in snow) and a down parka, instead of the summer jacket, on the plane.

All this, for 2 weeks, in a carry-on bag.

Oh, and I forgot to take a hat and gloves; those I bought in Karlsruhe. They do sell such things in Europe.

That was the complete difference. Most of the diffence was in what I wore on the plane, not what I packed.

Posted by
1533 posts

TexasTravemom, I have that same color and Travel Maxlite5 suitcase except mine is soft-side, not hard-sided. I love their bags - my sister, who is a flight attendant, first turned me on to them and I've been a fan ever since. And I love that handle on the side!

Posted by
53 posts

Thank you all for your helpful luggage advice. I like the look of the Maxlite luggage and will give it some consideration. I’m hitting the stores this weekend to compare suitcases and sizes in person. Going to start getting my clothes together to plan outfits. I’ll be packing early as I rarely wear winter clothes in the desert, so I won’t need any of these things at home.