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Purchasing luggage can be a big decision, especially if you’re taking a longer trip. Overpacking can be just as bad as not packing enough — and there can be the question of whether to bring a backpack or a suitcase.
You’ll also want to determine the best time to buy luggage. After all, prices vary throughout the year as demand changes, sales start and new product lines come out.
Here's a look at the best time of the year to buy luggage and some tips for making sure you get the best bags around.
When is the best time to buy luggage?
The best time to buy luggage in 2022 provides some perspective on the best times to buy in 2023.
During a sale
Of course, one of the best times to buy luggage is when it’s on sale. Sales happen often throughout the year, most notably around holidays.
This often includes Memorial Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. For example, the popular luggage brand Away (which rarely runs sales) offers a Black Friday discount yearly.
In recent years, additional shopping sales events have popped up. This includes Prime Day, the Amazon sale that sees discounts on a wide variety of items. Meanwhile, competitors such as Walmart and Target have launched their own events featuring sales on several items.
While there isn’t one specific best time of year to buy luggage on sale, many competing sales events offer discounts.
After the high season
When is the best time to buy luggage in the U.S.? During a sale is a great time, but if you can’t wait, you might want to aim for just after peak travel season.
While spring and winter breaks include some busy travel days, summer is the most popular time to hit the road in the U.S. This means that demand for bags (and everything else travel-related) will be at its highest. If you’re looking to score a deal, hold back on purchasing new luggage during this time. Instead, aim for early fall, when students return to school and everyone begins settling in for the winter.
Just before traveling
If you don’t already have luggage, you may want to avoid buying any until you have solid travel plans. This is because the type of bags you’ll need will vary based on the kind of trip you’re taking.
Are you planning on flying on a low-cost airline with a small personal item only? Then, you’ll want a bag that fits within the limited size requirements. Is your trip three weeks long? You’ll likely need a little more room, but you’ll still want to be sure your suitcase fits the weight restrictions of the airline you’re flying.
So waiting to buy a new bag until your plans are solidified can be a good idea. While it may not be the cheapest time to purchase a suitcase, it can help you save money on baggage fees — or keep you from needing to sit on an overpacked bag to close it.
Tips for buying luggage
Check size requirements
Did you know there aren’t international standards for airline luggage size? This may mean that your carry-on-sized bag can’t actually be carried on, depending on the airline.
For example, a carry-on bag that’s fine for a domestic Alaska Airlines flight may be too large for an Air France flight to Paris.
Before buying a suitcase, double-check with your airline or travel provider to ensure your bag meets its size requirements. Otherwise, you may be on the hook for unplanned fees.
Compare bag types
We touched on some reasons why you might consider different bag types, especially for a longer or more complicated trip. However, there are other reasons you’ll want to compare a variety of bags before settling on a single purchase.
If your luggage is damaged by an airline, you can file a claim for reimbursement with the airline.
For example, you’ve likely seen the quite popular spinner bags, those four-wheeled suitcases that glide easily through the airport. While they certainly look nice — and are great for maneuverability — spinner wheels take up more space than traditional roller bags. This means you’ll have less interior room in your suitcase, so if you’re an overpacker, this may not be a good solution.
You’ll also want to decide whether softsided or hardsided luggage suits you better. Hardsided suitcases can offer better protection but tend to weigh more, which can be a problem if your airline has strict weight restrictions.
» Learn more: Hardsided vs. softsided luggage: Which is best?
Read user reviews
While a suitcase may come with all kinds of bells and whistles, it’s impossible to get a feel for how it operates until it’s been thoroughly tested by real people.
Possible issues can be something as small as the zipper coming off or as big as the handle getting stuck, which you won't find out about in a retailer's product description. Instead, you’ll want to search for impartial reviews — preferably from those who’ve made multiple trips with their luggage.
The best time of year to buy luggage
If you’re looking for the best time to buy luggage, you’ll want to wait for a sale. These happen regularly, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding discounted prices.
However, if you can, you may want to wait until after peak travel season or when you have specific travel plans. In these cases, you’ll be able to find a good selection of suitcases; and by waiting until your travel plans are solid, you’ll have the advantage of choosing a bag that perfectly suits your trip.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card