TYPES OF LUGGAGE It's not complicated. Luggage is either hard or soft. Hard luggage comes in two basic types, plastic or aluminum. What are the advantages of each? Soft luggage is lightweight and pliable; meaning I can jamb it into the trunk or more importantly, that overhead bin in the airplane. Plastic luggage is both lightweight and supposedly durable (more on that later). Plastic luggage is not malleable making it more difficult to fudge on the approved airline baggage sizes or cram it into tight spaces. It does not rip like fabric and does a better job of protecting the inside contents of your luggage. Aluminum is the most durable, but also the heaviest. Considering we go through multiple weigh-ins on each trip to make sure Rhonda is under the airline limits, that is an important factor for me to consider. Aluminum is also the most expensive, which is another important fact for me, a Dutchman, to consider. DURABILITY According to Consumer Reports, in a survey over 52,000 people, the most important factor in people's satisfaction with luggage is durability. Zippers, wheels, and handles are the things that separate the good, the bad and the ugly. We've never owned the aluminum luggage nor sprung for the really "good stuff" (I did say I was Dutch right?). We go through a lot of luggage. Yes, we do travel a lot, but do you ever look outside the airplane window and see what they do to your bags when they're unloading? We've come to the conclusion that luggage is disposable. We expect it to last a year or if we're lucky two. Then it's time to replace it, and no need to go crazy buying something fancy for the luggage handlers to toss, stomp, and hurl. THE BEST AND WORST According to the Consumer Reports study, the best checked baggage brands are Briggs & Riley, Eagle Creek,and Lands End. In their ratings they scored 92, 90 and 90 points respectively. More familiar names like Samsonite, Swiss Gear, and American Tourister scored lower at 83, 82 and 81. The lowest ranked checked bag manufacturer scored a 78. The best carry-on luggage brands are Briggs & Riley, Ebags, and Eagle Creek. In their ratings they scored 92, 91, and 90 points respectively. More familiar names like Swiss Gear, Samsonite, and American Tourister scored lower at 86,85, and 83. The lowest ranked carry-on bag manufacturer scored 82. So do your research and choose the right luggage. Far more important than choosing luggage is using luggage. Let's go places together. I'll help you with your bags.