How to find the right luggage before your next vacation

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- If you are taking a trip anytime soon, you'll need the right luggage. In a recent survey by Consumer Reports, members said wheel-ability, durability, and weight are the most important luggage attributes.

But what kind of luggage is best? The choices generally come down to hard-sided or soft-sided. In a partnership with Consumer Reports, 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney helps you find out what's best for you.

Luggage has come a long way since the days of that old valise. How has it changed? "The roller that rolls all the way around is so much easier," one person shared.

Another said, "enough space."

And finally, a luggage owner admitted, "Zippers! So they don't break."

Nowadays, your biggest decision when buying new luggage -- should you get soft-sided or hard?

Thanks to modern plastics like polypropylene, ABS, or polycarbonate, hard-sided luggage can be durable and light. Aluminium luggage is likely the most durable, but a bit heavier.

Their strong construction makes it harder to slit through, and locks are usually built-in. "They're also a good option for traveling with more fragile items which can crush easily," said Nikhil Hutheesing, Consumer Reports Money Editor.

And you are guaranteed a no-bulge fit in the overhead bin, as long as you buy the right size.

There are some drawbacks. Taking-up twice the space of soft suitcases when packing, they also lack flexibility.

Soft-sided luggage, on the other hand, is more flexible, works well in cars, and can compress into overhead bins. Extra pockets may mean more organized packing. "But soft suitcases can be vulnerable when it comes to security and ripping," said Hutheesing. "So buy ones made of strong materials," he said. Like nylon or polyester with a high denier or "D" rating. It's an indicator of thickness and strength -- 600 is a common number. The higher the number, the more wear and tear it can take.

Even the right luggage won't make travel totally stress-free, but it can help take the edge off.

Consumer Reports says pay attention to the wheels. Suitcases with four wheels are more ergonomic and can spin in different directions. Two-wheeled suitcases only go backwards and forwards, but are better when rolling on sidewalks or over uneven surfaces.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2018 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit

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