The 17 Best Luggage Sets of 2023

BRB, setting my "out of office" message.

collage of three of the best luggage sets
(Image credit: Marie Claire)

If packing for a trip wasn’t hard enough, choosing the best overnight bag, carry-on, or suitcase to bring with you—or buy, if you've decided it's time to retire your decades-old luggage—is a dilemma in itself. If you're going on a long vacation (or are a chronic over-packer), you should invest in a hard-working luggage set, says Away's Chief Design Officer Cuan Hanly. "At its core, the best luggage sets make travel more seamless and address the specific needs of the traveler,” he explains over email.

What to Look For

“Selecting luggage is a critical and very enjoyable part of the travel process and really depends on the kind of trip you’re planning,” says Hanly. “It’s also a very personal decision, especially when shopping for a set, as everyone has their own unique travel style. Whether you’re an over-packer, a minimalist, or somewhere in between, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind when shopping. Namely, the duration of the trip or trips you’ll be taking, methods of transportation you envision utilizing throughout, and any specific utility needs.”

“Combining all of those key considerations should help narrow down the type of luggage set that would best serve you, whether it’s a set of checked suitcases for a lengthy stay or a carry-on and personal item to keep you organized and traveling light,” he shares.

Hard Shell vs. Softside Luggage

"Hardshell suitcases feature a durable hard outer shell and are known for their protective qualities," explains Hanly. For travelers fond of a more unconventional look, Hanly even suggests a luggage set made from sturdy aluminum, as "the durable shell not only keeps your items protected but gains a beautiful patina over time, reflecting the many journeys and memories of your travel experiences."

"Softside suitcases, on the other hand, feature a shell constructed of a woven fabric," he continues. "Softside luggage offers many of the same organizational qualities, especially with exterior pockets and the nature of the woven fabric allowing for great flexibility." In short, it comes down to personal preference, in addition to the needs you have for each specific journey you embark on.

The Best Softside Luggage Sets

The Best Hardshell Luggage Sets

Meet the Expert

Cuan Henly
Cuan Hanly

Cuan Hanly is the Chief Design Officer at Away, a global lifestyle brand that’s working to transform travel through products and content that inspire people to get away more. In his role, Cuan leads both the design vision and strategic expansion of all product categories.

A respected leader in innovative and inspired design, Cuan Hanly launched his eponymous menswear label in 1998 and later opened The Cuan Hanly Store, a forward-thinking retail space that highlighted the work of innovative Irish designers. In addition, Cuan held roles at respected design houses including Paul Smith, John Rocha, Original Penguin, Jack Spade, and Mulholland. Most recently, Cuan served as VP of Design at Target Corp, overseeing Men’s and Women’s apparel and accessories. A Dublin, Ireland native, Cuan currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with his wife.

Emma Childs
Fashion Features Editor

Emma is the fashion features editor at Marie Claire, where she writes deep-dive trend reports, zeitgeisty fashion featurettes on what style tastemakers are wearing, long-form profiles on emerging designers and the names to know, and human interest vignette-style round-ups. Previously, she was Marie Claire's style editor, where she wrote shopping e-commerce guides and seasonal trend reports, assisted with the market for fashion photo shoots, and assigned and edited fashion celebrity news.

Emma also wrote for The Zoe Report, Editorialist, Elite Daily, Bustle, and Mission Magazine. She studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University Lincoln Center and launched her own magazine, Childs Play Magazine, in 2015 as a creative pastime. When she's not waxing poetic about niche fashion topics, you'll find her stalking eBay for designer vintage, reading literary fiction on her Kindle, and baking banana bread in her tiny NYC kitchen.