Hardside Luggage Tips

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What are some features of a good hard-sided beauty case?

Hard Sided Beauty Cases

Even if you buy no other hard-sided luggage, if you maintain a serious beauty regimen, you may want a hard-sided beauty case. These are common among performers, makeup artists and women executives, whose business success depends on having the right products available to make them look young, fresh and attractive even after a red-eye flight.

A good beauty case includes loops and pockets for holding products (which often come in glass jars, and should not be rubbing against one another in fight. They also come with both a carrying handle and a shoulder strap for different situations.

What are some premium hard-sided luggage brands?

Premium Hard Side Luggage

For business travelers and those who spend a great deal of the year on the road, a premium brand such as Zero Halliburton, Porter Case or Rimowa may be worth the extra money.

If maintaining a stylish appearance is part of your success in business, the Zero Halliburton 21" Carry-On is a popular choice, available in a number of bright, attractive colors.

If you crave the best hard side luggage, but can't quite manage the price, look for closeouts and sales. Consider getting just the hardside carry-on for the things you can't do without, and using a less expensive soft-sided bag for your checked luggage.

What materials are used in hard-sided luggage?

Hardside Luggage Materials

It's all very well to know that a piece of luggage has hard sides, but what is that stuff, anyway? Here are some of the more popular materials for hard sided luggage:

  • ABS: A special kind of plastic which is molded into shape. It is highly pressure-resistant and can be made in many colors, in either smooth or textured finishes.
  • Aluminum: The material of choice for higher-end hard case luggage, it is rugged and lightweight, with a professional and upscale appearance.
  • Polyester: Wait, that's fabric, isn't it? Not necessarily. Polycarbonate ABS is made from, yes, the same stuff that's in your microfiber shirts, but is vacuum-molded or pressure-molded into a hard-sided luggage piece. The result is ultra-lightweight and inexpensive.
  • Polypropylene is a more traditional form of plastic case, and has been around for several decades. Durable and scuff-resistant, it is usually molded into "oyster" (two equal sides) shapes.

What is the best hard-sided luggage I can buy?

A Special Kind of Hard Case Luggage

If you like the idea of hard case luggage to protect your belongings when you travel, you're probably best off with Samsonite luggage or some other mid-priced brand. If you have a specific need to protect important professional gear on the road, it may be worth looking into the Porter Case.

Recommended by photographers, computer users, salespeople and beauty professionals, this range of hard-sided luggage is very tough. The foam cases come with layers of foam which can be cut by the user to protect specific pieces of gear, such as camera lenses or A/V projectors. All cases, even the under-seat ones, come with "hidden" handles which allow the case to be wheeled through an airport.

There is, of course, a price for this strength and flexibility. The only question is whether the things you're transporting are worth the extra cost.

Why should I consider hard-sided luggage?

Why Buy Hard-Sided Luggage?

Hard-side luggage isn't for everyone. Despite advances in lightweight materials, it still tends to be a bit heavier than soft-sided bags, and also tends to cost more. Plus there's no flexibility if you just have to cram in that one last souvenir!

However, hard-sided luggage is recommended if you travel internationally, particularly if you need to pack delicate items, such as photo gear or electronic equipment. It also may be the best choice if you spend a great deal of time on the road, since it is more likely to look take a beating and still look good when you haul it out for the next trip.

Why would I want a hard-sided carry-on bag?

Hardside Carry-On Luggage

Hardside carry-on luggage is most often found in situations where a traveler has important items to protect -- computer equipment, pro photographer's gear or product samples. However, these hard-side bags have a following among ordinary travelers who have had (or heard of) bad experiences with rough treatment of airline passengers' bags.

Hard-side luggage enjoyed renewed popularity after the 2001 terrorist attacks, when many people became more concerned about safety issues while traveling. While larger hard luggage is often chosen for its ability to withstand the rigors of baggage checking, hard-sided carry-ons are the choice of those who are traveling with important, expensive or delicate items.

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Jolyn Wells-Moran