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Lead the pack when it comes to luggage.
The U.S. has the largest luggage and bags market, with revenue reaching more than $27 million this year, which is predicted to grow annually by 1.3%, according to Statista. And many of us spend hundreds, even thousands, on luggage. But you needn’t drop a ton, according to travel experts, frequent fliers and doctors. Here are the best luggage buys under $50, according to experts.
The biggest health risks associated with luggage are neck, back and shoulder injuries, Dr. Niket Sonpal, a NYC-based internist and adjunct professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, tells MarketWatch “lifting and carrying bulky luggage can strain your bones, muscles and joints,” says Sonpal.
This backpack not only meets Dr. Sonpal’s standards, it features side mesh pockets, a multi-function interior sleeve and it fits easily underneath an airplane seat. Dr. Sonpal says, “Use a backpack to evenly distribute weight across your back and do not carry it on one shoulder. Carrying a heavy side-shoulder bag will force your spine to deviate to one side.”
For those who haven’t mastered the art of packing lightly, this expandable checked suitcase features a push-button locking internal retractable handle system, top and side carry handles and a large interior zippered mesh lid pocket. With more than 660 reviews on Amazon, one customer, who claims to be a commercial pilot, states, “Good value for a good price. As an airline pilot, I have extensive experience with my and other people’s luggage. This suitcase has incorporated the features that are most important.”
Expert picks for carry-on luggage:
With 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon and more than 1,500 reviews, this 20” carry-on boasts 4 double spinner wheels, a fully lined interior with a divider, and a protective hard shell with a scratch-resistant finish. Dr. Sonpal says, “Look for sturdy, light, high-quality and transportable pieces when shopping for luggage. Choose luggage with wheels and a handle. A four-wheeled roller bag tends to be easier on the spine than a two-wheeled bag.” For author and chef Dean Sheremet, durability is key. “I travel a lot and need something that can handle all that I throw at it,” he told MarketWatch.
Should you need a bag with wheels, travel blogger and influencer Dr. Emilia Taneva tells MarketWatch you should look for pieces with a lightweight and spacious design, functional interior and zip curtain separators. “Durable and waterproof luggage is a must, I like hardside luggage with 360 degree spinner wheels in stylish and elegant designs and colors,” she says.
Weighing in at just 7.6 pounds, this expandable suitcase has fans far and wide, including a Google customer who reviewed the bag saying, “Love the color, it’s easy to see in an airport. The suitcase is spacious and you are able to pack a lot of clothes in it.”
With eight pockets for maximum packing versatility, this bag only weighs approximately 5.1 pounds and measures 22 inches, making it a suitable carry-on for someone who wants to pack to the gills without being constricted by a hardside suitcase. What’s more, this bag has 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon and one reviewer writes, “Now I don’t have to carry a bag with straps digging into my shoulders. This is a great carry on bag that fits perfectly in the overhead bin of an aircraft.”
This bag has an abrasion-resistant bottom, two large zippered pockets and a vented pocket for dirty laundry or gym shoes. Use this carryall as an overnight bag, weekender or additional carry on if you’ve checked larger pieces. Keep in mind, this bag is most useful if you’re not trekking through an airport or carrying it for a long distance, since it gets slung over one shoulder. One Amazon reviewer shares, “This bag is good quality and perfect for short trips,” which explains its 4.6 out of 5 star rating on Amazon.
If all else fails, there are companies like LugLess that ship luggage directly to one’s destination for as little as $15. With Americans predicted to spend more than $4.5 billion on checked baggage fees this year, in addition to succumbing to baggage-induced injuries, pawning off cumbersome bags seems like a no-brainer. After all, when it comes to carrying or lifting luggage, Dr. Sonpal’s instructions are in depth and intense. “To lift luggage, stand alongside of it and bend at the knees while trying to limit bending at the waist. Lift the bag with your leg muscles, grasp the handle and straighten up. Once you lift it, hold it close to your body,” says Sonpal. He adds, “When climbing stairs, do not drag rolling luggage — carry it instead.”