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How to choose the right luggage bag

Here are 10 factors to consider when buying a good quality suitcase:

  1. Type of luggage. Generally, luggage bags come with an exterior that’s either made from hard or soft material. Both options are great depending on what you’re looking for – hard cases are more resistant towards rain and spills whereas soft cases are stretchable around the edges and hence, can expand for extra storage room.
  2. Size.If you’re a light packer or usually not one who’d check in your luggage, a cabin-sized bag is all you need – note that the standard size for international carry-ons are 20 inches. For those who tend to check in their luggage, a 25-27 inch bag is good whereas those who prefer to carry one bag for two travelers can opt for a larger 28-32 inch suitcase, which is also suitable for those moving abroad.
  3. Wheels.Most bags these days have spinning wheels attached to the bag and this makes it convenient to maneuver in tight spaces. For a space-savvy option, pick those with recessed wheels; for stability, a two-wheel suitcase will give you that.
  4. Security.Worried about the safety of your belongings when your luggage is being handled by airport staff or when it’s left in the hotel? Choose a suitcase with TSA lock or manual lock to ensure better security.
  5. Durability.Polycarbonate cases are your best bet since it’s really durable while being lightweight. Alternatively, opt for aluminum though this can be rather heavy; ABS plastic on the other hand is less durable. For soft cases, choose something strong yet water-resistant, like nylon.
  6. Warranty.Give yourself peace of mind by opting for suitcases that come with warranty – that way, you’ll get your money’s worth in case anything happens or if there are any defects after purchase.
  7. Price.The more you pay, the better the quality of your bags. However, bags that you check-in often get damaged easily so the key is to save on larger, check-in bags and splurge on small, carry-on bags.
  8. Colour.Black is a safe choice since it conceals dirt well but it’s also one of the most common colours for suitcases. To avoid any unwanted mix-up with other travellers, add a bright or colourful tag to easily identify your bag. White or cream bags are a no-no since it will look dirty pretty quickly.
  9. Features.Depending on your personal preference, look out for features that will convenience you. For example, if you love organizing your belongings neatly, a bag with multiple compartments will do the trick.
  10. Weight. Lightweight suitcases are the way to go since this means that you can bring more stuff with you as opposed to a heavier bag that allows you to pack less.



Not sure what size of luggage you can take into the plane? Worried that your items will get confiscated because they’re not allowed on board in your hand-carry bag? Here’s everything you need to know about carry-on baggage – read this before boarding your next flight!


Q1: What type of carry-on baggage is allowed by airlines?

Flight passengers are usually allowed to bring only one carry-on baggage on board and the size should be no larger than 56cm x 36cm x 23cm. This includes the handles, wheels and side pockets, to ensure it fits in the overhead compartment. Meanwhile, the weight should not exceed 7kg.

Do note that if your luggage does not fit the criteria of the airline’s carry-on baggage policy, you may be requested to check in your luggage for a fee or if it’s overweight, you may be requested to remove some items from the bag.


Q2: What other bags can you bring on board?

Besides the hand-carry luggage, passengers are allowed to bring on board one small bag that must not exceed 40cm x 30cm x 10cm. It should also be able to fit under the seat in front of you. This small bag may include any one of the following:

  • Backpack
  • Laptop bag
  • Handbag
  • Any other small bags


Q3: What items are prohibited and restricted in your carry-on luggage?

Here’s a list of items that are not allowed in your hand-carry luggage:

  • Liquids exceeding 100ml
  • Weapons and firearms
  • Sharp objects with a pointed edge
  • Explosives and flammable items
  • Chemical and toxic substances
  • Any type of knives including pocket knives, hunting knives and swords
  • Scissors and other sharp objects with a blade such as nail clippers etc.
  • Gun-shaped items including toy guns, handcuffs and more
  • Sports equipment such as golf clubs, hockey sticks and more
  • Any device with spillable batteries
  • Aerosols such as perfume, hair spray, and medicines containing alcohol
  • Baby strollers
  • Any other items that the local law deems security hazards



Q4: What items are allowed to be inside your carry-on luggage?

Meanwhile, here’s a list of items that you can carry inside your cabin-sized luggage:

  • Liquids, aerosols and gels in containers measuring 100ml or below
  • Non-liquid cosmetics such as solid deodorant, compact powders, lipstick etc.
  • Baby food – including liquids and pastes needed for the trip
  • Medicine – in quantities required for your trip

Fresh or frozen meat or seafood – packed properly in a vacuum seal



Q1: What is TSA Lock – is it safe?

TSA stands for Transportation Security Administration and a TSA lock is a luggage lock as well as global security system whereby a passenger is able to lock their luggage while simultaneously allowing authorities to inspect their bag without causing damage – so yes, it is safe! If an ordinary lock is used, security agents may have no choice but to cut open and destroy the lock. 

Tip: TSA-approved locks are any locks (built-in or external) that has the Travel Sentry logo on it, which looks like a red diamond.


Q2: Which countries require TSA Lock?

If you’re travelling to these countries, it is advisable to secure your suitcase with a TSA lock to avoid your bag being damaged or lock being cut.

  • United States mainland as well as Hawaii, Alaska, Guam and the US Virgin Islands
  • Japan
  • Israel
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland
  • South Korea
  • New Zealand
  • Togo


Q3: I forgot the combination of my TSA Lock – how can I open it now?

Don’t worry, this happens sometimes! If you didn’t save your TSA lock combination anywhere on your phone or email, try these alternatives to unlock it:

  • Try all possible combinations. PS: it does not take that long – only about 30 minutes or so!
  • Put pressure on the locking mechanism by pushing the button or pulling on the lock. Then, slowly turn the first dial and listen closely till you hear an audible ‘click’. Leave the first dial on the number that clicked and repeat the same process for the remaining two dials. Once all three numbers have clicked, the lock should open!
  • If you forgot your combination while the lock is open or you simply want to reset it, try this: set the dial to 000. Then turn the shackle at a 90-degree angle from the lock position. Push down the shackle, set your new desired code and pull the shackle up again. Turn it back to the lock position and you’re done!