Hard-shell suitcase vs soft-sided luggage: which should you use when travelling?

You’ve made the call. You’re off to see the world. Armed only with a suitcase and a … wait! Is your suitcase hard-sided or soft-sided? You want to travel light and maximise your mobility, but there’s no point if your stuff gets ruined on the way. How do you choose between the two dominant styles?

Here are seven things to think about before making that all-important decision.

1. Weight

Soft-sided luggage weighs a lot less than hard-sided luggage. That’s kind of the point of it in the first place. In fact, you can get some fine weight-saving soft-sided luggage designs that make a huge difference to your mobility. However, there’s a size issue to consider; if you’re buying a large piece of soft-sided luggage, the chances are you’re not going to be carrying it far anyway. Still, as well as being more easily lifted, its malleable edges means that soft-sided luggage is easier to fit into an overhead bin on the aircraft.

2. Protection

Do you know how airport baggage handlers deal with luggage? You’d be shocked if you went behind the scenes at an airport, but aside from your luggage being man-handled by staff, it gets blasted down conveyor belts, left in the rain and, finally, it often gets dropped from a height onto a luggage carousel. Is your soft-sided luggage up to all that? If you’re going to check it in,

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