Five Ways You Know it is Wayyyy Past Time to Replace Your Luggage

That little nagging voice will tell you repeatedly that it is time to take the plunge and buy some fresh new luggage.

Yet the Scrooge inside will insist that your old set can do just one more trip.

The thing is (and I’ve been there), it never is just one more trip, is it?

That cringe of embarrassment wheeling through the airport. The pang of jealously as people take their lovely new cases from the luggage carousel. And even that slight hesitation when you get back home about whether you really need to pop them on top of the wardrobe for next year… they all add up.

Compared to my usual in-depth guides to luggage brands like Samsonite, Tripp and Delsey – this page is more tongue in cheek.

It is a look at five ways you can tell it is time for new luggage – whatever excuses the Scrooge inside comes up with.


#1 – Your Luggage is Held Together by the Remains of Stickers

The only thing that used to jar me more than the over-use of stickers at check in is when they stick them to the front of your passport…

I had a red metallic Samsonite case that was almost impossible to get the sticky stuff off of.

When your case is held together by the remains of so many stickers that you are worried removing them might cause a structural fault, well, it is time to switch.

How to know when your luggage needs replacing, stickers

#2 – Your Case Arriving on the Airport Carousel has Become Bitter-Sweet

Your case tumbling down the shoot or appearing through the hatch is always a good feeling. A little relief (it got here!) and a little happiness that you’ll be on your way.

When that positive feeling is mixed with embarrassment, it is time to buy new luggage.

Instead of being proud to step forward and grab that faded old banger of a case, you feel embarrassed. Instead of whizzing off, you need to check that it survived one more trip. Looking sideways as you go, you see those beautiful new cases dropping one by one.

#3 – Repairs Not Needed, You Just Know How to Handle all the Faults

That zip that snags every time. The special wiggle, followed by a quick twist that gets the telescoping handle back into its spot. Oh, and the sticky wheel on the front right – if you just pull the case slightly the other way when moving it… well, it’s not so bad really.

I could add the torn lining, tag that lost the clear plastic cover, that dent on the side.

Sure, you can live with the faults on your luggage. The Scrooge inside will tell you that they are what gives your suitcases ‘character.’

Nonsense. Just imagine for a moment how much more relaxing your holiday would be if you did not have to deal with the hassle of managing these faults.

Can you manage all the faults?#4 – Your Luggage Feels Like it is Made of Lead and Concrete

Luggage has got lighter and lighter over the last few years.

Average suitcases are half the weight of a decade ago – and that does not even take the super-light ranges like Brixham from Antler or the various ‘world’s lightest’ options from IT Luggage into account.

If you risk a strain when you get your empty luggage out of storage. Or wince and audibly groan when you pop it onto the scales at check-in, then it is a definite sign that some brand-new luggage is needed.

This is before you even think about that you could pack with the few extra kilograms you’d save.

Is your luggage made of concete?

#5 – Going to the USA With Old Luggage is a Red Rag to the TSA Bull

Every country likes to think their airport and transport security is second to none.

When it comes to the USA, they are hard to beat. The ‘Transport Security Agency’ don’t take any nonsense and have the power to bust open your suitcase for any reason at all.

This is why TSA override combination locks are popular.

If they want to check your case and it is locked, it gets broken (you’ll get a ‘friendly’ note). Unless, that is, the combo lock has a special override for them to open. You’ll still get the note, only your luggage won’t be broken.

Old luggage without this type of lock is definitely not suitable for that US trip. It is almost as if not seeing the TSA override is reason enough to look into your case…


If that pang of embarrassment wheeling through the airport is not bad enough, there are more reasons still to switch up your luggage. This page is long enough, so I’ll leave that sun-faded corner from storage, the garish design which was cool when you were young but is a bit cringy now and having two wheels instead of the standard four (you have wheels, right?) for another article.

In the meantime, here are my most popular guides for getting started buying a brand-new suitcase:


Luggage Review