NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The holiday travel season isn’t here yet, but if you’re in need of a new piece of luggage then now is the time to start planning out your purchase. MainStreet spoke with two travel experts to find out tips on the best time and place to shop for luggage and what to look for to save big bucks in the long run.
Avoid buying during the holidays.
If you haven’t purchased luggage for the holiday travel season, your best bet is to either buy some in the next couple of weeks or to wait until after Christmas, says Alison Bing, author of 40 Lonely Planet guides. Bing notes that “all bets are off” for prices during the holidays when the demand for luggage peaks.
“By January, people have used up their vacation time visiting family over the holidays, so there’s not going to be as much of a demand for luggage,” Bing tells MainStreet. At the very end of the year and at the beginning of January, manufacturers also begin phasing out their current product line in favor of the next one, meaning retailers are more likely to be aggressive with prices to clear out their inventory.
Shoppers can also find decent prices at other points in the year, Bing says, particularly around June when retailers go through another inventory change and in late August and September when retailers push out end-of-summer and back-to-school sales on backpacks and portable luggage.
Luggage can be pricier than many consumer products, but there is one upside.
“The good news is that a lot of travel products and especially luggage can be found at multiple stores,” says Anne Banas, executive editor of SmarterTravel.com, so shoppers generally have a better chance of finding competitive prices.
In particular, Banas recommends shopping online at sites like eBags.com and Amazon, both of which have some of the lowest prices even with the cost of shipping factored in. For those who prefer the experience of shopping in a store, our travel experts recommend bargain retailers like Loehmann’s and Marshalls, as well as outlet stores for popular travel brands like Tumi.
The main downside to these retail stores, according to Bing, is that the selection probably won’t be as good as a full-price shop, but if you’re looking for a bargain these stores are your best bet.