Buying Luggage on Amazon? Read This First

A vital piece of advice for anyone looking for lightweight luggage.

I use Amazon a lot. I end up there a few times a week in search of reviews, price comparisons, or products. But its de facto role as my one-stop shop for product information hasn’t been quite as seamless since I discovered something a few months ago while researching a story.

It started with an obsession with extremely lightweight luggage. I was researching carry-on bags for the story that would eventually become Really (Truly) Light: Carry-Ons Under 5 Pounds. To lay the foundation, I bounced around the Internet, checking luggage companies’ websites, third-party luggage sellers, and, of course, Amazon.

But something kept coming up. Since the whole story hinged on the weight of the bags, I wanted to make sure I was accurate down to the ounce. And as I compared weight listings across sites, I began to notice that Amazon sometimes had it wrong. Not all the time, but enough that I began to wonder what was going on.

Worried, I compared the other specs, but found that—at least for the suitcases I looked at—the rest of Amazon’s information was correct. It was only the weight that was off. What was happening? My best guess was that the shipping weights and the empty case weights were getting mixed up somewhere in the process, but I couldn’t verify that.

The inaccurate weight issue came up (though far less) on luggage-seller websites as well. So consider yourself cautioned: If weight is a key part of your suitcase decision, don’t necessarily trust the first number you see unless it’s coming directly from the company itself.

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By Christine Sarkis

There's a 95 percent chance Senior Editor Christine Sarkis is thinking about travel right now. Follow her on Instagram @postcartography and Twitter @ChristineSarkis.

Christine Sarkis is an SATW-award-winning journalist and executive editor at SmarterTravel. Her stories have also appeared on USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. Her advice has been featured in dozens of print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also shared travel tips on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, and Here & Now. Her work has been published in the anthologies Spain from a Backpack and The Best Women's Travel Writing 2008. She is currently working on a travel memoir.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: The Trtl Pillow. It's easy to pack and comfortable, and makes it so I can actually sleep on flights.

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Seeing the Aurora Borealis from the comfort of somewhere warm, like a glass igloo or hot spring.

Travel Motto: Curiosity is an amazing compass.

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: Aisle all the way.

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