What I went and did instead was check out Home Goods, TJ Max, and then Ross! This sounds like a great idea in theory, but I was unprepared for what awaited me in the stores.
For those of you not familiar with TJ Max or Ross, here's the deal as I understand it: these stores get hand-me-down inventory when department stores can't sell it at the higher prices. That means that those Nine West stilettos that normally go for $120 are now closer to $23, and that Jessica Simpson carry-on bag that normally goes for $350 is now only $58.
To make a long story short - I basically spent 3 hours looking at bags and didn't buy anything. Neither of the stores that had luggage actually gave dimensions for their luggage. TJ Max had a better selection of luggage pieces and even had a few luggage sets, but I couldn't tell by eyeballing it if a bag was too big to be a carry-on, or if it would have been a small checked bag. Most of the tags with information about the bags had been removed and replaced with the store tag, telling you what the original pricing was and what the new store pricing is currently. I would have needed to bring a tape measure into the store to be sure of the sizing.
SOOOO, the following morning I went and bought luggage on Amazon. Because they actually list the bag dimensions. Thank you, internet.
I bought the purple bag above - it's a Kenneth Cole hard case made with ABS. It's also one of those suitcases that you can spin around in any direction. Both are features I've never had in a suitcase before, so that's exciting! (Our family luggage is pretty old.) Yes, it is very purple, but the black and blue ones were $10-15 more expensive. The pricing for this suitcase was under $100, which was comparable to Ross and TJ Max pricing.
I'm flying premium economy so I technically get two checked bags for free. Since I'm definitely prone to overpacking, this was a welcome perk when booking my flights. But Stephanie! you cry out, If you get two checked bags, don't you need another suitcase? Well friend, I've planned for that! (And thank you for your concern.)
I also bought a collapsible duffle bag that I can store in my suitcase for my trip out, and then if I need the extra luggage room on the way back home I can bust it out.
Snagged this bag for about $20 on Amazon too, which was perfect. And it too came in a delightful purple color, so I can sorta pretend in my head that it's matching.
I decided to go with a duffle bag because I could fold it up, which would be much less room than a nesting suitcase. They're also really lightweight, and it's easier to stack a duffle bag on top of my checked bag than it is to stack one wheeled bag on top of another.
That's all for now - in my next post I'll talk a bit about my flights and insecurities while flying (oh noes!)