Over the years, we’ve owned a lot of luggage. Some we’ve loved. Some we’ve loathed. And there wasn’t always a correlation between how much we spent and how well we liked it.

For years, we admired Tumi bags, but resisted because of the price. Travel is so hard on luggage, that we couldn’t justify spending so much on something that would never look as good as it did in the showroom.

But we finally broke down and bought Tumi luggage. Only then did we realize that although Tumi bags are undeniably stylish, that’s not what you’re paying for. It’s the technology, materials, and craftsmanship that command the high price. If you’re a serious traveler, Tumi luggage can make your trips easier and more pleasant.

Gone are the days of being limited to black nylon with black leather trim. Although that’s still an option, today, there are several collections you can choose from. And the graffiti-inspired Tag line is colorful, fun, and even whimsical.

You’ll have no trouble finding a style that suits you. But what you should really pay attention to are the features that set a Tumi bag apart.

Perhaps the most valuable benefit for travelers is the Tumi Tracer system. When you buy a Tumi bag your contact information is entered into their database along with the unique, 20-digit identification number of your suitcase – it’s permanently affixed to the bag on a metal place. If your bag is lost or misdirected, it’s simple to track it to you – even if there’s no other identification.

Tumi has always been a pioneer in their use of materials. They’ve turned to aviation, sporting goods, and the automotive industry for inspiration. They were the first to use ballistic nylon, and 30 years later, their FXT ballistic fabric can stand up to almost anything.

Their wheels are also best of breed, which is critical when running through the airport or negotiating cobblestone streets. Sealed steel ball bearings, custom-designed bushings, and solid steel axles ensure that Tumi bags roll effortlessly, anywhere.

Handles are made from aircraft-grade aluminum so they’re both lightweight and strong. A patented system keeps zippers from breaking. And the Add-a-bag system lets travelers carry multiple items easily.

Current collections include Alpha, which offers classic Tumi good looks and functionality; Alpha Bravo, for soft, unstructured pieces with an urban sensibility; the sleek and sporty T3 line; the casual T-Tech line; Vapeur, which features lightweight hardside cases in sophisticated colors; and Tag, designed in collaboration with New York graffiti artist John “Crash” Matos.

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