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Luggage vs. Suitcase: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 7, 2023
Luggage refers to bags and containers holding a traveler's belongings, while a suitcase is a specific type of rectangular bag with a handle designed for carrying clothes.

Key Differences

Luggage is a broad term that encompasses all types of bags and containers used to carry personal belongings during travel. Whether it's a backpack, duffel bag, or suitcase, all are considered luggage. Suitcase, on the other hand, specifically refers to a rectangular bag, often rigid, with a handle and is predominantly used for carrying clothes and other personal items while traveling.
Travelers often use various types of luggage depending on the nature and duration of their trip. They might carry a suitcase for a business trip but opt for a backpack for a hiking adventure. The suitcase is just one form of luggage among many.
Luggage has evolved over time, reflecting changing travel needs and technologies. From large trunks carried on ships to lightweight, rolling suitcases in modern airports, the evolution of luggage mirrors our changing world. The suitcase has similarly seen innovations, from early versions without wheels to today's ergonomic designs with multidirectional wheels and advanced locking systems.
While luggage can be made from various materials, including cloth, leather, and plastic, suitcases often have a harder exterior, made from materials like polycarbonate or ABS, to protect contents. Both luggage and suitcases come in a wide range of sizes and styles, catering to the diverse needs of travelers.
When preparing for a trip, one might check luggage restrictions for airlines, considering both weight and size. While a suitcase might meet these restrictions, other types of luggage, like large backpacks, might not.

Comparison Chart


Bags and containers for holding personal belongings during travel
A rectangular bag with a handle for carrying clothes


General term encompassing various types of bags
Specific type of luggage


Includes backpacks, duffels, trunks, suitcases, etc.
Styles might vary, but the basic shape remains consistent


Cloth, leather, plastic, among others
Often has a harder exterior like polycarbonate or ABS

Contextual Usage

"I need to pack my luggage for the trip."
"I bought a new suitcase for the conference."

Luggage and Suitcase Definitions


Gear and apparel for trips.
They purchased new luggage for their European tour.


A rectangular bag with a handle.
He packed his suitcase meticulously.


Collective term for travel bags.
All her luggage was branded and matching.


Rigid travel bag for clothes.
Her suitcase was full of summer dresses.


Personal belongings packed for travel.
She packed her luggage the night before the flight.


A travel accessory often on wheels.
My new suitcase has multidirectional wheels for easier mobility.


Bags and containers for transporting items.
His luggage was lost during the transit.


A portable case for personal effects.
I have a separate suitcase for my shoes and accessories.


Items carried by a traveler.
The airline damaged my luggage and compensated for it.


Luggage piece with a closing mechanism.
The child dragged his little suitcase behind him.


Containers for a traveler's belongings.


A usually rectangular piece of luggage for carrying clothing.


The cases and belongings of a traveler.


A large (usually rectangular) piece of luggage used for carrying clothes, and sometimes suits, when travelling.
My suitcase is stowed in the luggage rack.


(uncountable) The bags and other containers that hold a traveller's belongings.


To trade using samples in a suitcase.


(uncountable) The contents of such containers.


To smuggle in one's rectum.


A specific bag or container holding a traveller's belongings.


A portable rectangular traveling bag for carrying clothes;
He carried his small bag onto the plane with him


That which is lugged; anything cumbrous and heavy to be carried; especially, a traveler's trunks, baggage, etc., or their contents.
I am gathering up my luggage, and preparing for my journey.
What do you mean,To dote thus on such luggage!


A case used to carry belongings when traveling


What is Luggage?

Luggage refers to bags and containers used to carry personal belongings during travel.

Which is more versatile, Luggage or Suitcase?

Luggage is more versatile as it's a broad term, while a suitcase is a specific type of luggage.

Are all Suitcases hard-shelled?

No, suitcases can be hard-shelled or soft-sided.

How does a Suitcase differ from other Luggage?

A suitcase is a specific type of rectangular bag with a handle, mainly used for carrying clothes.

Can a backpack be considered Luggage?

Yes, backpacks, duffel bags, suitcases, and more all fall under the category of luggage.

What should I consider when buying Luggage?

Consider size, durability, weight, and functionality based on your travel needs.

Are Suitcases only used for clothes?

Predominantly, but they can also carry other personal items.

How has Luggage evolved over time?

Luggage has transitioned from large trunks to diverse, functional designs like rolling bags.

Can I carry electronics in my Suitcase?

Yes, but it's advised to keep valuable electronics in carry-on luggage.

Is a Suitcase suitable for all types of trips?

It depends on the trip, but suitcases are versatile and work for many travel scenarios.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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