Low-Cost Luggage

Wal-Mart, Target, and other mass merchandisers are selling luggage sets for around 50 to 100 dollars. You get 3, four, even five bags.

Sounds like a great bargain... So consumer reports checked them out to see how they hold up.

When you travel, you want a bag that will hold everything you need... One that will survive baggage handling, but not cost you a fortune.

Consumer Reports just tested six, inexpensive luggage sets, including one from Pierre Cardin.

That four piece set costs 100 dollars at sears. This five piece set goes for 110 dollars at Target. Wal-Mart sells this four piece American Tourister set for 68 dollars. Also at Wal-Mart. A skyline Venetian set which costs just 48 dollars for 5 bags.

Testers found the brand new bags handled well. Most were easy to pull.

To see how well they'd hold up if you check your bags, Consumer Reports tested them the same way it tests all luggage, in this tumbler, which simulates rough baggage handling.

Most bags Consumer Reports has tested over the years can go one thousand cycles without falling apart. But Rich Handel found this skyline Venetian from Wal-Mart didn't last anywhere near that long.

This suitcase was the worst of the bunch, but none of the inexpensive bags fared well.

And a second test turned up another problem. Testers put another set of brand new bags under a shower to simulate a rainstorm. Everyone one of them leaked.

Bottom line, consumer reports says these luggage sets may be inexpensive, but they're no bargain.

Even if you have the best suitcase in the world... Consumer reports says, be careful what you put inside them.

The airline won't reimburse you for many valuables in checked bags, if they're lost or stolen.

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