Roam Custom Color Luggage on a beach boardwalk

One of the exciting things about travel is that it’s just another outlet for personal style—and that’s been the case since the earliest days of modern tourism. The steamer trunks and bags of the leisure traveler of the last century gave way to the weight-sensitive suitcase of the airline traveler, which morphed into the wheeled canvas bags or durable plastic cases of travel spheres democratized by ever more affordable transport.

Function and style have always been the tradeoffs, and the results never fail to fascinate. Tried-and-true marques like Louis Vuitton have enjoyed popularity for well over a century, while recent collections have paid homage to various periods as retro looks wind in and out of favor. New trends include the ability to custom-design bags colors or even quite literally reach for the stars.

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Pick Your Palette

Two former Tumi executives have founded Roam Luggage, a company that seems almost purpose-built to solve the problem of mistaking the wrong one of the hundreds of black canvas bags on the airport carousel after your flight for your own. Color-customizable from the zippers to the wheels, it’s unlikely that anybody will grab someone else’s Tropical Orange and Paradise Pink suitcase with a Pacific Blue zipper pull without some sort of Dickensian coincidence.

Available in four sizes from compact carryon to steamer trunk enormous, customizations range from basic (2 customizable areas) to full (9 customizable areas). Monogramming of three initials is included. The bags are made to customer specification in California and shipped within five business days.

Shoot For The Moon

It feels odd that the Space Age was 50 years ago, but there was a time when the travel sphere was space-obsessed, and it was a foregone conclusion that commercial space travel was the next logical step.

That dream may have faded in the 1970s, but the space race is on again at Arlo Skye with the limited-run Space Edition. The company known for the velvety aluminum carry-on bag has introduced a version of the more durable (because space, of course) polycarbonate with fanciful “Moon Shot”, “Team Human”, and “Occupy Mars” designs. Of course, the bags have all of the features of the regular line of Arlo Skye bags, from removable battery packs to clamshell closure—equally valuable whether one travels in the atmosphere or exosphere.

The Vintage Beauty

There’s a particularly gorgeous style of suitcase that peaked around the 1920s and evokes wild jazz age adventures through the colonial vestiges of the European empires. Whether imagining oneself sipping tea or gin and tonics on safari with the Happy Valley set or toasting with crystalware on the original Venice-Simplon Orient Express, these evocative cases suggest the most exotic of adventures.

Steamline Luggage offers the cases in a variety of sizes, from vanity case and hatbox designs to the full case—but with modern wheeled convenience. There are over 15 distinct lines to choose from, many with multiple color options. The biggest difficulty is perhaps not feeling like a character in an Agatha Christie novel.

Pack Like The Pros

There’s still something to be said for the good old black canvas rolling bag loved by airline crews the world over. They’re durable, packable, and designed to fit entire lives into for extended journeys.

Built for the long-haul (literally and figuratively) the Crew Expert collection from TravelPro is built out of the same professional-grade materials as the company’s vaunted crew bags. They’re like tanks, with honeycomb frames, corner armor, and crash-guard wheel housings with lots of interior organizational compartments, sleeves, and fold-outs.