Are you in the market for new suitcases for your family vacations? Find out why I’m loving my new Chester luggage set (and why you will too!)
I hate packing. It’s one of the worst parts of traveling for me.
Well, I don’t mind packing for just myself. But, when I have to gather everything for my kids (and then the stuff I know my husband will forget) it becomes a total chore.
I always have grand plans of starting the packing process a week or two before our family vacation.
However, I have 2 little boys that like to stay busy and I end up spending that whole week just trying to keep up on all the laundry. Which leaves me frantically trying to locate specific items a day or two before our trip. That’s because we’re pretty disorganized at home. I just can’t keep up and truthfully, it’s just not a priority for me.
But, I do pride myself on being extremely organized when I travel.
My Top 3 Organizational Travel Hacks
1. KONMARI FOLDING
I used to roll all my clothes when I traveled as a teen and throughout my twenties. I thought it was the best way to pack.
So, I was a bit skeptical when I learned the KonMari method of folding.
Holy moly is it a complete game changer! My clothes stay in better condition and it’s so much easier to pick out my outfits.
I’m able to pack the same amount of clothes but it takes up less space. And space is at a premium when traveling!
2. PACKING CUBES
The next way I like to stay organized is by using packing cubes. The trick is to do the KonMari folding and then put them into the packing cubes.
It’s the easiest way to count outfits and make sure you have enough for the trip (plus extra shirts and underwear, especially for kids!).
Each family member has their own packing cube and it makes it really easy to get dressed each morning.
3. HARD SUITCASES
I’m someone who accidentally over packs. It’s not that I’m bringing tons of extra clothes or shoes (except for Disney trips!) But, I find myself stuffing things I *might* need in every zippered pouch on my soft suitcases.
What I like about hard shell suitcases is that they don’t have outside pockets, which forces me to make sure everything fits inside. Plus, my packing cubes fit in perfectly and it looks so pretty!
Chester Luggage Review
This was my first time using clamshell-style suitcases for traveling with kids. I was seriously worried about fitting everything inside.
However, I was really impressed with how well my packing cubes worked in each of the zippered compartments and the clamshell feature actually made me feel way more organized than usual.
I admit, I was very excited to try out these Chester Travels suitcases because hard shell luggage is super trendy right now.
If you scroll Instagram, you’ll see plenty of travel bloggers/influencers posing in photos with them. And it’s because they are so cute!
I like how sleek and streamlined they look.
Chester Luggage Features
I really can’t get over how lightweight these suitcase are.
If I’m being really honest, my toddler *might* be stronger than me. I love how easily I can carry them up and down the stairs, even when I’ve packed it completely full.
The carry on size weighs 7 pounds. In my opinion, that’s ultra lightweight luggage right there! In fact, it’s one of lightest in the industry for hard-shell cases.
TSA APPROVED LOCK
I’ve never been big on locking my suitcase, but that’s because I didn’t want to buy a lock that might be cumbersome or get caught in the X-ray machine or something.
This built-in lock is an awesome feature for any carry on bag. It’s so easy to use.
To use the lock, follow the instructions to set your own 3-digit code. Then, insert the zipper pulls to lock the bag. Super simple!
8 SPINNER WHEELS
There are 4 double wheels for a total of 8 wheels. The 360 degree rubber wheels glide so smoothly whether you use all 4 double wheels or roll on 2 double wheels.
This also makes it much sturdier and less likely to tip over (which is an issue we always have with our other spinner suitcases.)
Even my 2 year old was able to push it with no problem.
And they are noticeably quiet. The wheels, not my toddler!
Both the carry on and checked sizes have aluminum handles that extend 21 inches. They have both high and low lock positions so it’s comfortable for tall people and shorter people (and kids!)
The buttons are easy and the handles extend effortlessly.
There’s also top and side handles in case you want to carry the suitcase up and down stairs or get it in and out of a car.
Each half of the Chester suitcase completely zips up. I LOVE this feature because I don’t have to dig through the suitcase to find something.
These flaps also have places to stash items. One side is mesh and can fit a pair of ballet flats/sandals as well as lots of charging cables.
The other side is a general zippered area that’s great for putting a curling wand, hair straightener, or diapers and wipes.
And after you zip each side up, you can still use the middle part to add extra items.
Since I live in Seattle, I’m always looking for items that will survive in the rain. I love that these hard shell suitcases keep all my stuff dry in case I get caught in the rain.
I still have vivid memories of hauling luggage in a rainstorm in Rome a few years ago and all our clothes inside the bags got soaked. Not fun.
Chester MINIMA Carry On
I’m surrounded by men in our family and I really enjoy girly things. So, I picked pink for my carry on size Chester luggage.
Because it’s pink, it makes it so much easier to spot when I check bags or have to find it in any overhead bin away from my seat.
If you’re traveling with kids and will need to get in and out of a bag, I’d recommend bringing a backpack in addition to the Chester MINIMA carry on.
This suitcase is best for families who want a spacious carry on suitcase (but don’t want to pay checked luggage fees!)
CHESTER LUGGAGE CARRY ON SIZE MEASUREMENTS
Based on its measurements (21.5 x 13.5 x 8.5 inches), it meets the carry on requirements of major U.S. airlines and gives you lots of capacity for packing.
Find U.S. airline carry on size limits here.
The Chester MINIMA is much more spacious inside than I expected. I can fit 4 medium sized packing cubes inside, plus a pair of shoes.
CHESTER LUGGAGE LAUNDRY BAG
There’s a little zippered pouch that has a small, nylon bag folded up. It’s for dirty laundry and I’ve found it surprisingly handy.
Usually, I just repack with dirty clothes in most of the packing cubes and I consolidate the clean clothes into the last packing cube.
However, with 2 little boys, there are some dirty items I want to keep completely separate, even from the other dirty clothes!
WHAT DO OTHER REVIEWERS THINK ABOUT THE CHESTER MINIMA?
I’m all about reading reviews before I buy something. Since I live in Seattle, Amazon is my go-to resource to find out what other people think of a product.
Right now, the Chester MINIMA is Amazon’s Choice for luggage.
And 85% of reviewers give it 5 Stars on Amazon. There are only a handful of 1 star reviews and they each seem like a one-off issue.
Chester REGULA Checked Spinner Suitcase
I picked blue for my Chester Travels REGULA Checked Spinner Suitcase because it’s the one that will get the most use in our family.
I was able to pack all my items for Disneyland plus just about everything for my kids into this suitcase.
That was including a large cosmetics bag, extra sandals for everyone, and several pairs of Minnie Mouse ears!
It’s so spacious! It’s 11 x 18 x 26 inches, which is completely within TSA and IATA checked baggage guidelines.
Even though it’s a checked bag size, it’s still only 9.5 pounds.
Just like the MINIMA, the REGULA features quiet, 360 degree multi-directional double spinner wheels for a smooth ride.
And you’ll still get the laundry bag and all the other goodies like the MINIMA.
Top Questions about Chester Luggage
HOW DURABLE IS CHESTER LUGGAGE?
When I first got my Chester Travels luggage, I was concerned because the hard shell seemed super thin.
I was expecting to to be thick (and heavy.)
However, it’s made from polycarbonate. It’s a very sturdy material that doesn’t require a lot of thickness to hold up. It’s more lightweight than aluminum.
And it’s flexible so it will survive high falls and protect against bumps and dings.
That’s why Chester luggage is lighter than most of my soft luggage.
DOES IT FIT EVERYWHERE?
YES. The Chester MINIMA fits well within the carry on size limit. And the Chester REGULA is a standard checked bag size.
IS THERE A SPOT FOR MY LAPTOP?
No, there’s not an ideal place to secure a laptop or electronics.
There is a zippered sleeve on one of the dividers where you could fit a laptop, but you’d definitely want to protect it with something like THIS.
I use a backpack with a laptop sleeve to carry on all my electronics.
WILL IT CHARGE MY PHONE?
No, but that’s a good thing!
It’s been super trendy these past few years to have high tech bags that have battery packs to charge your electronics.
While that sounds like it would be helpful, it’s actually a huge pain in the neck. See, most gate agents will ask you to remove the battery. And a lot of the time you have to keep it removed the whole flight.
Why make more work for yourself? Instead, I’m a big fan of using portable battery chargers because I can use them out and about at my destination, too!
IS THERE A WARRANTY?
YES! It comes with a 10-year warranty just in case there are cracks/breaks to the exterior or you get a broken wheel or something.
This warranty covers repairs and replacements at no charge.
There’s also a 100-day trial period so if you decide it’s not the right bag for you, you can return it for a full refund. They will even cover the return shipping fee!
Learn more about Chester luggage here and use my discount code MARCIE10 to save 10% off your purchase!
With my affiliate link, you’ll be ordering directly from Chester.
That gives you all the color choices and you’ll receive the free shipping offer, the risk-free 100-day trial, and the 10-year warranty.
And the discounted price with my promo code (MARCIE10) makes the MINIMA about $50 less than similar bags!
Chester sent me luggage for review purposes. All opinions are my own. I seriously love these suitcases!