I’m a busy traveler and I rely on the best luggage I can find for the money.  It has to stand up to constant abuse by everyone handling it once it leaves my hands whether at the airport or hotels.  Recent changes necessitated that I go to my go-to guy in the luggage industry for advice from which any traveler can benefit.

Had you asked me earlier this year for advice on the luggage brand I think is best for the money, I would have done two things.  First, I would have let you know that I have placed my trust in and bought Andiamo luggage in their Valoroso series. Each piece of the four sizes in my set have seen lots of rough use and stood up to it for many, many years. It was only when an airline lost my largest bag that was seven years old that I had to get something new almost two years ago.  I have been well satisfied with the performance and value.

Speaking of value, the second bit of advice I would have passed along is that for my money and my advice to anyone looking for new luggage and many travel accessories, look to Mark Stern and his crew at Savinar Luggage located at 6931 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park, CA 91303, phone (818) 703-1313 in Canoga Park, CA and also in Los Angeles, CA.  I’ve been a customer for more years than I can recall.  I shop the competition, now dwindling due to the poor economy, and, without exception, I find better prices and always-wonderful service at Savinar.

Savinar is not a fancy or flashy retailer, never has been, as you will see if you click on the link to their Website, which is devoid of leading-edge technology.  Do not be deterred!  They excel in the business of giving advice and selling the best luggage for less, always.  In business and owned and run by the same family since 1916, they are deserving of your patronage. Visit their stores OR call them and do business by phone.  This is the company to call, ask for advice and to take the advice, all during a phone call if you can’t visit the store.  If you visit, you’ll see they are still old-school retailers, with hand-written paper receipts. The computer age has not visited them, and, you know, I like the personal service.  They really have to know their business in order to continue to be as successful as they are.

Now, my former favorite brand is gone, closed up and with not a word on what, if anything is to become of them.  This once thriving brand and the company behind it seems to have just gone poof!  So, I asked Mark for advice I can pass along to everyone who is now or may be in the future be in the market for luggage, that is, luggage that lasts and not just for a one-time or occasional trip.

I consider not only the cost of the luggage, but the warranty and the cost to take advantage of the warranty.  If the company is willing to fix something that is or even is NOT a defect, do I have to pay to ship the piece for repair?  That can run into some money!  Some local repair shops are authorized to do warranty repairs on certain luggage brands.  Sometimes a minor repair is more easily, economically and expeditiously done locally at the user’s expense than by taking advantage of the manufacturer’s warranty.  By the way, my go-to luggage repair shop is just a few doors south of Savinar in Canoga Park.  The shop I trust with local luggage (and shoe) repairs is Fallbrook Shoe and Luggage Repair at 6911 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Ste. 101, 
Canoga Park, CA 91303, phone 818-348-6910.  While they may not be the place to use if you have to ship the item for repair, they are the place to visit if you are within reasonable driving distance.

Mark advises, “[It] does not look good for Andiamo. The line that I would say is the best bet for the customer and in the long run the best value is Briggs & Riley.   Briggs & Riley’s newer series is on the lightweight side [a good thing]. Also it is the only line that has the handle on the outside, so it is flat on the inside to pack. But most important is their warranty (which seldom people have to use) as no matter what occurs, the luggage is covered. They are very easy to deal with. The only thing they ask is to pay shipping back to the factory. However for small repairs there are several repair services that can bill it back to the company. Also every luggage store in the United States carries Briggs & Riley. Very close to the servicing and a great line is the Victorinox Swiss Army brand. With the exception of the handle on the inside they, too, are comparable with quality and their warranty. And last but not least my third favorite is Delsey. Not as great a warranty in writing, but they are extremely great with customer issues and they make the best bags at their price points.”

Mark continued, “Also I should mention Rimowa. This is very popular especially with the European traveler. As a rule I do not like 4-wheel cases but this is the one exception. This looks like and may be the luggage style of the future. All the fine stores here and in Europe carry this brand, as we do.”

Savinar stocks the brand you will want including those that Mark recommends, always with the lowest prices.

Thanks, Mark!  You’re my guy in the biz, and I know others will benefit from your advice as I always do.

Here’s wishing you safe travels with your luggage from Savinar!

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