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By Brad Tuttle
February 25, 2020
Courtesy of Target

Shoppers love Target because of its classic value proposition, promising good quality and reasonable if not downright cheap prices on pretty much everything your household needs. And, generally speaking, one of the best and most reliable ways to save at Target is by shopping the retailer’s house brands — you know, the store exclusives you can only buy at Target, including food labels like Archer Farms, Simply Balanced, and Market Pantry, as well as apparel and household brands such as C9 Champion, Opal House, Room Essentials, and Hearth & Hand.

Target kicked off 2020 by launching two more of these house brands: All in Motion, an affordable alternative to athleisure brands like Lululemon and Athleta, and, more recently, a sleek new brand of luggage and travel gear called Open Story. Target describes Open Story as a “premium” brand, and its suitcases and carryon bags include features like built-in USB ports (you have to supply your own power bank), durable polycarbonate shells, heavy-duty zippers, and a 10-year limited warranty.

Target also promises Open Story gear is priced at 25% to 30% less than comparable luggage brands. We’re not sure exactly what Target means by “comparable” brands. But in our comparison-shopping experiments, Open Story items were often significantly more expensive than similar travel products from AmazonBasics, Amazon’s house brand.

Granted, these are not apples-to-apples comparisons. Target’s Open Story goods are arguably more stylish and come in cuter colors than their counterparts sold by Amazon. Amazon’s products might be made with different materials and not have all of the same features as Open Story either — AmazonBasics bags don’t have built-in USB ports, for example.

But if you’re looking for a mix of low prices and solid quality, AmazonBasics travel gear seems to have the edge over Open Story. The 21-inch AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner carryon bag, for example, has a 4.5-star rating based on nearly 11,000 reviews and is priced at $54.99, compared to $149 for a similarly sized hard-sided carryon from Target’s Open Story.

We’re not saying you should buy AmazonBasics travel products, or anything from Amazon for that matter; we’re merely browsing what Amazon’s house brand has to offer for the sake of comparison. If you’re in love with the new Target travel brand but put off by the high prices, it’s worth being patient: Pretty much everything goes on sale at Target sooner or later, and its house brands often see particularly deep discounts. After the initial excitement over Open Story fades, our guess is that Target will start routinely discounting them — perhaps even by the time summer travel season arrives.

Best Luggage for the Money From Target and Amazon

Here’s how much several Target Open Story items cost right now at list price, and (when available) how they compare similar goods sold under Amazon’s house brand, AmazonBasics:

21-Inch Hard-Sided Carryon Bags With Spinner Wheels

Open Story Hardside Carryon Suitcase: $149.99 at Target

Courtesy of Target

AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Suitcase: $54.99 at Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon

AmazonBasics Geometric 21.5-Inch International Carryon Luggage: $66.05 at Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon

29- to 30-Inch Hard-Sided Checked Spinner Suitcases

Open Story Hardside 29″ Checked Suitcase: $179.99 at Target

Courtesy of Target

AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Suitcase: $96.49 at Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon

Day Packs and Laptop Backpacks

Open Story City Mini Backpack: $49.99 at Target

Courtesy of Target

Open Story Day Trip Backpack: $79.99 at Target

Courtesy of Target

Open Story Traveler Backpack: $119.99 at Target

Courtesy of Target

AmazonBasics Carryon Travel Backpack: $49.99 at Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon

Packing Cubes

Open Story 4-Piece Packing Cube Set: $29.99 at Target

Courtesy of Target

AmazonBasics 4-Piece Packing Cube Set: $19.97 at Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon

Passport Holder Travel Wallets

Open Story RFID Travel Wallet: $24.99 at Target

Courtesy of Target

AmazonBasics Leather RFID Blocking Passport Holder Wallet: $16.37 at Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon

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