Q: I have been thinking about buying aluminum luggage, such as those made by Zero Halliburton. They look very appealing, but do they have any downsides?

A: I actually own a 21-inch aluminum rolling suitcase made by Germany's Rimowa, another specialist in aluminum cases. On the plus side, it provides relatively lightweight hard-sided protection. It also draws admiring stares from other travelers. On the downside, you may find household members borrowing it (this is what has happened to me, and I rarely get a chance to use it now). Also, these suitcases are incredibly expensive (the Zero 21 inch roller sells for around $600-$650, which may add to their appeal, since few people own them), and they tend to dent and scratch easily. But again, if you need a stylish way to protect your belongings when you travel, aluminum is a good choice.

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