30 Best Carry-on Luggage of 2021, According to Frequent Flyers

Best Carry On Luggage

The 30 Best Carry-On Luggage Bags For Your Next Getaway

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or preparing for your first “real” vacation, you may have wondered what the best carry-on bag to buy would be. Are you a perfectionist or just someone that needs to have everything readily available and in the right spot at all times?

Perhaps you would prefer to have a set of luggage that makes a statement? Maybe you’re a busy mom looking after two (or more) rambunctious children that want nothing more than to have quick and easy access to digital devices and hand sanitizer.

Really, the best carry-on bag  is different for everyone. What’s really great about hand luggage and carry-on bags, besides the fact that they get more efficient every year, is that they come with a wide variety of features. You will also find that they come in all sorts of shapes, colors, and sizes.

With this handpicked list below, you will surely be able to find the perfect carry-on bag for YOU. One that will last you for many trips to come and become one of your favorite traveling companions!

Best Overall Carry-On – Travelpro Platinum Elite

Travelpro Platinum Elite-Softside Expandable...

Dimensions: 21 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches

Weight: 7.80 Pounds

This unisex carry-on is perfect for professionals that always need quick access to their devices. It comes with a pocket dedicated to a powerbank, and while you have to provide your own power bank, it’s nice to know that there’s a reserved spot for it. There’s also an external USB port. While this bag may look compact at first glance, it’s actually fairly huge.

It also comes with a useful foldout for suits to stay wrinkle-free and a TSA approved toiletry bag that’s removable. For those that have a hard time finding a carry-on with spinner wheels that you can comfortably maneuver, you will be happy to know that the pullout handle adjusts to four different lengths (42.5, 40, 38, and 36 inches) to help accommodate clients of varying heights.

Best Affordable Carry-On – Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner Wheel

Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner...

Dimensions: 20 inches by 9 inches by 13 inches

Weight: 6.49 Pounds

Talk about lightweight and durable! This one is all that and more. It is expandable up to 2 inches, which means it’s sure to fit in that last-minute item you forgot to pack until 5 minutes before you’re due to leave. The double spinner wheels ensure smooth mobility and the inside mesh and elastic pockets help to keep your items organized.

There are many different colors to choose from which allows for individuality. If you fall in love with the brand and style, they also have two other larger pieces available to complete the set.

Best Carry-On For Fashionistas – Steve Madden Designer Carry On Luggage Collection

Steve Madden Designer 20 Inch Carry On Luggage...

Dimensions: 20 inches by 8 inches by 14 inches

Weight: 7.80 Pounds

If you have ever seen Mary Poppins, this bag is kind of like her purse. It looks small from the outside, but it is huge on the inside. Although it’s technically a carry-on, you can easily pack enough for a whole week thanks to its adjustable tie-down straps and expandability. You will be traveling in style with this bag.

There’s even a removable toiletry bag which helps for those long-haul flights. It also comes in varying colors like teal, red, purple, black, and gray so you’re sure to find one to match your personality. Bigger matching pieces are available, too.

Best Out-And-About Carry-On Tote – Ulgoo Travel Tote Overnight Duffel

Ulgoo Travel Tote Bag Carry On Shoulder Bag...

Dimensions: 16 inches by 12 inches by 8 inches

Weight: 2.05 Pounds

Ulgoo travel tote is perfect for women on the go-go-go. The canvas material is durable and the adjustable leather straps allow for perfect sizing to fit your liking (or you can remove it and hold it by its two handles). What’s really great are all the different designs you get to choose from. Whether you prefer white, black, striped, polka dot, leaf pattern, or geometric shapes, you can find one that you will love!

There’s a zipper pouch, two open pockets perfect for holding change or credit cards, and enough room in the main compartment for an outfit and a good old-fashioned book (or tablet). What really makes this bag stand out is the convenient slip that’ll allow you to slide it over your suitcase handle for even easier carrying. It’s perfect for a long layover, a trip to the fitness center, or even a day out at the beach.

Best Carry-On Handheld Convertible Tote – Herschel Supply Co. Travel Tote

Herschel Supply Co. Travel Tote Black Crosshatch...

 

Dimensions: 15 inches by 11 inches by 5.25 inches

Weight: 1.50 Pounds

If you travel with a small laptop or other digital devices, this is the bag for you. It has a built-in laptop pocket that is padded for a laptop up to 15 inches. There are a ton of other pockets to hold other daily essentials, like sunglasses, keys, cellphones, and more.

If you’re someone that needs to have quick access to the items you travel with, this bag will help keep everything within arm’s reach. You can pick from a wide variety of colors like light pink, black, gray, olive, and camouflage colors like desert, night, and woodland. It even comes with backpack straps that you can tuck away when not needed.

Best Carry-On Duffel Bag For A Weekend Getaway – Marmot Long Hauler Travel Duffel Bag

Marmot Long Hauler Medium Travel Duffel Bag,...

Dimensions: 22 inches by 11.5 inches by 10.6 inches

Weight: 1.98 Pounds

This duffel bag from Marmot is made of 100% durable polyester. It’s water-resistant and has zippered pockets to keep everything in its proper place. This is perfect for those seeking an adventure in the great outdoors or those that like to take the occasional long weekend.

You can opt to carry it like a duffel bag with one strap over your shoulder or like a backpack to evenly distribute the weight. There are two straps on the main inside compartment that allow you to pack everything in and the clasps are super sturdy.

Best Carry-On Bag For Long Layovers – OGIO Layover International Carry On Luggage

OGIO International OGIO Layover, Graphite

Dimensions: 22 inches by 14 inches by 10 inches

Weight: 8 Pounds

Ever felt like starring in a Mission Impossible movie? Ogio Layover Travel Bag would make even Tom Cruise jealous! If you’re looking for a bag that is small enough to carry on, yet big enough to fit everything you would need for a week-long trip, while also making you look super cool and stealthy, this is the bag for you.

Its capacity is a whopping 46 liters and there are even compression straps on the inside to help you maximize the space. Did we mention it can expand up to 3 extra inches?! And there are so many pockets with sturdy zippers. While it’s not light by any means, the wheels and the durable pull-handle (which pulls out to 2 different lengths) help to make moving it super easy!

Best Carry-On For The 90’s Girl – it Girl Spellbound Holographic Expandable Carry-On

it Girl 21.5' Spellbound 8 Wheel Holographic...

Dimensions: 21.5 inches by 14 inches by 7.9 inches

Weight: 5.36 Pounds

This one is fairly new to the market, but we expect huge things for it for two main reasons. First of all, it’s so shiny that it’s practically holographic! You can get it in Hot Pink or Silver. Secondly, it’s backed with a 10-year warranty, so you can purchase with confidence.

There are two large pockets on the outside and a compression strap in the main compartment to keep everything in its proper place during travel. It’s expandable by 2 extra inches and it has 8 spinner wheels allowing for excellent maneuvering control. Best of all, you won’t have any trouble keeping track of your shiny bag of treasure!

Best Carry-On For Dog Lovers – Chariot Hardside Lightweight Spinner Carry-On Luggage

Chariot Hardside 20' Lightweight Spinner Carry-On...

Dimensions: 20 inches by 13 inches by 9 inches

Weight: 7.10 Pounds

Awww…This line of bags features a variety of cute dog images for their various designs. You can pick the bag featuring the tropical trio of pups, the ooh-la-la poodle, the creative painting Picasso pup, pilot doggie, and more. The telescopic handle and spinner wheels that rotate a full 360 degrees allow for easy moving.

The inside features multiple pockets on one side while the other side boasts tie-down straps to keep all your clothes and shoes in place during transit. There’s even built-in security with the 3-digit lock that’s TSA approved. You can also rest easy knowing that the contents will be protected by the polycarbonate ABS hard side shell.

Best Carry-On For The Rugged Adventurer – Pelican Air 1535 Travel Case

Pelican Air 1535 Travel Case - Carry On Luggage...

Dimensions: 21.96 inches by 13.97 inches by 8.98 inches

Weight: 11.48 Pounds

Pelican Air Travel Case is perfect for those that enjoy spending their time out in nature, camping, fishing, stargazing, or a number of other outdoor activities. It has an O-ring lid that is watertight, sturdy handles for easy gripping, and mesh pockets designed to optimize organization. There is also a built-in padlock hole to allow for extra security with your own TSA lock.

The case itself is made of HPX polymer and is basically crushproof, so you know it’s tough and will protect your belongings. It comes with the Pelican Lifetime Warranty, so if anything does ever go wrong with it they’ve got you covered. Choose from black, blue, red, silver, gray, orange, or yellow.

Best Locking Carry-On Bag – Thule Revolve Carry-On Luggage

Thule Revolve Wide-Body Carry-on 55cm/22',...

Dimensions: 22 inches by 16 inches by 9 inches

Weight: 8.30 Pounds

If you want a carry-on bag that was designed to last and protect your belongings, the Thule Revolve is your best option. It’s a hard-sided bag made of 100% virgin polycarbonate. It’s very lightweight for its size and has 8 spinner wheels for easy mobility on the go.

The built-in TSA combination locks are some of the best that luggage carriers offer and there’s even a retractable ID slot to allow for easily accessible identification. You can choose from 3 different colors including raven gray, black, and blackest blue, and two sizes, either wide body or global, which is 2 inches narrower.

Best Backpack Carry-On – Dickies Colton Canvas Bag

Dickies Colton Canvas Bag, Cloud Triangles, One...

Dimensions: 17.5 inches by 12.5 inches by 6 inches

Weight: 14.4 Ounces

Sometimes all you need is a simple, old-school backpack when hopping on a quick flight. If that’s the case for you, we highly recommend this one. It’s extremely versatile and cost-effective. This backpack comes with a built-in sleeve for your laptop or tablet, a large main pocket, and another smaller pocket on the front. It can easily hold a variety of digital devices, an outfit or two, a couple of books or notebooks, and your wallet.

The polyester fabric is fairly durable as long as it’s not constantly overloaded with heavy items. The straps are padded and, should any part break at any point, you can simply exchange it using their lifetime guarantee. There are four different color options to choose from including cockatoo checkered green, pink peach bud, blue cloud triangles, and forest green.

Best Carry-On Tote For Shoe-Loving Women – BLUBOON Weekender Overnight Bag With Shoe Compartment

BLUBOON Weekender Overnight Bag with Shoe...

Dimensions: 16.2 inches by 14.5 inches by 8 inches

Weight: 2.20 Pounds

Not only does this women’s bag come in a bunch of different designs (choose Bohemia if you really want to make a statement!), but it also has a completely separate compartment dedicated to shoes. You can easily fit two pairs of sneakers or three to four pairs of sandals in it. It’s large to hold an entire weekend’s worth of stuff, but still small enough to fit under your seat on the plane.

There’s also an outside pocket to keep the essentials handy and space to allow you to slip the bag easily over the handle of your rolling luggage if you have any. The bag comes with a wide shoulder strap which will allow you to stuff it full without having to worry about it digging into your shoulder or neck.

Best Carry-On For Travel Nerds – Heys Marvel Comics Expandable Hardside

Heys Marvel Comics 21 Inches, One Size

Dimensions: 21 inches by 12.5 inches by 9.5 inches

Weight: 6.19 Pounds

How do you let people in the airport know you are the biggest Marvel fan?

If you are in need of a carry-on with a huge space, protective shell, 4 spinner wheels with 360-degree mobility, and a fantastic marvel comic design, the Heys Marvel Comics carry on has it all! It’s expandable, too, so if you need more space you can get up to 20% more space. While it may be a little lacking in the pockets department, the superhero comics design more than makes up for it.

It’s also a great conversation starter. You never know how many fellow Marvel fans you may encounter on your getaway. For extra cool points, you can even invest in a My Bag Comic Book 3-D Luggage Tag.

Best Carry-On For Proud Military Members (and their family) – Tommy Hilfiger Network XL Softside Expandable Spinner Luggage

Tommy Hilfiger Network XL Softside Expandable...

Dimensions: 23.5 inches by 14.17 inches by 9.4 inches

Weight: 5.95 Pounds

Tommy Hilfiger carry-on bag is an absolute must for anyone that enjoys the look of camouflage or that wants to show off just how patriotic they are. It has proven to make a great gift for members of the Army. There are plenty of pockets to pack all your essentials and a space-saving compression belt to keep all your clothes in place.

The adjustable handle is easily pulled out and pushed in for easy wheeling on its 4 spinner wheels.  If you like the layout of this luggage but are not a big fan of camo, there are two other more classic Hilfiger designs in black/blue or navy blue/red.

Best Carry-On Bag For Light Travelers – London Fog Newcastle Cabin Bag

LONDON FOG Newcastle 17-Inch Cabin Bag, Rose...

Dimensions: 17 inches by 11 inches by 9 inches

Weight: 1.80 Pounds

Longdon Fog cabin bag is perfect for those that only travel with the basic essentials. You can think of it as a large pocketbook. There are 5 pockets total including the main pocket with an internal pocket, one front pocket, and two side pockets. You may be able to squeeze in a light t-shirt and some leggings, but other than that, this bag is more for your travel documents, wallet, hand sanitizer, a good book, and a small tablet.

This is a great lap bag and it’ll make you look chic, too. There is a 10-year limited warranty offered with every purchase and it comes in two colors: Rose Charcoal Herringbone (pink) and Slate Bronze (gray/bronze). There are also 4 other matching pieces available if you want to have the entire set.

Best Carry-On For Business Travelers – Samsonite Xenon 3.0 Laptop Mobile Office Spinner

Samsonite Xenon 3.0 Spinner Mobile Office, Black,...

Dimensions: 16.25 inches by 13.25 inches by 7.25 inches

Weight: 8.06 Pounds

This bag has all the pockets needed to make your home office mobile. It can safely hold any laptop up to 15 inches in size inside its padded laptop compartment, as well as other important gadgets. Besides the necessary electronic devices, there is also room for the inevitable sanitizer, book, and other small personal belongings.

You may even be able to get away with a couple of pieces of clothing, like a light sweater and t-shirt. The material is ultra-durable since it’s made from a ballistic polymer material. The handle can expand with 5 different length settings, so it can adjust to whatever measurement works best for you. The four spinner wheels make moving it around the airport and plane simple, too.

Best Eco-Friendly Carry-On Bag – Lily Bloom Luggage With Designer Patterns

Lily Bloom Luggage Designer Pattern Suitcase...

Dimensions: 21.5 inches by 14.5 inches by 10 inches

Weight: 3.40 Pounds

Lily Bloom is building a big name for itself in the luggage industry. Their focus is on being a green company that creates sustainable fashion bags. The material used to make the luggage actually comes from recycled plastic bottles. They enjoy using patterns that are not only a bit feminine but also vibrant, and there are many different designs to choose from. Not only will this carry-on serve as a useful travel companion, but it will also be a piece of art that will surely invoke some great airplane chat.

It comes with a 2-year warranty from the manufacturer, so you can travel with ease and peace of mind. The wheels make it easy to pull through the airport and the inside is big enough to fit a week’s worth of outfits and other general travel essentials. It’s a must have for any eco-minded traveler.

Best Underseat Travel Tote Bag – Travelpro Maxlite 5- Lightweight Underseat Carry-On Travel Tote Bag

Travelpro Maxlite 5-Lightweight Underseat Carry-On...

Dimensions: 18 inches by 11 inches by 8 inches

Weight: 1.60 Pounds

This under seat carry on is not only lightweight, coming in well under 2 pounds, but it’s also water and stain-resistant. It’s made of polyester, so you know the material will be durable and last a long time. You can carry it with the shoulder strap, the top handle, or even choose to stack it up on your rolling luggage by safely securing it to the handle of your suitcase.

It won’t carry too much as far as clothing is concerned, but if you mainly travel with just a few necessary items, this is the ideal bag for you. It’s a great grab-and-go bag and is perfect if you prefer storing your bag under your seat instead of in the overhead compartment.

Best Hardside Spinner Carry-On For The Artistic Traveler – Rockland Vision Hardside Spinner Wheel Luggage Carry-On

Rockland Vision Hardside Spinner Wheel Luggage,...

Dimensions: 22 inches by 13.5 inches by 9 inches

Weight: 6 Pounds

Rockland has been around for over 20 years and has built quite the reputation for making durable and eye-catching hardcase suitcases and carry-on bags. This one is no exception. The double spinner wheels and telescoping handle ensure smooth maneuverability throughout the airport (and wherever else you need to wheel your bag).

The ABS (polycarbonate) material will prevent damage from occurring to your belongings without adding much weight. This is the perfect carry-on if you’re just heading out for a weekend getaway. It should be able to carry everything that you will need. What really makes these carry-ons standout are the designs on the outside. You’ll easily find a design that will be able to represent your own personality.

Best Lightweight Hardside Weekend Carry-On – Ben Sherman Luggage Nottingham Embossed 4-Wheel Carry-On

Ben Sherman Nottingham Lightweight Hardside...

Dimensions: 22 inches by 14 inches by 10 inches

Weight: 6.65 Pounds

This Ben Sherman Carry-On is so lightweight yet is large enough to fit enough clothes to last you 2-3 days’ worth of a getaway. The two large compartments are zippered (one on each side) and there’s also a smaller zippered spot for loose items that you need to have easy access to, like contacts and other toiletries. There are eight different colors to choose from and they all look very glamorous.

It is made of durable ABS material to protect the contents and features four spinner wheels for easy mobility. The retractable handle comes out over 3 feet (41 inches!), so it can alleviate strain on your back when you’re pulling it through the airport.

Best La-Dee-Dah Luxury Carry-On – DELSEY Paris Chatelet Hard+ Hardside Luggage

DELSEY Paris Chatelet Hardside Luggage with...

Dimensions: 20.25 inches by 14.25 inches by 9.5 inches

Weight: 10.45 Pounds

This may be one of the only luggage companies that offer a braking system for their carry-on bags. That’s right, this bag comes with brakes! It’s also high-tech. It comes with a recessed lock that is only accessible by you and TSA officers AND a built-in tracking device, in case your bag ever gets lost or stolen. Inside pockets allow for maximal organization and efficient packing.

It comes in 3 different colors including champagne white, black, and chocolate brown. It features a durable and protective polycarbonate shell with faux leather accents. Pretty much everything about this bag screams luxury and elegance. The best thing is that this carry-on emits a luxurious feel without the shocking price tag.

But if you have all the budget in the world, then the RIMOWA Classic Lufthansa Edition may pique your interest even more for that classic Rimowa looks!

Most Comfortable Softside Carry-On – SwissGear Sion Softside Carry-On

SwissGear Sion Softside Luggage with Spinner...

Dimensions: 22.75 inches by 14.25 inches by 10.25 inches

Weight: 8 Pounds

For those just looking for a dependable, no-frills carry-on, the SwissGear Sion may be just the right one for you. The polyester material is soft and long-lasting and if you pack it just right this bag could even serve as a comfortable pillow. The inside pocket has an adjustable tie-down belt to help squeeze in as many items as possible while still keeping everything neat and organized.

The bag is also expandable for those times when you remember that last-minute item just as you’re heading out the door. The 2 front pockets will allow you to keep the important items, like cash and your ID, readily available. The spinner wheels rotate a full 360 degrees, so it’ll feel like you’re gliding all the way to the airplane.

Also, check out Briggs & Riley Baseline-Softside CX Expandable Carry-On Spinner Luggage for an alternative with the same huge expandable packing space.

Most Durable Hardside Carry-On – Samsonite Omni PC Hardside

Samsonite Omni PC Hardside 20-Inch One Size...

Dimensions: 22 inches by 15 inches by 9.5 inches

Weight: 6.80 Pounds

This highly durable carry-on is anything but basic. It’s made of polycarbonate and scratch-resistant, so it can definitely take on whatever you throw its way during your trip, whether it’s your first trip or your fiftieth. It comes with 4 multidirectional spinner wheels to allow for easy towing and a fastener on the inside to ensure your clothes stay in position during the duration of your international flight.

There are seven eye-catching colors to choose from, including teal, pink, orange, blue, white, silver, and black, which means you can pick the one that fits your personality the best. It’s expandable by a couple of extra inches to allow for some last-minute souvenir shopping on your way back home. The built-in TSA lock helps to provide an extra layer of security, too.

Best Overnight Tote Carry-On Bag – Plambag Large Canvas

Plambag Large Canvas Duffel Bag Overnight Travel...

Dimensions: 19.69 inches by 11.03 inches by 9.85 inches

Weight: 2.82 Pounds

Whether you’re just looking for a new carry-on or a dependable gym bag, this one would be perfect. It’s has a large capacity for items, so you could even easily fit in enough for an entire weekend out and about. This bag has 1 large compartment with 2 open pockets and 1 zipper pocket, 2 pockets on the front and 1 zipper pocket on each side, so there’s plenty of room to store all your digital devices, clothes, and other essentials.

The cotton canvas will prove to be sturdy enough to use daily and especially for the occasional long weekend getaway. There are two ways to carry this bag. You can either carry it with the two handles or velcro those together and opt to use the padded shoulder strap. The versatility is a definite plus!

Best Value Underseat Carry-On – AmazonBasics Underseat Carry-On Rolling Travel Luggage Bag

Amazon Basics Underseat Carry-On Rolling Travel...

Dimensions: 14.1 inches by 13.3 inches by 9.4 inches

Weight: 4.70 Pounds

We all know Amazon makes some of the best bang for the buck products on the market and the same goes for luggage. This Amazon-branded portable carry-on bag is comprised of sturdy 600D polyester and is spacious yet affordable, all without sacrificing quality. You can easily slip it under your seat to stow it or you can slip it in the overhead compartment. When it comes to designs, you are able to choose from a plain or quilted style and five different color options including black, grey, blue, red, and purple.

It has a back strap that allows you to slip it over your luggage handle or you can easily wheel it by itself with its 2 wheels. The main compartment is large enough for a couple of outfits and a pair of shoes, while the front pocket can hold some of the pertinent documents you will need for your journey.

Best Carry-On For Disney Fans – American Tourister Disney Softside Luggage

American Tourister Disney Softside Luggage with...

Dimensions: 23 inches by 14.3 inches by 9.5 inches

Weight: 7.50 Pounds

With so many theme parks all over the world and millions of visitors annually, it’s a must to include a carry-on bag for Disney Fans, and this one will not disappoint! American Tourister has been producing quality luggage for over 75 years and their Disney line is something special.

This carry-on has 4 multidirectional spinner wheels, so you don’t have to drag it behind you, you can wheel it while it’s upright. It’s made from durable polyester material and there are a few different designs to choose from. Whether you want to rock a carry-on with simple Minnie Accents, Minnie Bows, Minnie Heads, Mickey Pants, or Mickey Faces, the choice is yours.

No matter which one you choose you’re going to be able to enjoy ample packing space, convenient pockets, and compression belts to keep everything in place. If there are any issues, you can take advantage of their 10-year warranty.

Best Carry-On For Kids (Girls) – Heys America Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Girl’s Upright Carry-On

Heys America Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Girl's 18'...

Dimensions: 19 inches by 14 inches by 7.5 inches

Weight: 3.20 Pounds

We can’t forget about the kids! This bag features either Paw Patrol’s Chase or Skye and is super bright pink. It will undoubtedly make a little girl’s face light up as soon as she sees it. The material used on the outside is PVC, so it’s easy to keep clean and extremely sturdy. The inside has a compression strap to keep clothes in place. This type of bag is not only good for flying, but it will be great for the next time there’s a sleepover or picnic.

Best Carry-On For Kids (Boys) – Heys America Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Boy’s Carry-On

Heys America Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Boy's Carry-On...

Dimensions: 18 inches by 12 inches by 9 inches

Weight: 3.70 Pounds

The boy’s version includes a glossy blue background design with the five main pups from Paw Patrol. If you know a little boy that likes the show, he will absolutely love this. It’s made from sturdy polycarbonate, so it’s very lightweight. It also has 2 wheels and an aluminum handle for easy moving. The inside features interlocking straps to keep clothing perfectly situated on one side and the lid has a zipper on the inside to store other items. It’s big enough to easily fit 2-3 days’ worth of clothes for one child.

Best Carry-On For Toddlers – American Tourister Kids’ Disney Softside Upright Luggage

American Tourister Kids' Disney Softside Upright...

Dimensions: 19.48 inches by 13.18 inches by 7.87 inches

Weight: 3.86 Pounds

These carry-ons for toddlers are spacious, colorful, and feature some of the most popular Disney characters like Frozen’s Anna and Elsa, the Disney Princesses, Mickey, Minnie, and R2D2. The zippers are shiny and strong and there are cross straps inside to keep all clothing tight and together. There’s plenty of room for coloring books, small toys, tablets, and other things to occupy small children during long flights. The handle and wheels make it easy for your little one to take care of his or her very own carry-on bag.

How to Choose the Best Carry-on Bag for Your Next Vacation

Choose the Best Carry-on Bag

Carry-On Bag Dimensions For Domestic And International Trips

When it comes to carry-on bags, the general size allotted for most airlines is right around 22”x14”x9”, but it’s important that you always double-check with your specific airline before heading to the airport. We’ve found that the sizes do vary slightly from one airline to another.

Regarding airlines with flights out of the country, the allowed size generally runs a little smaller for their carry-on bags. Therefore, it’s usually best to err on the side of caution when planning a trip abroad. You may want to take off an inch or two from each side.

Playing it safe is a good way to avoid issues at the gate. There’s nothing worse than getting to your gate only to find that your bag is too big, and then having to shell out unexpected cash to check the bag instead.

Carry-On Bags Featuring Hard Or Soft Sides

Sometimes it seems like checking all your bags at the gate is the only way to go, and if that’s the case for you, you probably want to go with a bag that has soft sides. These usually stand up better to the normal wear and tear of being moved around a lot. This is also the case if you’re trying to fit in as much as possible since the fabric of a soft-sided bag will expand a bit.

If you are carrying anything that’s breakable or of some value, then you should opt for a carry-on bag with hard sides. These are a bit more durable and will provide a lot more protection to the contents of the bag than one with soft sides.

Four-Wheel Spinner Or Two-Wheel Carry-On Bag

If you prefer to stay in full control of your luggage when moving it around the airport, you will probably enjoy the multi-directional functionality of a four-wheel spinner bag. These types of bags will definitely give you an easier time when you have to stroll down the aisles on the plane and when loading and unloading.

If you’re fine with having your bag rolling behind you at all times, then a standard two-wheel carry-on bag should suffice. It will also help to give you a little extra space when compared to a four-wheel spinner.

How To Know If The Bag You Chose Will Work For You

You should make sure to give your bag a test drive before it’s time to depart for your getaway. Hopefully, you picked one that looks nice, but still has all the functionality you need. The best way to test your new bag is to pack it full to the brim with all the usual stuff you’d take with you on a trip and go wheel it around.

For extra points, you can even hoist it over your head to see how easy it will be to stuff it into the overhead compartment. You should become familiar with all the ins and outs of the bag including any pockets and other useful features.

This is all crucial to find out because even if you bought from the most reputable luggage company and spent a fortune on the bag, it still has the potential to fall apart. It’s always up to you to put its quality to the test.

When it comes to luggage, it seems like it will only break during the most inconvenient time of your vacation. Keeping that in mind, it’s better to perform a stress test before you leave so you can work out any kinks prior to your vacation.

How to Pack Like a Pro

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Price last updated on 2021-04-19. Links & images are from Amazon Product Advertising API. Our editors independently research, test and recommend the best products and services. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article at no additional cost to you.

  • Most important in a trip imo is having good luggage. Countless time, my luggage wheels just dropped off so make sure to get a durable one and check the luggage exterior condition before a flight.

    • Avatar Wesley Schmidt says:

      I have the same experience as you.

  • Avatar Benjamin C. says:

    This blog is really fantastic. Thanks for sharing with us

  • Hello Stacy, I just got a job offer that will involve traveling to different countries many times in a month. Next month, I will be flying from the US to Singapore on a 20-hour flight, and many more international flights in the future. My question is which carry on would you recommend? I would like something that is strong and can fit my laptops. Thanks!

    • Hi Jacob, I recommend the Travelpro Platinum Elite as it is very well made and durable and enough features that might help you on your long flight.

      But if you do not need a large carry-on, then the Samsonite Xenon 3.0 might be more suitable with a dedicated padded laptop compartment.

  • First time flying, what is the carry on size requirement for United Airlines?

  • OMG the Delsey Paris carry on is so pretttyyyyy. I want one now! 😍😍

  • Hey, I like you have a variety of carry-ons review rather than only the upright bulky ones. Personally, I prefer duffle bags as carry on as it is easy to check in

    • Avatar Lida Malone says:

      I like duffle bags too, do you have recommendation for a leather one?

  • Nice list..thank you so much for shaing this information..I’ve enjoyed reading..

  • My friend also says the Travelpro platinum is the best. Is it really that good? Anyone?

    • Avatar Minnie B. says:

      I’m using one for 2 years and I have no issues with it. Just the normal wear and tear on the outside which is unavoidable in any luggage. What attracted me about this particular one are the features and the lifetime warranty which many brands don’t offer. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

  • Would have loved to see my fav brand Rimowa in your article – maybe next time!

    • I will certainly consider including Rimowa for the next round of testing.

  • Avatar Rosalie Aguilar says:

    I’m not kidding that escape monthly has done the best research on the carry on luggage, keep up the good work!

  • Can you suggest some packing cubes you purchased? Always found it hard to squeeze all my stuff inside the carryon

  • I think I like Thule Revolve the most. Looks so sophisticated 😎

  • Steve Madden! Need this beautiful luggage!

    • I will buy you one hehe 🤗

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