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The Best Reviewed Carry-On Luggage And Travel Accessories So You Are Prepared For Your Next Trip

Traveling is on the horizon but I assure you this post is not to convince you to pack your bags and jump on a plane if you are not there yet. Do what makes you feel comfortable/safe, be aware of Covid spikes and new variants. Be vigilant, folks. We are not out of the woods yet. Now I do think people are planning trips or will be in the near future, hence the inspiration for this post. I for one am staying in the states this year but overnight and weekend trips are certainly happening, which got me thinking: Is it time for a luggage upgrade? I personally have zero travel swag with my completely mismatched luggage and zero functionality tote bags that I lug around with me when I have to bring anything other than what I have on my back. Not surprisingly, things are more enjoyable when you are adeptly prepared and bonus points if you can combine function and style. As I was absently searching for the best carry-ons and weekend bags, I figured many of you might be on the same page. If anything 2020 made me realize I have taken for granted the freedom to travel for far too long. Once I get the A-OK I will be traveling more and experiencing things other than my four walls. Anyone with me? If so, I am happy to share my heavily researched findings, with a variety of budgets and needs in mind. Let’s get into it.

Best Reviewed Carry-On

Monos Carry-On

By now you probably know all about Away but have you heard the competitor, Monos? They are almost identical but some reviewers are claiming that the Monos version is superior. What I am gathering is those who have tried Away before prefer Monos as it has more compartments inside and the inside feels a lot more spacious. Price-wise, Monos is more expensive but marked down right now at $220 (for the small carry-on) and the Away small carry-on is $225. Talk about tough competition, folks!!

Side note: Mallory was telling me that at baggage claim it’s pretty wild how many Away bags come through and it must be incredibly frustrating trying to spot yours amongst the plethora. I have a cheap purple one from Amazon with yellow zippers that’s as embarrassing as it is easy to spot, so I don’t have this problem. Yet. If and when I do upgrade I don’t want to regret it and I certainly don’t want one more thing to worry about at the airport (i.e. someone grabbing my bag on accident or me grabbing someone else’s). Away bag enthusiasts, what are your thoughts? Is it as annoying as it seems or no big deal? You tell me.

BEST (And Most Affordable) Away DUPE

Hardside 20″ Carry On Spinner Suitcase

This guy seems more my speed. Like I said, in the before times I didn’t travel a bunch. I am at like a first-grade level when it comes to traveling (never been out of the country, never have had a passport, slightly anxious flyer–you get it). That said, I can’t justify spending over $100 on a carry-on because it won’t get a ton of use. At least not right away. I am also shamefully not the best at taking care of my things. It’s a horrible character trait of mine so sometimes I think it best to avoid expensive things that I might not take the best care of. This one is affordable enough, durable, and has all the compartments one needs.

If You Are Looking For A Show Stopper

Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage

She’s cute. She’s glamorous. She’s probably going to be the only rose gold number on the plane. It also comes in gold if you are into that (and if you are, more power to you). It’s a little more affordable than Away or Monos coming in at $195 (currently marked down to $146) and has a similar amount of compartments and GREAT reviews. In fact, all Calpak products seem to be well-loved by the populace so they might be coming for Away’s crown too. Ohh I love the DRAMA.

Best Weekender Bags

1. Large Foldable Travel Bag, $26: This bag is made from the same material as a parachute which I think points to the fact that it is extremely durable. It is also waterproof and foldable so it’s so easy to stow away. As someone who doesn’t have a ton of storage (you didn’t think I’d get through this post without mentioning storage did you?), I appreciate anything that can be made more compact.

2. Luka Duffel, $110: This little number is stylish and has NINE pockets so you can stay uber-organized. I love that it has two straps and it has luggage sleeves so you can slip it on your carry-on and live your best life!

3. Weekender Bag, $80: This sleek bag from Target has surprisingly great reviews. People say it is the perfect carry-on and is small enough to fit under the seat in front of you on a plane so it can be your plus one carry-on (aka it might just save you from having to pay ridiculous checked bag fees).

4. BAGGU Travel Cloud Bag, $78: BAGGU is a brand that I have been a fan of from afar for a long time. I don’t own any of their bags yet but I love all the colors and patterns and the fact that they are ethical and sustainable. At $78, this bag is not wildly expensive and it’s lightweight so you can shove as many clothes in there as possible without it becoming way too heavy to carry.

5. Tech Novel Duffle, $170: You can never go wrong with a Hershel bag because they practically ooze functionality. This duffle has a shoe compartment and internal organizers AND it can be easily attached to luggage so you don’t have to lug it around.

6. Murphie Underseat Carry-On Luggage, $110: If you are an over-packer like me, this little guy might need another companion to house multiple pairs of shoes and outfits you probably won’t wear. I do love that it is compact and can fit under the seat on a plane and it has WHEELS. Cause who wants to carry a bag when you can roll it, right?

Best Travel Backpacks

1. Metro Backpack, $195: This sleek guy is the perfect companion for someone who loves a minimal design. I think anyone who is in the tech industry would love this one just judging by the look of it and the fact it has many sleeves for various laptops, tablets, etc.

2. Travel Pack 2 Backpack, $160: This is Caitlin’s favorite and I would trust her with my life so I certainly trust her backpack recommendations. From Caitlin: “I will recommend this backpack till I die – it’s that good. It’s very Mary Poppins-esque in that you get it and you’re like, ‘shoot, there’s no way it can fit all I need’ and then BAM, it does. I backpacked Europe in winter with this as my lone piece of luggage and it held everything – all of my cold-weather layers, my shower shoes (there’s a separate shoe compartment!), my souvenirs…everything. As an added bonus, it can still generally fit under a seat, so you’ll never have to gate-check if the luggage bins get too full on a plane or pay any extra baggage fees if you’re overseas (TBH it’ll take up a liiiitle bit of legroom, but I’m tall and have had it underneath the seat in front of me on 10-hour flights without it being too annoying or frustrating). It’s been almost 4 years and it’s IMPOSSIBLE to get this thing looking even a little dirty or raggedy – even pet hair doesn’t stick to it. Plus, it’s normal-looking enough to use every day while still having some of the amenities that make carrying or traveling with it way easier, like a great side handle and buckled shoulder straps. AER MAKE ME THE SPOKESPERSON, I LOVE YOUR BAGS!”

3. Standard Rucksack, $460: This one is made by a Black owned company and while it is on the more expensive side, it is handmade with vegetable leather and will likely last a lifetime. It’s perfect for someone who travels a lot for work as it’s the ideal size for a laptop and would be an exceptional gift.

4. Hartmann Metropolitan 2 Executive Backpack, $192: I really appreciate the functionality of this one. It’s no-nonsense, but still cute (I love mustard colored anything) and has ample pockets so you can stay organized.

5. Gathering Bag, $68. This is my top pick because it’s affordable, unique, and utilitarian, with lots of pockets for various travel necessities (which in my case is mostly snacks and 4-5 books I probably won’t open once). It has a seasoned backpacker look about it and I would assume anyone who has it is well-read and sophisticated. It’s just cool and it is sold by a sustainable Black-owned brand we love.

6. Tech Backpack, $130: I trust anything Hershel makes. They think of everything and their designs are just sleek, modern, and cool. As always, this backpack has like 10 sleeves so you can be super organized and let’s be honest, anyone who wears a Hershel backpack looks scholarly af.

Best Toiletry Bags

1. Hue Toiletry Bag, $48: I am starting to realize Calpak really knows what they are doing. This toiletry bag is solid and functional, perfect for a one-night getaway.

2. Premium Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag, $24: This is another great toiletry bag if you are going somewhere for one night and just need the essentials. It has room for skincare products and has compartments for makeup and makeup brushes and over $10,000 have things mostly great things to say about it so if you wanna go on an Amazon review rabbit hole, here’s your chance.

3. Sonia Kashuk™ Weekender Makeup Bag, $20: I can always trust Sonia Kashuk products to be practical and stylish. This one has two sleeves so you can keep your makeup and skincare separate and at $20 it’s just a solid and affordable travel companion. Its slender design means it can slide easily into luggage and take up less precious space.

4. The Hanging Cosmetic Case, $58: Here we are getting into the big leagues. If you have a good amount of makeup, skincare, vitamins, serums, etc etc. you will want something that has multiple pockets and can spill down like so. It also has a little hanger so you can hook it on the back of a door so it doesn’t take up precious bathroom vanity space.

5. Nimbus Cosmetic bag, $65: This one comes in two sizes and has RAVE reviews. People love how much it can hold and how stylish it is. The material is also nice and it is easy to clean which is a plus if you know how gross toiletry bags can get.

6. BAGSMART Toiletry Bag, $23: Okay, sign me up for this bad boy that has 4 separate pockets that spill down so you can see everything. I have actually acquired a ton of makeup and skincare over quarantine so I need something big and ridiculous like this. Over 13,000 have reviewed it and highly recommend. And you know strangers on the internet are the best people, right?

Alright, that is all from me but you know I have to ask, what are your favorite travel bags and accessories? Drop em below and have a lovely Monday, sweet friends. xx

Opener Image Credit: Design by William Hunter Collective | Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | Produced and Art Directed by Emily Henderson | Styled by Velinda Hellen and Erik Staalberg |From: 5 Outdoor Ideas & Hacks That’ll Instantly Add Style (& Save You Money)

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Fiona
1 month ago

As someone who, before covid hit, did the 26hour plus flight from Australia-Europe annually, the single most useful item is packing cubes. The bag within a bag to compartmentalize different things is a game changer for both checked in and carry on luggage. Zipped up sections to provide secure but easy-access to passports is also a really useful thing for a carry on bag, even if it has nothing else.

K
1 month ago
Reply to  Fiona

I’d love to know more about what makes packing cubes useful—is it more organized or are there other benefits? Do your clothes end up very wrinkled from being put in the cubes?

Lauren
1 month ago
Reply to  K

Also a big fan of packing cubes.
Benefits:
1) Somehow, things take up less room when you put themin cubes vs. loose. I don’t get the physics of it but I tried it both ways and it’s true. I *think* it’s because you can cram them very full and then tetris them in there so there’s not as much lost “in between” space.
2) If you get the water-resistant ones, they are a DREAM for traveling to humid places. I went to Ecuador and my clotes stayed nice and dry–not the case for other cube-less travelers in our group.
3) You don’t have to dig around to find stuff–if you pack like w like. AKA Tshirt cube. Pants cube, etc.
4) Unpacking when you get to destination is a dream.
5) Re: wrinkling, it depends on what it is and how you packed it, like any other packing. I tend to keep things like undies, tees, jeans in their cube, but hang stuff like dresses once I get where I’m going.

Beth
1 month ago
Reply to  Lauren

You can also get compression cubes, which will save even more space! They don’t require a vacuum or anything special, just are extra sturdy and have an extra zipper to compress everything. Most things won’t wrinkle too much in them, unless they are a material that would probably wrinkle easily no matter what. My sister swears by these ones: https://www.amazon.com/LeanTravel-Compression-Packing-Luggage-Organizers/dp/B01MUA6GUB/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=packing+cubes+lean+travel&qid=1575373863&sr=8-5&linkCode=sl1&tag=compassandclo-20&linkId=1d12688f2782ae5bc27b9a7b09bb0dad&language=en_US
I roll most of my clothes when I use packing cubes, except for really bulky items, and that helps with the wrinkles.

1 month ago
Reply to  Lauren

I have an Away carry-on in navy blue and on a recent trip from LaGuardia (out of NYC) to Columbus, Ohio, I didn’t see any other Away suitcases, or at least not navy blue ones. I also use the Away packing cubes and LOVE them! They made it easy to put all my dirty clothes in separate cubes for my return home so I could easily put those clothes right into the hamper. Easy unpacking! I think also in general the cubes make for a much more efficient and flexible use of space, and I like keeping an extra pair of shoes separate from my clothes and toiletries.

Sally
1 month ago
Reply to  Lauren

I also use packing cubes and like Fiona, do/did the Australia-Europe long haul every 12-18 months. I don’t find they save space, in fact unlike others I think they take up more room but the benefits of having clothing organised and easily accessible absolutely compensate for this and I can’t imagine not using, even for local weekend trips. I also try not to cram them, as weight is also a factor – there’s nothing worse than lugging a heavy suitcase around and if you want to use as cabin luggage, there are weight requirements and outside the US (which has much bigger carryon allowances than everyone else) airlines will weigh bags. You always need far fewer things than you think. Choice is over-rated and if you’re moving around a lot seeing different places, travelling light is so much more relaxing and pleasant, even if you check in your suitcase. It also means you’ve got room to bring things back, which let’s face it, most of us do. I use fabric suitcases on rollers – the Away seems to have social media caché and I think they must have really reached out to American influencers for their marketing strategy but I… Read more »

Barr
1 month ago
Reply to  Sally

Thanks for the backpack recommendations. Checking YouTube now.

DeniseGK
1 month ago
Reply to  K

My husband was a convert to cubes after just watching a video, but I’m more skeptical *and* I just don’t like buying new stuff. lol. He went ahead and bought us a couple 3-pks bc he was sure I would love them. There was a medium cube about the size of a sheet of legal paper, a long cube about the length of a tennis ball can, and a small cube about the size of an original Lunchable (with no capri sun). They are all about 3 inches in depth. I can separate clothing according to the cube it will fit best in, then put all the items of that type in the cube and zip closed. It’s packed full and bit stiff due to the layer of fabric the cube is made of and the zipper, so when I use the X strap in the suitcase to hold the cubes in place there is actually less sliding around, packing down once the suitcase is standing on its wheels, and wrinkling of clothing. Adult pants are the only things I don’t put in the cubes as they are just too thick, so they go in the suitcase first and cubes… Read more »

S
1 month ago
Reply to  Fiona

I’m also a huge fan of packing cubes! I use a small one to keep a change of clothes in my carry-on (I also always check a larger bag so I don’t have to deal with the frenzy to find space in an overhead bin). They help me stay more organized and unpack at the destination. I also think they keep folded clothes less wrinkly than rolling. I tend to organize by activity, one for swimming, one for athleisurewear, one for regular clothes, one for undergarments, and one for some dressier clothes. Always easy to find what I need!

Taylor
1 month ago
Reply to  Fiona

Pre-pandemic frequent US-Australia flyer here! We love packing cubes for our young family. Everyone has a different colour set of cubes, making it easy to find kid #1 clothes v. kid #2 clothes v. parent clothes when we’re all sharing suitcases. We swear by the Muji ones (especially the medium size with 2 compartments). We use them for all trips – big or small – even camping!

Julie
1 month ago

I’d say if you are worried about your bag being hard to spot on in the baggage claim, you can get one of the limited edition colors of either Away or Monos. I did that inadvertently but am glad that nobody on my flight has my same color.

Christa
1 month ago
Reply to  Julie

You can easily solve this by tying a scarf on the handle, or putting on a stripe of colored duct tape, or stickers like a roadie.

DeniseGK
1 month ago
Reply to  Christa

Or colorful luggage tags. We put a couple tags on *each* handle of every suitcase. Am I paying way more than other people for luggage tags? Yes! But people always notice the tags bc they are everywhere. Plenty of times my dark blue or dark green Samsonite/American Tourister/Travel Select suitcases are waiting for me next to the carousel bc someone grabbed them off the belt only to immediately see 4 pink tags with yellow polka dots on it. They just leave it standing up right there. If you buy sturdy tags, they last for years.

Megan
1 month ago

I’m sorry, but I don’t find this post credible when you are recommending Away brand luggage over Briggs & Riley (I see no evidence that any of you tested or have tried Briggs & Riley). It’s undisputed in the travel community that Briggs & Riley is the best luggage, full stop. Away is influencer nonsense, which I don’t blame you for, but I’m very skeptical that your team actually knows anything about this topic given the first recommendation.

Annie
1 month ago
Reply to  Megan

Well, really, I don’t think anything about this post suggests that Ryann knows anything about traveling or even luggage: she says she’s a “first-grade traveler” without a passport and, as far as I can tell, she doesn’t own and hasn’t seen in person *any* of the pieces rounded up here.

I like Ryann’s writing style just fine, and some of these pieces look cute, but I’m not totally sure what any of this has to do with design, and I don’t find the recommendations here credible (beyond just looking at the reviews for the luggage that are already available online).

I get that there’s some effort to make this more than “just” a design blog, but if you want to think about travel, I’d rather get a roundup of Airbnbs with compelling designs, or ideas from Airbnbs that might work in our own spaces.

Megan
1 month ago
Reply to  Annie

I just don’t understand why you would have a non-traveler write a long post giving guidance on luggage, even on a design blog.

Evelin
1 month ago
Reply to  Megan

Is Rimowa availabe and a thing in the US? Rimowa is the ONE in Europe, pricey but really sturdy and light. The classic alu version, and the very light salsa air made of “plastic”. Many Asians wait in lines in front of Rimowa stores to get them cheaper than oversea.

Megan
1 month ago
Reply to  Evelin

Yes, Rimowa is available in the USA. If you want hard shelled Rimowa is the best. If you want soft sided luggage then I would go with Briggs & Riley. I honestly love my Tumi, but I know it’s not the most highly rated for the price.

Amanda Geier
1 month ago
Reply to  Megan

I had a monos and it was horrible. Their “try me out” promise only applies if you don’t actually use it/take it anywhere which is pretty deceptive. Bought a Briggs and Riley on eBay and I’ll never look back. It’s SO SO good.

Jeanne
1 month ago
Reply to  Amanda Geier

Wow that return policy “no questions asked” is completely deceptive. Thanks for pointing that out!!!

Amanda Geier
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeanne

Yes, don’t get tricked like me! I was so annoyed!!

DeniseGK
1 month ago
Reply to  Amanda Geier

Wow, what a crappy offer. Straight from the Monos website: “Can I learn more about your 100-day trial? [Some stuff about how you will love Monos, blah blah]…We ask that products must show no signs of use, and be in the original condition they were received in, as well as in the original packaging. To get a feel of the luggage, we suggest packing a similar weight to what you will be travelling with and testing the luggage in an indoor environment. EG: Home, shopping mall, recreational center…etc. Your only responsibility will be the cost of shipping the item(s) to us. And if any parts of your suitcase break during or after the 100-day trial, remember that our warranty covers repairs and replacements for life. Please note that only the original buyer can initiate a return, and that cancellations to orders can only be made before shipment occurs. Once shipped, the return policy will apply like you have received the item.” Except for the part in the brackets, that is pasted straight from the FAQs page.

Merry
1 month ago
Reply to  Megan

I just looked up Briggs and Riley and their domestic carry ons run $600. Even if it’s the best bag in the world, I don’t find you credible (to echo your language) if you think the top recommendation for a carry on for a casual traveler should be a bag that costs that much, LOL.

Megan
1 month ago
Reply to  Merry

A casual traveler who travels 1-2X per year should buy a good discounted bag at TJ Maxx. Away carryons retail for $225. I bought my Briggs & Riley on sale on Amazon for $288 (it’s still available for $287).

Danielle
1 month ago
Reply to  Merry

For anyone who travels regularly (~every 1-2 months), Briggs & Riley is hands down the best value for luggage. Until Covid, I used my B&R expandable int’l carry-on monthly for ~5 years and the only issue I’ve had is the little tab in the suit section falling off. It has been checked, used as a carry on, gate checked, manhandled in every possible way, overstuffed and sat on, and dragged on every type of surface, for probably at least 125,000 miles and is still in excellent condition. Between it, my eagle creek packing cubes, and an eagle creek packing envelope (highly, highly recommend), I can easily pack for over a week in a carry-on bag, shop at my destination, and pack it painfully full to check on the way home. The only real issue I have is when I go to the baggage claim (especially in DC) it looks just like half the bags on the carousel, but that is easily remedied with a ribbon or something tied to the handle. My husband gave me so much grief for spending so much on a suitcase, but then he used it for one business trip and ended up buying one for… Read more »

N
1 month ago
Reply to  Merry

Agreed – Briggs and Riley might not be for the casual traveler. But I know from experience that Briggs and Riley is all that and more, if you travel a lot. Also, they have a lifetime guarantee and will fix any bag for free (if you can drop it off at their location) or only pay shipping. Our first Briggs and Riley is almost 20 years old now, and over the years have purchased 3. I’ve had Samsonite from the outlets (broken wheels, broken handles and zero warranty), TJMaxx carryon (for my daughter – zipper is broken and doesn’t roll well after a year), and others also. And now we only buy Briggs and Riley. I’d rather save up for however long it takes to feel OK about the price… than to buy another cheap bag I need to toss in the landfill.

Alyce
1 month ago
Reply to  Megan

Briggs and Riley is a top of the line luxury brand that is out of reach for the majority of people. It is totally out of touch of you to suggest that their recommendation isn’t credible because it isn’t Briggs and Riley. I make 150K (and have a 230K combined household income) and spending Briggs and Riley money on a suitcase didn’t make sense given how much I travel. I don’t think spending the kind of money Briggs and Riley costs makes sense if you don’t travel super frewuently for work. Outside of business travel, most people don’t travel enough to truly justify the cost. The no name brand luggage I got in college from TJ Maxx was more than adequate and lasted 10 years with the type of travel I was doing – maybe 5-6 road trips and flights annually. When it needed replacing a few years back, I definitely considered Briggs and Riley based on their sterling reputation (I don’t disagree with you at all about that point), but a good quality TravelPro was excellent quality for the price and more than met my needs, and will certainly last for decades. On an unrelated note, I did try… Read more »

Stephanie
1 month ago

Don’t rule out fabric! Fabric luggage is more durable to hard case bags. Pre-covid, I flew 12-15 round trip flights a year and would see so many cracked hard case bags, especially at baggage claim. I used a Tumi I found at TJ Maxx 5 years ago. But my husband’s TravelPro Maxlite 5 is becoming the bag of choice. It’s so light and easy to maneuver! So it’s easier to throw it up in the baggage compartment for a carryon or won’t waste any of the allowed weight on the bag itself for checked luggage. Highly recommend that line!

DeniseGK
1 month ago
Reply to  Stephanie

Yes! This! How are people still so married to hard sided luggage? My in-laws must replace at least one hard sided Samsonite every time they travel between the States and their home in SE Asia. I mean, they travel with 4-6 suitcases each time, but still! Cracks, dents, zipper messed up because something happened to the hard side too close to the zipper, handles breaking. I don’t know, maybe Samsonite hard sided luggage isn’t good anymore? We have a small fabric Samsonite, a weekender sized rollybag, and it’s going strong after about 8 years of use.

Kara
1 month ago
Reply to  Stephanie

I’m having the hardest time finding a new large softside bag! Will look into the Maxlite. I ordered an American Tourister from Amazon and returned it immediately, it felt so cheaply made, and the threads around the handle were straining even as I picked it up empty. I imagine if I put 50 pounds in it, it would have ripped off. Then I read more reviews and everyone is saying American Tourister and Samsonite are not the same quality they used to be, and having your zippers break and wheels fall off on your first trip is almost to be expected. I have been reading reviews for weeks and learned that so many hardside ones crack and break easily, even the expensive ones.

Stephanie
1 month ago
Reply to  Kara

We don’t have a larger checked-size bag, but the TravelPro Maxlite bag is at the top of our list when our family grows and we need one. My sister has an Eagle Creek rolling duffel bag they use when they travel with the kids. It’s a bit pricier, but it’s so well made and maneuvers like a dream for such a large bag. That would be another one to check out.

Tracy
1 month ago

My favorite travel/EDC bags are from Tom Bihn, a small company in Seattle. Not affiliated with them, but I greatly admire their company ethos, their quality products and the engagement of loyal forum followers. They made and donated over 200K masks to at risk/underserved groups too.
Carryology is a helpful site for reviews of travel bags and accessories and just googling one bag travel brings up lots of info if you wish to minimize your packing style.

Lauren
1 month ago

I have Away bags and yes, there are a TON of them. Just get a luggage tag that you can easily identify. Or an inexpensive bandana to tie around the handle. Bippity boppity boom.

Juanita
1 month ago
Reply to  Lauren

Same here—I use a cheap (bright) luggage strap for my Away bag, easy fix! I travel regularly for work, including overseas, and I like the professional look of Away (and similar) brands. I also use a Lo & Sons laptop bag (the OG 2, it’s awesome as a standalone bag for 1-day round trip flights too), and an LL Bean toiletry bag (sounds #basic but truly, their toiletry bags are the best—just the right number of compartments). For those looking for less expensive options, I second the commenters suggesting TJ Maxx or Marshalls—I have found great luggage there!

Amber
1 month ago

This reminds me that I miss traveling so much.

Going to second the Briggs & Riley recommendation. They aren’t the cutest or most hip (although the newest line is more stylish), but I find soft sided luggage to be easier to cram full when necessary and more durable. Their warranty also can’t be beat.

If you travel a lot, I’d also avoid “spinner” styles unless you choose a higher end, rigid option like Rimowa. The flexing of lower end bags causes the 360 wheels to fail.

I avoid checking bags whenever possible, but if you have a black or common bag, a colorful strap or luggage tag can help you spot it.

Another item I’ve grown to love is a clear toiletry case that can be used for 3 oz / 100 mL liquids instead of a quart sized Ziploc bag. (There are a bunch of options on Amazon.) I put the rest of my gear in a Cuyana case, and then reorganize my products once I get to my destination — clear case for skincare and leather case for makeup and tools. Those large fold out cases really only work for people who check bags.

Lashley
1 month ago

I recently got the black Baggu Cloud Travel bag and it does fit a lot, but once it’s packed, it loses its shape and it kind of looks like you’re carrying a black trash bag.

For a rolling bag that may be checked, getting one from a company or store with some kind of warranty. (I have ones from Patagonia and REI, but I’m sure there are others.)

If you can swing it logistically and physically, the best way to keep your carry on from having to be gate checked (sometimes gate checked items are sent to baggage claim and then you lose lots of the benefit of carrying on) is to have one that can be worn as a backpack. It’s happened to me a few times that anyone with a rolling carry on is required to gate check it, but even large backpacks are sent through. The Topo Designs travel bag and Patagonia MLC bags are good for this.

And yes, packing cubes! They are lifesavers for organization and compression.

Mary
1 month ago

I love my hard-sided carry-on in a beautiful garnet red color, but I really miss having an extra pocket on the outside to slip in books, magazines, etc. Now I have to plan for all that when I pack my backpack or tote.

Hmmn
1 month ago

Did Away sponsor this post? Surprised to see a brand with a famously toxic & turbulent workplace culture (including allegations of bullying and racism) mentioned here in 2021. Everything I’ve read about them seems against your blog’s values, except that influencers can’t get enough of this not especially unique or innovative design. Either y’all didn’t do a deep dive on this subject or you’re more focused on Instagram aesthetic trends than ethics and quality.

Agree that Ryann has a good writing style but why is she the one writing a travel post if she has no experience? The most meaningful review here comes from Caitlin, so shouldn’t Caitlin get the byline?

https://www.theverge.com/2019/12/5/20995453/away-luggage-ceo-steph-korey-toxic-work-environment-travel-inclusion

romo3113
1 month ago

Not populous. Populace.

I fell like these types of posts are just trying to get people to click through and buy. If you haven’t personally tried the product, all you’re really saying is it looks pretty. This isn’t really a review as much as it is a chance for EHD to make money. Which is fine, a business exists to make money. All I ask is perhaps you all use some of that money to hire an editor. Please?

Kelly
1 month ago

Have you guys read any of the articles lately outing the founders of a lot of these female led startups, e.g the wing, Repeller, Good Jones etc. (including Away?) Not that Elon Musk and other male founders are winning any awards on the empathy/kindness front but the mean girl central behavior kind of bums me out. Thoughts?

Christa
1 month ago
Reply to  Ryann Miller

It’s because they still have to go through the male-centric funding world for their seed money, and those guys are all guys who will only allow a certain type to get funding.

Lori
1 month ago

I’m cheap and don’t travel enough to justify spending much money on luggage, so what I do instead of packing cubes is roll all my clothes and then use gallon ziplocks instead and throw them in my trusty backpack that fits under a plane seat. The ziplocks work great– put the rolled clothes in, squeeze the air out, and seal. I’ll group clothing by outfit to make it even more efficient. It’s easy to see what I have at a glance and the ziplocks make everything waterproof. Dirty clothes go in a reused shopping bag. Then I just rinse out the ziplocks at the end of my trip and reuse. Nothing to buy or store! Win/win!

Roberta Davis
1 month ago

My husband and I got a set at Costco in 2004 and it is still in 98% perfect condition- one zipper pull has come off. It’s a soft-side with wheels, large and carry-on sizes. I’m wondering if I will ever again need new luggage.

Lisa H
1 month ago

I have a good friend who is a career flight attendant. She said most airline employees that she knows carry Travelpro. Most flight attendants I see at airports have a rolling carry on, and a good size personal item strapped securely on top. I don’t think I’ve noticed any with hard sided luggage. I went to TJ Maxx with my friend. We saw several Travelpro’s. She opened each up, and pointed out the various pockets,, and features. Each was different than the other. She pulled up the dimensions allowable as a carry on, and we read the labels to see if they qualified. I checked back several times, since they get shipments often. I eventually found a great bag for my both my husband and me. I got a medium blue, and a berry color. I specifically didn’t want black. All that said, I really don’t mind checking a bag. At my home airport in Denver, curbside is available. There are a lot of hurdles at DIA including construction, long security lines, and then a train to the concourses. It’s helpful to not have to pull a bag around. The last time we traveled, our bag beat us to baggage… Read more »

Deb
1 month ago
Reply to  Lisa H

I had a hard case that is purple so was easy to see when it came time to pick it up at the carousel……however after only two years and a few flights it looked like it had
landed on the tarmac and had numerous black marks that would not come off. I asked a friend whose significant other had worked for the airlines for 20 years and she said TravelPro. I looked around and got a set on sale at Macy’s but my sister got a real bargain on a set at
Tuesday Morning. ( if you aren’t particular about color)
I have had mine for 6 years now and they still look brand new. I am not a world traveler but have probably been on a plane 11 or 12 times with this luggage prior to Covid and every one of those involved changing planes so the luggage has been handled more than a couple times. I don’t see me needing any new luggage for years to come based on the performance so far.

Suzanne
1 month ago

Several years ago, I was on the quest for lightweight but affordable luggage. I found some great pieces from a UK brand, Antler. I don’t want compartments in my main luggage in order to keep in streamline. I love using packing cubes. They make it easy to organize clothing and with some konmari folding, everything stays mostly wrinkle free. Unfortunately, one of my pieces of luggage was smashed on a trip home a few years ago, and I wasn’t able to get the same Antler piece (a great bright pink that’s so easy to spot in the luggage claim), and the airline reimbursed me. I ended up with a really cute Oh Joy! Calpak Carry-on. Again, easy to spot. Caitlin’s love of her backpack reminds me of s backpack I’ve had for almost 30 years. My sister and I did s European backpack trip snd bought backpacks from Europe through the Backdoor. They are a great quality and carried everything for our month long trip. I’m not sure they are still around, snd we both use them less frequently in recent years.

Sally
1 month ago
Reply to  Suzanne

I’ve got an Antler suitcase that is one size up from carryon (I think it may be classed as carryon in the US). I bought it because it was cheap and I needed one in a rush nearly 20 years ago and it is still going strong. I’ve got quite a few suitcases but this seems to be the perfect size and it is just the best. Only thing it lacks are the 360 wheels which are now ubiquitous and very convenient. Could not speak more highly of this suitcase and its longevity. Was not expensive because on sale and is now a bit grubby and travel weary (mine is red) from lots and lots of trips, across Australia (even to the outback) and internationally, but as sturdy as ever. Highly recommend. Also found my little Samsonite carryon to be a very good little suitcase but haven’t had it as long to vouch for endurance.

Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Suzanne

I have Antler and love it.

Beth
1 month ago

If you’re looking for really affordable, but decent-quality luggage, I really recommend checking out TJMaxx/Marshalls. Mine always has a really good selection, and the prices just can’t be beat (I think the one I got there a couple of years ago was about $40)! For a carry-on, I usually look for the following things: Super lightweight, hard shell luggage with some compartments inside and four wheels on the bottom (the weight is critical, especially if you don’t want to check a bag on an international flight…I’ve flown airlines that only allow 10 pounds on a carry-on).
This is my favorite toiletry bag (my sister also has it and loves it), and it’s only $12.99! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KJI2NRA/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&th=1&linkCode=sl1&tag=compassandclo-20&linkId=e7942724bfe720bc0051bba28adc8896&language=en_US

Virginia Hanna
1 month ago

Cut the girl (Ryann) a break. I don’t always find posts that I agree with 100% but so what. I move on! But here’s my 2 cents being an avid traveler (domestic and international). Briggs & Riley. Yes expensive but worth it. You can find it on sale occasionally. Love their soft sided and LIFETIME warranty people. If a wheel breaks, they fix it no questions asked.
Packing cubes – the greatest thing since sliced bread. Seriously. I find them especially useful to your dirty clothes (I pack an extra empty one). I like keeping my clean clothes fresh smelling if you get my drift…

Virginia Hanna
1 month ago
Reply to  Virginia Hanna

One more note about “clamshell” luggage. More difficult to open if limited in space (i.e. small hotel rooms in Europe or Asia).

Danielle
1 month ago
Reply to  Virginia Hanna

If you like a packing cube, have you tried a packing envelope/folder? I’m kind of a freak who irons things before packing to save time at my destination, and I can iron and fold shirts (usually t shirts ,sometimes a button-down), pack them in the packing envelope, and it all comes out ready to wear when I arrive.

Christa
1 month ago

Oh hey, I used to do a lot of traveling, so I have some thoughts —
Tumi Continental – they last forever and fit on their side in the overhead bin of 737 and M80 planes.
IT Luggage ‘Los Angeles’ bag is the lightest weight and can carry on even AirFrance, which has very strict rules.
Rucksack – you might encounter cobbled streets and crowds, where a backpack style bag can be a lifesaver. Briggs & Riley make some excellent ones.
If you only want to spend $100, check Amazon, there are lots of knock offs with good reviews. They may not last as long but if you aren’t a frequent flyer, doesn’t really matter.

Jasmine Lim
1 month ago
Reply to  Christa

I second the IT luggage line. I have a super lightweight carry on wheelie from them, it’s the lightest I’ve ever had. For international flights with weight restrictions, it can’t be beat. I use that, plus a (knockoff) longchamp for under the seat. My husband uses a patagonia 60 L black hole, which can duffel or backpack. We took a two month trip to Australia and Asia with this setup using only carry on bags on jetstar airways (7 kilo bag limit!) with our 2 year old child. (pre covid!) . Safe travels, all.

Lisa
1 month ago

I have two Away carry-on suitcases — and I totally bought the second one just for the limited edition color, justifying it by giving the old one to my husband, haha. I find the quality about on par with the price point, given an appropriate “design” markup. Yes, Briggs & Riley on sale is a better deal, but I’m vain enough to not want a boring black fabric bag. I’m also somehow incapable of packing a soft-sided bag to the brim while keeping it within airline sizer requirements. I switched to hard-sided a few years ago and have never looked back, because I no longer have to worry about my bag getting embarrassingly stuck in the sizer (yes, this has happened to me before, maybe I look like an overstuffed bag target for some reason).

I will say, the one thing I don’t like about the Away carry-ons is that the handles rattle when fully extended. Nothing has broken yet (I used to travel 4-6 times a year, carry-on only but sometimes gate-checked) but it feels lower quality than a solid handle.

jules
1 month ago

The direct opposite of these and no rollers – but the Cotopaxi travel bags have seen us around the world and they are rugged, practical, tough, super water resistant and shockingly expandable. BONUS: Made of upcycled materials. https://www.cotopaxi.com/products/allpa-42l-travel-pack?variant=39249636261949

Emily
1 month ago

The best piece of luggage that I’ve ever owned is from Dakine. Soft sided to give you a little extra wiggle room. Front zipper pockets to store tickets, passport, whatever. Comes in tons of fun colors and patterns so you don’t have the same suitcase as a million other people. I’ve had mine for years and travel pretty frequently and it looks as good as the day I bought it. Love it!

alexa
1 month ago

I don’t buy new luggage until what I have is falling apart. (It’s just a thing to hold other things and get tossed around by baggage handlers) . If you’re in the market for new luggage, the most important thing is that it FITS on the plane. Nothing is worse than passengers with oversized or overstuffed bags trying to squeeze them in while holding up the rest of the line. Or, passengers who put their luggage in sideways in compartments where it’s supposed to go back to front. Eh, the parts of travel I do not miss….

Nan
1 month ago

I may be the only one, but I hate my Away bag. It is really a tight squeeze and doesn’t work well with a hotel luggage rack.

Barr
1 month ago

I so want to be a backpack traveler! Full disclosure: I can’t imagine packing a backpack for a two-week trip. I need a YouTube video.
I use the one gallon ziplock baggies but want to get some packing cubes to try. I also prefer soft-side luggage because it seems to be easier to fit in the overhead bins.

Alexandra
1 month ago
Reply to  Barr

Likewise! Can Caitlin give us a tutorial on efficient packing, i.e. what to bring and what to skip? I may not be backpacking across Europe anytime soon, but I could see the advice being just as useful when the hubs and I have to embark on the December holiday shuffle between our extended families.

hickenack
1 month ago
Reply to  Barr

I packed an Amazon basics backpack suitcase carry-on for 2 wks in Europe right before covid. The trick is to use a capsule wardrobe approach. Everything mixed and matched. I wore ankle boots to travel and packed one pair of rothys points. No other shoes. I packed light on toiletries bc I wanted to explore the famed Parisian pharmacy. I also made sure to pick an air bnb w/a washing machine. My personal item was a normal sized crossbody purse. My two teen sons did the same. We had no trouble whatsoever doing 2 weeks with one carry-on each.

hickenack
1 month ago
Reply to  hickenack

Oh forgot to say the bags were only $50 and held up GREAT!

Kay
1 month ago

As someone who’s been to 100+ countries and has been flying at least once a week for the past two years (through the covid pandemic), definitely B&R. I also like Tumi. I also think among serious travelers, it’s pretty well known that Away is an Instagram influencer suitcase and that’s how it got famous. Which is great! But that’s really different than what people who have to travel frequently are looking for. If you’re a casual traveler, no way would I recommend you spend hundreds of dollars for a suitcase. As a long time reader since Design Star, I’ve supported this blog branching out into other venues. But one of the things that made it so great in the first place was that what was recommended was either stuff that I trusted contributors’ judgement (because it was furniture, pretty things, accessories, etc.) or just because I liked their style. For things that have functional uses though, I 100% wish that people would actually try the item before including it in a roundup. Then at least we’d have a personal opinion. Just putting it in a roundup makes me feel like I’m being treated like a captive audience in front of… Read more »

K
1 month ago

Totally off topic here but I LOVE that table in the picture! Where does one go about finding such an incredible table? ME want!! 🙂

DeniseGK
1 month ago
Reply to  K

Something that heavy is almost guaranteed to be an estate sale or antique shop/market find. It looks like what I see imported from Latin American countries in my local shops too, so that might be another way to search.

Addie
1 month ago

The name may sound odd but Smateria bags are great: made from recycled fishing nets from Cambodia and a fair trade project. They are super durable and light and colorful so easy to spot and affordable. Here’s their original European website but they have stockists in the US too:

https://smateria.com/collections/bags

DeniseGK
1 month ago

I LOVE Eagle Creek luggage so much. You can often get unpopular colors on sale at ebags (can’t believe that site is still around!) https://www.eaglecreek.com/landing/collections.html
I still have a duffel in a truly hideous burnt orange that no one has ever mistakenly picked up – it’s been around the world with me 2x and around the eastern half of the US 4x since I got it in 2007! They have a No Matter What warranty, but their products last very well – the strap situation is especially good. My comfort strap on the duffel for shoulder wear is still great and not worn flat, the black wrap thingy that velcros around the small handles still isn’t crumbling or needing it’s velcro replaced. That’s…kind of amazing.
Additionally, they have worked on their design and manufacturing processes to make them sustainable, and they partner with localized orgs around the world to protect and expand the human rights of their workers.

1 month ago

I don’t begrudge y’all a little lifestyle content (I understand it’s lucrative and that people clamor for it, though I wish we could stay focused on interiors), but this is such a baffling post to me. It’s not based on anything other than what’s been spotted on social and other people’s reviews. It’s not trustworthy, just a listicle! If readers want a piece by experts who have really tested and travelled with the luggage they’re linking to, I’d recommend checking out Wirecutter’s review of carry on luggage (which – I checked – was just updated last week. They even explain their methodology.) It’s also really hard for me to square the supposed focus on sustainability when the site’s revenue source is dependent on consumption of fast fashion – and just consumption in general! Sure, buy items for the new house that were made in Oregon. I love that! But when your business is dependent on moving thousands of units of fast fashion items that most of us don’t really *need*… I don’t know. I just feel like that needs to be dealt with. It’s a pretty glaring inconsistency of values. Finally, for what it’s worth – my husband and I… Read more »

Brit
1 month ago

Highly colored or patterned luggage can’t be easily mistaken. After watching my friend easily spot her pink, giant polka-dot bag, then searching for the identifying tags on my black luggage, I thought, “Well, that’s the best answer ever.”

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