Keep calm and carry on: The best carry-on luggage for every kind of trip

14 March 2023

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information.

From frequent travelers to fashionistas, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to carry-on luggage.

If you fly so often that you are on a first-name basis with your local airport’s Transportation Security Administration agents, you need a carry-on suitcase that is durable enough to stand up to repeated use.

If your carry-on bag should be as stylish as you are, you’ll want an eye-catching option that expresses your unique personality.

Backpacking through Europe or headed for the great outdoors? You’ll need a carry-on bag that’s both rugged and comfortable.

Related: Carry-on luggage showdown: Away vs. Roam

Regardless of how often or where you travel, we’ve rounded up the best of the best to help you find the carry-on bag that fits your travel style.

July Carry On Essential

JULY

Size: 21.5 inches by 15 inches by 8.5 inches.

Price: $255.

Buy now: July.com.

Before bringing its product to market, July pored over thousands of customer reviews of other luggage brands to determine what it could do to out-design the competition. The result is a carry-on suitcase that is crush-proof, scratch-proof and sophisticated.

Related: These are the checked bags carried by TPG’s staff

The no-nonsense July Carry On Essential has only, well, the essentials – a sleek shell with a TSA lock, an interior compression system and a hidden laundry bag. July’s bags are made to last, and it stands by that promise with a lifetime warranty and a 100-day return policy.

For an additional $40, you can order an upgraded version that includes metal bumpers and a portable power bank.

Away The Bigger Carry-On

AWAY

Size: 22.7 inches by 14.7 inches by 9.6 inches.

Price: $295.

Buy now: Awaytravel.com.

This larger version of the original Away Carry-On isn’t just bigger; it’s better. The Bigger Carry-On is large enough to hold four-to-seven days’ worth of clothing.

It’s also made with a durable polycarbonate shell and has a slew of functional features like 360-degree spinning wheels, a TSA lock, an interior compression system and a waterproof laundry bag. For easy portable charging, you can pay an additional $20 to add a USB charger to your bag.

Related: Carry-on luggage showdown: Away vs. Rimowa

Just as, if not more important, The Bigger-Carry-On from Away comes in a range of colors, including limited-edition hues that are released throughout the year.

Whether you’re looking for a suitcase in your favorite color or you just want something that stands out in a sea of black luggage, you are sure to find just what you are looking for.

Add more personalization with monograms and luggage tags in an array of colors and styles.

Beis The Carry-On Roller

BEIS/FACEBOOK

Size: 22 inches by 14 inches by 9-12 inches.

Price: $198.

Buy now: Beistravel.com.

Beis bags are made to look just as good on their hundredth trip as they did on their first, all while gliding through the airport with ease and navigating even the bumpiest of cobblestone streets.

The Carry-On Roller from Beis comes in six colors that coordinate with other Beis products, so you can mix and match or go for the monochromatic look.

Related: 5 best backpacks for every travel style

Beis’ The Carry-On Roller also has just the right amount of bells and whistles, with smooth-rolling 360-degree wheels, a cushioned trolley handle for comfort, a TSA lock, interior compression and a built-in weight indicator.

Also, because it’s almost guaranteed you’ll come home with more than you left with, this Beis bag expands with the simple pull of a zipper.

Monos Carry-On

MONOS/FACEBOOK

Size: 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches.

Price: $255 (regular price $284).

Buy now: Monos.com.

With its sleek, rounded design and vegan leather accents, it may be hard to believe the Monos Carry-On is unbreakable and water-resistant. In fact, it performs as well as it looks in every aspect, from the telescopic handle with four adjustable height settings to the antimicrobial interior fabric.

Other standout features include a TSA-approved lock, a built-in compression system, a laundry bag, two shoe bags and a vegan leather luggage tag. Get it in standard colors like black, white and gray or have a little fun with pink, forest green, sky blue or one of Monos’ limited-edition prints.

Rimowa Original Cabin Carry-On

RIMOWA/FACEBOOK

Size: 21.7 inches by 15.8 inches by 9.1 inches.

Price: $1,400.

Buy now: Rimowa.com.

If you want a bag that can stand up to hundreds of thousands of miles of travel by air, by land and by sea, the Rimowa Original Cabin Carry-On is the gold standard … and not just because it comes in metallic shades of gold, silver and black.

In addition to durability, the Rimowa Original Cabin Carry-On features TSA locks, a unique multiwheel system and adjustable interior dividers.

Related: Over 400,000 miles and counting: Review of the Rimowa carry-on bag

The Rimowa Original Cabin Carry-On comes with a steep price tag compared to most on this list, but it could potentially be a decade (or more) before you need a new one. Also, Rimowa backs up the longevity of its iconic aluminum suitcases with a lifetime guarantee.

Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage

CALPAK/FACEBOOK

Size: 21 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches.

Price: $195.

Buy now: Calpaktravel.com.

Every bag in Calpak’s Ambeur Collection shines in stylish shades of silver, gold, rose gold and metallic black, ensuring this carry-on luggage looks great rolling through the airport toward your next adventure.

Related: I fly almost 100,000 miles per year and don’t travel without these packing cubes from Calpak

This hard-sided carry-on suitcase weighs in at a super-lightweight 6 pounds. However, it still has room for handy details like a TSA combination lock, interior organization pockets, compression straps and the ability to expand up to 2 inches.

Paravel Grand Tour Set

PARAVEL/FACEBOOK

Size: The carry-on is 21.7 inches by 13.7 inches by 9 inches; the duffle is 20 inches by 11 inches by 10 inches.

Price: $675.

Buy now: Tourparavel.com.

The Paravel Grand Tour Set includes the brand’s popular Grand Tour Duffle and the Aviator Carry-On suitcase. The duffle is best for weekend trips, while the carry-on is better for three-to-four-day trips. Both easily fit in airplane overhead compartments and are made with eco-friendly recycled materials.

Both pieces of luggage have interior and exterior pockets to keep your items tidy. The carry-on also features an interior compression board and a removable laundry bag. Both pieces can be customized with a monogram in a variety of colors.

Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable Carry-On

AMAZON

Size: 21.25 inches by 15.25 inches by 10 inches.

Price: $179.

Buy now: Amazon.com.

Samsonite has been making luggage for more than 100 years, so it knows a thing or two about creating long-lasting suitcases with features travelers want.

This hard-sided bag is ultra-light and made with a scratch-resistant exterior in a rainbow of eye-catching colors like tangerine orange and amethyst purple, plus the requisite neutral shades.

The Freeform Hardside Expandable Carry-On from Samsonite also has smooth-rolling 360-degree spinner wheels, a TSA lock, interior compression and organization, and can be expanded if you need a bit of extra space.

Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner

AMAZON

Size: 22 inches by 14.9 inches by 10 inches.

Price: $120.

Buy now: Amazon.com.

The 21-inch Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner has a budget-friendly price tag but doesn’t sacrifice style or function. This hard-sided carry-on has an extra-thick textured finish designed to keep scuffs and scratches at bay. It also comes in various colors that coordinate with other pieces in the collection.

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The double spinner wheels ensure a smooth ride, and the expandable zipper can net you up to 15% more space for those times when you just can’t quite fit everything you need without sitting on your suitcase to force it closed.

Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack

BEN HERNDON/OSPREY/FACEBOOK

Size: 24 inches by 15 inches by 4 inches.

Price: $178.

Buy now: Amazon.com.

If you need a carry-on bag large enough to store all your travel essentials yet comfortable enough to carry while hiking through a new city (or running between airport terminals), the Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack is the perfect addition to your luggage lineup.

This backpack features a breathable back panel that provides structure and comfort, exterior and interior organization so you can always find what you need and adjustable shoulder straps and a hip belt for a custom fit.

Related: 5 best backpacks for every travel style

Bottom line

No matter where you’re headed or how you plan to get there, you need a carry-on bag that can smoothly navigate the terrain (even if that terrain is the airport’s moving walkway) and hold everything you need for your adventures.

Every bag on this list looks good and performs well enough that you’ll likely find the one that deserves a spot in your closet.

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