Whether you’re a constant jet-setter or prefer only to fly when you absolutely need to, we can all agree that there are endless ways traveling could be a lot better. And while it won’t help prevent dry cabin air or the person behind you from kicking your chair, we’re firm believers that a great suitcase can totally change your travel experience. And the perfect one? It might even get you excited about getting on the plane.
That’s why we’ve rounded up some of our favorite carry-on suitcases. These 11 picks will streamline your packing process, help you breeze through TSA lines and keep all your things safe and secure. Plus, they’ll look great while doing so. Because there’s no need to settle for a drab, get-lost-on-the-baggage-carousel bag when you could go with something that’s just as practical (if not more) and a whole lot nicer to look at.
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The Bigger Carry-On (starting at $245; awaytravel.com)
Minimal, chic and uber popular (for very good reason), all of Away’s suitcases hit on that sweet intersection of form and function. And while you may have seen the brand all over Instagram, what you might not know is just how brilliantly constructed its products are. Out of all the suitcases we’ve tried and tested over the years, Away’s Carry-On has proven to be one of the most durable and easy to use. The incredibly smooth 360° spinner wheels and ejectable USB charger make this a breeze to carry through (and get the most use out of) at the airport and during any non-airplane travel.
Despite all this, what really sold us was the interior. It’s super well-designed to make you pack smarter: the interior compression system and hidden laundry bag have proven to be super helpful, while the two compartments help make organization more intuitive. And for any notorious overpackers, this slightly bigger carry-on size is a dream. That combined with the extra bit of flex in the suitcase make this an excellent option for those worried about not having enough space for all their stuff.
Roam Luggage The Jaunt ($495; roamluggage.com)
For the person who loves anything that’s one-of-a-kind, we’d suggest a suitcase from Roam Luggage. The brand allows you to totally custom design your own suitcase by choosing the color of everything from the front and back shell to the color of the zipper, wheels and/or carry handle. And in true personalization fashion, you can also add a free monogram and choose your monogram patch color. Despite all this, the suitcase does come with a 100-day trial period, which is totally unique for a custom product.
But on top of all that, The Jaunt is truly a fantastic suitcase. The 100% virgin polycarbonate shell is extremely durable, and the water-repellent zipper is a welcomed detail -- it’s truly a lifesaver on any rainy days where your bag might be stuck on the tarmac. Other great features include a telescopic handle with four different height settings, super smooth ball-bearing wheels, a TSA-approved combination lock, and a water resistant, washable fabric lining on the interior of the suitcase. The only potential downside to note is that it isn’t expandable and doesn’t have any give, so you won’t be able to stuff this suitcase silly, which honestly might end up being a good thing in the long run.
July Carry On Light ($225; july.com)
Weighing in at only 3.96 pounds, this suitcase from Australian brand July is currently the lightest in the world. So if you’re in need of a lightweight bag (or just want to avoid struggling to get your suitcase into the overhead bin) this might very well be your next go-to travel buddy. Predictably, you get a little less space with how lightweight this suitcase is. It holds 38L, as compared to July’s classic Carry On Light option which holds 46L. But for anyone who likes to pack light or frequently goes on short, one- or two-night long trips, why haul around an uncomfortable duffle when you could opt for this lovely suitcase?
It’s available in eight colors and features must-have components like a twin bar telescopic handle (with three different heights) and super quiet yet durable 360° double spinner wheels (one reviewer notes that they didn’t get caught on the cobblestone streets of Madrid!). The interior is just as simple and streamlined with two compartments on each side that can be zipped up with a mesh divider. Overall, this bag is a perfect pick for anyone who wants a fantastic suitcase without all the bells and whistles. But not to worry if you love the look of the Carry On Light but need something with more features -- the brand’s Carry On Light is just as great.
American Tourister Moonlight ($99.99, originally $139.99; amazon.com)
For anyone who wants a great suitcase at a great price, you can’t go wrong with this option from American Tourister. The bag is a fan-favorite on Amazon with a 4.7-star rating from over 7,600 reviews, which is no small feat for something as contentious as luggage. Reviewers love how smooth and lightweight this is. Some other key components include an inch and a half of extra expandable space, a fully-lined interior with cross straps and mesh divider and a TSA combination lock.
The only downside that reviewers note is the overall durability, particularly when it comes to scratching and scuffing on the exterior of the suitcase. While some scuffing can be an inevitable sign of a well-loved suitcase, it’s understandable that folks might be wary of something that would look worn out after just a couple trips. For this reason, we’d definitely suggest the black or white marble color, both of which are stylish and trendy designs that can obscure signs of wear.
Rimowa Original Cabin ($1,200; rimowa.com)
For luxury lovers, Rimowa’s aluminum suitcases are some of the most iconic of all time. While they’re undoubtedly a total splurge (and you’re no doubt paying for the brand name), you’re getting a sleek, fashion-forward bag that’s also a great suitcase. This one is made from a high-end anodized aluminum that’s surprisingly lightweight and stunning to look at. When compared to polycarbonate (the shell material of most suitcases on this list), aluminum isn’t typically as lightweight or scratchproof. It is, however, an incredibly durable material. So if you’re O.K. with some signs of wear (and are more concerned about the ultimate well-being of the stuff inside your suitcase), an aluminum shell is a great option that’s known to last years, even for the most frequent of fliers.
Other unique features: there are no interior pockets or compartments, which are definitely a pro if you prefer to pack “trunk” style as opposed to the built-in compartments that have become popular. There also aren’t any zippers, which add to that classic feel. In addition, it sports the typical smooth wheels and a stellar telescopic handle that boasts seamless stage-free adjustment.
Carry-On Closet (starting at $229, originally $255; solgaard.co)
For anyone who has trouble keeping organized, this sleek carry-on suitcase packs a whole closet. That’s right, it has a built-in, patented six-shelf closet (that doubles as compression packing cubes) to help you save space, pack smarter and stay organized. It’s an incredibly well-thought out feature that makes packing seamless and makes unpacking (or living out of your suitcase?) basically instantaneous. In addition to the ingenious organizational tool, this classic polycarbonate suitcase features frictionless wheels, a TSA-approved lock and an easily accessible USB charging port.
Hybrid Carry-On ($325; monos.com)
If you love the luxurious look of the Rimowa suitcase but can pass on its luxury price tag, we’d highly recommend this carry-on from Monos. While the brand makes tons of different gorgeous and super well-designed classic suitcases (that are super similar to those of Away), we were absolutely blown away by their Hybrid Carry-On. It merges the durability of aluminum with the resilience and lightweight of the brand’s aerospace-grade German polycarbonate for a trunk-style carry-on that’s everything we never knew we needed.
The 360° wheels are super smooth and quiet, the adjustable telescopic handle boasts four different height settings, and the monochrome look of the color-matched components are an absolute dream. The interior is lined with a soft, anti-microbial fabric and sports two handy compartments, one of which includes a built-in compression pad. And in place of zippers, the suitcase opts for two TSA-approved combination locks that add to its sleek look.
American Tourister Belle Voyage ($99.20, originally $139.99; amazon.com)
If you prefer a softside suitcase, we’ve found an one that’s affordable, compact and well-loved by tons of travelers (it boasts a 4.7-star rating from over 1,700 reviews). Similar to the hardside options on this list, this carry-on includes smooth, multi-directional wheels and a push-button locking handle. What does it have that the hardside models don’t? For one, you don’t have to open it up, which can save a lot of space when you’re staying in a compact place. It can also be easier for many folks to keep organized as there are specific pockets for different articles of clothing, shoes, undergarments and electronics.
But don’t let that fool you into thinking that there’s not a ton of room in this little bag, because there absolutely is. One reviewer notes that it’s deep enough to hold different packing cubes, while another shares that she was able to pack up clothes for a whole week in addition to three pairs of shoes, a hairdryer, brush and various toiletries with room to spare. One thing to look out for: some reviewers share that this suitcase is a bit larger than airlines allow carry-on bags to be, so they had to check it at the gate. While this won’t always be the case, we’d recommend checking out the exact requirements of the airline you’re flying before packing up if you want to avoid that.
Aviator Carry-On ($275; tourparavel.com)
For the eco-conscious traveler, this suitcase is carbon-neutral, making it the most sustainable option you can find. The brand worked to offset all carbon emission generated from creating and shipping one of their suitcases, in addition to estimated emissions from its first trip with you. It’s also made from sustainable materials: recycled polycarbonate for the shell, recycled zippers, a recycled aluminum handle and reinforced corners and an inner lining made from 15 upcycled water bottles.
In addition to all that, it’s also a fantastic suitcase. It’s built with incredibly smooth, 360° double spinner wheels, well-designed interior pockets and compression board, and a textured finish that’s perfect for hiding any scuffs. The vegan leather details and wrapped steel handles give the suitcase an almost retro look that’s completely unique.
Ambeur Carry-On Luggage ($195; calpaktravel.com)
For anyone looking for an extremely Instagram-able piece of luggage that falls under that $200 price point, Calpak has been our go-to brand for years. This lightweight suitcase is available in four stunning shades, each of which include a TSA-approved lock, carbon steel bearing wheels and a design that can expand up to two inches. The interior has everything you need: the left side features an interior divider with pockets, while the right side includes a compression strap and interior accessory pocket perfect for electronics or valuables.
Samsonite Freeform ($141.57, originally $189.99; amazon.com)
Another fairly affordable option, this Samsonite carry-on is similar to the American Tourister Moonlight in that it has everything you need and would expect from a solid carry-on suitcase, namely a light shell, smooth multi-directional wheels and a TSA combination lock for that extra bit of safety. And for that reason, it’s also a fan-favorite on Amazon with a 4.6-star rating from over 4,500 reviews. Happy travelers rave about how much they can pack in this small suitcase, even without using the expandable feature, which is great for when you just need a little more room. It’s available in tons of fun colors. And if you’re in need of a checked bag as well, you can snag a matching one for $210.
Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.