I always try to travel smarter by only traveling with a carry-on luggage. Most airline companies have strict luggage policies and may charge you baggage fees. The fees change constantly and vary by airline, destination, date of travel, the number of bags, and bag weight and size. Even if you’ve secured an affordable plane ticket, you could end up paying a lot more than you bargained for when flying on a carrier that charges baggage fees.
Sometimes that just isn’t possible such as traveling for a long journey, month-long cruises or traveling with kids. Choosing the right luggage is primordial depending on where, when and how long is the duration of your trip.
Don’t be a jerk. Other people need to use the overhead bin space too.
The majority of the airline will permit you to bring aboard a carry-on luggage and a personal item such as a daypack, laptop bag, purse, camera bag, or tote. The spirit of the rules is that your personal item should be a small bag. The rule of thumb is that your personal item should fit under the seat in front of you.
The personal item allowance is not an excuse to bring a second carry-on bag. I’ve seen many people do this and use two spots in the overhead bin. For the personal item, I would recommend using a soft sided bag since space may vary from one aircraft to the other. You can also bring certain items such as jackets, strollers, diaper bag, etc. on board.
Your best bet is to pack as light as possible. Don’t give your airline a reason to single you out.
The average 22-Inch Check-In suitcase fits roughly 2 pairs of jeans, 3 sweaters, 2 dresses and 5 shirts. This will leave no room for you to bring your entire wardrobe, you will need to figure out how to pack decently.
There are many advantages of traveling with only carry-on luggage. You save on check-in fees. Also, if you have lost your baggage in the past, you’ll feel relieved knowing that all your baggage is with you. You will also save a lot of time not having to wait at the baggage carousel. Skip the line and carry-on!
Here are some tips on how to pack decently:
Write a list of necessities.
Check the weather forecast for an idea of what kind of clothes you will need.
Lay out every item planned for each day, from outfits to accessories to avoid over packing.
Roll your clothes instead of folding them so they don’t wrinkle but also because they take up much less space.
Leave some space in your bag for clothes to breathe. Jamming your bag to the brim can increase wrinkling and leave no space for souvenirs.
Pack more tops than bottoms.
Fill shoes with sunglasses, electronics, and socks.
Place a dryer sheet in your bag to keep things smelling fresh.
Vacuum storage bags, travel bags, and plastic bags are a traveler’s best friend. All you have to do is dig in your luggage and pull out exactly what you’re looking for!
Go through security without any hassle.
One of the challenges of traveling with only a carry-on bag is that you’re carrying everything on you when you go through security at the airport. In doing so, you must follow a certain set of rules:
Bottles containing liquid or gel over 100ml/100g and most sharp objects (sharp-tipped scissors, knives, Swiss army knives, etc.) can’t be stored in your carry-on luggage. Make sure you pack accordingly.
Since your electronics might be inspected separately, place them on top of your bag for easy access. Same thing goes for your liquids and gels which you will have put together in a 1-litre maximum transparent plastic bag, ahead of time.
Do not wrap any presents you are bringing as you might have to unwrap them if questioned by security to confirm what is inside the package!
How to find the best carry-on luggage?
Carry-on luggage generally come with either two or four wheels. Each has their own pros and cons. The requirement for a carry-on to fit in an overhead compartment is typically 22 x 14 x 9 inches. I would suggest a carry-on with wheels and telescoping handles because rolling beats hauling a bag over your shoulder.
4-Wheels vs 2-Wheels
Four wheeled luggage allows for much greater flexibility when pulling the bag. They give a 360-degree range of motion, can be pushed down narrow aisles on their side and generally perform well over most terrain. The disadvantage, however is that they can be bulky, as the wheel size is taken into consideration when measuring the size of the bag or case. They can also become jammed on certain surfaces like carpet.
Two-wheeled luggage allows you to pull the bag from behind you on an angle. Although not anywhere near as flexible as four-wheeled bags, the wheels are often hidden close towards the bag, reducing the bag dimensions, and therefore taking up less space.
Soft case vs Hard case
Usually, people have a preference for either hard or soft case, but the usefulness of each type really does depend on the type of travel you do. If you require added space and flexibility beyond what an expandable zip can do, soft cases can be more appropriate as they allow for awkward shapes and tighter fits.
Hard case luggage has the advantage of being entirely waterproof and offers a more contained enclosure. They are less flexible in regards to shape and something seen in hard luggage reviews is that they scratch more easily. However, they do have the advantage of often being stronger and more durable.
Zippers, It’s all in the Teeth!
A lot can go wrong with a zipper. If it breaks while you are traveling, you might have to toss out the bag. Zippers come in two types: chain and coil. A chain zipper has two sets of interlocking teeth, usually made of metal. They are better and stronger than coil zippers, which slide on two parallel coils usually made of polyester. Chain zippers are much more difficult to break into than coil zippers, which can be pulled apart with a ballpoint pen and reclosed without a trace of wrongdoing. Zippers can be a proxy for the overall quality of the bag. A YKK zipper is widely believed in the industry to be the most reliable zipper on the market.
Is the price is right?
There are many brand and model of carry-on luggage to choose from. The list can be long, it comes from all kind of shape, color, materials and price. If you want your bag for the long haul, get the one with the best manufacturer’s warranty. A lifetime warranty to repair or replace the bag is, of course, the best option. Always make sure to check the warranty statement for specific requirements, such as exclusions for airline damage.
Here are the carry-on bags that we think make great travel companions, no matter where you’re going or what you haul inside.
Samsonite Silhouette Sphere II Hardside Spinner 22
Introducing the new Silhouette Sphere II Hardside featuring Samsonite’s new Split Spherical Wheels. Each half of the Sphere Wheel can move independently in the same or opposite direction to comfortably allow rolling over uneven or smooth surfaces alike with the same effortless motion for the ultimate in unparalleled control and turning ability.
100% Bayer Makrolon Polycarbonate
Textured TPR coated, gel-infused, push-button locking handle provides a comfortable grip
Four multi-directional split spherical spinner wheels for easy mobility. Rolls upright so there is no weight on your arm or shoulder. Unique angled carry-on taper on the 22 inch is designed to fit the shape of the overhead bin
Fully-featured interiors with wetpak, mesh and modesty pockets for increased organization
Full-zip, compression panels keep clothes neatly packed while traveling
Flush-mounted travel sentry combination lock provides additional peace of mind when checking belongings.
Textured TPR coated, gel-infused, push-button locking handle provides a comfortable grip
Travelpro Luggage Maxlite3 22 Inch Expandable Rollaboard
The MaxLite3 22 inch Expandable Rollaboard is is ultra-lightweight, allowing you to pack more without exceeding baggage weight limits. a Honeycomb Framing System and EVA foam construction provide exceptional durability while keeping it super light. The built in Protective skid guards, corner guards and crash-guard wheel housings protect against potential damage during travel and the Airline-grade Telescoping aluminum handle with two stops at 38 inch and 42.5 inch ensures a comfortable roll for users of different height. Limited Lifetime warranty.
21″ shoulder drop
Airline-grade aluminum handle locks in 2 positions (38 inch and 42.5 inch) to ensure a comfortable roll for users of different heights.
Honeycomb frame system provides lightweight durability.
Full length interior lid pocket, side accessory pocket and adjustable hold down straps offer intelligent packing flexibility
Full length front pocket with built in ticket pocket for last minute items
Dimensions 22x14x9 inches lifetime warranty
eBags EXO 2.0 Hardside Spinner Carry-On
eBags EXO 2.0 Hardside Spinner Carry-On is built to the highest quality standards using lightweight materials, rock-solid construction, and a unique exterior sure to get noticed on the carousel.
Guaranteed for life under the eBags Lifetime Warranty
Overall exterior dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9, meeting critical airline carry-on requirements
Flush-mounted Travel Sentry TSA-recognized 3-dial combination lock for secure packing
100% Polycarbonate shell – the most durable material available in hardside luggage
Double-wheel casters provide smooth stable spinning motion and are secured with internal support plates for a lifetime of use
Delsey Luggage Helium Aero International Carry On
Delsey Luggage Helium Aero International Carry On has a contemporary design with a deep metallic glossy finish to travel in style. Made of 100% lightweight yet durable polycarbonate. Double spinner wheels assure superior maneuverability. Features an integrated padded sleeve for up to a 15.6 inch laptop and two zippered mesh pockets for accessories, toiletries or last minute items. Fits in the overhead of most domestic airlines.
Large Easy Access Front Compartment with an integrated padded sleeve for up to a 15.6 inch laptop and 2 zippered mesh pockets for computer accessories, toiletries, or any last minute items such as tickets, passport or books.
Superior Maneuverability: The double spinner wheels assure exceptional maneuverability and keep ZERO weight on your arm.
Largest Capacity: This suitcase expands up to 2 inches for additional packing space. This feature is great for packing sovenirs on return journeys.
Maximum Comfort: This carry on bag has a comfortable handle system that locks into two positions for ease of use.
Convenient and Secure Packing: Two large fully-lined compartments with multiple pockets allow easy access and organization for all of your items. Web straps and a zippered divider secure clothing and help minimize wrinkles.
100% polycarbonate which makes the case lightweight and durable. Modern design with deep metallic glossy finishes
Large east access front compartment with integrated padded sleeve for up to 15.6 inch laptop and 2 zippered mesh pockets for computer accessories, toiletries, or any last minute items
Double spinner wheels assure exceptional maneuverability and keep zero weight on your arm
Integrated 3 dial tsa accepted combination lock, self-repairing zippers
Fully linered interior with two compartments, elastic web straps, with speed buckle for securing clothes
Osprey Ozone 22″/46L Wheeled Luggage
The Osprey Ozone 46 is the perfect light-weight carry-on travel companion. Made on our ultralight and strong 6001 aluminum frame and featuring large wheels with sealed bearings and durable nylon exterior, the Ozone 46 travels light and smooth and will last a lifetime. Key features include an easy-access top zippered pocket for liquids and valuables; low profile carry handles on top and side; large access panel zip to the main compartment; zippered organizational pocket with internal zippered pocket; and dual internal compression straps to hold items in place. For your next weekend getaway, the Osprey Ozone 46 is the perfect fit.
210D Nylon Shadow Box Main Body
Easy access zippered top liquids pocket allows quick access to your toiletry kit or other small items
With low profile handles on three sides of the Ozone it is easy to grab, pull and carry in any situation
Lockable zippers designed to work with TSA approved travel locks to protect your gear from theft
Hidden zippered stores travel documents, a wallet or a passport; Large mesh pockets are perfect to hold snacks, headphones or other smaller items
High Road Chassis features a lightweight aluminum frame, large wheels with sealed bearings, and a high-clearance curved molded base
Werks Traveler 5.0 WT 22 Dual-Caster Spinner Carry On Suitcase
The WT 22 Dual-Caster spinner wheels offer 360 degree movement, making it more comfortable to wheel around and easy to maneuver in tight spaces. While the WT 22 Dual-Caster is compatible with many U.S. airline carriers, if you are concerned about carry on regulations we recommend considering the smaller WT 20 Dual-Caster.
100% Ballistic Nylon
Mesh lining lining
56 centimeters high
36 centimeters wide
One-touch, dual-trolley aluminum handle system locks into three positions – 41 inch 104 cm, 39 inch 99 cm and 37 inch 94 cm – to accommodate travelers of various heights and allows for superior control and maneuverability through tight spaces and allows you to rest another bag on top of the upright for consolidated travel
Dual-casters deliver a smooth, stable, quiet roll and provide 360 degree movement with zero weight-in-hand
6.7 pounds, 2772 cubic inches
Global lifetime plus limited warranty
Briggs & Riley BRX Explore Domestic Expandable Upright
Explore Commuter Upright luggage is one of the lightest wheeled upright carry-ons out there! Pack all your essentials in this efficient little dynamo, while meeting international and domestic carry-on regulations. Strategic use of lightweight, durable 420D nylon, 600D polyester and water-resistant tarpaulin; contrasting gray heather fabric for modern aesthetic. Outer fabrics resist wear, moisture, dirt and abrasion.
Lightweight/Durable Nylon/Polyester/Water Resistant Tarpaulin; Outer Fabrics: Resist Wear/Moisture/Dirt/Abrasion
Simple as that® lifetime warranty even covers airline damage.
Outsider handle provides greater interior capacity and increased packing space
Outer fabrics resist wear, moisture, dirt and abrasion
Vertical front pocket offers quick, convenient access to small items
Meets most domestic carry-on size requirements
Tumi V3 International Carry-On
Retractable top carry handle, Zip entry to main compartment, 3-stage telescoping handle, Integrated TSA lock, 4 recessed dual wheels
3 zip pockets, tie-down straps