Anything can happen when you travel, and that’s part of the adventure. But getting through the airport is a time you don’t want surprises. That’s why it’s time for a new carry-on bag. Rather than wondering if your bag will fit the strict carry-on policies of various airlines, invest in a new travel companion.
Today’s carry-on luggage is sturdier, lighter, stronger, and probably easier to maneuver than those bags stashed in the basement. Making great use of all the interior space, two weeks of cruise wear can stay in your control without the worry, hassle, or expense of checking a bag.
The Denver-based company Samsonite introduced luggage in the style of fancy, heavy trunks in 1910. When vulcanized rubber came on the scene in the 1960s, bags got smaller and lighter, perfect for weekend and business travelers. While those vintage carry-on bags are highly collectible, they’re still clunky by comparison to today’s designs.
Today’s long-lasting carry-ons are lightweight and maximize space, to give savvy travelers that first-class feeling. Here are our favorites.
Attractive and hard-sided, this 20-inch carry-on bag has a brushed anthracite finish to defend against and camouflage bumps or dings. The lightweight bag only weighs 6.7 pounds and it has easily rotating wheels so it turns on a dime. We love how it only takes one hand, or even one finger, to tote it with you through escalators, elevators, people movers, and shopping kiosks. Its total dimensions are 23 inches wide by 14.5 inches deep and 9.5 inches high. Fitting into most airlines’ carry-on sizes, regional or international airline travelers should double-check the carry-on size requirements. Inside, buckled straps in the main compartment keep contents in place, while the lid has a mesh, zippered closure with pockets for electronics accessories. Two TSA-approved locks keep your belongings safe. Since one in seven bags don’t arrive at their destination on time – and one percent does not even reach its destination – carrying your belongings with you saves you time and those dreaded lost luggage hassles.
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Get your baggage in and out of the overhead bins or underneath seat storage with the padded top handle and the set of side handles on this smartly designed bag. This polyester fabric carry-on makes boarding and traversing airline aisles a snap. In durable dark grey – with a dozen other colors to choose from – the 12-inch suitcase has spinner wheels for easy navigation. But inside is where this bag really shines. Pack most items in the spacious base, and zip smaller accessories in the mesh top compartment. We love the zippered wet bag that is great for toiletries and swimsuits. For airline travel, keep at its 12.75-inch size. Or for train and car travel, go ahead and expand the depth another 2 1/2 inches, and take those two extra pairs of cute shoes with you.
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Simple to spot on the baggage carousel, a bright turquoise bag looks like a holiday to tropical waters. Available in over forty other colors and textures, all these bags are crafted from thin yet strong ABS – an organic polymer – and they only weigh seven pounds each. Meets the carry-on criteria for most major US airlines. This bag with wheels measures 22-inches by 13-inches and nine inches high, or a little over 11-inches when expanded. The interior has mesh and an elastic pocket for extra organization. Since carry-on luggage is easier to keep track of than checked bags, using this colorful bag may well keep you from having to bid on unclaimed luggage at the lost luggage auction in Scottsboro, Alabama.
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We love the attention to detail on this bag. The exterior is made from coated, strong fabric designed to keep your carry-on resistant to water and stains. In slate green, or choose from a dozen other colors, this soft-sided 21-inch tall carry-on bag features a long expandable handle. Reaching from 38-inches to 42.5 inches, the smooth rubber handle is great for taller travelers who don’t like bending down while traversing the airport. The bottom of the bag has extra support to handle bumps along the way. All the color choices have complimentary interior fabric inside. The long mesh interior pocket keeps fragile items protected, while the other side accessory pocket helps keep track of hair or electronic accessories. Convenient straps keep all your clothes in place. While the term luggage was first coined in 1596, William Shakespeare was actually the first to use it in his play, Henry IV.
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The pale pink polycarbonate carry-on is attractively designed with deep rose accents and oodles of special features. This carry-on bag puts the fun into function. With a USB charger on board, your devices can always be energized for the flight, so you can download all those old Parks and Recreation episodes. The unique security system has a zippered closure that locks the zippers in place with a three-digit dial on the top of the bag. It’s safer and TSA-approved. The bag has two soft-grip handles for portability. The inside is coated with antimicrobial odor control. That would come in handy, especially if handling some of the oddest items to be found in luggage. Among these are a rattlesnake, moose poop, parrots, or that taxidermy bear. This accoutrement also includes laundry and shoe bags. It’s available in four other colors, all with matching tote bags to complete the look.
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