Carry-On Luggage Guide 2018
Buying luggage is not my favorite aspect of trip planning. They all look the same, yet vary wildly from cheap to really expensive. Not to mention, they get tossed around like a football by the baggage handlers. They need to be ready to take a few knocks and then some. In the end, I’m confused by all the choices, that I just go with the pretty one. Yeah, I’m superficial like that.
Why Buy Carry-On Luggage?
Firstly, baggage handlers will not set one finger on it, since I’ll be boarding the plane with it and placing it in the overhead compartment.
Secondly, I don’t have to wait at baggage claim, staring at the conveyer belt for 20 minutes, hoping I see my luggage pop out. And then I realize everyone’s luggage looks exactly the same. Except for that one person who has the crazy neon luggage.
Thirdly, I’m forced to pack more realistically, because of the carry-on size limits on flights. No more packing random things that I don’t need and then having to lug around a 100lb suitcase.
And best of all, I don’t have to worry about airlines charging me extra for checking a bag. On some budget flights, you’re not even allowed one checked bag without forking over some cash.
Hard or Soft-Sided Case?
Picking a hard suitcase or a soft-sided case is a matter of preference. There are pros and cons for each.
Hard suitcases protect the contents of your suitcase better. However, because of their rigid structure, they take up more space regardless of what you put inside. If you are going to fill up your luggage, then that’s not really a negative. On the plus side, they are built strong and will last a long time, if you buy right.
Soft-sided bags, tend to be cheaper, lighter, and are more familiar to most travelers. If you don’t fill them completely, they can be compressed and will take up less space. However, they generally are less protective than hard-cased luggage.
Carry-On Sizes By Airline
You might be wondering, what luggage size is considered a carry-on? Well, it depends on the airline and whether you are flying in the U.S. or internationally.
To give you an example of the size variety, I’ve created a cheat sheet below featuring a few common airlines. You will notice straight away, that carry-on sizes vary by airline. Even more so if you are flying internationally.
The moral of the story, check with your airline, just to make sure.
- Micro-diamond texture is extremely scratch-resistant, keeping cases beautiful after a trip
- Re-engineered lightweight spinner wheels for effortless mobility
- Consumer preferred expansion on all sides
- Full-zip interior, divider and cross-straps for increased packing organization. Side-mounted tsa lock ensures security while traveling
- Body Dimensions: 19.0 x 14.5 x 9.75 inch, Overall Dimensions: 22.0 x 14.5 x 9.75 inch
Last update on 2019-08-24 at 09:54 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
For over 100 years, Samsonite has been providing travelers with dependable luggage. My parents had a few suitcases back in the day and I’ve grown up relying on Samsonite’s high standards.
BUILT TO LAST
The exterior of the Samsonite Omni Carry-On is 100% polycarbonate and is very durable. The case will stay beautiful on the outside, due to its micro-diamond texture. A TSA lock is built-in to the outside and is handy if you don’t already have a lock. The exterior zipper is well made and kept everything inside secure.
It weighs only 6.8 lbs and measures 22 x 15 x 9.5 inches, including its 4 wheels. Again, check with individual airlines size limits just in case. The handle extends easily and feels strong compared to flimsy ones I’ve tried.
Inside it has a full zip interior pocket, divider, and cross straps that secure belongings from corner to corner.
360 DEGREE SPINNER WHEELS
It’s so easy to carry over the uneven surfaces at the airport and it spins 360 degrees, thanks to the 4 fully-rotating wheels. Spinner carry-on luggage is the best.
EXPANDS TO INCREASE CAPACITY
Thanks to the expandable zipper, you can turn this luggage into a bigger size. Just keep in mind, once it’s expanded it will have to be checked in. It’s perfect for me when I’m coming back from a trip and I decided to do a little shopping. It’s very versatile and expands to a larger suitcase.
Samsonite backs this carry-on with a 10-year warranty. I highly recommend this carry-on, especially at the very reasonable price.
- Wheel design may vary between black and silver wheels
- Lightweight yet extremely durable ABS material
- Multi-directional spinner wheels
- Sturdy ergonomic aluminum telescoping handle
Last update on 2019-08-24 at 10:00 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
It can be transformed into a larger suitcase, by using the expandable zipper, which expands the suitcase to add more storage.
It weighs only 6.5 lbs and measures 20 x 13 x 9 inches, including its 4 wheels. Again, check with individual airlines size limits just in case.
The suitcase is lightweight, yet feels quite rigid and durable. The wheels are multi-directional and spin 360 degrees, for added versatility when traveling. The telescopic handle extends well and felt sturdy.
The company backs the suitcase with a 3-year warranty, which is essential to a frequent flyer like me.
- 20-inch hardside spinner luggage for weekend getaways or as international carry-on
- Protective hard shell with scratch-resistant finish; made of extra-thick ABS (thicker than the competition) for enhanced strength and durability
- Fully lined interior with divider; 150D-polyester interior organizer with 3 zippered pockets for conveniently storing smaller items
- Expandable for up to 15% additional packing capacity; solid, strong zippers; telescoping handle for comfortable maneuvering; securely mounted short handle
- 4 double spinner wheels ensure smooth-rolling mobility in any direction
Last update on 2019-08-24 at 08:20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
For the budget traveler, the Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner luggage is great for occasional travel throughout the year. It is 8.7 lbs, so is a little heavier than the previous carry-ons mentioned. The dimensions are 22 x 14 x 9 inches.
360-DEGREE SPINNER WHEELS
It has a protective hard shell with a scratch-resistant finish. The wheels rotate to 360 degrees and make carrying inside and outside the airport easy. The telescoping handle extends easily and feels stable.
It can be expanded by unzipping the “expandable” zipper and adds about 15% more packing capacity to the luggage.
I really like the interior compartments. In addition to a zipped pocket, you get an additional 2 organizer pockets to keep smaller items. I found it very handy for my socks and phone chargers.
- New patent-pending Contour Grip design with rubberized touch points specifically engineered for spinner model use. 4-wheel spinners rotate 360 Degree providing superior maneuverability and a smooth glide in every direction.
- 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 durabilit
- Full length interior lid pocket, side accessory pocket and adjustable hold down straps offer intelligent packing flexibility
- Dimensions 21x14x9 inches
Last update on 2019-08-24 at 09:54 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Travelpro Maxlite 3 is the perfect carry-on, for frequent use. Used for a few flights, you begin to notice the well-thought-out details that have been included with this luggage. Many of my friends who travel often, swear by this little carry-on. It just does everything really well.
ERGONOMIC TELESCOPIC HANDLE
The telescopic handle is molded to feel ergonomic to the touch. They’ve designed it especially to be used with their fully spinning wheels. It felt secure and I was able to spin the carry-on easily and comfortably, without hurting my hands. It’s especially handy when you are walking through the airplane and need to roll the carry-on sideways.
It’s certainly not as heavy as the suitcases from our parent’s youth, but it weighs 9.1 lbs. That is pretty average to me when comparing it against modern carry-on luggage. It measures 21 x 14 x 9 inches, so will easily fit most airline overhead compartments.
Inside it has a full-length interior lid pocket, side accessory pocket, and adjustable straps to keep everything secure.
If you need something smaller when going overseas, they also make an international version of the Travelpro Maxlite 3, which is slightly smaller. International carry-on luggage is generally smaller compared to domestic American flight requirements.
- Stylish and innovative design is constructed with lightweight and durable ABS exterior with molded corner reinforcement for maximum impact resistance
- Roomy, fully lined interior features garment restraints and a zipper pocket
- Lid features a large u-shaped zipper pocket
- Convenient and flexible top and side handles allows for easy lifting; Side bezels allow upright to stand on its side
- Four wheel construction allows upright to be rolled in any direction; Retractable locking handle system
Last update on 2019-08-24 at 09:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
For the style-conscious traveler, the Kenneth Cole Reaction “Out of Bounds” carry-on is perfect. It comes in 8 colors, but my favorite is definitely the charcoal version, which looks expensive.
It only weighs 6.6 lbs, so is very lightweight to carry. It measures 21.75 x 15.25 x 9 inches, including the fully spinning wheels.
The hard exterior feels durable and is reinforced with molded corners for extra protection. It can be laid on its side since it has raised bezels to rest the suitcase on. It’s handy for those times you board an airport shuttle and they need to squeeze each suitcase in.
Inside, space is divided into 50% storage on one side and 50% storage on the other. I found that really useful for separating shoes from the rest of my clothes.
- Fits in most airline overhead compartments and under the seat.
- Stylish quilted exterior with colorful internal lining.
- Roomy main compartment holds clothing & an extra pair of shoes.
- Plenty of interior pockets for small items including toiletries.
- Easy access front organizer for tickets, passport, books and more.
Last update on 2018-03-30 at 05:45 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
For even smaller carry-ons, the Delsey quilted under-seat bag is a nice little bag to pop under your seat. It can definitely be put in the overhead compartment, but can fit under your seat for easy access.
STACKABLE ON TOP OF LUGGAGE
The dimensions are 15 x 14 x 9 inches and it weighs 7.1 lbs. It can either be carried like a purse or pulled behind you, with its telescopic handle and two wheels. It also has a strap in the back that allows it to be stacked over a larger piece of luggage.
I was really impressed by the amount of storage it had inside. It’s quite deceiving from the outside. There is a main compartment and in total there are 5 more little pockets throughout the interior. Outside there is a mesh pocket for a water bottle and one zipped pocket as well.
I’ve used it on weekend trips and also in addition to my carry-on bag as my main purse. I highly recommend for those of us who adore pockets, compartments, pretty colors, and practicality.
- PERFECT FOR PLANES AND TRAINS: Aerolite's luxury line of convenient, 2-wheeled luggage is great for traveling. This compact, carryon tote features a 2 wheel roller system for effortless towing. With a retractable extending handle, our trolly bag sits underneath most, standard airplane and train seats. Airline approved: American Delta Southwest Alaska Spirit Aeroméxico Volaris Frontier Interjet Hawaiian VivaAerobus Virgin Atlantic and more. All parts size 16.5x13.8x7.8 in
- TRAVEL IN STYLE: Whether you're a frequent flyer on business trips or take frequent vacations, you don't need to forgo fashion and elegance to achieve superior functionality and durability. With Aerolite's cabin luggage with rollers by your side, you'll look sophisticated and chic no matter how rushed you feel or tired you are. Brandishing a stunning, vibrant purple with a soft, quilted shell, this designer luggage with wheels will stand out in a crowd...and on the baggage claim carousel.
- PREMIUM, HIGH QUALITY CRAFTSMANSHIP: At Aerolite, we pride ourselves in providing well-made travel gear, using top-notch materials and design. The polyester material of our carry-on duffel bags is tear-resistant, water-resistant and sewn together using reinforced stitching, so it's built to handle extensive use and wear-and-tear. Accessorized with a 3-digit number lock and an ID card slot in case your carry-on roller suitcase gets lost, Aerolite has your item protected every step of the way.
- IDEAL STORAGE SPACE: Transporting as many necessities as possible with as little inconvenience as possible is the name of the game for any flight. Every inch of our personal item hand luggage is designed to organize and carry your clothing, toiletries and documents. The interior features multiple pockets and compartments including 2 detachable, clear, plastic toiletry bags. The exterior has easily-accessible zipper pockets for phone, passport, ID, and travel documents you need readily available.
- COMES WITH A 2 YEAR WARRANTY: We are so sure of the outstanding quality, ergonomics, and style of this underseater cabin luggage set, Aerolite offers a 2-year warranty replacement for any unavoidable defects or malfunctions that may occur. We also provide a full refund to unsatisfied customers within 30 days of purchase. We are confident that you not only won't be returning it - you'll be buying more of these under seat travel bags.
Last update on 2019-08-24 at 08:54 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Probably one of the lightest travel bags I’ve ever had, the Aerolite Underseat carry-on weighs a mere 4.4 lbs. It’s another fabulous bag with so many compartments, you’ll wonder why other bags haven’t followed suit.
On the front exterior, it has four zippered pockets and an additional 2 side pockets. Inside you’ll find a combination of mesh and zippered pockets and a plastic compartment to keep toiletries from spilling.
To make it easy to carry, the telescopic handle extends and you can roll it as you walk. My only slight complaint, is that it can fall over if it’s full and I’m not holding onto the handle. I just make sure I’m holding the handle when I’m standing.
Hopefully, you’ve gotten a few ideas to the modern carry-ons that are available.
P.S. For even more organizing fun, check out my picks for the best luggage organizers.