5 best carry-on luggage bags

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By David Em
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Whether you’re looking for one with a soft side or hard side, carry-on luggage bags must be lightweight, durable, and easy to move around.

How to choose the right carry-on

Choosing the perfect carry-on is a big decision that’ll enhance your travel experience.

It’s also an excellent way to keep all of your belongings with you on your flight without having to deal with checked bags.

Related: What are airline alliances?

To find the right carry-on luggage, consider the following:

1. Soft or hard side? The first step is to figure out the type of material that you’re looking for in a bag. Hard-shell bags tend to look better and last longer than soft-sided ones.

2. Domestic and international sizes. In general, international bag size requirements are around 21-inches tall, while domestic requirements may be 22-inches. Decide on the type of travel that you’re planning to do before you choose a carry-on.

3. Make sure it’s functional. Luggage may look great online. However, the test comes when it’s time for you to use it. Be sure to test it out before you go on your trip by stuffing it with your travel essentials. Move it around and lift it as if you’re traveling.

1. Rimowa Original Cabin

Black Rimowa carry-on luggage.
Photo courtesy of Rimowa.

Size: 22″ x 16″ x 9″

The Rimowa Original Cabin is an iconic and luxurious aluminum suitcase that’s known for its grooves.

Its timeless design and excellent craftsmanship make the Original Cabin one of the best in the world.

The four-wheel system makes it easy to maneuver, and it has TSA-approved locks that can be opened by security during airline baggage checks without causing any damage to the suitcase.

Get the Cabin Carry-On from Rimowa.

2. Away The Bigger Carry-On

Dark grey hard-shell carry-on luggage by Away.
Photo courtesy of Away.

Size: 22.7” x 14.7” x 9.6”

The Bigger Carry-On by Away is a lightweight suitcase that’s designed to fit a lot of things inside.

It has an interior compression system and a hidden laundry bag, which makes it easy to pack all of your essentials.

The hard-shell is made with durable polycarbonate material, and the suitcase comes with a removable, TSA-approved portable charger.

Get The Bigger Carry-On from Away.

3. Travelpro Platinum® Elite 21” Expandable Carry-On Spinner

Black Travelpro soft-shell carry-on luggage.
Photo courtesy of Travelpro.

Size: 23.5″ x 14.5″ x 9″

Travelpro’s Platinum Elite Expandable Carry-On is a nylon suitcase with touches of leather and aluminum.

It has a tip-resistant expansion system, which gives you 2 inches of extra packing capacity.

As a carry-on, it’s best for short to medium-length trips. For longer trips, you’ll most likely need to check your bags.

Get Travelpro Platinum Elite Expandable Carry-On from Amazon.

4. Briggs & Riley Sympatico Carry-On Expandable Spinner

Blue hard-shell carry-on by Briggs and Riley.
Photo courtesy of Briggs & Riley.

Size: 21″ x 14″ x 9″

The Briggs & Riley Sympatico Carry-On has a sleek and modern design that’s perfect for 1 to 4-day trips.

It’s made with polycarbonate, which is high-strength and lightweight while providing elasticity and resiliency.

Get the Briggs & Riley Sympatico Carry-On from Amazon.

5. Samsonite Novaire Carry-On Spinner

Silver hard-shell luggage by Samsonite.
Photo courtesy of Samsonite.

Size: 21.5″ × 15″ × 9″

The Samsonite Novaire is a highly-rated suitcase that looks refined and can withstand plenty of use. The textured Polycarbonate shell has a subtle sheen that reduces the visibility of scratches.

Get the Novaire from Samsonite.


A carry-on bag is essential for short to medium-length trips. If you get one that can compress your items without ruining them, you’ll be able to pack more things without worrying about getting your bags checked.

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Featured image courtesy of Rimowa.

Portrait of David Em.

About David Em

David Em is the founder of Nola & Luna Travel, the destination for travel advice and inspiration. He launched Nola & Luna Travel to share expert advice, useful tips, unbiased reviews, and inspiration about destinations across the globe.