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[2023] How to Pack for a 4 Day Trip in a Carry-On: The Ultimate Guide

Jacob

  • July 27, 2023
  • Weekend Getaway Checklists

The Plan before the Adventure

Are you tired of lugging around heavy suitcases when you travel? Do you want to avoid the hassle of waiting at the baggage claim? Look no further! Our team at Travel Checklist™ has put together the ultimate guide on how to pack for a 4 day trip in a carry-on. Say goodbye to checked luggage and hello to stress-free travel!

Table of Contents

Quick answer, quick tips and facts, why should i use carry-on luggage instead of checked luggage, what is the best carry-on to use for a 4 day trip, what's the difference between checked luggage, carry-on, and a personal item, what should i pack for a 4 day trip, what toiletries do i need for a 4 day trip, what clothing should i pack for a 4 day trip, what should i pack for a 4 day trip in summer, what should i pack for a 4 day trip in winter, tips + tricks for packing a carry-on for a 4 day trip, useful links, reference links.

Packing for a 4 day trip in a carry-on is totally doable! With careful planning and smart packing techniques, you can fit everything you need into a compact carry-on bag. Our team recommends choosing versatile clothing items, packing travel-sized toiletries, and utilizing packing cubes to maximize space. Don't forget to roll your clothes to save even more space! Check out our detailed guide below for more tips and tricks.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of packing for a 4 day trip in a carry-on, here are some quick tips and interesting facts to keep in mind:

  • Tip : Make a packing list to ensure you don't forget any essentials.
  • Fact : The average carry-on size for most airlines is around 22 x 14 x 9 inches.
  • Tip : Wear your bulkiest items, such as a jacket or boots, during travel to save space in your carry-on.
  • Fact : Most airlines allow one carry-on bag and one personal item, like a purse or laptop bag.
  • Tip : Use compression bags or packing cubes to organize and compress your clothes.
  • Fact : Overpacking can lead to additional fees for overweight luggage or difficulty fitting your bag in the overhead compartment.

Now that you're armed with some quick tips and facts, let's dive into the details of packing for a 4 day trip in a carry-on.

Using carry-on luggage instead of checked luggage offers several advantages:

  • Convenience : With a carry-on, you can skip the long lines at the check-in counter and the wait at the baggage claim.
  • Time-saving : No need to wait for your luggage to be unloaded from the plane. You can simply grab your bag and go.
  • Cost-effective : Many airlines charge extra fees for checked luggage. By using a carry-on, you can avoid these additional costs.
  • Peace of mind : When you keep your belongings with you, there's less chance of them getting lost or damaged.

When choosing a carry-on for a 4 day trip, there are a few factors to consider:

  • Size : Look for a carry-on that meets the size restrictions of most airlines. Aim for dimensions around 22 x 14 x 9 inches.
  • Durability : Opt for a bag made from sturdy materials that can withstand the rigors of travel.
  • Features : Consider features like wheels, multiple compartments, and expandable sections for added convenience.

Our team recommends the Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Expandable Luggage , which offers durability, ample space, and a sleek design.

Understanding the difference between checked luggage, carry-on, and a personal item is essential for efficient packing:

Understanding these differences will help you pack efficiently and make the most of your carry-on space.

Packing for a 4 day trip requires careful consideration of your destination, planned activities, and the weather. Here's a checklist of essentials to pack:

  • Clothing : Pack versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched. Aim for 3 tops, 2 bottoms, and 1 dress or outfit for special occasions.
  • Underwear and socks : Pack enough underwear and socks for each day of your trip.
  • Shoes : Limit yourself to 1-2 pairs of shoes that can be worn with multiple outfits.
  • Toiletries : Bring travel-sized toiletries, including toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and any necessary medications.
  • Electronics : Don't forget your phone, charger, and any other necessary electronics.
  • Documents : Pack your ID, passport, travel insurance, and any other necessary documents.
  • Travel accessories : Consider bringing a travel pillow, eye mask, and earplugs for added comfort during your journey.

When it comes to toiletries for a 4 day trip, it's important to pack travel-sized items to save space. Here's a list of essential toiletries to consider:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Body wash or soap
  • Travel-sized skincare products
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Hair styling products (if needed)
  • Feminine hygiene products (if needed)
  • Medications (if needed)

Remember, if you're flying, make sure all your toiletries comply with the TSA's 3-1-1 rule: containers must be 3.4 ounces or smaller and fit into a clear, quart-sized bag.

When it comes to clothing, versatility is key. Choose items that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits. Here's a suggested clothing packing list for a 4 day trip:

  • Tops : Pack 3 tops that can be worn with multiple bottoms.
  • Bottoms : Bring 2 bottoms, such as pants or skirts, that can be paired with different tops.
  • Dress or outfit : Include 1 dress or outfit for special occasions or a nice dinner.
  • Outerwear : Depending on the weather, pack a light jacket or sweater.
  • Sleepwear : Don't forget to pack comfortable sleepwear.
  • Swimwear (if needed) : If you're headed to a beach destination or a hotel with a pool, bring swimwear.
  • Accessories : Include accessories like scarves or jewelry to change up your outfits.

Remember to roll your clothes to save space and reduce wrinkles. Use packing cubes to separate different clothing items and keep your bag organized.

If you're traveling during the summer, it's important to pack lightweight and breathable clothing. Here's a summer-specific packing list for a 4 day trip:

  • Tops : Pack lightweight t-shirts or tank tops.
  • Bottoms : Opt for shorts, skirts, or lightweight pants.
  • Dresses : Bring comfortable summer dresses.
  • Swimwear : Don't forget your swimsuit and cover-up.
  • Hat and sunglasses : Protect yourself from the sun with a hat and sunglasses.
  • Sandals and comfortable walking shoes : Pack sandals for the beach and comfortable walking shoes for exploring.

If you're traveling during the winter, it's important to pack warm and layerable clothing. Here's a winter-specific packing list for a 4 day trip:

  • Tops : Pack long-sleeved shirts and sweaters.
  • Bottoms : Bring jeans or thermal leggings.
  • Coat or jacket : Don't forget a warm coat or jacket.
  • Hat, gloves, and scarf : Keep yourself warm with winter accessories.
  • Boots or sturdy shoes : Pack boots or sturdy shoes that can handle snow or rain.
  • Thermal socks : Keep your feet warm with thermal socks.

Layering is key during the winter, so pack items that can be easily layered to adjust to changing temperatures.

Packing a carry-on for a 4 day trip can be a challenge, but with these tips and tricks, you'll be a pro in no time:

  • Use packing cubes : Packing cubes help maximize space and keep your bag organized.
  • Roll your clothes : Rolling your clothes instead of folding them saves space and reduces wrinkles.
  • Wear your bulkiest items : If you're traveling with a bulky jacket or boots, wear them during travel to save space in your bag.
  • Utilize empty spaces : Fill empty spaces, like shoes, with smaller items like socks or underwear.
  • Pack travel-sized toiletries : Opt for travel-sized toiletries to save space and comply with airline regulations.
  • Check the weather : Before you pack, check the weather at your destination to ensure you're prepared for any conditions.

With these tips and tricks, you'll be able to pack efficiently and make the most of your carry-on space.

Pathway to the Mediterranean

Can I fit 4 days of clothes in a carry-on?

✅ Yes, it is possible to fit 4 days of clothes in a carry-on. By choosing versatile clothing items and utilizing packing techniques like rolling clothes and using packing cubes, you can maximize space and fit everything you need.

What should I pack for 4 days away?

When packing for 4 days away, consider the weather, planned activities, and the destination. Pack versatile clothing items, toiletries, and any necessary electronics or documents. Don't forget to bring any specialized items based on your destination or activities.

Is hand luggage enough for 4 days?

✅ Hand luggage, such as a carry-on, is typically enough for a 4 day trip. By packing efficiently and choosing versatile clothing items, you can fit everything you need in a carry-on bag. Remember to check the size restrictions of your airline to ensure your bag meets their requirements.

How many days of clothes can you fit in a carry-on?

The number of days of clothes you can fit in a carry-on depends on several factors, including the size of your bag, the type of clothing items, and your packing techniques. With careful planning, it is possible to fit a week's worth of clothes in a carry-on.

Can I bring a laptop in my carry-on?

✅ Yes, you can bring a laptop in your carry-on. Most airlines allow one personal item, such as a laptop bag or purse, in addition to your carry-on bag. Make sure to check the size restrictions of your airline to ensure your laptop bag fits within their guidelines.

Can I bring liquids in my carry-on?

✅ Yes, you can bring liquids in your carry-on as long as they comply with the TSA's 3-1-1 rule. Each container must be 3.4 ounces or smaller and fit into a clear, quart-sized bag. Make sure to place the bag of liquids in an easily accessible location for security screening.

Packing for a 4 day trip in a carry-on doesn't have to be a daunting task. With careful planning, smart packing techniques, and versatile clothing choices, you can fit everything you need into a compact carry-on bag. Remember to pack travel-sized toiletries, utilize packing cubes, and roll your clothes to maximize space. Happy packing!

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  • TSA 3-1-1 Liquids Rule
  • Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Expandable Luggage on Amazon

Jacob

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What Size Bag For A 4-Day Trip

Published: January 16, 2024

by Beulah Howerton

  • Sustainability
  • Tech & Gear

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Introduction

Preparing for a trip can be both exciting and overwhelming, especially when it comes to deciding what size bag to pack. Whether you’re embarking on a quick weekend getaway or a longer 4-day trip, choosing the right bag size is crucial for a hassle-free journey. The size of your bag will determine how much you can bring and how easy it is to carry around.

When considering what size bag to bring for a 4-day trip, it’s important to take into account various factors such as the climate of your destination, the activities you plan to engage in, and your personal packing preferences. Traveling light is often recommended to avoid excess baggage fees and make your journey more comfortable. However, striking the right balance between packing light and ensuring you have everything you need is key.

In this article, we will explore the factors to consider when choosing the right bag size, as well as provide helpful tips and suggestions for packing efficiently for a 4-day trip. By the end of this article, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to select the perfect bag size for your upcoming adventure.

Factors to Consider

When deciding on the size of your bag for a 4-day trip, there are several factors to consider. These factors will help you determine how much space you’ll need and what items are essential to pack:

  • Destination: Consider the climate and weather conditions of your destination. If you’re heading to a colder region, you may need bulkier clothing items that take up more space. Alternatively, if you’re traveling to a warmer climate, you can pack lighter clothing options.
  • Activities: Think about the activities you’ll be participating in during your trip. If you plan on hiking, swimming, or engaging in other outdoor activities, you’ll need to pack appropriate gear and footwear. These items may require additional space in your bag.
  • Length of Trip: A 4-day trip typically allows for minimal clothing and toiletries compared to a longer vacation. Take into account the number of outfits you’ll need and whether laundry facilities will be available at your destination.
  • Packing Preferences: Consider your own packing style and preferences. Some people prefer to pack light and prioritize convenience, while others may like to have a variety of outfit options. Be honest with yourself about how much you truly need versus how much you want to bring.
  • Baggage Restrictions: Familiarize yourself with the baggage restrictions of the airlines or transportation methods you’ll be using. This will help you determine the appropriate bag size to avoid any extra fees or inconveniences.

By taking these factors into consideration, you can make an informed decision about the size of bag you’ll need for your 4-day trip. It’s important to strike a balance between packing essentials and avoiding excess baggage. Now let’s delve into the specific items to pack for your trip.

Packing the right clothing for your 4-day trip is crucial for staying comfortable and prepared for various situations. Keep the following tips in mind when selecting the clothing items to pack:

  • Basics: Start with the essentials, such as underwear, socks, and a sleepwear set. These items take up less space and can easily be rolled or folded to maximize the space in your bag.
  • Outfits: Plan your outfits based on the activities and climate of your destination. Choose versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create different looks. Opt for lightweight, wrinkle-resistant fabrics that are easy to pack and quick to dry.
  • Layers: Consider packing a few layering pieces, such as a lightweight sweater or a jacket, especially if you’re traveling to a destination with fluctuating temperatures. Layers allow you to adjust your clothing according to the weather conditions.
  • Footwear: Pack a comfortable pair of shoes suitable for walking or exploring. Depending on your activities, you may also want to include a pair of sandals or flip-flops for warmer weather or a more formal pair for evening outings.
  • Accessories: Don’t forget to pack accessories like sunglasses, a hat, and a scarf. These items can elevate your outfit while providing protection from the sun.

Remember to pack efficiently by rolling your clothes instead of folding them to save space and minimize wrinkles. You can also use packing cubes or compression bags to further maximize the space in your bag.

Lastly, it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast for your destination before packing. This will help you pack accordingly and avoid unnecessary items.

By thoughtfully selecting your clothing items, you can ensure that you have enough outfits for your 4-day trip without overpacking.

Toiletries and Personal Care Items

When it comes to toiletries and personal care items, it’s important to pack the essentials while also considering the limitations of a 4-day trip. Here are some tips to help you streamline your toiletry and personal care items:

  • Travel-sized Containers: Invest in travel-sized containers or purchase travel-sized versions of your favorite products. These smaller containers take up less space and help you comply with airline regulations on liquid quantities.
  • Multi-purpose Products: Look for multi-purpose products that can serve multiple functions. For example, a shampoo and conditioner combination or a moisturizer with SPF can help save space and reduce the number of items you need to pack.
  • Minimal Makeup: If you wear makeup, consider packing only the essentials. Opt for a versatile palette that can create different looks. Choose travel-sized versions or transfer your makeup into smaller containers to save space.
  • Medications and First Aid: If you take any prescription medications, be sure to pack an adequate supply for the duration of your trip. Additionally, consider bringing a small first aid kit with essential items like band-aids, pain relievers, and any necessary over-the-counter medications.
  • Personal Hygiene: Remember to pack personal hygiene items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and a small bottle of mouthwash. If you use contact lenses, bring an extra pair and a small bottle of contact lens solution.

It’s important to note that many hotels provide basic toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and soap, so you may not need to pack these items unless you have specific preferences or requirements.

To save space and avoid any leaks, place your toiletries in a clear, resealable bag. This will make them easily accessible during security checks and prevent any spills from ruining your clothes.

By packing only the necessary toiletries and personal care items, you can free up space in your bag for other essential items and make your travel experience more convenient.

Choosing the right footwear for your 4-day trip is essential for keeping your feet comfortable and ensuring you’re prepared for various activities. Consider the following tips when deciding which shoes to pack:

  • Comfort: Prioritize comfort when selecting footwear for your trip. Opt for shoes that you’ve worn before and know are comfortable for walking or standing for extended periods of time.
  • Versatility: Choose footwear that can be versatile for different occasions and activities. Look for shoes that can be dressed up or down and can be suitable for both casual outings and more formal events.
  • Weather Conditions: Consider the weather conditions of your destination and choose footwear accordingly. If you’re traveling to a rainy area, pack waterproof shoes or boots. For warmer climates, opt for breathable and lightweight shoes.
  • Activity-specific Shoes: If you have specific activities planned, pack footwear that is appropriate for those activities. For example, if you’re planning on hiking or engaging in outdoor activities, bring sturdy hiking boots or trail shoes.
  • Space-saving Options: Shoes can take up a significant amount of space in your bag, so consider packing only one or two pairs that can serve multiple purposes. If possible, wear your bulkiest pair during travel to free up space in your luggage.

Remember to pack socks or foot liners to go along with your shoes. Opt for moisture-wicking and breathable materials to keep your feet dry and comfortable throughout the trip.

It’s also a good idea to consider the weight and durability of the shoes you pack. Lightweight and packable options are ideal for travel, and shoes made with durable materials will withstand the rigors of your journey.

By selecting versatile and comfortable footwear, you’ll be prepared for any activities and ensure that your feet stay happy during your 4-day trip.

Electronic Devices

In this digital age, electronic devices are an integral part of our daily lives, even when we’re traveling. When deciding which electronic devices to bring on your 4-day trip, consider the following tips:

  • Essentials Only: Pack only the essential electronic devices that you’ll need during your trip. This typically includes your smartphone, a charger, and any necessary cables.
  • Multipurpose Devices: Consider bringing devices that serve multiple purposes. For example, if you have a smartphone with a good camera, you may not need to bring a separate digital camera.
  • E-Reader/Tablet: If you enjoy reading, consider bringing an e-reader or a tablet loaded with your favorite books or magazines. This can help you save space by eliminating the need to pack physical books.
  • Portable Power Bank: Bring a portable power bank to ensure that you have a backup power source for your devices, especially if you’ll be using them extensively while out and about.
  • Adapters and Converters: If you’re traveling to a different country, be sure to pack any necessary adapters or converters for your electronic devices to ensure compatibility with local power outlets.

While electronic devices can enhance your travel experience, remember to strike a balance between staying connected and being present in the moment. Avoid overpacking with unnecessary gadgets that may weigh you down during your trip.

It’s also a good idea to have a backup of your important documents and travel information stored on your electronic devices or in cloud storage. This will ensure that you have access to important information even if you misplace physical copies.

By being selective with your electronic devices and considering their practicality and functionality, you can stay connected while keeping your luggage light and convenient.

Travel Documents

When preparing for a 4-day trip, it’s crucial to ensure you have all the necessary travel documents to make your journey smooth and worry-free. Here are the essential travel documents you should pack:

  • Passport/ID: Always bring your valid passport or identification card, depending on the requirements of your destination. Ensure that it is not expired and has sufficient validity for the duration of your trip.
  • Visa(s): If your destination requires a visa, make sure you have obtained the necessary visas before your trip. Keep a printed or digital copy of your visa(s) with you.
  • Travel Tickets: Whether you have paper tickets or electronic ones, make sure you have them readily accessible. This includes flight tickets, train tickets, or any other transportation tickets.
  • Hotel Reservations: Print or save digital copies of your hotel reservations. This will serve as proof of accommodation and provide important information like check-in times and addresses.
  • Travel Insurance: If you have travel insurance, carry a copy of your policy and emergency contact numbers. Be aware of the coverage details, including medical coverage and emergency evacuation.
  • Itinerary: Create an itinerary with details of your travel plans, including transportation schedules, hotel names and addresses, and any planned activities. This will help you stay organized and provide a reference point during your trip.
  • Currency and Payment Methods: Consider carrying local currency of your destination or a travel-friendly debit or credit card. Keep them safely stored in a secure wallet or money belt.
  • Emergency Contacts: Have a list of important emergency contacts, including the contact information of family members, friends, your country’s embassy or consulate in your destination, and your travel insurance provider.

It’s advisable to make copies or take photos of all your travel documents and store them in a secure online storage platform or email them to yourself. In case of loss or theft, having copies will expedite the process of replacing your documents.

Always double-check the entry requirements and travel advisories for your destination and make sure you have all the necessary documents before your trip.

By organizing and keeping your travel documents safely, you can ensure a stress-free and enjoyable journey.

Entertainment and Leisure Items

While traveling, it’s important to bring along entertainment and leisure items to keep you entertained during periods of downtime. Here are some suggestions for entertainment and leisure items to pack for your 4-day trip:

  • Books or E-Readers: Pack a book or load your e-reader with your favorite novels or magazines. Reading can be a great way to relax and pass the time during flights or while lounging at the beach.
  • Music or Podcasts: Bring your favorite music or podcast playlists to enjoy during your journey. A pair of headphones will allow you to listen to your preferred audio content without disturbing others.
  • Playing Cards or Travel Games: Pack a deck of playing cards or compact travel games that can be enjoyed with friends or family. These can provide hours of entertainment during long waits or downtime at your destination.
  • Journal or Sketchbook: Consider bringing a journal or sketchbook to document your travel experiences or unleash your creative side. This can be a meaningful way to capture memories and pass the time.
  • Camera and Accessories: If photography is a hobby or interest, don’t forget to pack your camera and any necessary accessories such as lenses, extra batteries, and memory cards. This will allow you to capture the beautiful moments of your trip.
  • Exercise Equipment: If fitness is important to you, pack small exercise equipment such as resistance bands or a jump rope. Staying active during your trip can help you maintain your routine and energy levels.

Remember, the goal is to pack entertainment and leisure items that are compact and lightweight, minimizing the space they take up in your bag. Choose items that align with your personal interests and ensure you have a variety of options to keep yourself entertained.

However, it’s also important to strike a balance and not overpack with too many entertainment items. Leave room for spontaneous exploration and enjoying the experiences at your destination.

By including carefully chosen entertainment and leisure items, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy your downtime during your 4-day trip.

Packing Tips

Packing efficiently is essential to ensure a stress-free and organized 4-day trip. Consider the following packing tips to make the most of your luggage space:

  • Make a Packing List: Before you start packing, make a comprehensive packing list of all the items you need. This will help you stay organized and ensure you don’t forget any essentials.
  • Roll Your Clothes: Rolling your clothes instead of folding them can save space and minimize wrinkles. This technique also allows for easy visibility and access to your garments.
  • Use Packing Cubes or Compression Bags: Consider using packing cubes or compression bags to further maximize the space in your bag. These tools help compress your clothes and keep them organized.
  • Pack Dual-purpose Items: Choose items that serve multiple purposes when possible. For example, a sarong can be used as a scarf, beach towel, or dress. This helps reduce the number of items you need to pack.
  • Take Advantage of Empty Spaces: Utilize the empty spaces inside your shoes or roll small items like socks or underwear and stuff them inside shoes to save space.
  • Wear Bulkiest Items: If you have bulky items like jackets or boots, wear them during your travel to free up space in your luggage.
  • Minimize Toiletries: Bring travel-sized toiletries or transfer your essentials into smaller containers to save space. Only pack what you’ll actually need for the duration of your trip.
  • Leave Room for Souvenirs: If you anticipate purchasing souvenirs or mementos during your trip, leave some extra space in your bag to accommodate them on your return journey.
  • Check Luggage Restrictions: Familiarize yourself with the luggage size and weight restrictions of your airline or transportation method to avoid any additional fees or inconveniences.
  • Keep Valuables in Your Carry-On: Important documents, electronics, and valuable items should be kept in your carry-on bag to ensure their safety and easy access.

Remember to pack with purpose and prioritize the items you truly need. Be mindful of the weather conditions and activities at your destination to pack accordingly.

Lastly, give yourself enough time to pack and double-check your belongings before departing to ensure you have everything you need for a smooth and enjoyable 4-day trip.

Choosing the right bag size and packing efficiently for a 4-day trip is vital for a successful and enjoyable travel experience. By considering factors such as destination, activities, and personal preferences, you can determine the appropriate bag size and pack accordingly.

When it comes to clothing, opt for versatile, lightweight, and weather-appropriate outfits. Keep in mind the activities you’ll be engaging in and pack comfortable footwear accordingly. Streamline your toiletries by bringing travel-sized items and multi-purpose products.

Electronic devices should be kept to a minimum, ensuring you have what you need without weighing down your luggage. Don’t forget to pack essential travel documents, including your passport, visas, and hotel reservations.

For entertainment and leisure, bring along items such as books, music, or travel games to keep yourself entertained during downtime. Remember to pack efficiently by rolling your clothes, using packing cubes, and maximizing empty spaces inside your bag.

In conclusion, thoughtful planning and organization are key when it comes to packing for a 4-day trip. By following the tips and suggestions provided in this article, you can enjoy a stress-free journey with all the essentials you need at your fingertips.

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge and strategies to pack efficiently, go ahead and embark on your 4-day adventure with confidence. Bon voyage!

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Travel Fashion Girl

Suitcase 101: How to Choose the Right Travel Luggage

Best Suitcases , Packing , Packing Tips

4 day trip luggage

Support TFG by using the links in our articles to shop. We receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) so we can continue to create helpful free content. We earn from qualifying purchases made to the featured retailers. Thank you, we appreciate your support!

If you’re wondering how to choose the right travel luggage, we’ve put together a helpful guide to get you started. Get ready for Suitcase 101 on choosing luggage!

Packing cubes  are the secret to traveling carry-on only. Watch  this video  to learn why!

Tips for Choosing Luggage

Table of contents.

Let’s be honest: as wonderful as it is, traveling can be stressful. Here at Travel Fashion Girl, we aim to make your adventures as calm and hassle-free as possible. A sure way to decrease drama while traveling is to ensure you’re using the best travel luggage for your needs.

Whether or not you choose to  travel carryon only , always use  packing cubes  to help you organize and even compress your belongings to maximize your space.

The following guide–with handy tips from industry experts–will assist you in choosing luggage or “portable wardrobe” for your exciting adventure.

The secret to traveling light is to create a functional but minimalist capsule wardrobe. Learn more in my guide !

suitcase-101-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-the-right-travel-luggage

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Expandable Spinner

Why Travel with a Suitcase?

Suitcases versus backpacks is a popular debate in the passionate travel community. This article is all about suitcases, so here are a few reasons why choosing luggage rules over backpacks :

  • Personal convenience : Suitcases win hands down for their ease. You’ll hardly break a sweat easily maneuvering it through the airport.
  • Wheels: It’s all about the wheels! It’s kind of satisfying to roll your suitcase with ease, secretly (smugly) watching fellow travelers buckle under the weight of their backpack. This convenient feature gives a major edge to the suitcase.
  • A Sweat-Free Back:  Need I say more?
  • Health : Not everyone is physically able to lift a suitcase or carry a backpack due to health issues. Read these tips on traveling with a bad back.
  • Organized Packing: Nothing’s worse for travel organization than a top-loading backpack. Having a clear view of all your belongings when you unzip your suitcase is priceless. Find out how to choose the best luggage organizers .
  • Safety: Hard cases have many benefits for durability and safety. Here are a few more tips on how to  keep your valuables safe  while traveling.
  • Professionalism : A suitcase offers a more professional image when traveling for business (and at luxury hotels). Here are a few  business travel essentials .

Ask yourself: “ Where am I going and how am I getting there?” Olivia Hulett of Ricardo Beverly Hills suggests keeping these two questions in mind when choosing a suitcase: selecting the right case for the destination and length of your trip is essential.

To learn the pros of traveling with a backpack, please read: How to Choose a Travel Backpack !

suitcase-101-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-the-right-travel-luggage

Delsey Luggage Helium Aero 25 Inch Expandable Spinner Trolley

Factors to consider when choosing luggage

Consider the items you plan to bring. This will help you determine the ideal features for your suitcase, which will help you when choosing luggage.

Backpackers may want straps or pouches for sleeping bags, tents, hiking poles, etc. Business travelers might want a bag with an easily-accessible laptop and electronics compartment. Fashionistas might appreciate straps that hold clothes in place and reduce wrinkling.

Determine if you’ll be checking your bags, dealing with difficult terrain, or if your travel is for business purposes.

If a suitcase makes sense for your trip, these are the factors you should consider when choosing a suitcase:

  • Luggage Size
  • Luggage Features
  • Luggage That’s Durable
  • Luggage with Safety Features
  • Luggage Based on Price

Keep reading below as we elaborate on each of these factors for choosing luggage.

suitcase-101-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-the-right-travel-luggage

Samsonite Winfield 2 Teal Hardside

Choosing Luggage Size

Size is an important factor when choosing luggage; no one wants a suitcase that is too big for them to physically manage–what a nightmare!

Here are some general guidelines to consider:

  • Jacquie Whitt, co-founder of Adios Adventure Travel , notes that the overall size of the bag should be limited to what you can handle, since there may be times when no one is around to help you lift and maneuver it.
  • Also, be sure to check the luggage allowance of all the airlines you’ll be traveling with. Different airlines have different size requirements, so don’t get caught unprepared.
  • It’s key to consider the allowed weight of your luggage, too; the lighter the case the more you can pack/souvenirs you can bring home!
  • It’s a good idea to test your suitcase before you travel. Check that the handle is long enough for your height, that the feel of the fabric suits your needs, and that it’s robust and hard-wearing enough for your journey.
  • If you plan to order your case online, do it well in advance so you can return it and search for another if it doesn’t feel right.
  • Ideally, we recommend that your travel suitcase measures 22” x 9” x 14” or less. This is small enough to fit into the overhead compartments on most  airlines. Note that US domestic carryon size is larger than European carryon sizing. Choose an “international” carryon like these to be sure.
  • As a general rule, opt for a carryon no larger than 45” (length + width + height) and a checked bag no larger than 62”, which is standard for most US airlines.
Here are the best carryon suitcases for traveling Europe !

Suitcase Sizing Guide

You should be able to travel carry-on only for all trips of any length. I’m a full-time traveler and I do! If I can travel in a carryon for more than four months at a time, you can, too. This is how I do it!

  • 18 – 20” International Carryon:  Considered the international carryon size, this is ideal if you’re using budget European airlines  like easyJet or Ryanair. They have incredibly strict rules. Read my story! Here are the best international carryon luggage !
  • 21 – 22” Domestic Carryon:  This is the most popular size of carryon luggage and we guarantee you can travel anywhere with a suitcase this size.  Find out how! Here are more carryon luggage for travel !
  • 23 – 24” Medium Checked:  The size is perfect for travelers who aren’t quite ready to travel carryon and need just a little extra room. If you’re traveling with another person, it might be a better investment to just take one 25-27″ suitcase for both of you as mentioned below.
  • 25 – 27” Large Checked:  Generally, this is the most popular size of luggage to check as it has lots of room. Ideally, you would use this suitcase size if you wanted to check one bag for two people. If you’re traveling with a family, then you can also fit everyone’s belongings into one or two of these suitcases for easy handling as opposed to the oversized suitcase below that isn’t as easy to maneuver.
  • 28 – 32” Extra Large Checked: These are very large suitcases with a huge capacity. Due to their size, they could be too awkward and bulky for standard trips. Be warned, they might exceed size and weight restrictions. Here are the best lightweight checked luggage for your next trip!

Unless you’re planning to move abroad or will be in a single location for an extended period of time, you should never use a suitcase that’s over 27″. By carefully planning your travel wardrobe using these guidelines , you’ll always have exactly what you need.

Also, keep track of your baggage weight, especially if you’re using a suitcase over 25″ where it’s easy to pack unnecessary items because you have more space.

Many airlines limit you to 30kg / 50lb for checked luggage. Use a portable luggage scale to prevent overages before you arrive at the airport.

Read my guide on how to stop overpacking  and learn how you, too, can travel carryon only.

suitcase-101-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-the-right-travel-luggage

Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Spinner 24

Choosing Luggage Features

Today’s suitcases come with a wide variety of cool features that affect transportation, packing, and protection. One thing to keep in mind is that the more bells and whistles there are, the heavier the bag!

Need to  pack for a 7kg baggage allowance ? A minimalist suitcase is key! If your goal is to pack light, try to choose a suitcase that weighs less than 5lb or 2kg like this Delsey Trolley or my personal favorite, the  Osprey Ozone .

Here’s a quick guide to understanding various suitcase features:

Select a bag with a recognizable color or print so it can be easily spotted on the luggage carousel and not mistaken for someone else’s bag. Try and stay away from white/cream; it’s more likely to get dirty.

You can also buy luggage straps to easily identify your suitcase.

Piggy Back Clip

A looped clip on the top of the bag, known as a piggy back clip, allows you to clip a second bag to the larger one–bonus! If your suitcase doesn’t have one, you can buy an attachment like this one .

You have two choices when it comes to wheels: two or four. Suitcases with two wheels tend to be lighter but have the risk of tipping over if they’re not balanced. I find these easier to wheel if I’m running through the airport and they’re also easy to yank over a curb to maneuver uneven streets like in the scenario shown here .

On the other hand, four wheels will stand upright, plus they are easier to pull sideways on a plane without hitting all the passengers as you find your seat.

The con is that they won’t stay put unless they have a locking system like the sophisticated Chatelet by Delsey . Love that suitcase! It’s stylish and functional, too.

Telescoping Handles

A rolling suitcase is much easier to manage since you pull the weight instead of carrying it. Make sure your case’s handle is sturdy and easily retractable.

Before committing to a suitcase, walk with it to make sure it doesn’t hit you on the heels as you walk. It shouldn’t drag too far behind you, annoying other travelers. You might also appreciate a padded handle for comfort.

I prefer a single handle because it helps minimize luggage weight but some travelers prefer a double handle because they find it sturdier.

Expandability

Do you ever notice that your stuff tends to “grow” when you’re returning home from a trip? Nothing ever seems to fit. Find out why here .

An expanding suitcase is great for this, but be warned: expanding your suitcase may mean it no longer fits in the overhead bin and you could be charged to check it. However, for those of us that love to shop for souvenirs (guilty!) then this is a good option.

Alternatively, you can buy a packable bag  to bring home souvenirs, too!

Compartments

Pockets and compartments are a useful feature to help organize all your belongings; for example, keep your 3-1-1 liquids bag in an external pocket so it’s easy to locate at the airport. Take a look at how I organize my suitcase . Even TSA was impressed!

Security Locks

Whether they have zippers with space for a travel lock or they have an internal locking system, never buy a suitcase you can’t lock.

Read more travel safety tips .

Waterproof Materials

One of biggest tips for choosing luggage is making sure it has water-resistant materials or has been treated with a moisture-resistant sealant on the inside to help keep your belongings dry. This works in the rain and also if baggage handlers lay your bag on dirty, wet, or sticky surfaces.

Jane Attard, CEO of BusinessKnowHow.com , suggests that you line the top and bottom of the suitcase with plastic, like a dry cleaning bag. That way, even if your suitcase does get wet, your clothing can stay dry.

Suitcase covers help keep your suitcase clean and long lasting. I highly recommend them!

Side Handles

Top and side handles make maneuvering your luggage much easier, especially when you need to lift it to place it overhead on the plane or other transportation.

Choose luggage with strong, durable handles that will withstand the weight of your belongings. This is also a good reason to pack light–you need to be able to lift your own suitcase up several flights of stairs, especially in Europe!

Tie-Down Straps

These stretchy, adjustable straps are great for helping you compress your belongings when everything’s in your suitcase. They also keep your personal belongings securely in place.

Tip: Pack your suitcase the night before your trip to allow things to settle overnight.

You don’t necessarily need to spend hundreds of dollars to have a quality suitcase. However, the suitcase should be well-made and able to withstand the roughness of travel. Depending on your activities, destination, and travel style, your needs will vary.

Productivity and health coach  Marcey Rader says, “High-quality luggage is a necessity. You’ll regret buying a ‘good enough’ bag when you are running down the terminal with your suitcase flopping along and then your handle breaks!

A quality piece of luggage is important because it can last a lifetime. Travel is stressful enough without having to worry about your suitcase.”

That’s exactly what happened to me on a two-week trip to Europe. My friend took a cheap, massive 32″ suitcase to Europe and the handle broke the second day of our trip. Because she had overpacked, I had to carry it for her because she had back issues.

Packing light also helps if you have back problems! Read these tips.

I was NOT happy dragging a broken, heavy suitcase around Europe for almost two weeks. Do you know how many flights of stairs you encounter? Now imagine only spending 2-3 nights in one city then moving on to the next, trying to cram in as much sightseeing as possible. Don’t let this happen to you.

suitcase-101-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-the-right-travel-luggage

Delsey Luggage Chatelet 21″ 2.0 Carry-On Spinner

Choosing Luggage That’s Durable

Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing luggage and finding one that will last you:

Soft versus Hard Shell : soft bags are great if you plan on using your luggage as a carryon, because they are easier to squeeze into overhead lockers and can be lightweight. They are also said to absorb shock better than hard shells. Here are the best soft-side luggage according to TFG readers!

The argument for hard-sided luggage is that it protects your belongings better. These are the best hard-side luggage for women !

Whichever you choose, look for quality–lousy soft luggage can tear and cheap hard cases can crack or break.

I’ve used both and like the hard shell for regular vacations whereas I use a soft shell bag for long-term travel.

A broken handle is common when luggage is being thrown around at the airport. If you’re budget conscious, choose a two-bar handle that is sturdier than a one-bar in cheap luggage.

However, if you’re investing in a quality brand, then one handle is okay. It will be lighter, too.

Jacquie Whitt, of  Adios Adventure Travel , notes that four wheels glide easier than two. The wheels should be high quality, similar to skateboard wheels. Hard plastic wheels are more likely to crack or break when dropped. (I’ve had this happen while roaming the streets of Paris while hunting for my hotel!)

Zippers leave luggage susceptible to water damage from rain. Opt for hard cases with a latch system to avoid this. If you choose a suitcase with zippers, select pulls crafted from tough metal or durable plastic.

choosing-luggage

Osprey Ozone Wheeled Global Carry-on 21.5″/42L | Also available here

Choosing Luggage with Safety Features

The best way to keep your luggage safe is to have  travel insurance to cover a loss. Only pack valuables in your carryon luggage if you can keep an eye on it.

Adding security features to your luggage is a good idea, too. Make your case less accessible to thieves by investing in sturdy and durable travel locks, cable ties, and shrink wrapping. Be warned, though: expensive-looking security mechanisms can scream, “VALUABLES INSIDE”!

It’s better to be safe than sorry: never pack valuables in a checked bag. Always keep them in your carryon or preferably your personal item.

Read these tips on how to choose a “personal item” !

Here are a few safety mechanisms to consider when choosing luggage:

A  trusty lock  is guaranteed to at least slow down a thief or put them off all together.

A cheaper alternative to locks, these theft deterrents are easy to install and come in a variety of colors, meaning your suitcase can be easy to spot. However, cable ties can be quite easily removed with a simple nail file.

Shrink Wrapping

Many airports now feature a shrink wrap station. Costing around $10 a pop, it’s a great way to deter people from slipping illegal items into your case or stealing from your bag. It’s also great for waterproofing your luggage!

Safety Tips

  • Invest in travel insurance that covers lost or stolen baggage.
  • Keep all valuables and travel documents in your hand luggage so you can keep an eye on them at all times.
  • Include a waterproof label on each piece of luggage with your up-to-date contact information (not your home address–this could highlight the opportunity of an empty house to thieves). If your case is lost, it has a greater chance of being returned to you quickly. And don’t forget to remove tags from previous trips!
  • Check your luggage as soon as you land, that way you can quickly contact the airline and your insurer if anything is missing.
Read more about safety in this post: Money Belts and the Best Anti-theft Travel Accessories .

suitcase-101-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-the-right-travel-luggage

Kenneth Cole Out of Bounds Hardside Spinner Luggage

Choosing Luggage Based on Price

Travel luggage can be expensive. If you’re a long-term traveler, keep in mind that this isn’t just an average suitcase, it’s about to become your portable wardrobe for the duration of your travels. You need luggage that will last.

Price generally reflects quality. Search around for the best reviews from experienced travelers and opt for a case that suits your style of travel. Many times, expensive bags will include a warranty of some kind.

Christina Ernst of VIP Alpine Tours/VIP Travel   suggests steering clear from designer luggage, as it becomes more of a fashion statement than a quality choice for extreme traveling. You’re guaranteed to look stylish wheeling your Louis Vuitton through the airport, but not dragging it through the tropical terrain of Asia; designer cases are also more susceptible to thieves.

Suitcase Shopping Tips

  • Visit websites like  REI, Sierra Trading Post , eBags , and Amazon to shop around and compare features/prices.
  • Visiting a physical store will allow you to test the bag before purchasing. This way you can determine which style, size, and brand suits you the best.
  • If you are online shopping, order your case well in advance so you can return it if it’s not suited to you. Look for a retailer that offers free returns, like  eBags . You can order several cases to see which you prefer, returning the others free of charge. Amazon also offers free returns on some items. They’re my preferred place to buy luggage as they tend to have the best prices.
  • Sign up for email updates from online retailers to receive discount offers.
  • Shop seasonal sales to get the best bargains.
For even more tips, read this smart luggage buying guide !

suitcase-101-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-the-right-travel-luggage

Compass Rose Compression Packing Cubes

Final Tips for Choosing Luggage

We recommend bringing along a lightweight luggage scale  to weigh your cases before going to the airport. This will ensure you are below the weight limit and avoid extra charges.

Also, use packing organizers such as packing cubes  to help you simplify your packing process.

Watch the packing tutorial on  Youtube !

In 2017, I launched Compass Rose Travel Accessories and my very first product was a  4-Piece Set of Carryon Packing Cubes . These are the only packing cubes  sized to fit the exact width of a carryon suitcase  and they also have a  unique color-coded and numbered organization system  – the only kind currently available anywhere on the market.

I put together a  five-part YouTube series  showing you the different methods to use packing cubes. If you use  this  specific packing strategy, they can also compress your belongings. This is the secret to traveling carryon only!

What are your tips when choosing the right travel luggage? Share and comment below!

 Read these posts for suitcase recommendations:

  • Top 20 Recommended Luggage Brands
  • Best Carryon Suitcases
  • Best International Carryon Suitcase for Women
  • Best Lightweight Checked Luggage
  • The Best Luggage Sets
  • Weekender Bags

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4 day trip luggage

We hope you liked this suitcase post about choosing luggage for your travels! Please share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

44 comments.

Kiara Cross

Choosing the right travel bag is a personal decision that depends on your travel style, needs, and preferences. Like a fashionista 😀 I really prefer my travel bag to be in style too. I buy all my bags from Louenhide but my travel bag is my favorite. I bought this travel bag in color-blush Ezra https://www.louenhide.com.au/products/alexis-weekender-travel-bag

Jennifer Lambright

After reading this article, I purchased a new TravelPro Maxlite 5 Expandable Spinner in the 22″ size. I got the purple color so it would stand out in case I do end up having to check it. I love all the fashion tips too. 🙂

Bobby Luashy

What about duffel bags that don’t roll? I dislike backpacks, and I worry that a wheeled bag could induce me to pack excessively. What recommendations do you have?

Alex

Hi Bobby, for duffle bags that don’t have wheels here are some recommendations from the TFG community: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/best-duffle-bag/

And if you’re worried about overpacking, had you considered using a lightweight backpack instead: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/best-ultralight-backpacks/

Hope this helps you in your search!

Sarah

Thank you for this! My cheap hard sided checked suitcase broke on my last trip. Fortunately the liner prevented my things from spilling out, but I will need to replace it before my next trip!

Amy Anderson

Thank you so much for all the helpful tips. I went to London, Scotland, and Ireland this summer and used packing cubes for the first time. What a life saver.

Dawn

Thanks for all the great information!

Paola Jesse

I’m starting to prepare for a trip so this article was very helpful. Both my husband and I need to buy new luggage. Thank you!

Jennifer Frain

I love your travel tips! Especially the packing cube advice! Because of you I’m biting the bullet and taking a carry on or a 16 day tour of Croatia, Slovenia and Italy! I know I can do it! (thanks to all your great advice!!)

Nazmul

Nice article. Thanks

So glad you enjoyed it! ?

Hailey

Hi, do the clothes crinkle when you pack them like that (in the how to use packing cubes…) or does it stay folded and you don’t have to iron them?

Hi Hailey, if you’re worried about your clothes becoming wrinkled in a packing cube check out this post for our readers top tips on how to avoid them: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/how-to-pack-clothes-without-wrinkles/ Hope this helps! ?

Hailey

Thanks Alex for the fast and helpful reply! 🙂

Yvonne

Has anyone tried putting their carry on luggage on the floor in front of their seat? Is this allowed, what sort of luggage could I use. I am a short person and find it very uncomfortable not being able to put my feet on the floor for hours at a time. Could I use my case under my feet.

Hi Yvonne, thank you for reaching out. Many of our readers like to use their luggage which fits under the seat or a backpack to lean and rest their feet on. You could use something like this: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/best-under-seat-luggage/ I would also highly recommend that you join TFG’s free facebook community and post your question there: https://www.facebook.com/groups/travelfashiongirls/ Its a fabulous group of helpful female travelers that have the best packing advice and recommendations to share. Hope this helps answer your question. Happy travels! ?

Hannah

If I’m going on a 2 night and 3 day trip to Washington DC, what size suitcase do you recommend.

Hi Hannan, thank you for reaching out. You may find our 10 step guide to packing for a short break a good place to start: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/weekend-packing-list/ Maybe something like one of these: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/best-under-seat-luggage/ Also you don’t mention if you are traveling with someone else, but you may also find this video helpful for ideas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGH-iwFf_1U&t=13s I would highly suggest that you join our TFG facebook group and post any questions you have there about luggage for a few nights away: https://www.facebook.com/groups/travelfashiongirls/ Its a fabulous community of helpful female travelers that have the best advice and recommendations to share. Hope this helps. Have an amazing time! ?

Sally

I LOVE my Delsey hard sided suitcase. I bought it last minute for a trip and can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. It’s light, it spins so great (yes, I spend a great deal of time spinning it because it’s fun), and it comes in great colors. Don’t let the salesperson try to talk you into their choice of color, go for the one you want!

Sally

I forgot to add, watch for sales. I got mine at Macy’s for 65% off and they do have regular sales.

Hi Sally, thank you for sharing your recommendation for the Delsey hard sided suitcase. For international and domestic travel, I like the Delsey Turenne. You may enjoy this video where I explains why I like the Delsey Turenne: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bbTGS6YUoE Hope you enjoy your suitcase on many fun and exciting adventures! ?

Liz

Is there a hard sided carry-on bag that is not designed with the space divided half and half? I’m looking for a bag that has one deep side ( to fit my GEARPACK) and one shallow side or just a flap. Is there such a thing? Thank you

Hi Liz, thank you for your question! Have a look at this post for some more options for a hard case suitcase: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/best-hardside-luggage-for-women/ To get you the most feedback, I have gone ahead and posted your question on TFG’s facebook page. Our readers have the best recommendations to share so please keep an eye out for their replies from Friday: https://www.facebook.com/TravelFashionGirl/ Hope you find one which is suitable and that you like! 🙂

Pauline

I’m very late to this thread but did you ever find a suitcase that wasn’t half and half. I like the hard shell but like you I hate the opening of the bag. They don’t fit on the hotel luggage racks and you have to put them on the floor. I’ve just returned from 5 weeks in Europe and the USA and I need a new bag. My bag is now 8 years old and has seen some rough travels.

Laurie

My daughter is studying abroad for 2 1/2 months to Italy. I bought her an Osprey backpack for getaways but she needs a checked bag. And she’ll probably over pack! Any recommendations would be helpful.

Hi Laurie, to get you the best feedback I have gone ahead and posted your question on TFG’s facebook page. Our readers have the best advice so keep an eye out for their replies from Friday: https://www.facebook.com/TravelFashionGirl/ For other options for suitcases, have a look at this post: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/suitcase-recommendations-20-travel-experts-reveal-top-luggage-brands/ For some help planning her packing, take a look at this 10 step guide to packing for Italy: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/10-step-packing-guides/10-step-packing-guide-italy/ It may be a good place to start. Hope this helps! Hope you daughter has a wonderful time studying in Italy!! 🙂

keith

Going to Cabo for a 7 day trip. What would be the ideal luggage size for 7 days?

Hi Keith, thanks for your question! We’ll share your question here so the author of the article can reply. 🙂

Claudette Ashley

Hi can you recommend a suitcase for travelling for around 3/5 months.

Hi Claudette, thanks for your comment! Take a look at this article on the top luggage brands of 2018: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/suitcase-recommendations-20-travel-experts-reveal-top-luggage-brands/ Hope this helps! 🙂

Manasa

Hi can u plz tell me… How can I buy trolly by liters in online.. I can’t able to figure out … Plz help me… 20kg means how many liters ??

alex

Hi Manasa, you can look for a converter online like this one: http://www.convertunits.com/from/liter/to/kilo+gram

Emily C

This article is so helpful. I’m looking at purchasing luggage for an upcoming trip and was wondering if you had any thoughts regarding two wheel vs four wheel luggage?

Thanks! This article might help shed some light on this: https://travelfashiongirl.com/how-to-choose-the-best-luggage-for-travel-abroad-smart-buying-guide/

Eva

Forma 30 day trip to Europe (several cities) what size suitcase should I take? Should I take a carry on too? Thanks 🙂

Travel Fashion Girl

Wow this sounds awesome 🙂 Personally I would do carry-on only for this trip, so a huge suitcase isn’t necessary, but it depends on what you are doing and how much you want to take. Check out these articles for more tips on how to pack for this kind of trip http://bit.ly/29ngSND & http://bit.ly/28U5J65

mike

I like my luggage lock but people please put in a number that is hard to figure out. Most people use the number 1234 and then dont understand how people figure it out. Please dont be unintelligent about it

Dianna

What about duffel bags of the non-roll kind? I don’t like backpacks and I think a wheeled suitcase might give me too much temptation to overpack. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks so much

For regular duffles, personally I like having the alternate option of rolling them if they feel heavy after a while. Try checking out the brands suggested as they usually have non rolled versions too: https://travelfashiongirl.com/rolling-duffle-bags-the-best-alternative-to-wheeled-backpacks/

CrifJohnson

Excellent tips shared. I particularly liked the safety measures which you mentioned in the blog. http://www.ricardobeverlyhills.com/

Andrea

What is the orange back in the picture? I’ve been looking for a bag like that!

Hi Andrea, it’s just the one from the Stock photo 🙂

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4 day trip luggage

Keep calm and carry on: The best carry-on luggage for every kind of trip

Tarah Chieffi

Editor's Note

From frequent travelers to fashionistas, there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to carry-on luggage.

If you fly so often that you are on a first-name basis with your local airport's Transportation Security Administration agents, you need a carry-on suitcase that is durable enough to stand up to repeated use.

If your carry-on bag should be as stylish as you are, you'll want an eye-catching option that expresses your unique personality.

Backpacking through Europe or headed for the great outdoors? You'll need a carry-on bag that's both rugged and comfortable.

Related: Carry-on luggage showdown: Away vs. Roam

Regardless of how often or where you travel, we've rounded up the best of the best to help you find the carry-on bag that fits your travel style.

July Carry On Essential

4 day trip luggage

Size: 21.5 inches by 15 inches by 8.5 inches.

Price: $255.

Buy now: July.com .

Before bringing its product to market, July pored over thousands of customer reviews of other luggage brands to determine what it could do to out-design the competition. The result is a carry-on suitcase that is crush-proof, scratch-proof and sophisticated.

Related: These are the checked bags carried by TPG's staff

The no-nonsense July Carry On Essential has only, well, the essentials – a sleek shell with a TSA lock, an interior compression system and a hidden laundry bag. July's bags are made to last, and it stands by that promise with a lifetime warranty and a 100-day return policy.

For an additional $40, you can order an upgraded version that includes metal bumpers and a portable power bank.

Away The Bigger Carry-On

4 day trip luggage

Size: 22.7 inches by 14.7 inches by 9.6 inches.

Price: $295.

Buy now: Awaytravel.com .

This larger version of the original Away Carry-On isn't just bigger; it's better. The Bigger Carry-On is large enough to hold four-to-seven days' worth of clothing.

It's also made with a durable polycarbonate shell and has a slew of functional features like 360-degree spinning wheels, a TSA lock, an interior compression system and a waterproof laundry bag. For easy portable charging, you can pay an additional $20 to add a USB charger to your bag.

Related: Carry-on luggage showdown: Away vs. Rimowa

Just as, if not more important, The Bigger-Carry-On from Away comes in a range of colors, including limited-edition hues that are released throughout the year.

Whether you're looking for a suitcase in your favorite color or you just want something that stands out in a sea of black luggage, you are sure to find just what you are looking for.

Add more personalization with monograms and luggage tags in an array of colors and styles.

Beis The Carry-On Roller

4 day trip luggage

Size: 22 inches by 14 inches by 9-12 inches.

Price: $198.

Buy now: Beistravel.com .

Beis bags are made to look just as good on their hundredth trip as they did on their first, all while gliding through the airport with ease and navigating even the bumpiest of cobblestone streets.

The Carry-On Roller from Beis comes in six colors that coordinate with other Beis products, so you can mix and match or go for the monochromatic look.

Related: 5 best backpacks for every travel style

Beis' The Carry-On Roller also has just the right amount of bells and whistles, with smooth-rolling 360-degree wheels, a cushioned trolley handle for comfort, a TSA lock, interior compression and a built-in weight indicator.

Also, because it's almost guaranteed you'll come home with more than you left with, this Beis bag expands with the simple pull of a zipper.

Monos Carry-On

4 day trip luggage

Size: 22 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches.

Price: $255 (regular price $284).

Buy now: Monos.com .

With its sleek, rounded design and vegan leather accents, it may be hard to believe the Monos Carry-On is unbreakable and water-resistant. In fact, it performs as well as it looks in every aspect, from the telescopic handle with four adjustable height settings to the antimicrobial interior fabric.

Other standout features include a TSA-approved lock, a built-in compression system, a laundry bag, two shoe bags and a vegan leather luggage tag. Get it in standard colors like black, white and gray or have a little fun with pink, forest green, sky blue or one of Monos' limited-edition prints.

Rimowa Original Cabin Carry-On

4 day trip luggage

Size: 21.7 inches by 15.8 inches by 9.1 inches.

Price: $1,400.

Buy now: Rimowa.com .

If you want a bag that can stand up to hundreds of thousands of miles of travel by air, by land and by sea, the Rimowa Original Cabin Carry-On is the gold standard ... and not just because it comes in metallic shades of gold, silver and black.

In addition to durability, the Rimowa Original Cabin Carry-On features TSA locks, a unique multiwheel system and adjustable interior dividers.

Related: Over 400,000 miles and counting: Review of the Rimowa carry-on bag

The Rimowa Original Cabin Carry-On comes with a steep price tag compared to most on this list, but it could potentially be a decade (or more) before you need a new one. Also, Rimowa backs up the longevity of its iconic aluminum suitcases with a lifetime guarantee.

Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage

4 day trip luggage

Size: 21 inches by 14 inches by 9 inches.

Price: $195.

Buy now: Calpaktravel.com .

Every bag in Calpak's Ambeur Collection shines in stylish shades of silver, gold, rose gold and metallic black, ensuring this carry-on luggage looks great rolling through the airport toward your next adventure.

Related: I fly almost 100,000 miles per year and don't travel without these packing cubes from Calpak

This hard-sided carry-on suitcase weighs in at a super-lightweight 6 pounds. However, it still has room for handy details like a TSA combination lock, interior organization pockets, compression straps and the ability to expand up to 2 inches.

Paravel Grand Tour Set

4 day trip luggage

Size: The carry-on is 21.7 inches by 13.7 inches by 9 inches; the duffle is 20 inches by 11 inches by 10 inches.

Price: $675.

Buy now: Tourparavel.com .

The Paravel Grand Tour Set includes the brand's popular Grand Tour Duffle and the Aviator Carry-On suitcase. The duffle is best for weekend trips, while the carry-on is better for three-to-four-day trips. Both easily fit in airplane overhead compartments and are made with eco-friendly recycled materials.

Both pieces of luggage have interior and exterior pockets to keep your items tidy. The carry-on also features an interior compression board and a removable laundry bag. Both pieces can be customized with a monogram in a variety of colors.

Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable Carry-On

4 day trip luggage

Size: 21.25 inches by 15.25 inches by 10 inches.

Price: $179.

Buy now: Amazon.com .

Samsonite has been making luggage for more than 100 years, so it knows a thing or two about creating long-lasting suitcases with features travelers want.

This hard-sided bag is ultra-light and made with a scratch-resistant exterior in a rainbow of eye-catching colors like tangerine orange and amethyst purple, plus the requisite neutral shades.

The Freeform Hardside Expandable Carry-On from Samsonite also has smooth-rolling 360-degree spinner wheels, a TSA lock, interior compression and organization, and can be expanded if you need a bit of extra space.

Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner

4 day trip luggage

Size: 22 inches by 14.9 inches by 10 inches.

Price: $120.

The 21-inch Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner has a budget-friendly price tag but doesn't sacrifice style or function. This hard-sided carry-on has an extra-thick textured finish designed to keep scuffs and scratches at bay. It also comes in various colors that coordinate with other pieces in the collection.

Related: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card review

The double spinner wheels ensure a smooth ride, and the expandable zipper can net you up to 15% more space for those times when you just can't quite fit everything you need without sitting on your suitcase to force it closed.

Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack

4 day trip luggage

Size: 24 inches by 15 inches by 4 inches.

Price: $178.

If you need a carry-on bag large enough to store all your travel essentials yet comfortable enough to carry while hiking through a new city (or running between airport terminals), the Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack is the perfect addition to your luggage lineup.

This backpack features a breathable back panel that provides structure and comfort, exterior and interior organization so you can always find what you need and adjustable shoulder straps and a hip belt for a custom fit.

Bottom line

No matter where you're headed or how you plan to get there, you need a carry-on bag that can smoothly navigate the terrain (even if that terrain is the airport's moving walkway) and hold everything you need for your adventures.

Every bag on this list looks good and performs well enough that you'll likely find the one that deserves a spot in your closet.

Related: The best credit cards for online shopping

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The Ultimate Guide to Luggage Sizes: What Size Should You Get?

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4 day trip luggage

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Did you know that choosing a suitcase (or multiple cases, for that matter) in the right size can save you some money in luggage fees and help you become a more organized traveler?

On one end, unused space in your luggage will result in wrinkled clothes and a messy suitcase. Not to mention the extra weight and possible luggage fees. And on the other – having too little space will limit your packing capacity. That’s why nailing the correct luggage size is very, very important.

In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about all the different luggage sizes, restrictions, and more, so you can understand what size luggage is better for you. Make sure to check out our FAQ section at the bottom if you still have any questions!

Luggage Size Chart

But before we begin this article, down below you can check out our infographic and table with the most common luggage sizes, which will offer an easier way to grasp the differences between them.

luggage size guide

Measuring Luggage

measuring luggage with a book

Basically, each airline has different size and weight restrictions for hand and checked luggage. Usually, premium airlines will allow slightly larger bags, and cheaper ones will allow smaller ones with tighter weight limits. Your job as the passenger is to find out the restrictions yourself because they change all the time, and it would be impossible for us to list and update each airline individually.

There are two types of size restrictions that you need to know. The first one is dimensions – height (top to bottom), width (side to side), and depth (front to back). It will usually be applied for personal items and carry-ons and could be stated as follows: 55 x 35 x 25 cm (22 x 14 x 9 inches). Airlines will usually offer measuring boxes inside airports, where you can put in your bags to check if they fit.

The second measurement is linear inches. Linear inches just means the total sum of height, width, and depth, and it’s mainly used for checked luggage, which needs to be under 62 linear inches. So to get linear inches, measure the height, width and depth individually and add them all up.

To measure the dimensions of your suitcase, you can place it next to a wall and measure the height, width, and depth by placing a measuring tape next to the wall. To get a more exact measurement, you can place a book or something flat on the other end of the measuring tape. Make sure to include the wheels, handles, and anything else that’s sticking out! Another thing to keep in mind is that fabric suitcases might become a bit larger once they’re packed to the brim, so before measuring, pack your suitcase full and measure in the widest end.

Hand Luggage

Different hand luggage sizes: personal items, international carry-ons, and domestic carry-ons

Hand luggage means all the bags that you’re allowed to take with you on the plane without checking them in. Usually, it’s a carry-on, a personal item, and any other items that aren’t counted towards the allowance, such as duty-free items .

Hand luggage has to be stored under each passenger’s front seat or in the overhead compartments, which are located above each seat. You won’t be able to access it during take-off and landing because they have to be tucked away securely in case of an emergency.

When you arrive at the airport, you won’t need to go to the check-in desks if you have just hand luggage, and you’ve already printed your tickets back home. You’ll be able to go straight to security , where TSA (Transport Security Agency) will screen your hand luggage for any prohibited items. After that, you’re free to do duty-free shopping or wait at the designated gate until boarding starts.

Carry-on Luggage vs Personal Items

The main difference between carry-on luggage and personal items (other called “underseat luggage”) is that carry-ons need to be stored in the slightly-larger overhead compartments and personal items under each passenger’s front seat. Usually, most people choose smaller rolling suitcases as their carry-ons and backpacks, duffels, or tote bags as their personal items. That said, you can use any type of bag as a carry-on or a personal item, whether it’s a briefcase, rolling suitcase, duffel bag , backpack, tote, or even a regular shopping bag.

You won’t really be able to access stuff from your carry-on during the first and last 15-30 minutes of the flight, as well as any turbulence, so pack your most necessary items in your personal item, such as your laptop , headphones, e-reader , any medicine, e.t.c.

Personal Item Size and Weight Requirements

Most airlines won’t specifically mention an exact size requirement for personal items, and instead, they’ll just say that it has to fit under the front seat. On average though, it should be 6-9 inches in width, 10-14 inches in height, and 17-18.5 inches in length . They avoid stating the exact measurements because each airline has different types of aircraft in their fleet and each aircraft has a different amount of space under each seat. To get the exact personal item size requirements, you should probably ask the airline directly, or check our list where we compiled personal item restrictions for most popular airlines .

Some airlines also have individual weight restrictions for personal items. But most of them just have some kind of weight limit for the total weight of your personal item and carry-on.

Tip: Looking to purchase a personal item? Check out the Matein Travel laptop backpack , which I’ve used as my personal item on multiple flights without any issues. It always fits under the front seat and it’s surprisingly spacious.

Carry-on Size and Weight Requirements

On average, carry-ons usually have to be 8-10 inches in width, 13-15  inches in height, and 19-23 inches in length. Each airline has different carry-on size requirements, however, the most popular one is 22 x 14 x 9 inches . The restrictions are so different between airlines because the overhead compartments tend to differ in capacity across different aircraft.

In terms of weight, each airline has different weight requirements for carry-on luggage. Most airlines in America don’t have any weight requirements for hand luggage but some do, especially budget airlines. If the airline has a carry-on weight limit, it’s usually between 15-35 lbs (7-16 kg) . Some airlines will also have a specific weight limit for the total weight of carry-ons and personal items.

Tip: Looking for a new carry-on? I’ve used the Travelpro Maxlite 5 19-inch fabric carry-on for a while now and I love it. It’s spacious, lightweight, and very durable. Even though it’s slightly over the limit in width, I’ve never had any issues with that on international flights.

Domestic Carry-Ons vs International Carry-Ons

When you’ll be shopping for a new carry-on, you’ll notice that some of them will be marked as “international carry-on” and some as “domestic carry-on.” That’s because carry-on size restrictions are usually stricter for international flights and looser for domestic ones. If you’re flying domestically, you might get away with a 23-inch (longest side) carry-on, but on an international flight, you’ll probably be limited to 19-21 inches.

So essentially, domestic carry-ons will be slightly larger than international ones. If the carry-on is too large , you will be asked to check it in, and you’ll have to pay additional fees. That’s why it’s important to buy a smaller carry-on if you’re planning on flying internationally. Usually, international carry-ons will have to be under 22 x 14 x 9 inches .

Hand Luggage Fees

Almost all airlines will allow bringing one personal item completely for free. When it comes to carry-ons though, most airlines allow bringing one for free, but budget airlines might charge a fixed fee depending on your class, which could be anywhere from 10$ to 50$. For instance, Spirit airlines will charge 31-50$ for carry-on luggage and Ryanair will charge about 6-20 EUR.

Keep in mind that most of these items are usually allowed for free in addition to other hand baggage:

  • Assistive devices for the disabled
  • Other wearable clothes
  • Walking canes
  • Food in disposable containers meant to consume on the airplane
  • Child restraint seats
  • Duty-free items
  • Reading materials
  • Cameras ( some airlines consider cameras as personal items, while others don’t. )
  • Pet carriers ( Some airlines consider pet carriers as personal items, while others don’t. )

Read Next : 12 Best Underseat Bags Without Wheels in 2022

Hand Luggage Advantages and Disadvantages

Using only hand luggage and avoiding checked luggage altogether is a technique used by many, me included because it offers many benefits:

  • No need to wait in line at the check-in counter
  • Most of the time, completely for free
  • Less likely to be stolen or lost because it’s on you at all times
  • Easier to carry around, especially if you use a backpack as a personal item together with a carry-on suitcase
  • The best place for keeping valuables and fragile items
  • You can access all of your items during the flight
  • Less likely to break because it isn’t exposed to baggage handling

However, there are some drawbacks to using only hand luggage, such as:

  • Less packing space
  • Harder to manage for families because they usually need to bring more items
  • It needs to be lugged around the airport after security instead of being handed over at the check-in desks
  • Usually, has much stricter weight limits

Tips for Buying Hand Luggage

  • If you’re flying on short flights, consider using only an underseat rolling suitcase or backpack. People who fly for business often only need to fly out domestically for a quick meeting, so a lot of them travel with only a personal item. You can easily fit a spare shirt in there as well as some toiletries and a laptop, which is really all you need.
  • For up to two-week vacations, a carry-on and a personal item offer more than enough space. Personally, I’m a light packer, and I can travel for up to three weeks or even a month using only a carry-on and a personal item. For most people, this offers enough space.
  • Consider getting a backpack with a back strap as your choice of personal item. That way, you can secure it around the retractable handle on top of your carry-on, which makes it incredibly easy to lug around. Especially in crowded areas, such as public transport and airports.
  • If you’ll be flying internationally, get a carry-on under 22 x 14 x 9 inches with wheels and handles included. On domestic flights, you’ll probably be able to use something larger, but if you want to avoid paying extra fees down the line, make sure your carry-on is under this limit.
  • Make sure to get lightweight hand luggage. The weight restrictions are pretty strict as it is already, so make sure to get a lightweight carry-on and personal item. Especially the carry-on, because you’ll have to stow it in the overhead compartments. So instead of going with a hardside carry-on, get a fabric one instead, which will most likely be lighter.

Read Next: Airport Travel Terminology 101 – The Ultimate Guide

Checked Luggage

Different checked luggage sizes: Small, medium, and large checked luggage

Checked luggage is all baggage that’s too large or too heavy to be carried on the flight, and has to be checked in instead. This means that you’ll need to hand it over at the check-in counters at the airport. The baggage will then be transferred over to baggage handling and it will be loaded in the cargo hold of the airplane . When you land, you’ll have to pick up your checked luggage from the luggage conveyor belts in the baggage reclaim area.

You can use other kinds of baggage as well for checked luggage, not just suitcases. You can also use large backpacks, duffel bags, totes, musical instruments in their cases, large trunks, and other oversized items. A lot of times, you’ll have to check in specialty items, such as large musical instruments and all kinds of sporting equipment, such as bicycles, snowboards, golf clubs, e.t.c.

Read Next: What to Put in Carry-on and What in Checked Luggage (Guide)

Checked Luggage Size and Weight Restrictions

Most commonly, checked luggage will have a size restriction of 62 linear inches (height + width + length) and a weight limit of 50 or 70 lbs. These are the IATA guidelines that are enforced in the EU and US which are there to keep the baggage handlers from handling too heavy bags. Oversized and overweight baggage will be accepted, but it will be labeled as oversized/overweight and you’ll have to pay a fee for that unless it’s sporting equipment. For instance, American Airlines will accept oversized bags up to 126 linear inches (320 cm) and overweight bags up to 100 lbs (45 kg.)

Small vs Medium vs Large Checked Luggage

Checked luggage comes in different sizes, and usually, the longest dimension is 23-32 inches long. Depending on the longest side, checked luggage is usually divided into three sizes, which are small, medium, and large. Small checked suitcases usually are 23-24 inches on the longest size, medium ones 25-27 inches, and large ones in 28-32 inches. Quite often, suitcases above 30 inches will actually be oversized, because they’re over 62 linear inches with wheels and handles included.

For most people, a medium checked suitcase will be the best option, because it will be just within the checked luggage size limits and offer a large amount of space for all of their items.

Read Next: 8 Best 62-Inch Checked Suitcases in 2022

Checked Luggage Fees

On most international flights, airlines will allow you to bring one or two checked bags completely for free. On domestic flights, usually, they’ll offer either one free checked bag or none at all. This depends a lot on the airline though. Additional bags will cost on a per-bag basis, starting with cheaper rates and continuing with more expensive ones. For instance, for American Airlines on domestic flights, the first checked bag will cost 30$, the second 40$, and the third one 100$ .

If you aren’t flying alone and you’re carrying a lot of checked bags, it’s usually a better idea to split them evenly among all the passengers to save some money on the checked baggage fees. It also isn’t advisable to bring more than two checked bags because the fees start to get pretty costly after that.

The fees for overweight and oversized luggage can get very expensive, upwards of 100-200$ for each bag, so before you arrive at the airport, make sure that each bag is under the weight limit.

Checked Luggage Advantages and Disadvantages

Although there are a lot of disadvantages for flying with checked luggage, there are some advantages as well, such as:

  • Checked bags offer much more space
  • Better for families who carry a lot of items
  • Checked bags don’t need to be carried around the airport after checking them in
  • No need to worry about size and weight, as the restrictions are pretty hard to reach
  • You should be able to get away with a slightly oversized checked bag because they’re rarely measured

However, there’s a reason why I don’t travel with checked luggage. In my opinion, it has more disadvantages, such as:

  • With a personal item, carry-on, and a checked suitcase, it’s much more difficult to use public transport
  • Checked luggage is mostly a paid service, especially with budget airlines
  • There’s just too much space if you’re a light packer
  • Checked bags can get damaged from baggage handling
  • Items get lost or stolen much more frequently when packed in checked luggage
  • You won’t be able to access the contents of checked luggage during the whole flight
  • In case checked baggage gets lost, you’ll be left without a lot of items and your trip might be ruined
  • You’ll have to wait in the check-in line at the airport

Tips for Buying Checked Luggage

  • Avoid plastic checked suitcases. Hardside ABS, Polycarbonate, or Polypropylene suitcases can crack pretty easily. When they’re thrown in the baggage area under a pile of other suitcases, this can happen very easily. That’s why you should choose an aluminum checked suitcase or a fabric one, which will be much less likely to break.
  • Before buying a checked suitcase, double-check that it’s below 62 linear inches.  Oversized checked luggage fees can get pretty expensive, usually between 100-200$. To avoid this hefty fee make sure that your suitcase is below 62 linear inches (height + width + depth) with handles and wheels included. A very large amount of large checked suitcases, in fact, about 50-80% of them are oversized, so pay close attention to the dimensions.
  • A medium checked suitcase (25-27 inches) is more than enough for most people. Usually, medium checked suitcases are 58-61 linear inches in size, which is just below the 62 linear inch size limit, so when you’re looking for a checked suitcase, get one in this size.
  • Get a bright or patterned checked suitcase. Checked luggage gets lost much more frequently. So when you’re shopping for a new case, make sure to get one that’s colorful and easy to recognize . It will be much easier to spot on the baggage carousel and if it gets lost, the chances of finding it will be much better because you’ll be able to describe it better. If you already own a dark checked suitcase, get a colorful patterned luggage cover .
  • Avoid checked luggage with spinner wheels. Rolling, inline (2 wheels) suitcases are better options for checked suitcases because they’re much less likely to break while the bag is checked in. Spinner wheels are much more likely to fall off because they’re extended out from the main shape of the suitcase. It’s actually one of the most common things that break on checked bags.
  • Consider getting a pelican trunk instead of a typical checked suitcase. They’re basically indestructible and they’re one of the most popular choices for climbers, camera crews, and other people who need to bring a lot of expensive checked gear.

What Size Luggage Should You Get?

Checked luggage next to a carry on

There are all kinds of different factors that determine what kind of suitcase you should get. Before buying any luggage, you should understand how often and where you’ll be traveling, how many people you’ll be flying with, what are your packing traditions, and so on.

Are You an Over-Packer?

There’s nothing wrong with being an over-packer, but it will affect what kind of luggage you should choose and how much you’ll be paying in fees. Most over-packers like to travel with a checked suitcase and a personal item, such as a small backpack, skipping the carry-on entirely. You’ll be able to pack your valuables and essentials in the personal item and be left with a very large amount of space in your checked suitcase, where you can pack all of your clothing and anything else you’d need. A medium checked suitcase will usually offer about 90-100 l of space while a carry-on only 35-50 l, so the difference is pretty significant.

How Long You’ll Be Traveling?

The length of your trips/vacations also determines what kind of luggage you should get. If you’ll be traveling for months, unless you’re an extreme minimalist, you’ll need to bring some kind of checked luggage. But for two to three-week trips, it’s perfectly fine to bring only a carry-on and a personal item, unless you’re an over-packer or you need to bring other kinds of gear for your job, planned activities, e.t.c.

Where You’re Flying to and What Are Your Planned Activities?

Think about what you’ll be doing and what gear you’ll need. Do you need scuba diving or skiing gear? Are you into photography and need to bring a large tripod? Are you flying to a cold-weather country and you need to bring a lot of extra warm clothing? The kind of travel that you’ll be doing, determines what size luggage you should get.

Think about valuable and fragile gear specifically. Try to keep the most valuable items in your hand luggage. If that isn’t possible, remember to ensure your gear and invest in a durable, large enough, checked suitcase or trunk. A good option for that is the pelican trunk , which is the industry standard for professionals.

Tip: It’s Better to Buy a Smaller Suitcase, Instead of a Larger One

Many people will probably disagree but I personally think that it’s always a smarter choice to buy a smaller suitcase instead of a larger one. This will make you become a lighter packer, which could end up saving you some money in the long run on checked baggage fees.

A lot of times, people are bringing gear that they don’t really need and end up with heavier, oversized suitcases. Remember that you’ll also have to carry your luggage around the town and to the airport. You’re on a vacation to get new experiences, not buy a lot of unneeded stuff, and be exhausted from carrying an oversized suitcase. Of course, if you’re traveling for work, that may not be true, but for general leisure travel, it’s a better idea to get a slightly smaller suitcase than you think you’d need.

What Size Luggage I Use Personally

I usually travel one or two weeks at a time, so a personal item (backpack) and an international carry-on are more than enough to fit in everything that I need. I rarely use checked luggage because I’m a minimalistic packer.

My favorite has become the B06XZTZ7GB ?tag=cleverjourney-general-th-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1′ title=’Matein laptop backpack’ target=’_blank’ rel=’nofollow noopener sponsored’ data-aawp-product-id=’ B06XZTZ7GB ‘ data-aawp-product-title=’Matein laptop backpack’>Matein laptop backpack for a personal item, which fits perfectly under the front seat and has many neat compartments for everything that I need. It’s 18 x 12 x 7.8 inches large, but I never pack it full, so it always fits under the front seat.

And for the carry-on, I use the B07BM9DFX9 ?tag=cleverjourney-general-th-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1′ title=’Travelpro Maxlite 5 International 19-inch carry-on’ target=’_blank’ rel=’nofollow noopener sponsored’ data-aawp-product-id=’ B07BM9DFX9 ‘ data-aawp-product-title=’Travelpro Maxlite 5 International 19-inch carry-on’>Travelpro Maxlite 5 International 19-inch carry-on , which is pretty light and small enough for domestic luggage restrictions. It’s 21.75 x 15.75 x 7.75 inches large with wheels and handles included, so sometimes it’s a little bit above international limits, but I’ve never had any issues with it. I’ve tried squeezing it inside the measurement boxes myself, and I managed to fit it in with a tight squeeze.

My laptop backpack has a rear strap that wraps around the carry-on’s retractable handle so my backpack can be secured on top of it. It’s handy because my carry-on has spinner wheels, and it’s super easy to move around. In tight spaces, for instance, in the subway, it’s much easier to store the backpack on top of the carry-on.

If you’re a light packer like me, I’d suggest going with a backpack and a carry-on. It’ll be enough for 1-2 week trips, but if you wash some clothes midway and don’t buy too many souvenirs, you can stretch that to three weeks or even a month. If you’re traveling longer than that or you’re an over-packer, you should get a 25-27-inch medium checked suitcase instead of the carry-on.

Also check out: Airplane seat upgrades

Frequently Asked Questions About Luggage Sizes

What’s the largest luggage size for checked-in luggage ( 62-inch luggage ).

In order to comply with the 62-linear-inch checked luggage size requirement, you shouldn’t get a suitcase larger than 29-30 inches (longest side.) Almost all 31 and 32-inch suitcases will be oversized. Even a lot of 28-30-inch suitcases are oversized, so you have to double-check the product description and find out how large they really are. Count the total sum of the height, width, and depth, with wheels and handles included to get the true linear-inch measurement. The largest suitcases within the 62-linear-inch restriction are about 100-120l in volume.

To maximize the amount of space that you can have inside, choose a fabric suitcase, which will open from the top, instead of the middle, as you see on most hardside cases. This means you’ll have a larger main compartment. Also, make sure to get it with inline rolling wheels, instead of spinner ones, which results in a lot of unused space.

Tip: If you want to maximize the amount of space you get from a 62-linear-inch checked suitcase, get the Pelican 1615 travel case , which is exactly 62 linear inches in size and is virtually indestructible.

What’s the largest size for hand luggage?

When we talk about hand luggage, there are different restrictions for personal items and carry-ons. There are also different restrictions for each airline. In general, personal items should be below 17 x 10 x 7 inches in dimensions and carry-ons under 22 x 14 x 9 inches.

The largest size restriction for personal items that we found was on Southwest airlines, where personal items need to be under 18.5 x 13.5 x 8.5 inches. The largest size restriction for carry-ons was on Alaska Air, which was 24 x 17 x 10 inches. Generally, more expensive airlines will have looser restrictions for hand luggage.

What are the 3 luggage sizes?

If we’re talking about dimensions, the three luggage sizes are height (from top to bottom), width (from side to side), and depth (from front to back).

If, however, we’re talking in terms of luggage types, what people most likely mean with the 3 luggage sizes is personal items, carry-ons, and checked luggage, which have three different size and weight restrictions.

What’s the best luggage size for 20 and 23 kg?

The most common weight restriction for checked luggage on budget airlines is 20 or 23 kg (44 or 50 lbs). The best luggage size for this weight restriction is between 25-29 inches (longest size) . That’s because 20 or 23 kg checked luggage has to be under 62 linear inches (157 cm). You can calculate the linear inches by adding up height, width, and depth. Most suitcases above 29 inches will be over this limit, which means you’ll have to pay oversized baggage fees. You should always include the wheels and handles in these measurements.

Can I use backpacks and duffel bags as hand/checked luggage?

Yes, you can use backpacks and duffel bags as checked luggage. Theoretically, you can use any type of bag as checked luggage, as long as it’s durable enough to withstand baggage handling. You could even use a cardboard box , although it may not be a wise idea.

Personally, I’ve only traveled with a large backpack as my checked luggage. That’s because I do a lot of hiking and my hiking backpack is much larger than a carry-on. It’s pretty common for people to travel only with a large backpack (not only hike) and keep their essentials in a plastic bag or a tote bag during the flight. This gives you a lot of freedom because everything you need is packed inside one large backpack.

Do I need to include wheels and handles when measuring luggage?

You always need to include wheels, handles, and other elements that are sticking out when measuring luggage. A lot of people don’t know this and they end up purchasing oversized luggage, only to regret it later. You also need to take into account that if you’re buying an expendable suitcase, it will become a few inches wider when expanded.

What size luggage should I use for a week-long trip?

For a week-long trip, everyone should be able to fit everything they’d need in a carry-on and a personal item. Some people struggle with over-packing and end up using checked luggage for week-long trips, which can be avoided with smarter packing choices. When packing for your trip, always lay everything out and re-evaluate each individual item individually. Ask yourself if you’ll be using these items on your trip. And if the answer is “Maybe” you should leave that specific item at home. Personally, I can fit everything I’d need for 2-4 weeks in a single carry-on and a personal item.

What if my checked luggage is oversized?

IATA, which is the largest worldwide airline regulator, states that checked bags can’t be over 62 linear inches in order to keep the baggage handlers from working with oversized bags. Anything over 62 linear inches will be labeled as “oversized” and will cost you an extra 100-200$, depending on the airline.

Even if you pay the hefty oversized luggage fees, there is a limit to how large checked luggage you can bring. Each airline considers this individually, and, for instance, American Airlines will allow oversized bags up to 126 linear inches (320 cm).

The rules are slightly different for sporting equipment, though. Bicycles, for instance, will almost always be allowed, even if they’re oversized, and their luggage fees won’t be as expensive.

What if my checked luggage is overweight?

Overweight checked luggage is allowed, but will be marked as overweight and will cost an additional 100-200$, depending on the airline. IATA states that checked baggage can’t weigh over 70 lbs (31 kg), to protect the baggage handlers from working with overweight items, so anything over that will be marked as overweight. Each airline has a different limit on overweight checked luggage. For instance, American Airlines will allow checked baggage up to 100 lbs (45 kg).

Do carry-on measurements need to be exact?

Unfortunately, carry-on measurements need to be exact. Most airlines have measurement boxes inside airports, which are in the exact measurements of their restrictions. If your carry-on looks oversized, they’ll ask you to put it inside the measurement box. Carry-on suitcases aren’t really flexible, so you won’t be able to get away with an oversized carry-on. If, on the other hand, you’re using a duffel bag or a backpack as your carry-on, then you might get away with a slightly oversized bag, as you’ll be able to squeeze it inside the measurement box.

Should I get hard or soft luggage ?

There are pros and cons for both, but I personally tend to lean towards fabric luggage. It’s lighter, less likely to crack or break, and you can extend it slightly outwards if you’ve over-packed. On the other hand, hardside luggage offers more protection to your items and is better-looking in my opinion. Modern hardside suitcases made from Polycarbonate are also pretty durable and don’t weigh much more than comparable fabric alternatives. So it doesn’t really matter that much whether you choose a hardside or softside bag – it’s more a matter of preference.

The only real instance where I wouldn’t use a hardside plastic suitcase is in checked luggage. They’re put under a lot more pressure from baggage handling and quite often, they get thrown around and placed at the bottom of a pile of checked suitcases. They’re much more likely to each up with cracks or dents, so using a fabric-checked suitcase would make more sense.

Should I get a rolling or spinner suitcase ?

There are advantages to both, but generally, it’s better to stick with spinner suitcases for carry-on luggage and rolling ones for checked luggage. That’s because while spinner suitcases are much easier to move around, they’re much easier to break off the suitcase. And in checked luggage, they’re much more likely to break off from luggage handling.

Rolling suitcases will usually be more spacious because the wheels are somewhat integrated within the main frame. On spinner suitcases, they’ll extend outwards of the suitcase, which results in a lot of unused space underneath the suitcase. Remember that the wheels are counted towards the total measurements.

But if you’re having back problems or in general lugging around a suitcase gives you hard time, then a suitcase with spinner wheels might make more sense. Compared to inline rolling suitcases, they’re much, much easier to move around – they practically roll by themselves.

How much luggage can I bring on international flights ?

Most airlines will allow one personal item and one carry-on for free on international flights. As for checked luggage, most airlines will allow one or even two checked bags for free for each passenger, and the rest will need to be paid for with additional fees, ranging from 30-100$. In general, the fees increase for each next checked bag and could be as follows: 30$ for the first checked bag, 40$ for the second, and 100$ for each next one.

You’ll be able to bring up to 10 checked suitcases (even though it’ll cost a small fortune!) but on some international destinations, a bit less. Airlines operate within the rules set by airline regulators, and in some countries, each passenger can have only two or three checked bags.

How many pieces and what size should a luggage set be?

Most luggage sets come in three pieces: one carry-on (19-23 inches), one medium checked suitcase (25-27 inches), and one large checked suitcase (28-32 inches). I would advise against getting a 3-piece luggage set like this because quite often, the largest piece in the set is oversized, which means that it’s above the 62 linear inch limit and you’ll have to pay oversized luggage fees.

Instead, it would be much more beneficial to get a 2-piece set containing a carry-on and a medium checked suitcase, or a 3-piece set that also contains a personal item (underseat bag). If you’re getting a 3-piece set with a large checked bag, make sure that it isn’t oversized.

Luggage sets are often cheaper to get than buying each piece individually, so it’s quite often a smarter choice to buy a whole set.

Final Words

Getting the right size luggage is really important because if it’s oversized, you might end up paying extra in fees, or just end up with a lot of unused space. For anyone new to traveling, I’d advise getting a small backpack as a personal item and a carry-on that’s within 22 x 14 x 9 inches. This is more than enough for most trips, and I’m usually able to squeeze in everything needed for 2-4 weeks in there. If you’re an over-packer, you might need to swap that carry-on with a medium checked suitcase, which would be 25-27 inches in size (longest end).

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The Best Travel Bags for Wherever You’re Headed

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Maxlite luggage on white backdrop

Best Carry-On for Most People Travelpro Maxlite 5 Read more

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Best Hard-Shell Carry-On Away Carry-On Read more

YETI Crossroads Luggage

Best Soft-Shell Carry-On Yeti Crossroads 35L Read more

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Best Bag for a Lifetime Briggs & Riley Baseline CX Read more

Whew! You've made it all the way across the globe. But have your toothbrush, pajamas, and running shoes made it, too? If you're a frequent traveler, it's easy to obsess over the logistics of getting your stuff clean, organized, and in good working condition upon arrival. Paying for a decent travel bag and a few useful accessories means buying a little peace of mind, especially when a few yards of zippers and some nylon are the only barriers between your precious belongings and the belly of an airliner.

Whether you're slinging a duffel into a car trunk for a weekend trip or packing for a whirlwind jaunt across Asia, we've got you covered. Need a bag for your passport or groceries? Don't forget to check out our other guides, like the Best Laptop Backpacks and the Best Recycled Bags , for more picks.

Updated April 2024: We reorganized this guide and added new picks, such as the Yeti Crossroads, Tom Bihn Aeronaut and Trinity, the Frame Carry-On Max, the Lo & Sons O.G. 2, the Camelbak A.T.P. 20, the Calpak Luka Duffel, and the Rux 70. We also updated the information on sizing and checked links and prices.

Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off) . This includes unlimited access to WIRED. com. Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.

Best Carry-On for Most People

Look around any airport—if you see flight attendants or pilots, they will probably be rolling around a Travelpro suitcase. We like Travelpros because you get a lot of bang for your buck. They're durable, light, and not too expensive.

For only a little over $100, the Maxlite 5 is one of the more affordable Travelpro suitcases, and at 5.4 pounds, it's very light! The exterior toiletry pocket is a nice touch for when you go through security and need to take out your liquids, and the zippers are also quite strong and don't tend to get stuck. The wheels also rolled nicely on both the spinner and roll-aboard versions. Reviewer Matt Jancer did note that the aluminum handle extensions did sometimes stick and the main grab handle on the bag is only single-stitched, which may cause durability issues farther down the line. However, he has seen no issues yet. This probably the best bag you can get in the $100 to $150 price range.

Best Hard-Shell Carry-On

Away's business practices may have raised some eyebrows , but there's no denying that this company changed the travel market entirely. It has increased in price since we first tested it, but multiple WIRED staffers still use the classic Away hard-shell carry-on ( 9/10, WIRED Recommends ) as their travel suitcase.

Hard-shell suitcases tend to be heavier. There's also not as much give in the case, so you may find it hard to squeeze in more items than in a soft-shell bag, bu they look a lot sleeker than their soft-shell counterparts and protect fragile items better. The Away weighs 7.5 pounds, which is pretty standard for a hard-shell carry-on. When I tested it, I liked that it had multiple height settings and that the polycarbonate shell wiped clean and stayed mostly scuff-free (it helped that my tester was in the darker navy color). Away's suitcases also come with a built-in TSA-approved combination lock, four spinner wheels capable of rotating 360 degrees, and an included laundry bag to keep dirty clothes separate from the rest of your stuff. The handle did feel a bit wobbly, though.

★ Alternatives: So many companies now offer a direct-to-consumer, stylish, hard-shell carry-on similar to the Away's. We've tried ones by Monos ($255) and July ($295) . Besides price, the differences are mostly negligible. I like July's aluminum bumpers, but they do add weight. The Monos's handle rolls out more smoothly, but the July's pebbled surface doesn't show scuffs as badly. Both have survived multiple cross-country trips, being checked as baggage, and being ridden on by two small children with no damage.

Paravel also offers an Aviator carry-on ($395) that touts itself as the world's first carbon-neutral carry-on; it has an interior lining made of recycled plastic bottles, a telescoping handle made of recycled aluminum, and vegan leather trim to help it stand out from all the plain black bags at the airport. Product reviewer Jaina Grey fell in love with its roomy interior and durable, anti-scuff hard-shell exterior.

Best Soft-Shell Carry-On

Yeti's coolers and cups are famous for being bomb-proof. The company recently launched a luggage line that's similarly overbuilt. The Yeti Crossroads 35L is a 22-inch roller bag that's carry-on size for most major airlines. It weighs 7.7 pounds, on par with soft-sided competitors of the same size.

I recently spent a week dragging the Crossroads up and down grimy subway station escalators, thumping it across cobblestones, and scrunching it into overfull overhead bins during a trip to London, Paris, and Brussels. The blue 700D nylon on the front and sides looks just as fresh as it did out of the box while the molded polycarbonate shell on the back has a few well-earned battle scratches. The two extra-large fixed wheels are rolling as smoothly as ever and hopped up curbs so well that I grew to favor them over smaller spinner wheels. The Crossroads has a half-dozen well-placed pockets and sturdy zippers that didn't give me any anxiety even as I tugged them hard while smooshing down to fit souvenirs into a carry-on with 8 days of clothing. —Martin Cizmar

Best Bag for a Lifetime

Do you only want to buy one suitcase and never think about it, ever again? Briggs & Riley is one of the few companies with a lifetime unlimited warranty. I bought a Briggs & Riley carry-on as my first and only post-college purchase. Right now, it has lasted over 20 years. Periodically, I bring it into the one Briggs & Riley-approved dealership in my town to get a zipper pull put back on, and it's fixed for free in a few days. Its components are top-of-the-line. The face fabric is a heavy-duty ballistic nylon that’s water-repellent and abrasion-resistant. After having been dragged all over the globe, from the Philippines to Turkey to Iceland, the gleaming red is just as bright.

The low-profile wheels nor handles have never broken. The grab handles are also luxuriously smooth and padded, and there's an interior folding garment bag for my husband's suits. The only downside is that at 9.3 pounds, it’s pretty heavy.

★ Alternatives: If you need an absolutely bomber-tough rolling suitcase and don't mind its 9.6-pound weight, the Pro Front-Access Carry ($799) will stand up to more abuse than most rolling bags, with its aluminum frame and 70-percent-recycled polycarbonate body. WIRED reviewer Chris Haslam says it's his favorite rolling bag in years. Jancer also likes Travelpro's Platinum Elite carry-on ($315) , which he calls one of the most high-end polycarbonate bags on the market.

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Best Backpack

When I reviewed the Cotopaxi Allpa in 2018 ( 9/10, WIRED Recommends ), it had only recently launched. Now, a half-dozen years later, it is one of the most popular travel backpacks that I see online and in airports all over the world. It's a combination of a camping backpack, a suitcase, and a soft, frameless duffel. You can splay it open like a sandwich to pack it easily; access items through a side zip; put it on your backpack and secure its weight with a sternum strap; or squash or stomp it into any overhead compartment or corner of your car trunk. The use case for this bag is extremely specific—the same people who are bopping around Thailand for several weeks in one backpack are not the same people trying to look professional at a work conference. But it is sturdy and comfortable.

★ Alternative: I took the Ekster Packable Duffel ($250) on several weekend trips this spring, and found that it more than upheld its claims of being built for “smoother journeys, on and off the grid.” This travel bag converts from a backpack to a duffel, with two separate compartments that also splay open for easier packing. The 600-denier exterior and water-resistant zippers are so sturdy that when we ran out of space in the car, we lashed it to the roof rack with surf straps and drove for hours in the rain. It, and its contents, remained pristine.

Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 bag

Best Convertible Bag

Every serious traveler knows the name of Seattle-based Tom Bihn, manufacturer of bomber bags that will last you a lifetime. The Aeronaut 45 is the classic Tom Bihn convertible carry-on, which the size of the maximum allowable carryon bag on a plane.

You get everything from a Tom Bihn bag that you pay for. It’s made of incredibly sturdy 1050 denier ballistic nylon, with bombproof YKK zippers. It has both hidden backpack straps and an extremely comfortable cross-body strap. This is commerce director Martin Cizmar's bag, and he's tossed it around and lugged it down rough streets and through crowds where roller bags are a liability. He owns two and the first lasted for more than a decade. This is the bag that both he and I would use, if we didn't have to constantly test other bags.

Small bag with several zippers 2 handles and 1 strap

Best Personal Item

Some airlines are not content with charging you extra for checking a bag and now charge you for overhead bin space . The Tom Bihn Trinity ( 7/10, WIRED Recommends ) addresses that problem by providing a space for you to pack everything you need while still fitting underneath the seat in front of you. As the name suggests, it has three main compartments and three ways to carry—either as a briefcase with padded grab handles, a backpack, or as a shoulder bag with two attachment points.

It has three main compartments which can be arranged to your liking; for example, on one of the side compartments, you can zip a water bottle holder into place or unzip it for more room. It wasn't quite as versatile as I expected; I found that I prefer a small duffel with one main compartment that I can organize as I like. However, it does fit under the seat in front of me, even with clothes, laptop, and four (four!) hardcover books that I somehow stuffed inside it.

Lo  Sons OG bag

Best Work Bag

I've been traveling a lot for work and for family reasons in the past few months, and the bag I prefer for my personal item is the Lo & Sons O.G. 2, which is the larger version of the brand's Nouvelle purse ( 8/10, WIRED Recommends ). It comes in a medium and a large version; the medium is adequate as an everyday bag, but the large turns it into a versatile work/travel bag. It’s low-profile and has both smooth leather grab handles as well as a shoulder strap. I have kicked it under plane seats and around airports, and the nylon doesn't show any damage. There's a hidden separate compartment if you spill water on yourself, and it has sturdy feet so you can put it on an airplane bathroom counter and dig for your makeup without it falling over or getting the bottom of the bag too disgusting. The toothed zippers do tend to crinkle and snatch at your knuckles when the bag gets overstuffed, but I suppose you could always, uh, avoid overstuffing your bag.

★ Alternatives: We have plenty of recommendations in our guide to the Best Laptop Totes , but we love Lo & Sons. The Catalina Supreme Tote ($338) is also great for weekend trips. Again, there's also a bottom compartment for a pair of shoes, or anything else you need to keep separate.

Camelbak A.T.P. 2.0 Backpack

The Best Hiking Daypack

The Camelbak A.T.P. is so useful that I’m always startled to realize it only has a 20-liter capacity. I have it in the 100 percent recycled white color, which saves water and only emits half the greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating the dying process. It’s a panel loader, which means you can unzip the top and see exactly where everything goes, like a duffel. This is convenient when packing for trips—I was able to fit clothes, a Dopp kit, and electronics for an overnight trip. (I know these types of zippers fail more often than top loaders, but it does make it easier to arrange and sort items near the bottom of the pack.)

I particularly like how narrow it is. It fits my back and goes under airplane seats that even my children’s backpacks can’t. The bottle pocket has a zipper that makes it expandable so it can fit a little coffee thermos or my giant Yeti water bottle . Exterior compression straps also help squeeze my clothes even smaller. This is a great backpack if you want something that looks sleek enough for a work bag but is durable enough to take on a weekend trip to Yosemite.

★ Alternative: I also love the Patagonia Black Hole Backpack ($149) . This 25-liter bag is the perfect combination work/adventure bag. The suspended 15-inch laptop pocket clips shut, and the rest of the pockets are thoughtfully placed. It’s extremely light (a little over a pound) and is made from 100 percent recycled ripstop fabric.

REI CoOp Big Haul 40L duffel bag

Best Duffel Bag

The Big Haul ( 8/10, WIRED Recommends ) is our favorite duffel because it hits the right balance of robust build materials and pockets without being too heavy to lug around all day. The standout feature of the Big Haul series, which comes in 28-liter to 120-liter options, is the ability to easily reposition the carrying straps, which feature plastic fishhook-style ends that slip into fabric loops. You can connect one strap end-to-end or double up on two straps in an H pattern for more stability with heavy loads. Adding and removing the straps isn't super fast, but it's not difficult, either, and six low-profile loops seems less intrusive than six rattling plastic buckles.

Two small interior pockets and an exterior pocket keep small things organized, and its water-resistant fabric is thick and tough without being stiff. All the sewing around the grab handles feels very robust too. Padded backpack straps hide away under a padded pocket on the top of the bag. This means that when you sling the Big Haul over your shoulders to give your arms a rest, your back is against the relatively clean top of the duffel, rather than a wet, dirty bottom side that's been set down on the ground. The current iteration of the Big Haul is also made with recycled nylon. What's not to love? —Matt Jancer

★ Alternative: For slightly more money, the classic duffel in this category is the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel ($159) , which also comes in a variety of colorways and sizes. You can either carry it by the grab handles or with the shoulder straps, and it's made from 100 percent recycled polyester with a TPU-film laminate. I (Adrienne) have had the 40-liter version for almost 15 years now and the laminate has yet to peel. It also fits as a carry-on on flights.

Red Oxx travel bag

The Best Expedition Bag

If you like outdoor sports, you probably need a good expedition bag—that is, a huge, burly duffel that you can just throw all your pointy ice axes, trekking poles, or camp chairs into that you can take anywhere and everywhere. Reviewer Matt Jancer's expedition bag of choice is the Red Oxx PR5. He's used it for whitewater paddling trips and to lug mountain climbing equipment from coast to coast without a single frayed thread. Everything about Red Oxx is overbuilt. The zippers are huge, its thick pieces of nylon webbing are robustly sewn, and chunky metal rings hang the detachable carrying strap. All that said, it's not abominably heavy. At 3.4 pounds it's still lighter than many wheeled bags.

★ Alternative: If you've ever gone to a popular outdoor destination, like Yosemite or Everest, you've probably seen stacks of North Face Base Camp duffels . This is the quintessential expedition bag. My own personal bag is the OnSight Tarmac EPO , but the company no longer exists; I also have a Mountain Hardware duffel ($180) and after 20 years, the coating has finally started to peel.

Rux 70L storage box

Best for Camping

We love everything from Rux; I'm currently testing the waterproof adventure tote ($150) and I use it for everything from my climbing gear, to picnic gear, to bringing my kids' roller skates and soccer balls to the park. I have also leaked an entire water bottle in it and it stayed contained and out of the bottom of my car.

But for camping (or any outdoor pursuit, really), what you need is a Rux storage system , which, as the artist and filmmaker Van Neistat puts it, will help you kit your shit . It holds its frame shape, which means you can stack and organize inside of it just like a box, but it folds down like a bag for easy storage once you're at your destination. It's also light and waterproof and comes with a wide array of accessories . This is an upgrade for everyone who currently sorts their camping, climbing, or snowboarding gear in a series of $5 plastic totes and stacks them in their trunk.

The Frame CarryOn Max Aluminum Edition

The Best Aluminum Suitcase

Perhaps you've seen those Instagram-friendly, shiny aluminum suitcases and wonder whether it's worth the investment. Aluminum is extremely durable and can be machined with precision. That means it will protect your belongings better, and you can close them with latches instead of zippers. Your suitcase will last longer and be more secure— zippers are pretty easy to break into —and generally have fewer points of failure.

In my opinion, the cost-benefit analysis generally weighs against them. Aluminum suitcases are usually heavier and won't flex as much if you have overpacking tendencies, and I find them painfully conspicuous. Any suitcase with a decent warranty policy will painlessly cover any repairs. If you must have one, we like Arlo Skye's the Frame. Arlo Skye was founded by alumni from Louis Vuitton and Tumi, and reviewer Matt Jancer says that everything about the Frame screams robust quality, from the leather grab handles to the combination-lock latches. It also comes with a removable battery bank and has a few more liters of carrying capacity than the similarly-sized Away. The main disadvantage is that the interior organization is a bit lacking.

★ Alternative: Do you want the benefits of an aluminum suitcase without the drawbacks? You might want to consider Monos's Hybrid Carry-On ($325) . You won't fool anyone into thinking you've shelled out for a 100 percent aluminum suitcase, but Jancer notes that it's only a pound or so heavier than the competition and the aluminum frame offered better protection than any 100 percent polycarbonate suitcase that he tried.

Luka Duffel Bag

A Good Emergency Go Bag

To be clear, any bag here could be considered a go-bag—even a grocery bag works when you have to leave the house imminently. But reviewer Nena Farrell used Calpak's duffel for an emergency surgery, and she is kicking herself for not getting it sooner. It was big enough for everything from makeup bags and extra outfits to a massive book and Nintendo Switch, and was comfortable to carry thanks to the large straps.

The shoe compartment was big enough for sandals and slides, but not big enough for shoes with an ankle. It was also a great place to stash haphazard Ziplocs of emergency toiletries and medications. There are some side pockets inside too, plus an exterior side pocket and a pass-through panel to place it on top of your luggage. It was a great hospital companion, but Farrell can't wait to take the Luka somewhere a little more fun.

Solgaard CarryOn Closet Plus luggage

Other Bags We Like

Not every good product can snag a best-in-category title, but there are several more bags we've tested that get our thumbs-up.

Osprey Ozone 40L for $280 : At 4.47 pounds, Osprey claims this bag is the lightest carry-on suitcase. It's also made from 400D recycled bluesign-approved nylon and is treated with DWR. This bag is light enough to easily hoist above my head and has also been checked multiple times.

Gregory Alpaca 40 Duffel for $140 : This duffel weighs a scant 2.7 pounds, but the water-resistant fabric and extraordinarily beefy (though plastic) buckles make it a solid bag for adventuring. There's an exterior pocket for storing shoes or dirty clothes. The backpack straps don't tuck away for storage—you have to unclip them—but might be the most well-padded, comfortable straps I've encountered on a duffel. Exterior daisy chains and an interior zippered pocket round out the impressive features list.

Land's End Waxed Canvas Duffel for $180 : Most duffel bags these days are made of nylon, and while it's tough to call a material that's been popular since the 1940s “modern,” nylon bags don't have the old-school charm that this waxed canvas bag does.

Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler 40L for $149 : This bag weighs 1 pound, 13 ounces, which is only slightly heavier than air. It also has backpack straps that stow away in a front pocket.

Skyway Epic Carry-On for $160 : At 7.1 pounds, the Epic is an average weight. The handle is a wee bit more finicky than our top pick, and the Travelpro's wheels glide a little more nicely. Still, the Epic is a solid choice.

Target Signature Weekender Bag for $81 : Looking like a cross between a duffel and a handbag, the Weekender has a structure that product reviewer Louryn Strampe says can become overfilled, so keep that in mind if you plan to bring it onto a plane as a carry-on. She appreciates its durability and the many internal pockets for organization, though, and its rather long five-year warranty.

Solgaard Carry-On Closet Plus for $345 : It's a tiny bit over what most airlines list as the maximum dimensions, but the difference is so small that it's accepted 95 percent of the time. WIRED reviewer Louryn Strampe praises its optional clip-in closet clothing organizer, which makes for efficient packing. The built-in TSA lock is easy to use, and there's an internal power-bank pocket. This suitcase is included in our Favorite Recycled Products guide.

Samsonite Outline Pro Carry-On for $200 : This is a hard-side, four-wheeled spinner carry-on made from an outer shell of durable polypropylene. Standout features include an interior fabric made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles and a “WetPak” storage pocket for keeping damp items separated from the rest of your luggage.

Adidas Defender Duffel for $40 : If you're looking for an inexpensive duffel that'll handle some light-duty traveling, this is a good way to save $100. The fabric is significantly thinner and less sturdy than that of other duffels in this guide, and it lacks backpack straps. But for taking on the train or tossing into a car trunk, it'll do the trick.

Eagle Creek Caldera Convertible Backpack

Bags We Don’t Like

Some bags just aren't worth the asking price, especially with so many good alternatives at all price points.

Peugeot Voyages Carry-On Spinner for $595 : What a price tag for a plastic-case suitcase. You can see where Peugeot tried to imbue the Voyages with some luxury, such as the metal riveting and built-in travel locks, but the case felt no more solid than a budget hard-sided bag, and the USB charging port felt cheap, like an outlet you'd find built into a seat in an airport terminal.

Eagle Creek Caldera Convertible International Carry-On for $469 : At 6 pounds, 2 ounces, this bag is a bit heavy. There's a zip-off 19-liter backpack that you can separate from the rest of the 37-liter bag, but when they're zipped together, the combined size doesn't meet carry-on restrictions.

Ebags CTS Carry-On Spinner for $200 : This one wasn't awful, but there are much better options for the money. Its hard plastic sides felt more brittle than the hard-sided plastic Away suitcases. The handle rattles a lot and it didn't roll quite as smoothly as other bags.

portable UrPower Clothes Steamer

A Few Travel Accessories

Once you've got your bag, you'll want to pack it with a few more useful items:

Apple AirTag for $24 : If you have an iPhone, it's one of the best ways to keep a digital eye on your bags. Drop an AirTag into an interior pocket to make sure you and your luggage are reunited at your destination. Don't have an iPhone? We suggest the Chipolo in our guide to the Best Bluetooth Trackers .

Eagle Creek Specter Pack-It Cubes Three-Pack for $35 keep everything inside your bags organized by allowing you to separate it into different cubes, so you won't ever have to hunt through seven pairs of socks to find your bathing suit again.

Calpak Clear Cosmetics Case for $75 : Calpak’s viral clear cases come in three sizes and a ton of colors for the edge trims. Reviewer Nena Farrell loved the small size for my gym bag and traveling with a smaller carry-on bag, while the medium was a great size for my daily makeup or larger suitcases.

Troubadour Buddy 2.0 Tech Case for $75 : You probably need a case to organize your spare charging cables and power banks. I've been testing this compact, waterproof, and recycled bag that fits neatly into my personal item.

UrPower Portable Steamer for $24 beats a travel iron because it's far lighter and you don't need to hunt down an ironing board at your hotel. WIRED reviewer Medea Giordano and I both have been using UrPowers for years. For a tiny thing, it's powerful and effective at steaming practically anything. You just need to refill it often.

Samsonite Manual Luggage Scale for $15 is handy when you're packing a heavy bag for an upcoming trip. Use it to weigh your luggage and make sure it's within the weight limits. International airlines are sticklers for carry-on weight, and even American airlines will be unforgiving about weight for checked bags.

InCase MacBook Sleeves for $50 will keep your laptop from bearing the damage caused by airport security lines. Travel through an airport without a case and it's only a matter of time before a bare laptop or tablet picks up nasty scratches and dents. Check our guide to the Best MacBook Accessories for more.

Carryon luggage in stowaway overhead container on airplane

How to Pick the Right Size Bag

Every airline sets its own dimensional requirements for carry-on baggage, so if you want to be safe, you should check your airline's requirements before packing. But broadly, they're split into two categories: domestic and international.

Domestic flights by US airlines (and a few others) have standardized on 22 x 14 x 9 inches.

International carry-on bag sizes tend to be about 21 inches tall and a bit narrower, but they're all over the place. It's tough, because many international airlines will measure your bags at the airport and reject anything even slightly bigger than the allowed size. If you fly outside the US a lot, you may as well buy a bag sized for international flights.

You'll also want to check each airline's weight limits. They vary wildly, but some international airlines restrict you to 15 or 20 pounds, including the weight of the bag itself. For example, there are some East Asian airlines that limit carry-on bags to 11 pounds. Once you subtract 6 or more pounds for the bag, you're not left with much wiggle room to put stuff inside.

USB cable plugged into removable battery bank on luggage

When to Remove Battery Banks

Battery banks, also known as power banks, are a travel must-have. Whether you're using a tablet to watch movies on your flight or relying on your phone to coordinate rideshares, hotel check-in, and handle your boarding passes, you've got to keep those devices charged and topped up. Many bags offer a removable battery bank that slides into a special pocket or notch of the suitcase.

For carry-on luggage on a flight in the US, you're allowed to bring a lithium-ion battery of 100 watt-hours or less. You don't need to remove it from the suitcase's pocket if you're storing your bag in the overhead bin.

Lithium-ion battery banks are not allowed in checked luggage. If you check your bag or have to gate-check it, make sure to remove the battery bank before you give your suitcase to the gate agent. Slip the battery bank into your purse, backpack, or pocket for the duration of the flight.

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Luggage shop by size

Packing for 3-5 days is easy with the right luggage. Here, we've compiled a selection of bags perfect for any 3-5 day trip. Choose from both hard shell and softsided bags, Rollaboard® luggage and spinners, totes and briefs that roll or stack on your rolling bag or one of our multi-bag luggage sets. Whether you are traveling for business and need to pack suits and dresses neatly without wrinkling, or you're out for adventure and want luggage that totes your sportswear and equipment, we have the best selection of durable, dependable luggage to ensure that everything you needs fits and stays organized.

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The Best Carry-On Luggage, Tested & Reviewed By Our Editors

By Madison Flager

All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Carry-ons are arguably the piece of luggage travelers pull out most often, whether it's the only bag coming on a weekend trip or used in tandem with a checked suitcase. It also spends the most time with us in transit, which means the functionality is even more important: Are your belongings easy to get to if you need to retrieve something while waiting at your gate? Is there a space to stash whatever item you remember on your way out the door? These are a few of the things Traveler editors considered when sifting through the seemingly endless options on the market. We set out to find the best of the best—bags that are lightweight but still sturdy, have enough space to house clothes, shoes, toiletries, and accessories, and will hold up for many trips to come. After months of testing, these are the pieces we've deemed the best carry-on luggage of 2023.

What we considered:

When testing out carry-on luggage, we asked editors and contributors to consider several factors: How light a bag was on its own, how much it could fit, whether the design and organizational factors were helpful (and aesthetically pleasing), how well it held up in transit, how easy or difficult it is to roll and pick up, whether it's worth the price point, and if there are any unique features that set it apart from other carry-on suitcases or bags they've used.

This article is part of Condé Nast Traveler' s first-ever Luggage Week , for which dozens of suitcases, backpacks, and weekender bags were road-tested by our editors.

What size can a carry-on bag be?

It depends on which airline you're flying with, but typically, dimensions are limited to 22 inches long, 14 inches wide, and 9 inches high for domestic airlines (Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, and United Airlines adhere to these figures; American Airlines allows for an extra inch of height, while and Frontier Airlines and Southwest Airlines's max is 24" x 16" x 10" and Spirit Airlines's allotment is 22" x 18" x 10"). Some airlines provide a single number; dimensions must add up to that number or below to be considered compliant.

International airlines tend to have slightly different size requirements; 21.5" x 15.5" x 9" is typical, but here are some exact specifications by airline:

  • Air Canada: 21.5" x 15.5" x 9"
  • Air France: 21.6" x 13.7" x 9.8"
  • British Airways: 22" x 18" x 10"
  • Emirates: 21.6" x 15" x 8.6"
  • Lufthansa: 21.6" x 15.7" x 9"
  • Qatar Airways: 20" x 15" x 10"
  • Singapore Airlines: 45 total inches

What can’t I take in my carry-on?

Liquids over 3.4 ounces (100mL) are not allowed in your carry-on. Additionally, firearms and other potentially hazardous items are prohibited. Check TSA's website for specific items you may have questions about.

Are carry-on bags free?

Again, it depends on which you're flying with and what kind of ticket you purchase. These airlines offer one free carry-on (and one personal item), regardless of what level ticket you bought:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines

While these airlines offer one free carry-on (and one personal item) to all travelers except those who purchased a base fare:

  • United Airlines

Top recommendations:

  • Best overall carry-on: Paravel The Aviator Carry-On
  • Best lightweight carry-on: July Carry-On Light
  • Best budget carry-on: Béis The Carry-On Roller
  • Best expandable carry-on: Away Carry-On Flex
  • Best softside carry-on: Travelpro Platinum Elite softside spinner

4 day trip luggage

Weight: 8.2 lbs. Dimensions: 22" x 14" x 9"

Pros: Glides smoothly even when fully packed, unique look and feel Cons: No external phone charger included, could use an interior pocket along the length of the bag

Luggage brand Paravel has built a dedicated following thanks to its retro Wes Anderson–style designs and use of sustainable materials. The Aviator Carry-On is no different: Available in shades like scout tan, safari green, and scuba navy, it has a recycled polycarbonate shell, recycled zippers, and an interior lining made from 15 upcycled plastic water bottles. It's a favorite of senior editor Megan Spurrell : “This is one of two carry-on roller bags I have used regularly for nearly three years—we’ve traveled everywhere from Lisbon to Mexico City to Los Angeles together.” Spurrell has used it for weeklong trips, and notes that it's still in good shape after years of use: “It has definitely gotten scratched up from being thrown into the hull of planes (I have checked it before, even though it’s carry-on), but it has held up well otherwise—there are no cracks in the shell, zipper issues despite how much I have stuffed it, nor sticky wheels.” The one minor flaw: The top handle placement is a bit counterintuitive, placed on the side of the suitcase further from your body.

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Weight: 8.36 lbs. Dimensions: 23" x 16" x 10"

Pros: Comfortable handle, fairly easy to clean Cons: Although the beige color is incredibly pretty, it gets dirty very quickly; I would recommend a darker color

With a pretty, ribbed design and thoughtful features like a cushioned silicone grip on the handle, you wouldn't guess this is one of the most affordable suitcases on our list. It's been tested by commerce producer Paris Wilson , who used it to pack for her and her boyfriend on a weeklong trip to the Florida Keys; with the help of the expandable zipper, it fit at least 14 outfits as well as four pairs of shoes and two purses. The wheels have stood up to bumpy roads—“We live in downtown Manhattan where cobblestone streets are a staple and we still managed to make it to the subway without any hangups”—and the included pouches come in handy for dirty clothes or even souvenirs. “I’m tempted to buy the remaining luggage to create a set; I would recommend this to anyone who's interested in building their luggage collection but might not know where to start.”

A suitcase.

Weight: 7.9 lbs. Dimensions: 23" x 15" x 9.5"

Pros: Durable wheels, easy to lift, compression straps Cons: Because of its size, it may be checked on smaller planes or flagged to be checked on planes at full capacity

Away recently upgraded a few of its core suitcases, including The Bigger Carry-On. Updates include an additional zipper compartment, a color-matched interior made of recycled polyester, and an underside grab handle for easy overhead bin lifting. Tested by editorial assistant Jessica Chapel , who has taken it on a flight to New Mexico, a bus ride to New Jersey, and in cars on weekend trips from New York, it's one of the lighter bags on the list at under eight pounds. Compared to her previous suitcase, “It does wonders. Prior to this luggage I often traveled with a checked bag. I can fit almost as much in this suitcase, and it's way more practical—and feels more swift, given the 360-degree wheels.”

4 day trip luggage

Weight: 3.9 lbs. Dimensions: 21" x 14" × 7.5"

Pros: I enjoy the ease with which you can move this piece of luggage around; it feels very zippy Cons: The telescopic handle sometimes sticks

July calls this the lightest double-wheel suitcase in the world, and it is the lightest we've tested here at Traveler at just under four pounds when empty. Research director Alexandra Sanidad has brought it on planes to Phoenix, Arizona, and Portland, Oregon, and on an Amtrak to Woodstock, New York; she says “it's very cute and fits nicely in tight spaces,” and is a “good price for a sturdy, colorful, functional suitcase.” As for what it fits, light packers can fit a week’s worth of clothing in here; if you’re bringing multiple day and night outfits, plan for a weekend’s worth.

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Weight: 11.1 lbs. Dimensions: 22" x 16" x 9"

Pros: Extremely functional and stylish, glides smoothly even when full Cons : It’s a little large for a carry-on; I've had to check it twice so far

Tumi bags are an investment—at over $1,000, this is one of the priciest bags on our list of the best carry-on luggage—but for frequent business travelers or those looking for a lifelong investment piece, it might be the bag for you. It's gone with former Traveler editor Alex Erdekian on trips to Mexico, Italy and France, a bachelorette party at Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, and Boston. She calls it “the most beautiful suitcase I’ve owned,” and appreciates the “zipper expansion that drastically increases the depth of the suitcase,” as well as the “sneaky zipper around the front that allows you to pull out clothes quickly.” It is one of the heavier bags on the list, though, and Erdekian says she's had difficulty lifting it overhead when full. Also of note: It comes with a five-year warranty, and can be customized with a monogram or set of “pop of color” accessories.

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Weight: 6.53 lbs. Dimensions: 21.5" x 15" x 9.5"

Pros: Budget-friendly, very lightweight Cons: Since its design is pretty plain, it's not the most aesthetically pleasing suitcase on our list

This hardside carry-on with spinner wheels and a built-in TSA lock has racked up rave reviews on Amazon, like this one: “It fit an odd amount of stuff in it. It's like a clown car. It has compartments and zippers that keep things separate and organized. It holds up well and is really good looking. It's absolutely worth every penny. I'm purchasing more for the rest of the family.” Traveler editor Meaghan Kenny agrees, calling it an overpacker's dream bag. The hardside spinner comes in black, navy, bright blue, and orange.

4 day trip luggage

Weight: 8.1 lbs. Dimensions: 23" x 15" x 10.3"

Pros: The front zipper is such a plus, with lots of sections for organizing Cons: The color range isn’t huge—I wish they alternated in more shades

This Arlo Skye zipper-front suitcase has gone on many trips with Spurrell —she alternates between this and a Paravel carry-on, and this one has been to Peru, upstate New York, and Montauk: “I take it as a carry-on for most flights—from weekend trips to weeklong getaways—because it’s surprisingly roomy, with an organized front pocket that I can easily stow essentials like my laptop, book, and magazines in.” Sleek yet durable, it comes with a removable charger (boasting both USB C and USB A ports), two shoe bags, a laundry bag, and a cotton storage cover. The aesthetics are a plus, too: “I love the design of this bag—it feels like a reliable, sleek rolling bag, with design you’ll never get tired of.”

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Weight: 7.8 lbs. Dimensions: 23.5" x 14.5" x 9"

Pros: Expandable design, multiple exterior pockets Cons: Some travelers may prefer a clamshell opening; may be too large for some international flights

Every inch counts—especially if you're traveling with just a carry-on—and softside luggage offers a little more give than hard-shell bags. This expandable pick has a telescopic handle, spinner wheels for easy gliding, and an external USB port for charging your devices. It's earned an “Amazon's Choice” distinction thanks to its consistently high reviews and competitive pricing (its larger size, which has many similar internal features, is a favorite of former Traveler editor Louis Cheslaw). The suitcase is available in several shades (including black, Bordeaux, and true navy) and three carry-on sizes (19-, 20-, and 21-inches).

A suitecase.

Weight: 8.15 lbs. Dimensions: 21.7" x 13.7" x 9"

Pros: Expandable, easy to roll Cons: Scuffs easily, no exterior pockets

Go one step further, space-wise, with this expandable suitcase, which gives you an additional 2.25" of packing space when needed. Traveler 's global associate director of audience development Lara Kramer has used this bag for trips as long as a week (including a trip to London ), and noted how smoothly it rolled across almost any surface, thanks to its 360-degree spinner wheels. “The joy of this luggage is its simplicity,” she says. “It's a pretty straightforward design, but what it does, it does very well: glide smoothly and easily with its 360-degree spinner wheels and provide the luxury of expanding to add more room if needed. Between my husband and I, one of us is always snagging it as our main carry-on.” Kramer recommends choosing a unique color for your bag, or adding your favorite sticker to the outer hard shell to help it stand out, and notes the inevitable scuffs can look pretty jarring against the black colorway.

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Weight: 12.5 lbs. Dimensions: 22" x 14" x 9"

Pros: Very easy to store, even in small places; soft handle grip Cons: Expandable mechanism can be tricky to lock into place

The designers at Béis knew what they were doing when they built this soft-sided expandable carry-on , a favorite of senior commerce editor Madison Flager . It's a big space saver for people with minimal closet or storage space, and yet still fits plenty when expanded—enough for a long weekend to five-day trips. An exterior front pocket holds a laptop sleeve, pocket to place a portable charger (and a small hole to slip the charging cord through), plus a key clip. Smooth-rolling wheels and a soft hand cushion on the underside of the handle are great touches, too.

4 day trip luggage

Weight: 7.16 lbs. Dimensions: 21.5" x 14" x 9"

Pros: Responsive handle, very lightweight Cons: No exterior pockets for added storage

Lightweight with a rugged exterior, frequent traveler Patrick Thompson noted that this bag “seems like it would hold up to the hustle and bustle of an airport, getting jammed into an overhead compartment, and any excessive packing into the trunk of a car.” He's been using it regularly for over a year, bringing it on trips as long as two weeks (Argentina and Italy), as well as long weekend trips to Utah, Georgia, and Florida, and while it has gotten scuffed, it's still in good shape, and is a bag he'd recommend to other travelers. “I love the color and that it's very lightweight. I find it to be easily rollable when traveling.” While there is “a stealth pocket on the top corner that holds smaller items, which can be very useful and convenient while trudging through the airport,” he hasn't often utilized the front exterior zipper, which is meant for easy access to the main compartment, and would prefer another exterior pocket in place of it.

4 day trip luggage

Weight: 10 lbs. Dimensions: 20" x 14" x 7.9"

Pros: Built-in garment folder, interior compression system, exterior pockets Cons: Doesn't roll as easily when full

Senior features editor Rebecca Misner calls this suitcase “a professional travelers’ dream carry-on: very sturdy, and full of bells and whistles that actually make packing easier.” Briggs & Riley's signature expansion system allows travelers to press a button and pull up on a lever in the main compartment to expand the suitcase sides vertically. “Once you’re packed and zipped, you just push down on the exterior sides to compress.” Other notable features include mesh interior pockets, a built-in garment folder with a foam roll bar that keeps clothes from wrinkling, and unassuming SpeedThu pocket pockets on the exterior made to fit a passport and boarding pass—with a bright orange lining that signals when the pocket is open (meaning your important docs are at risk).

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Weight: 9.9 lbs. Dimensions: 14" x 22" x 9.5" Pros: Keeps dress clothes wrinkle-free, exterior pocket to hold documents or other small items Cons: May not be large enough to be your only suitcase on a trip

Heading to a wedding or business trip ? Kramer vouches for this compact Travelpro garment bag. “The lay-flat garment bag design is the real gem of this carry-on. It holds way more than you think—and arriving with all of your dresses and shirts wrinkle-free is a huge game changer.” The durable nylon fabric, made with a Duraguard coating, is a bonus, too.

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Weight: 7.9 lbs. Dimensions: 22.8" x 9.4" x 15"

Pros: Smooth-rolling wheels, built-in phone charger, antimicrobial lining Cons: Scratched easily on first use

Tested by destinations editor Shannon McMahon , who prefers to travel with expandable hard-side spinners, this one stands out for “its super roomy packing capacity and its smooth-rolling wheels.” It's become her go-to carry-on after first using it for a four-day getaway last year with room to spare ( even after buying souvenirs ). Smart features of the utilitarian bag include a built-in phone charger, zippered laundry compartment, oversized mesh organizational pockets, and antimicrobial lining. The exterior scratched surprisingly easily on that first trip, but beyond that it hasn't seen much damage: “It's not a fight against scratches on the outside like I thought it would be, it seems like it was just a first-use thing.” The bag's biggest pros: Its packing power and its ultra-lightweight—“it's light as a feather when empty,” McMahon says.

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Weight: 6.06 lbs. Dimensions: 22" x 14" x 9" Pros: Wheels smoothly, easy to carry around Cons: Laptop sleeve doesn't fit much else, so if not using it, feels like an unnecessary use of space

Frequent traveler Katie Thompson has been using this suitcase for over a year, bringing it to Italy, Argentina, Florida, upstate New York, and Savannah, and calls it “an organizer's dream.” The Samsonite carry-on is loaded with zip pockets and mesh nets to give every item its own place. Thompson says it “can comfortably fit a week's worth of clothing if you are a light packer, but is probably best for a weekend trip,” and notes it rolls easily and in all directions. Another perk: The hardshell exterior has built in patterns that help to hide any scratches, though it has gotten some scuffs with time. Overall, it is “sleek, unique, and compact,” though overall storage is on the smaller side: “The additional pockets on the top side make the inside smaller,” Thompson says. “It fits less than my previous carry-on, but I still managed 10 days in Italy with it.”

4 day trip luggage

Weight: 8.25 lbs. Dimensions: 21" x 13.5" x 9.5" Pros: Front pocket for last-minute items, plenty of interior compartments Cons: Limited color options, no expansion

Hard-shell bags with a front pocket are few and far between, but this Calpak bag makes a strong case for it. Executive editor Erin Florio says she “actually [looks] forward to packing this thing;” while she was worried about its size at first glance, after traveling with it, she says smart packers could pack for up to 10 days with it. “The inner compartments make it really easy to organize all your items, from shoes to laundry to toiletries, which helps you fit in more,” she says. As for that exterior pocket, it can fit a laptop, hardcover book, and magazines.

4 day trip luggage

Weight: 6.3 lbs. Dimensions: 23" H x 14.5" W x 9.5" D Pros: Lightweight and fits a lot of clothing including shoes Cons: Hard to lift when heavy. Also hard to clean/get scuffs out

Recommended by associate social media manager Kayla Brock , this expandable carry-on has a mesh zip compartment and zip-lock compartments inside, which make organizing clothes, accessories, and toiletries easy. She has brought it to North Dakota, Europe, New York, Zanzibar, Seattle, Jamaica, Chicago, Colorado, and the Cayman Islands, packing for as long as three weeks with it (though in winter time, it's better suited for weekend trips). “Although it originally looks like my clothes wouldn’t fit (I’m guilty of overpacking), the suitcase closed with ease,” Brock says. In the year-plus that she's been using it, it has gotten some scuffs and discoloration on certain parts of the body, and the zippers have bent a little; however, Brock still strongly recommends it: “Out of all the suitcases I have this is my absolute favorite and without a doubt the one that I take with me on a trip.”

This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

4 day trip luggage

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The 11 Best Luggage Brands of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

No matter what size or style you want, these are the best luggage brands to fit your needs.

4 day trip luggage

In This Article

  • Others We Liked

Our Testing Process

  • Our Decision Process
  • Tips For Buying
  • Why Trust T+L

Travel + Leisure / Joy Kim

No matter where you're going or how often you travel, luggage can make or break your trip. It helps with planning, packing, and staying organized while away — and sometimes determines whether you can bring back souvenirs. There's a wide range of checked suitcases, carry-on bags, duffels, weekenders, underseat bags, and backpacks on the market. Beyond that, you've got hardside and softside options with various organizational features. Amid what you might call the Golden Age of luggage, it can be hard to sift through your offerings.

To figure out what brands stand out from the rest, our Travel + Leisure team has tested more than 450 pieces of luggage ranging from carry-ons and checked suitcases to duffels, weekenders, garment bags, and other types of travel bags — assessing capacity, maneuverability, durability, and design through a series of tests and simulations. We've rolled suitcases through obstacle courses, threw them off tables, and hit them with baseball bats to see how well they'd perform in different travel scenarios like rough baggage handlers. We even recreated an airplane set in our New York City lab to lift bags into real overhead bins and underneath seats. We continue testing each bag in our real-life travels for a minimum of six months to make sure it stands up to planes, trains, automobiles, and anything else life may throw at it.

Our team has tested bags from many different brands, and below you'll find our current favorites. We will continue to update this article as we test even more luggage brands and new bags.

Best Overall

Backed by a 10-year warranty, Samsonite luggage is compact yet spacious, easy to maneuver, and exceptionally durable.

Because Samsonite has such a wide variety of designs and price points, some bags perform better than others.

After our most recent set of luggage tests, Samsonite has risen to the top as our favorite overall luggage brand. Samsonite luggage is generally lightweight and compact on the outside, with spacious interiors to maximize packing and a variety of styles to choose from. We especially love the brand for its versatility, with an impressive variety of bags at different price points so you can find whatever suits you whether you're looking for something affordable or luxurious.

The Samsonite Freeform Hardside Expandable Carry-on holds the spot as the best overall carry-on we've ever tested, while the Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside takes the cake as our favorite checked suitcase . The Samsonite Bartlett Carry-on Softside Spinner earned perfect scores during our tests, impressing us as a solid softside suitcase for under $100. We also loved the organizational features — including multiple tech sleeves and included packing cubes — of the Samsonite Just Right Carry-on Spinner .

Almost all of the suitcases sustained hardly any damage after we hit them with a baseball bat and shoved them off a table. Samsonite luggage also maneuvers without a fuss, even on carpeted floors and gravel. Prices are more than reasonable, and while you'll have to make any returns within 30 days, the brand backs its products with a 10-year warranty.

The Details: 30 day return policy | 10-year warranty

Travel + Leisure/Joy Kim

Best Overall, Runner-up

The suitcases are durable, smooth-rolling, and spacious, and the brand has a generous 100-day return policy.

Some are harder to pull on two wheels, and the checked models are a bit heavy. 

All Travelpro luggage we tested earned high scores for maneuverability, durability, capacity, and overall design. The brand's hardside and softside models were a hit in the T+L lab, and there are both carry-on and checked options with spacious interiors and expandable capacities. We also appreciated the various organizational features, like zipper panels, cross straps, and pockets.

With self-aligning spinner wheels and sturdy telescoping handles, Travelpro luggage is also easy to maneuver on hard floors, carpet, and even gravel (though some suitcases are slightly harder to roll on two wheels than four, especially when packed full). We particularly love the Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On Expandable Hardside Spinner with its sleek wheels and a textured handle that helps maintain a comfortable grip, and we think the Travelpro x Travel + Leisure Large Check-In Trunk Spinner makes a stylish investment piece if you're looking for something large, durable, and built to last. Even Travelpro's rolling garment bag impressed with its high capacity for the size. And, while the carry-ons are generally lightweight, one thing to note is that the larger checked models weigh almost twice as much when empty.

After shoving the suitcases off a table and whacking them with a baseball bat, we were pleasantly surprised by their durability. We only noticed a couple superficial marks — no scratches or dents, and nothing that wouldn't wipe clean. Travelpro offers a generous 100-day return policy and backs its luggage with warranties ranging from 10 years to a lifetime, though it can be difficult to connect with their customer service department to initiate returns or repair requests at times.

The Details: 100 day return policy | 10-year to lifetime warranty

Travel + Leisure / Joy Kim

Best for Staying Organized

Away Travel

Beyond aesthetic appeal, Away flaunts plenty of pockets and compartments that keep all of your items in place.

The hardside suitcases might scratch under heavy use.

Away luggage has a minimalist-modern aesthetic and a sophisticated yet practical appeal. We're huge fans of the brand's suitcases and weekenders and particularly love The Everywhere Bag that's perfect for overnight trips, quick weekend adventures, and use as a personal item on longer trips. The checked baggage and hardside carry-on luggage pieces are light yet durable and easy to wipe clean. They didn't sustain any dents from our baseball bat tests, but there were a few scratches after we shoved them off a table. There are so many sizes to choose from, including one of our favorite trunks we've ever tested. We liked the dual main compartments, compression systems, expanders, and dirty laundry satchels of the roller bags.

The suitcases were a breeze to maneuver on their 360-degree spinner wheels, and carrying The Everywhere and The Garment Bag was comfortable with the padded shoulder straps. The Garment Bag also has interior padding that keeps all of your longer clothing items protected and helps to minimize wrinkles. Away is certainly not the cheapest luggage brand out there, but it's also far from the most expensive. Considering the 100-day return window, lifetime warranty, and stylish designs, we wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to pretty much any traveler.

The Details: 100 day return policy | Lifetime warranty

A perfect choice for organized travelers, Paravel luggage has lots of added features and a sophisticated appeal.

The suitcases don't expand, and the lighter colors are prone to scuffing.

Perfect for organized travelers , Paravel takes the cake for additional features. We loved the dual compartments, many pockets, dividers, and removable laundry bags. While the suitcases don't expand, the compression pads make fitting everything a cinch. The Paravel Aviator Carry-on Plus was one of our top carry-on bags thanks to its sleek design, roomy interior that makes packing a breeze, and slick wheels that were great on every surface. We also love the super cute Paravel Mini Fold-up Backpack that earned perfect scores in every category, as well as our pick as best overall mini backpack . Not only does the bag fold up small so you can pack it in larger bags, but it also has a high capacity that can even fit a tablet, making it the perfect eye-catching style to wear on any vacation.

Most Paravel luggage pieces held up well during our durability tests, though the lighter-colored hardside models are prone to scuffing. The suitcases are also easy to pull, push, and roll over various flooring materials. What's more, Paravel luggage is undeniably stylish with a sophisticated appeal and a cool mid-century flair. Prices are somewhat steep, but in the end, we think it's worth the investment.

People / Jhett Thompson

Most Spacious

Delsey Paris

The brand's large-capacity suitcases are impressively spacious yet lightweight, with built-in expanders and smooth-rolling wheels.

The hardside models are prone to scuffing.

Delsey is a go-to for large-capacity luggage . This brand carries both hardside and softside suitcases, including surprisingly spacious carry-ons and checked baggage in multiple sizes so you can find the best design for your needs. We were thrilled by how much they fit, noting that they could easily pack all items on our packing list with room to spare, even without expansion functions.

The suitcases maneuver well on their four spinner wheels, even over carpet, cracks, and bumps. Most models are also lightweight, so lifting them into an overhead bin is no problem. We checked the Chatelet Air 2.0 Carry-on and matching Chatelet Air 2.0 Medium Checked bag on four different long-haul international flights and each time they made it to the luggage carousel with only minor scuffs that were easily wiped away. We appreciate Delsey's accessible price points, plus the brand backs its luggage with warranties ranging from five to 10 years.

The Details: 30 day return policy | 5-to-10-year warranty

Travel + Leisure / Tamara Staples

Best Colors

They come in both neutrals and so many colorful designs, including limited-edition options.

Some of the carry-ons are on the smaller size.

You’ll feel like a kid in a candy store with all of the colorful suitcase options from July — and if you tend to gravitate toward neutrals, July has those, too. After we tested over a dozen bags in our lab on on our airplane set, some of our favorites included the July Carry On (includes a portable charger), the July Checked Plus (the largest suitcase in July’s range), the July Checked Plus Light (a great lightweight option), and the July Trunk Set (a stylish, zipperless two-piece set). 

We found the bags to be very durable against our baseball bat tests, although we noticed that the bags with aluminum corner bumpers tended to scuff more easily specifically on the corners. One of our favorite features was that some bags, including the Carry On Pro SnapSleeve , feature a multi-stop telescopic handle that you can adjust to 20 different heights, when many suitcase handles only stop at three heights.

Different bag styles are available in different colorways, and you can choose from delightful shades of blues, greens, pinks, reds, shadow lavender, plum, yellow, sand, and more, most of which will easily stand out on any baggage carousel. We did notice that some of the carry-ons tend to be much more spacious than others, so be sure to check the dimensions to find a size that will fit everything you need.

The Details: 100 day return policy | Limited lifetime warranty on luggage; 5-year warranty on soft bags and accessories; 2-year warranty on small leather goods

Best for Smaller Bags

Calpak luggage is compact yet still spacious enough to hold the essentials, and maneuvering it is a piece of cake.

The two-year warranty is substantially shorter than most other brands.

If you're looking for something you can stash in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you, Calpak might be your best bet. We loved the duffles, backpacks, and suitcases with a particular appreciation for the Hue Mini Carry-on Luggage , our best overall underseat bag . We love that it glides smoothly, has a sturdy exterior, and can even fit a laptop, making it perfect for weekend getaways or even business trips.

Even when packed full, we found each Calpak suitcase to roll beautifully on both two wheels and four. We also like the Compakt Small Garment Bag , which is perfect to transport of one or two formal pieces inside a carry-on suitcase. The Stevyn Duffel Bag was very comfortable to tote with its shoulder strap and features a separate shoe compartment to keep your items clean if you're in the market for something smaller. Though the two-year warranty is shorter than most other brands, we think Calpak's prices are more than fair.

The Details: 30 day return policy | 2-year warranty

Travel + Leisure / Conor Ralph

Best Budget

Amazon basics.

Amazon's luggage is not just budget-friendly but also lightweight and sturdy with unexpectedly large capacities.

Color options are limited, and the suitcases don't have USB ports or other smart features.

We can confidently tell you there's much more to love about Amazon Basics luggage than a budget-friendly price tag. The Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner also landed on our list of the best lightweight luggage after earning a perfect score in all categories. We especially love that even though it is a light suitcase, it's sturdy with wheels that easily maneuver over gravel and carpeting. More pockets would have been appreciated, but both the carry-on and checked models easily fit everything on our packing list without the expanders, which adds another 15 percent to the capacity.

The hardside suitcases have extra-thick thermoplastic shells that passed our durability tests with flying colors — no scratches or dents in sight. They were generally easy to maneuver, too, albeit a little more difficult on gravel. Color options are limited, and while most Amazon Basics carriers don't have TSA locks or smart features, the designs exceeded our expectations.

The Details: 30 day return policy | 3-year warranty

Best Splurge

This splurge-worthy luggage brand boasts expandable main compartments, ample pockets, impact-resistant exteriors, and smooth spinner wheels.

The price might be hard to justify, and the checked bags are somewhat heavy when empty.

If you want the crème de la crème of luggage, Tumi is where it's at . The suitcases and underseat bags fared better than the duffel we tested, but all in all, we were impressed. Our favorite by far is the Alpha International Expandable 4-wheeled Carry-on that looks compact but includes plenty of organizational compartments and even comes with its own removable garment bag. There was plenty of space to pack everything on our list in every Tumi bag, even without the expanders. This brand also stands out for its organizational, smart, and security features. We're talking ample pockets, removable garment bags, laptop sleeves, USB ports, lockable zippers, and TSA-approved locks.

Whether you go softside or hardside, you can count on reliable durability — we even jumped on the bags and rode on top of them and not one feature broke or dented. We observed virtually no scuffs or scratches after whacking the bags with a baseball bat. Tumi luggage is easy to maneuver, thanks to the spinner wheels, but bear in mind the checked sizes are pretty heavy when empty. If you can swing the steep price, we think the brand is an excellent choice for long trips, frequent fliers , and those who like to stay organized.

The Details: 30 day return policy | 5-year warranty

Travel + Leisure / Jhett Thompson

Most Durable

Briggs & riley.

Briggs & Riley

With ballistic nylon or shock-absorbing polycarbonate exteriors, Briggs & Riley suitcases can really take a beating.

This is one of the more expensive brands, and the checked models are slightly heavy when empty.

The most durable luggage we tested comes from Briggs & Riley . The brand carries softside suitcases with ballistic nylon exteriors that resist premature wear and tear, as well as hardside models like the Sympatico Domestic Carry-on Expandable Spinner with shock-absorbing polycarbonate shells that promise to protect your cargo from getting crushed. We were impressed by how well they stood up to our shoves and bat swings — no dents or scratches to speak of.

Durability aside, Briggs & Riley suitcases roll effortlessly on hard floors and carpet, over bumps, and around tight corners. They also have decent capacities, many with built-in expanders. This is one of the more expensive luggage brands, but it's backed by a lifetime guarantee. We wouldn't be surprised if the suitcases last 10 or more years. Not only that, but there are a few options for remedying potential damage, including self-repair kits, authorized repair centers, or shipping back to Briggs & Riley for a tune-up.

The Details: 30 day return policy | Lifetime warranty

People / Tamara Staples

Best Design

Thoughtfully designed, each Béis bag we tried comes with extra, often removable, features so you can customize your packing.

These are large bags and we had a hard time fitting some weekenders under airplane seats.

Shay Mitchell's luggage brand quickly won our hearts with each bag's thoughtful design, customizable inserts, and removable compartments. The bags are certainly large and can fit everything you need for a long vacation or quick weekend getaway — just be mindful that not all of the duffel-style bags will work as personal items. The Weekender is one of our favorites: like Mary Poppins' bag of wonders, this tote seems to expand as you pack it, fitting every item on our list.

When it comes to rolling bags, the 29-inch Large Check-in Roller is our best checked bag for organization . Similar to its weekenders, carry-on bags, and backpacks, Béis' check-in bag is huge and can fit everything you need and more. All of the Béis suitcases we tested also sported durable wheels that smoothly navigated different types of surfaces without gettings tuck, as well as easy-to-use handles that make running through the airport a breeze.

The Details: 45 day return policy | Limited lifetime warranty

Travel + Leisure/

Other Luggage Brands We Liked

Even though these brands did not make our main list, they still have some worthwhile suitcases and bags to consider.

Monos :  Monos items have a nice, sleek look that are generally easy to maneuver. However, when we tested its large check-in suitcase, we found that it carried less items than some of its competitors.

Arlo Skye :  We love this brand's smooth design and stand-out colors, but considering the higher price-point, these bags don't roll quite as smoothly as some other brands.

Roam : We're big fans of Roam's The Check-in hardside suitcase as well as the designs of other Roam bags; however, after one-month of real-world travels, we found these luggage pieces to be more prone to scratching than other brands we tried.

The T+L team has tested more than 450 pieces of luggage, including carry-ons, checked suitcases, duffels, weekenders, garment bags, backpacks, and more in our New York City testing facility. We've tried at least six models from many top-rated brands, performing a range of assessments to evaluate the capacity, maneuverability, durability, design, and overall value. We weighed each bag, then packed it with enough clothes and personal items to get through a four-day trip (more for the larger checked bags).

To see how the luggage would perform in a real-life environment, we rolled them on different flooring materials, across gravel and carpets, over bumps, and around corners. We also threw each piece off a table and whacked it a few times with a metal baseball bat to test for potential wear and tear and how prone it was to scratching or denting. In addition, we recreated an airplane set in our lab, where we hoisted the carry-on suitcases into real overhead bins and stuffed them underneath seats to see how easy they were to lift and how portable they felt.

After lab testing, each suitcase and bag was sent out for real-world testing, and our T+L editors brought the bags on vacations, weekend trips, and overnighters. To test each bag's true durability, convenience, and longevity, we tested each bag on planes, trains, buses, and even cruise ships, checking in after one month, three months, and six months to give our feedback. Considering standout features, size, and price, we created categorized ranked lists of every luggage piece we tested. The luggage brands with the highest average ratings were ultimately chosen for this list of our favorites, which we will continue to update as we test eve more luggage.

How We Chose These Brands

The T+L team tested at least six bags per brand on our winners list to ensure a broad sample size. We tested underseat luggage , checked luggage, and carry-on luggage as well as duffel bags, garment bags, and backpacks, and gave each individual bag a score based on its capacity, design, durability, maneuverability, and overall value.

Next, we created rankings based on the total average scores of all the bags we tested for that brand. We also thoroughly read through all of the tester insights on each luggage item from these three tests to evaluate each bag's details and features. Finally, we determined whether or not we would recommend a bag and its overall brand.

Tips for Buying Luggage

Get to know the brand.

When it comes to researching a new luggage brand, you're already well on your way. For more information on a specific brand, you can check out its website, read customer reviews on products you like, or even take a peek at the items in person. Buying new luggage (whether a singular piece or luggage set ) can be a pricey investment, so be sure you like a brand's style, warranty options, and overall quality before you make that purchase. This is especially important when it comes to splurging on luxury luggage pieces .

Know your organizational preferences

Material and size are important, but some of the best luggage brands stand out for their organizational features. This may include dual main compartments, various pockets, a shoe separator, zippered sections, a toiletry bag , a removable laundry bag, a garment bag, a laptop sleeve, and maybe even a USB port with a power bank pouch — some Arlo Skye luggage includes the power bank itself. While it's not a top priority for all travelers, this can make packing and accessing your belongings much easier.

Look for durability

The best luggage stands up to wear and tear for several years to come. Both softside and hardside luggage options can be very durable. It's really a matter of whether you want to safeguard your packed items from getting crushed or protect the exterior of the suitcase from superficial blemishes (though many softside and hardside models we tested check all the boxes).

Think about mobility

You should also think about maneuverability. When you're running into the airport to check your bags before heading to security, you'll want a suitcase that doesn't hold you back. Four-wheel spinner suitcases tend to be easier to pull and push over different surfaces compared to suitcases with just two wheels, and they're even better if they have a sturdy telescoping handle. Grab handles and padded straps are ideal for other types of luggage, and a lightweight design will make your travel experience much easier.

Frequently Asked Questions

You'll see a range of hardside and softside models when browsing luggage, and many of the best brands offer both. What you purchase really comes down to personal preference. Some people appreciate how crush-resistant hardside suitcases protect their belongings. They're also easy to wipe clean and have a sleek, modern appearance.

On the other hand, softside suitcases are typically (but not always) lighter in weight and more flexible, so you can often pack more in them. After testing both types, we can tell you they're often just as durable as hardside options, and they won't dent like hardside bags do. Although a textile exterior might be trickier to clean, it can be better at concealing scuffs and dirt. Regardless of the type of luggage, you can find several effective products to clean suitcases available.

Size limits for carry-on luggage vary among airlines . That said, most allow suitcases no larger than 24 inches tall, 16 inches wide, and 10 inches deep. Some are a little more strict, with limits set around 22 x 14 x 9 inches. Keep this in mind if your suitcase has an expander, as the additional inch or two could put it over the allowed size limit. We recommend checking the airline's website if you're not sure whether your luggage will pass as a carry-on.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this article, commerce writer Theresa Holland pored over our in-house testing insights, checked return policies, read the fine print for warranties, and evaluated price ranges to create a comprehensive roundup of the best luggage brands out there today.

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4 day trip luggage

Related Articles

I travel for 14 days at a time with just a carry-on suitcase — here's exactly what I pack

  • I travel for weeks at a time with just one piece of luggage: a carry-on suitcase.
  • My mantra is, if the product isn't multipurpose, it isn't coming with me.
  • The first thing I eliminate is shoes — that saves the most space.

Insider Today

Checking luggage just isn't for me.

It's partially because I'm opposed to the notion that checking a bag should cost money and partially because I worry about my suitcase getting lost. When I'm in a new place, it really grounds me to have my essentials in tow. And if my suitcase gets lost for the first few days of my travel, I'll spend the trip feeling unsettled instead of exploring my new surroundings .

That being said, I try to always do long trips with only a carry-on. I once moved to France for six months with just a 30-pound checked bag, so packing for a two-week trip in a regulation-size carry-on is a piece of cake. I've never "Marie Kondo'd" my life, but I love to Marie Kondo my packing list .

Here's what my packed carry-on looks like for a typical two-week trip:

When it's time to start filling the suitcase, I try to keep color palette in mind as much as possible so I can mix and match what I've brought. Most of the clothes I bring for travel are various neutral shades, black, or muted colors (such as slate gray or olive green), so they can be paired up interchangeably.

Here are my must-haves for a 14-day trip with only a carry-on:

1. Slip-on athletic shoes

4 day trip luggage

The biggest space saver, for me, is bringing fewer shoes.

I need one pair of walking shoes that are also good for the plane, intercountry train travel, and long car rides. I swear by my Merrell Gridway Mocs , which are super-comfortable — even for walking long distances — and easily slip on and off at airport security.

If I'm going on a trip where I'll need a nicer pair of shoes, I'll bring low-wedge sandals that can also pass as casual sandals. If there's no need for a nicer shoe option, I'll use Birkenstocks as my second pair of shoes.

2. Leggings that present well

4 day trip luggage

I am a fan of versatile leggings that are good for a morning stroll around a new neighborhood, a run or hike, and plane wear. I'll typically pack two pairs because I hate to continually wear my plane leggings. My go-tos are Lululemon's Wunder Under High-Rise Tight because they stay comfortable for an entire 12-hour flight and somehow make me look put together when I land.

3. Soft jeggings

4 day trip luggage

Are they tights? Are they leggings? Who knows, but coming from someone who likes to spend the bulk of their time at home in sweatpants, jeggings are ideal travel pants because you can do a whole day of activities that require a lot of walking in them.

Everyone has their own denim preferences, of course, but the DL1961 Emma Power Legging Jeans  are a personal favorite because they transition perfectly from daywear (sightseeing around town) to nightwear (for dinner or drinks).

4. Comfortable cropped trousers

4 day trip luggage

These are great day pants, and they are versatile enough to work for unpredictable weather. I tend to opt for softer trousers in khaki or olive because those can be dressed up or down. Soft trousers are also perfect for the plane if you prefer to avoid traveling in athleisure or sweats.

5. Multipurpose toiletries and makeup

4 day trip luggage

Again, if it's not a multipurpose product, it's not coming with me.

First, I brave life without a cleanser and wash my face with hotel bar soap. The only skincare routine I bring is Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream  because it works as a day and night moisturizer, it helps my skin stay hydrated post-flight, and you can buy it with SPF.

For makeup, I bring eyeliner and NARS The Multiple because I'll use it as a blush, highlighter, eyeshadow, and even lip color. This way, I avoid bringing my entire makeup bag. And I bring a travel-size bottle of Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water for cleansing and makeup removal. Plus, of course, a toothbrush, travel-size toothpaste, and mouthwash.

6. A chambray, shift dress, or sweater dress

4 day trip luggage

A comfortable, loose-fitting dress that can stand up to a full-day adventure is essential. For the spring and summer, a chambray or shift dress is ideal. For later fall, a sweater dress or even a long-sleeve chambray dress with tights works.

7. A dark lightweight jacket with a hood

4 day trip luggage

I bring one jacket that can work for outdoor activities but still look nice paired with jeans. And it must have a hood, because no matter the season, statistics show that it will pour in any place I travel to. I've been using the Merrell TrekPro Mid-Layer Jacket with great results.

8. Lightweight cotton button-downs

4 day trip luggage

I like to go long-sleeve because you can always roll them up. And the cotton makes them breathable if it's getting cool. I often use H&M's cotton button-downs because they cost about $12 but present well.

9. A good base layer

4 day trip luggage

Whether you're an athlete who needs an Under Armour base layer, or you prefer to just use a fitted T-shirt, having something to layer on a chilly day is important.

Ideally, I pack a couple fitted shirts that I can use for layering under athletic wear or under a button-down for dinner. (For a sleeveless base layer, I pack the classic Fruit of the Loom Sleeveless , and for long sleeves, I’m on the Swiftly Tech Lululemon Crew Neck train because I can also wear this shirt in the evenings with jeans.)

10. A scarf

4 day trip luggage

No matter the season, I always pack a scarf because it can also be a shawl, a blanket, or even a neck pillow if I get desperate. Not only that, but a scarf can change up an outfit that you actually wore three days before.

4 day trip luggage

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The 17 Best Weekend Bags for a Quick Getaway

Save yourself the trouble of trying to squeeze all your necessities into a too-small gym bag or lugging around a large rolling suitcase—on your next short trip, opt for these perfect weekender bags instead..

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The 17 Best Weekend Bags for a Quick Getaway

Whether you’re a backpack, tote bag, or duffel person, there’s a weekend bag for you.

Courtesy of Cotopaxi, Lo & Sons, and Hamilton Perkins Collection

All frequent travelers should consider adding a weekend bag—or “weekender bag”—to their luggage collection . The best weekender bag is both practical and versatile; it should be sturdy enough that you can use it to pack for a rugged mountain trip but stylish enough that you’d bring it along to a bustling city. Not all bags are built the same. Depending on your preferences, a weekender can be a large tote, a backpack, or duffel bag and made from leather and canvas, sturdy weather-resistant polyester, or even recycled plastic bottles.

In terms of size, it’s not quite a gym bag, not exactly an overnight bag, and nowhere near a large roller suitcase. The ideal pick shouldn’t be too big (you don’t need that many belongings for a few days), but it also shouldn’t be too small (for sufficient room to pack the necessities). In general, you’ll want to look for a bag with a capacity somewhere between 30 and 50 liters to fit everything you’ll need for a short trip. Anything over 50 liters is likely to be larger than the 22 x 14 x 9 inches most domestic airlines allow for carry-ons placed in overhead bins. Anything smaller than 30 liters is generally left to the lightest packers or for overnight trips. If you’d like your weekender bag to double as a personal item on an airplane, keep in mind that underseat space varies widely by airline, but is generally limited to around 18 x 14 x 8 inches, for reference.

With those factors in mind, here are the best weekend bags for a quick two- or three-day trip.

  • Best weekend backpack: Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack
  • Best weekend tote bag: Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe Small
  • Best convertible duffel pack: Osprey Arcane Duffel Pack
  • Best under $100: Herschel Novel Duffle Bag
  • Best design-forward duffel: Baboon Go-Bag (Small)
  • Best canvas weekender bag: Paravel Weekender
  • Best for chronic overpackers: Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag 55L
  • Best for ultra-light packers: Dagne Dover Landon Carryall Large
  • Best for staying organized: Tortuga Backpacks 35L Setout
  • Best weekender bag with shoe compartment: Away the Weekender Bag
  • Best for photographers: Wandrd Hexad Access Duffel
  • Best for campers: Eagle Creek Migrate Duffel 40L
  • Best for road-trippers: ForestBound Escape Collection
  • Best ecofriendly option: Hamilton Perkins Collection Earth Bag Premium
  • Best water-resistant option: Rains Weekend Bag
  • Best virtually indestructible option: The North Face Base Camp 50L Duffel

The Allpa 35L Travel Pack comes in “Indigo” (pictured above), “Evergreen,” “Spruce,” and “Black,” and all have a detachable waist belt.

The Allpa 35L Travel Pack comes in “Indigo” (pictured above), “Evergreen,” “Spruce,” and “Black,” and all have a detachable waist belt.

Courtesy of Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack

Best weekend backpack.

  • Buy now: $200, cotopaxi.com
  • Capacity: 35 liters
  • Dimensions: 20 x 12 x 8 inches
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 8 oz.

There’s a reason the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack is popular for getaways: a carry-on, duffel, and backpack all in one, the bag is an organized packer’s dream, with zippered compartments for laptops, passports, keys, and clothes. Other notable design features include exterior shortcuts to main internal compartments—like the padded laptop sleeve—and “theft-proof webbing,” which lets you tuck in the bag’s zippers so it can’t be opened without you noticing. The bag’s shell is coated with thermoplastic polyurethane, rendering it completely waterproof, but the Allpa also comes with a removable rain cover for an extra layer of protection. —Katherine LaGrave, digital features editor

The Catalina Deluxe comes in “Dove Grey” (pictured above), as well as 10 other color options.

The Catalina Deluxe comes in “Dove Grey” (pictured above), as well as 10 other color options.

Courtesy of Lo & Sons

Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe Small

Best weekend tote bag.

  • Buy Now: From $158, loandsons.com
  • Capacity: 32.2 liters
  • Dimensions: 18 x 8.5 x 16 inches
  • Weight: 1.9 lbs. (canvas) and 2.4 lbs. (recycled polyester)

The Catalina Deluxe may look like a straightforward tote bag, but it comes with plenty of options to suit your personal preferences. You can choose from three materials (canvas, organic canvas, and recycled polyester) as well as 11 different colors. While both the Catalina Deluxe Small and Large weekender bags are carry-on approved, we prefer the small version for two- to four-day trips. Both bags come with a bottom pocket separate from the main interior for storing shoes (it even comes with an insert that gives the bag more structure and can be removed and wiped down). —Lyndsey Matthews, destination news editor

The Arcane Duffel Pack comes in “Stonewash Black” (pictured above), as well as “Stargazer Blue” and “Haybale Green.”

The Arcane Duffel Pack comes in “Stonewash Black” (pictured above), as well as “Stargazer Blue” and “Haybale Green.”

Courtesy of Osprey

Osprey Arcane Duffel Pack

Best convertible duffel pack.

  • Buy now: $130, osprey.com
  • Capacity: 30 liters
  • Dimensions: 18.5 x 12.2 x 10.63 inches
  • Weight: 1.89 lbs.

The Arcane Duffel Pack from Osprey is a tough little tote made with a twill-like recycled polyester fabric, but its clean lines and simple shape feel classy enough to carry just about anywhere—from the office to the tarmac to the great outdoors. And unlike many convertible duffels, it actually looks like a backpack when you’re wearing it as a backpack and it looks like a duffel when you’ve tucked away the backpack straps in favor of the longer, clip-in shoulder strap. It also features a clamshell opening, so you can pack and unpack it like a suitcase. And while some people like lots of bells, whistles, and built-in storage options, I am a minimalist. I like that the Arcane has one large pouch stored beneath an external zipper on the bag’s top. There’s an additional large, mesh pocket under the lid, great for socks or dirty T-shirts, and a padded laptop sleeve for a 15-inch computer against the back of the bag. It’s easy and low-maintenance, but makes me look a lot more put-together than I usually am. —Maggie Fuller, associate digital editor

Herschel Supply Co. offers the Novel Duffle Bag in black, navy, and dark olive.

Herschel Supply Co. offers the Novel Duffle Bag in black, navy, and dark olive.

Courtesy of Nordstrom

Herschel Novel Duffle Bag

Best under $100.

  • Buy now: $90, herschel.com
  • Capacity: 42.5 liters
  • Dimensions: 11.75 x 20.5 x 11 inches
  • Weight: 2 lbs.

Herschel Supply Co.’s secret to success is simple design, as evidenced by the Herschel Novel Duffle. The 42.5-liter bag is built with one large internal compartment, plus an external zip shoe compartment so you can keep the rest of your belongings separate and fresh. It features removable padded shoulder straps that can easily be hidden or tightened along the side and fits most airline carry-on size requirements. (The bag is also made from a durable waterproof polyester with a waterproof zip.) —Sarah Buder, assistant digital editor

Go-Bags are sold in loud blue, teal, and orange combinations, but the bags are also offered in black and gray.

Go-Bags are sold in loud blue, teal, and orange combinations, but the bags are also offered in black and gray.

Courtesy of Baboon

Baboon Go-Bag (Small)

Best design-forward duffel.

  • Buy now: $149, baboontothemoon.com
  • Capacity: 40 liters
  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 20.5 x 12.5 inches
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs.

Baboon’s Go-Bags are as fun to travel with as they are to look at. The design-forward duffels, which are released in limited-run batches, feature vibrant colorways with custom internal prints that are unique to each specific product “drop.” (When one particular Go-Bag color combination is sold out, it’s sold out for good.) With “a 3+ day packing volume designed for weekend getaways,” a waterproof shell, internal and external pockets, plus adjustable straps that can be used to carry the duffel like a backpack, Baboon’s 40-liter Go-Bags aren’t just trendy, they’re practical, too. Oh, and the bags are designed to meet TSA guidelines and fit in airline overhead bins. —S.B.

Paravel Weekender

Best canvas weekender bag.

  • Buy now: $295, tourparavel.com
  • Capacity: 29.5 liters
  • Dimensions: 15 x 8 x 15 inches
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 6 oz.

Paravel’s timeless and stylish designs make this cotton canvas weekender bag with leather details a worthwhile investment. Spacious enough to fit two to three days of clothes, a dopp kit, and a 15-inch laptop, this bag comes with a detachable shoulder strap so you can go hands free on the weekends. For longer trips, this bag also includes leather straps that slip over the handle of your rolling suitcase, making it ideal to use as a personal item, too. —L.M.

Patagonia’s Black Hole Duffel is available in a variety of colors, including green, blue, gray, and black.

Patagonia’s Black Hole Duffel is available in a variety of colors, including green, blue, gray, and black.

Courtesy of Patagonia

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag 55L

Best for chronic overpackers.

  • Buy now: $139, patagonia.com ; backcountry.com ; rei.com
  • Capacity: 55 liters
  • Dimensions: 26.7 x 15.7 x 11.8 inches
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 9.1 oz.

If you’re looking for a weekend travel bag that is big enough to pack extra gear in for the great outdoors, go with Patagonia’s Black Hole Duffel. The 55-liter bag features a durable water-repellent finish with weather-resistant laminate, padded shoulder straps for easy carrying, plus multiple internal and external pockets with a thick base to protect the bag’s contents. Made by environmentally conscious outdoor gear company Patagonia, the duffel bag is also ecofriendly: It is made from 100 percent recycled polyester fabric, 100 percent recycled polyester lining, and 100 percent recycled nylon webbing. (The same duffel bag is available in a slightly smaller carry-on friendly 40-liter size , too, if you won’t be packing extra gear.) —S.B.

The Landon Carryall comes in “Onyx” (seen here), as well as “Dark Moss,” “Storm,” “Ash Blue,” “Heather Grey,” “Dune,” and several seasonal limited edition colors.

The Landon Carryall comes in “Onyx” (seen here), as well as “Dark Moss,” “Storm,” “Ash Blue,” “Heather Grey,” “Dune,” and several seasonal limited edition colors.

Courtesy of Dagne Dover

Dagne Dover Landon Carryall Large

Best for ultra-light packers.

  • Buy now: $185, dagnedover.com
  • Capacity: 29 liters
  • Dimensions: 16.5 x 9 x 11 inches
  • Weight : 2 lbs.

Made with lightweight, hand-washable, and quick-drying neoprene, the Dagne Dover Landon Carryall can take whatever you throw at it each weekend without weighing you down. You can choose from six core colors, including basic black and gray, or more trendy hues of “ash blue” and dusty pink “dune” (look for limited edition color releases each season, too). This bag comes in five different sizes, but the “large” is sized to fit underneath most airplane seats as a personal item and also comes with a dedicated laptop sleeve, exterior phone pocket, and an interior big enough to pack essentials for a two- or three-day trip. If you’re looking for something slightly larger for long weekends, the 42-liter “extra large” bag is also carry-on compliant. —L.M.

The 35L Setout comes in black (seen here) as well as a heather gray option.

The 35L Setout comes in black (seen here) as well as a heather gray option.

Courtesy of Tortuga

Tortuga Backpacks 35L Setout

Best for staying organized.

  • Buy now : $179, tortugabackpacks.com
  • Capacity : 35 liters
  • Dimensions : 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Weight: 3.4 lbs.

Designed with urban adventures and digital nomads in mind, the Setout collection by Tortuga Backpacks combines the portability of a backpack with the practicality of a suitcase. Unlike a traditional top-opening backpack, the Setout (and all backpacks by Tortuga) unzips on three sides to allow for easy access. Inside, you’ll find dedicated pockets for stashing small travel accessories , separating clothes, and ready access to your laptop to help you keep everything organized. The Setout also stands out for its quality and durability. Its polyester fabric, made from recycled water bottles, is protected with water-resistant, Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating and made to last years of adventures. Breathable, injection-molded foam and air mesh padding, and removable hip belts allow for comfortable carrying. The line includes two size options, 35 liters and 45 liters (we love the 35-liter as a weekend bag, but both are carry-on friendly), as well as a men’s and women’s fit to ensure the backpack fits comfortably on your hips. —Jessie Beck, SEO manager

The Weekender comes in a natural canvas shade with brown leather details, an all-black version, plus an olive green duffel with black leather accents.

The Weekender comes in a natural canvas shade with brown leather details, an all-black version, plus an olive green duffel with black leather accents.

Courtesy of Away

Away the Weekender Bag

Best weekender bag with shoe compartment.

  • Buy now: from $225, away.com
  • Capacity: 38.7 liters
  • Dimensions: 21.7 x 8.7 x 12.6 inches
  • Weight: 4.85 lbs. (canvas) and 3.75 lbs. (nylon)

Away’s the Weekender has a 38.7-liter capacity, which is about the same as the company’s small roller suitcase (but significantly more than the Everywhere Bag, which is made to be a personal item that fits underneath your seat instead of a true carry-on). Choose from either a water-resistant nylon or textured cotton canvas material. Both styles come with a padded laptop sleeve that fits up to a 15-inch laptop, a fully lined exterior shoe compartment to keep footwear separate, as well as a detachable padded shoulder strap, and two zippered exterior pockets to keep your phone and other essentials handy. It’s sized to fit in an airplane’s overhead bin, but the bag is also well-suited for road trips, train rides, and other situations where a wheeled suitcase can be inconvenient. —S.B.

Wandrd Hexad Access Duffel

Best for photographers.

  • Buy now: $259, wandrd.com
  • Capacity: 45 liters
  • Dimensions: 9 x 14 x 22 inches
  • Weight: 3.9 lbs.

For photographers who don’t want to bring a second gear bag on short three- to five-day trips, Wandrd built this carry-on-sized duffel pack with both layflat, clamshell, and side packing access. On one side you’ll find an open compartment for clothes, while the other side has two side-access compartments so you can grab your camera quickly without unzipping the entire bag. (When you don’t need your camera, the padded camera cubes are removable to make more room for other essentials.) Other highly functional details include a laptop sleeve that fits up to a 16-inch Macbook Pro, an RFID secure pocket for your passport, and an expandable shoe pocket to keep the rest of your gear and clothes clean. —L.M.

The Migrate Duffel 40L comes in “Sahara Yellow” (pictured above), “Arctic Blue,” “Coral Sunset,” and “Jet Black.”

The Migrate Duffel 40L comes in “Sahara Yellow” (pictured above), “Arctic Blue,” “Coral Sunset,” and “Jet Black.”

Courtesy of Eagle Creek

Eagle Creek Migrate Duffel 40L

Best for campers.

  • Buy now: $79, eaglecreek.com
  • Dimensions: 10.25 x 18.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 1 oz.

Eagle Creek’s carry-on sized Migrate Duffel 40L is truly a bag of all trades. You can carry it like a backpack, a classic duffel, or even an oversized tote thanks to its easily convertible handles. In addition to being made with water-repellent coating that was developed using plastics sourced from landfills in Asia, an internal “storm flap” makes the 40-liter weekend travel bag extra water-resistant—because summertime camping trips sometimes involve toughing those sudden, unexpected rainstorms. —S.B.

Related Camping Checklist: What to Pack for a Comfy Night Under the Stars

The Escape Canvas Weekender is made using beige canvas and vegetable-tanned leather.

The Escape Canvas Weekender is made using beige canvas and vegetable-tanned leather.

Courtesy of ForestBound

ForestBound Escape Weekender

Best for road-trippers.

  • Buy now: $199, forestbound.com
  • Capacity: 38.5 liters
  • Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 8 inches
  • Weight: n/a

For those who prefer to support small businesses, ForestBound’s Escape Canvas Weekender bag is a very attractive option. (All ForestBound products are designed, cut, sewn, and shipped from one Massachusetts-based studio.) The Escape bag is built with a large interior pocket for easy storage of essential small items—just enough room to pack for a quick weekend on the road. A lightweight aluminum frame gives the bag structure, while its vegetable-tanned leather exterior base and water-resistant interior bottom panel keep your belongings safe. You can even personalize the cute canvas bag with a custom monogram for $20 extra. —S.B.

The Earth Bag Premium comes in yellow (seen here), as well as red, seafoam green, olive, white, and more.

The Earth Bag Premium comes in yellow (seen here), as well as red, seafoam green, olive, white, and more.

Courtesy of Hamilton Perkins Collection

Hamilton Perkins Collection Earth Bag Premium

Best ecofriendly option.

  • Buy now: $158, hamiltonperkins.com
  • Capacity: 36 liters
  • Dimensions: 20 x 11 x 10 inches
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs.

This two-in-one duffel and backpack is sustainably made using recycled plastic water bottles and pineapple leaf fiber for the exteriors, and repurposed billboard vinyls for the interior lining. The thoughtful travel bags come in different colors from the yellow seen here to bright red and seafoam green as well as subtle shades of olive and white. If you’re an extremely light packer—or looking for a new gym or overnight bag—the 27-liter Earth Bag Lite is made from the same materials and costs only $95. —L.M.

The Rains Weekend Bag comes in navy (pictured above), black, green, gray, beige, as well as shiny black and brown versions.

The Rains Weekend Bag comes in navy (pictured above), black, green, gray, beige, as well as shiny black and brown versions.

Courtesy of Rains

Rains Weekend Bag

Best water-resistant option.

  • Buy now: $95, us.rains.com
  • Capacity: 46 liters
  • Dimensions: 13.4 x 23.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Weight: 1.2 lbs.

If you’re looking for an option that doesn’t scream “adventure traveler,” this chic water-resistant weekender by Copenhagen-based Rains is ideal for city getaways to drizzly destinations. Made with a waterproof matte outer material in seven different colors, the water-resistant zippers will protect your belongings from a downpour (but won’t keep water out if it’s fully submerged). With one large main compartment and a detachable shoulder strap, this bag is best for minimalists who don’t want to fuss with extra pockets and straps. —L.M.

The North Face Base Camp Duffel is offered in red, blue, green, black, khaki, and other colors.

The North Face Base Camp Duffel is offered in red, blue, green, black, khaki, and other colors.

Courtesy of Backcountry

The North Face Base Camp 50L Duffel

Best virtually indestructible option.

  • Buy now: $120, thenorthface.com ; backcountry.com ; rei.com
  • Capacity: 50 liters
  • Dimensions: 12.8 x 20.87 x 12.8 inches
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 11.39 oz.

We fully agree with The North Face’s statement that just because you’re taking a quick trip, it “doesn’t mean that you should settle for luggage that’s going to fall apart.” Its Base Camp 50L Duffel is built with a durable laminate material to protect your belongings from rough luggage carousels at the airport and weather in the wilderness. The bag features a water-resistant top flap to keep elements out, plus exterior mesh pockets and four compression straps to help optimize packing space. The bag also has convertible handles so you can carry it as a duffel or a backpack. —S.B.

The segments in the Matador SEG30 Backpack allow you to separate your belongings by type or by day.

The segments in the Matador SEG30 Backpack allow you to separate your belongings by type or by day.

Courtesy of Matador

SEG30 Segmented Backpack by Matador

Best for compartmentalization.

  • Buy now: $150, matadorup.com
  • Dimensions: 18.5 x 9.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 1.52 lbs.

For travelers who want maximum organization but minimal bulk, the Matador SEG30 beckons. The lightweight, 30-liter backpack includes four segmented compartments that act like built-in packing cubes. As your trip unfolds, use the full-access clamshell zipper to stash larger items like dirty laundry and shoes. Better yet, there’s also a dedicated laptop compartment and zippered water bottle pocket. Another bonus? It’s waterproof (yes, even the zippers are sealed for water resistance). —L.M.

This article originally appeared online in July 2019; it was updated on July 17, 2020, to include current information.

>>Next: The Best Weekend Getaways in the United States

A lighthouse overlooking the ocean at sunset in West Cork, Ireland

The Best Suitcases for Checking

Kit Dillon

By Kit Dillon

Kit Dillon is a writer focused on bags and travel gear. He has worked for Wirecutter for a decade and lost count of the number of bags he has tested.

For many travelers, the frequently discussed dream is to never check a bag. But life doesn’t always cooperate—sometimes you need a bigger suitcase.

After researching 30 pieces of checked luggage and testing eight finalists over many years, we can still say that the Travelpro Platinum Elite 25″ Expandable Spinner is the best suitcase for most travelers who plan to check a bag.

The bag easily holds two weeks’ worth of clothes, and it looks and feels fantastic. And it comes with a limited lifetime warranty against airline damage.

Everything we recommend

4 day trip luggage

Travelpro Platinum Elite 25″ Expandable Spinner

The best checked bag for most travelers.

This bag provides a luxury feel at a reasonable price, with a capacity, warranty, and reliability that should suit most travelers. The 25-inch model should offer plenty of room for most travelers, without going over airline weight limits.

Buying Options

4 day trip luggage

Travelpro Platinum Elite 29″ Expandable Spinner

Same suitcase, but bigger.

If you need a checked bag that gives you the maximum allowable space, and you don’t mind paying an overweight-bag fee, the 29-inch model is the way to go.

4 day trip luggage

Away The Medium

The best hard-sided checked suitcase.

This great-looking, relatively resilient piece of hard-sided luggage matches our hard-sided carry-on pic. It has the same top-of-the-line components—including wheels that roll as smoothly as any we’ve tested.

4 day trip luggage

Away The Large

The best large hard-sided checked suitcase.

If you need to maximize your allowed space, and you aren’t worried about weight limits, this bag is, as the name implies, the largest one Away makes. Apart from its extra capacity, it’s identical to The Medium.

Upgrade pick

4 day trip luggage

Briggs & Riley Baseline Medium Expandable 26″ Spinner

Hefty luggage for a heftier price.

This bag provides the most satisfying packing experience money can buy. It can fit an additional week’s worth of clothing, when compressed, in the same amount of space as the Travelpro Platinum Elite bag offers.

4 day trip luggage

Briggs & Riley Baseline Extra Large Expandable 31″ Spinner

The same durable bag, but bigger.

This bag is for anyone who needs a somewhat ludicrous amount of space. Fully expanded, this bag is the biggest we’ve found. Fair warning: If you fill it full of clothes, you’re all but guaranteed to exceed airline weight limits.

4 day trip luggage

Monos Hybrid Trunk

This type of luggage brings back the classic silhouette of upright steamer trunks. Due to their design, trunks are considered by some to be easier to pack and to maneuver. However, airlines may flag the Monos as oversize.

Testing takeaways

We’ve found that the stated dimensions and weights of checked suitcases tend to be more accurate than those of their carry-on counterparts.

Wheel quality can affect how well carry-ons roll, but this is less true for checked bags—their weight smooths out the ride.

Handle shape and size often dictate a carry-on’s usable space. In roomier, checked bags, however, they’re less of a factor.

We considered how well a suitcase handles when it’s fully packed, how durable its materials are, and whether it’s comfortable to use.

The Travelpro Platinum Elite 25″ Expandable Spinner is the larger, checked-luggage version of our Travelpro carry-on top pick , and everything we like about its diminutive sibling applies again here.

It’s made of a hard-wearing nylon that’s both sleek and durable. And it looks and feels like a bag that costs a lot more than it actually does.

For a checked bag, it’s also surprisingly nimble. That’s thanks to the height-adjustable handle and the magnetically locking MagnaTrac wheels, which make the bag noticeably easier to maneuver—especially when it’s loaded with 50 pounds of stuff. And this suitcase is protected by a lifetime warranty, with stated protections against airline damages.

Internally, the Platinum Elite is well organized, and it includes a built-in garment folder for formalwear, with a removable folding board (similar to the one in our upgrade pick ). If you need a little more space, consider the Travelpro Platinum Elite 29″ Expandable Spinner .

Note that with luggage this capacious, it’s easy to overpack and exceed the 50-pound (22-kilogram) weight limit imposed by most airlines. But if you’re willing to pay the fee, the Platinum Elite can easily withstand the extra weight.

For anyone who enjoys the look and simplicity of hard-sided luggage—as well as the comfort of knowing that this one is virtually impossible to overpack— The Medium suitcase from Away is an excellent choice with an excellent warranty.

Soft-sided luggage typically has a longer lifespan than hard-sided bags, typically made of ABS plastic or polycarbonate. And soft-sided luggage typically has features like exterior pockets, making organization easier. However, the differences in durability and utility between hard- and soft-sided luggage are increasingly marginal, and plenty of people prefer the aesthetic and additional color options of polycarbonate suitcases.

Away builds its luggage with high-quality components. We tested the Away bag for three years before first recommending it. This suitcase has been our pick for over six years now, and we are confident in its long-term durability and the reputation of Away’s limited lifetime warranty . Away also makes a bigger checked-luggage model, The Large . We’ve found, however, that it’s very easy to overpack suitcases of this size, even ones that are hard-sided.

If you identify as a frequent flier or a serious overpacker, or if you have a large family and are willing to invest in higher-quality luggage for traveling, we recommend the Briggs & Riley Baseline Medium Expandable 25″ Spinner .

Although the Travelpro Platinum Elite is great for the price, the Briggs & Riley Baseline bag is great, period. Every detail is made to the highest standards of any luggage maker—from the zippers to the wheels to a unique compression system (which lets you fit an additional week’s worth of clothing into the same volume as offered by the Travelpro bag).

You won’t get the unique styling that other luxury brands specialize in, but Briggs & Riley’s reputation for reliability and durability is unmatched. The bag also includes a garment folder, as the Travelpro bag does.

If things go awry, user-replaceable parts and a network of repair centers located around the world make quick fixes easy, and the reliable lifetime warranty covers repairs for any kind of damage. We’ve traveled with this durable bag for six years now on multiple national and international trips. And it’s still in great shape and a dream to pack. Also, its expanding capability has rescued us more than once when we wanted to bring something extra home.

Trunk luggage, including the Monos Hybrid Trunk , replaces the 50/50 split of a clamshell design with a deeper central compartment. It’s a small change, and it makes packing this type of case very pleasant.

However, this luggage seems best for destination travel, when you pack up once and unpack once. Living out of a trunk requires more layers of packing and unpacking. So using trunk luggage across multiple stops could seem potentially onerous, compared with using a bag that has a typical clamshell design. Also, at least one traveler we know was dinged with an oversize fee for their Hybrid Trunk.

Monos continues to impress us with its luggage lines and construction. But the Hybrid Trunk stands out for its reinforced aluminum frame and denser-feeling polycarbonate, and it has a lifetime warranty for any damage that renders the luggage unusable.

The research

Why you should trust us, how we picked and tested, the best checked luggage: travelpro platinum elite 25" expandable spinner, our pick for the best hard-sided luggage: away the medium suitcase, upgrade pick: briggs & riley baseline expandable spinner, the best trunk pick: monos hybrid trunk, other good suitcases for checking, the competition, what to look forward to.

I’ve been covering luggage and travel-bag design for Wirecutter for nearly a decade, and I have personally researched, tested, and compared hundreds of bags in that time. Over the years, we’ve also spoken with plenty of experts : flight attendants for major airlines; product designers and creative directors for luggage and gear companies; and travel writers. My conversations with these people have helped shape our coverage, and we owe much to their collective knowledge.

Several suitcases we tested to find the best for checking.

We’ve spent more than 160 hours researching luggage, continually testing to understand what makes good luggage. In the nearly eight years we’ve covered this category, the products have evolved—and so has our thinking about what kind of luggage is best for most people. Based on what’s available and what different travelers prefer, we think the following travel bags are the best checked luggage you can currently find.

There may be thousands of different types of checked luggage available for sale. Even after we excluded models that didn’t meet our basic criteria—a reliable warranty, reputable luggage reviews, and quality materials—we found hundreds of bags worth testing. And we went on to evaluate the choices between nylon and polyester, the difference in wheel-bearing designs, why alloys in telescoping handles matter, and more.

Three suitcases we tested in 2016, shown side by side.

Besides the suggestions from our experts, we researched editorial and user reviews of luggage, making sure to include popular brands, such as Samsonite and Tumi, as well as more-esoteric names, like Hideo Wakamatsu. In addition to our interviews with experts, we’ve spoken with assorted salespeople, brand engineers, and media-relations folks, to make sure we found the best models from each company.

If you want a general rundown of our testing process, check out the corresponding sections from our best carry-on luggage review , since our testing of the larger bags mirrored that process. But we did uncover some differences—mostly having to do with the larger size of checked luggage—that led us to modify our analysis.

The smaller the luggage, the more intricate the design must become to accommodate travelers’ needs. While testing carry-on luggage in the past, we found that company claims of luggage weight and measurements weren’t exactly precise, with capacities exaggerated and weights minimized. Oddly, for checked bags, we didn’t find so much fudging of the numbers. Our best guess is that with the looser size and weight restrictions for checked luggage, manufacturers aren’t as motivated to manipulate their figures when advertising their larger bags.

When we tested carry-ons, we noticed the varied and individual way that each bag handled rough surfaces, depending on their wheels and build quality. With checked bags, this wasn’t a problem. When any checked bag was fully packed, the weight carried it over the roughest of surfaces, without a strong discernable difference between models.

With bags this large, the subtler points of comparison aren’t as pronounced. For instance, the handle’s size and shape can significantly change a carry-on bag’s usable space and your overall packing experience. But when space limits aren’t an issue, this doesn’t really matter. As a result, we focused on the obvious design comparisons, including how these bags handled when full, how durable their materials were, and whether the bags were comfortable to use.

Our top picks for the best checked luggage, the Travelpro Platinum Elite 25-inch and 29-inch Expandable Spinners, side by side.

For the majority of families who fly less than 25,000 miles a year together, the Travelpro Platinum Elite 25″ Expandable Spinner is the best choice for checked luggage.

It’s the bag to compare others against. The Platinum Elite suitcase is a durable, attractively styled, well-organized bag for a reasonable price. It holds a full seven days’ worth of clothes for two people, and it’s protected by a warranty that covers carrier damage, as long as you register the bag within 120 days of purchase. (The registration is a very simple process, and it can be done in 5 minutes with a smartphone: Simply take a picture of the registration code, which comes with the luggage; send that picture to a number Travelpro provides; and fill out the form in the response link .)

During a trip to New Zealand, our tester was able to pack two weeks’ worth of clothes—without a laundry stop—and several pieces of camera equipment into the Platinum Magna (the previous, largely identical model of the Platinum Elite) without issue. Like every large piece of checked luggage we tested, the Platinum Elite comes only in a four-wheel (or “spinner”) configuration. More wheels mean more bits with the potential to break (as well as some reduction of interior space), but that’s a necessary compromise for bags this size, if you want any hope of managing them in a busy airport.

A Travelpro Platinum Elite 25-inch Expandable Spinner with its built-in garment folder opened.

It shrugs off wear and tear. The Platinum Elite’s exterior is made of ballistic nylon, which can take more overall abuse than polycarbonate and will show less wear in the long run. As we’ve said with regard to carry-ons , we don’t think polycarbonate hard-shell bags are as versatile or durable as soft-sided nylon bags. (Travelpro tests its bags by filling them with 70-pound loads and passing each handle through 7,500 automated lift tests.)

Hard-shell bags usually weigh about 4 pounds less than soft-sided equivalents. However, their increased failure rate and affinity for displaying scratches and wear aren’t worth it, unless the bag’s contents really need the extra protection from sharp jabs.

The soft fabric design allows for extra flexibility and the inclusion of exterior pockets, for quick access to small items. The Platinum Elite has two pockets: a flat one (suitable for documents and boarding passes) and an accordion-style one (which provides extra storage for miscellaneous small items; this can be a lifesaver if you’re traveling with kids and need quick access to extra-small toys, coloring books, clothes, or other supplies).

Top view of the main compartment of the Travelpro Platinum Elite Expandable Spinner.

Organization makes the dream work. During her three-week trip in New Zealand, photographer Caleigh Waldman said of the earlier, nearly identical model in the Platinum line, “On this trip I never stayed in the same location for more than three days and was forced to constantly unpack, repack, and maneuver [the bag]. Usually living out of any suitcase makes me crazy, but the many zip compartments [of this bag], both inside and out, make it easy to compartmentalize your things. The pockets, zippers, and interior liner seemed sturdy, and the large pull-back cover allowed me to access everything I had in the bag with ease.”(Full disclosure: Years later we married, but I don’t think that influenced her review.)

Similar to its smaller Travelpro sibling, the Carry-On Rollaboard , this suitcase has a built-in garment folder (or “suiter”). Additionally, a 2-inch-wide expansion zipper runs along three sides of the Platinum Elite, allowing the bag to accordion-open a touch, if you need the extra space (though we found this more useful as a way to compress what you’ve already packed than as an additional-space-providing feature).

Close-up of the Built-in TSA combination lock on a Travelpro Platinum Elite Expandable Spinner.

It moves through the world with ease. The Platinum Elite handles beautifully for its size. Its aluminum handle extends to three different heights (38 inches, 40 inches, and 42½ inches). Although every bag we tested for this guide had similar levels of maneuverability, the Premium Elite’s MagnaTrac wheels, which align in the same direction, rolled past the rest of the competition with ease. On smooth surfaces, like those found in airports, it felt as if the bag were almost directing itself across the floor.

During her trip, Caleigh appreciated this suitcase’s smooth rolling, even when the bag was overpacked, saying, “It was not always easy to maneuver on rough or gravelly surfaces. Overall, though, given the limitations of traveling with this much stuff, I thought [this bag] did a great job moving through a variety of environments.” And it has sealed wheel bearings; these extend the wheels’ life by preventing dirt and grime from entering and breaking down the components as quickly. That’s a feature not usually found on cheaper bags. And chances are good that if a bag isn’t clearly advertising sealed bearings, you should assume it doesn’t have them. If, for whatever reason, the wheels do break, you can easily swap them out yourself with Travelpro’s readily available replacements .

It’s light yet cavernous. The Platinum Elite weighs 9 pounds 8 ounces when empty, which is average to heavy among checked bags. That’s a workable weight, though, for the bag’s spacious, 6,982-cubic-inch interior—twice what its carry-on sibling can hold! But when you’re selecting luggage this large, weight shouldn’t be your primary concern because all of the bags we tested felt about equally heavy once fully packed. The important thing is that, in our testing, the Platinum Elite swallowed up a week’s worth of clothes for two people with no problem, with a good deal of room to spare.

Travelpro also sells a Platinum Elite model that’s 29 inches tall . It’s important to emphasize just how absurdly large this suitcase is for most people. Given its capacity of 7,710.6 cubic inches (143 liters), the challenge here is to pack without breaking airline weight limits. I suppose if you were on a (very) long cruise, a bag this size might make sense.

How the Platinum Elite has held up

After my wife’s world travels, a neighbor borrowed this bag for their children’s college travels (Hawaii to New York), making several trips over the past few years. The Platinum Elite is still going strong.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

We should note that bags of this size can hold almost too much. The Platinum Elite bag already weighs over 9 pounds. So when you pack it to its limits, it may be hard to keep it below the 50-pound weight limit of most airlines—and that means extra fees. But this is true of all checked luggage.

During her New Zealand trip, Caleigh Waldman packed the Platinum Magna 2 (29-inch model) for two weeks, with enough clothes, toiletries, and different types of shoes and activewear for the terrain. Though she didn’t fill the bag completely, she still found that her luggage came in over the 50-pound limit. “Every flight I took, I had to cough up the overweight-baggage fee, and it was a monster to carry up stairs and toss into car trunks,” she said.

Our picks for the best hard-sided luggage, the Away The Medium and The Large suitcases, side by side.

We still think most travelers would be better off with one of our soft-sided picks than with a hard-sided carry-on. That’s because soft-sided luggage shows less wear and typically lasts longer than hard-sided luggage. But if you prefer the look of hard-sided luggage, or you want the security of knowing you can’t overpack your suitcase, Away’s The Medium is the one we recommend.

From wheels to warranty, it’s the best polycarbonate option. Its wheels and zipper are as well made as those of our soft-sided picks, and its polycarbonate showed fewer scratches than its hard-sided competitors. And it’s backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

It provides more than enough space. The Medium weighs 9.9 pounds and measures 26 by 18.5 by 11 inches—a fairly standard weight and size for checked luggage this size. (By comparison, the Travelpro Platinum Elite 25-inch bag weighs 9.8 pounds and measures 28 by 18.5 by 11.75 inches.) If you need extra room,  Away’s The Large offers the maximum allowed space in a piece of checked luggage. The Large weighs 11.6 pounds and measures 29 by 20.5 by 12.5 inches. But with bags this big, it’s easier to overpack and exceed airline weight limits, which is why we recommend the Away Medium for most people.

Don’t sweat the flex. The Away bag’s modern and minimalist look comes at a cost: Its polycarbonate shell is ultimately—according to every luggage designer we’ve ever interviewed—more likely to break than the nylon fabric of our other picks is to tear. Still, the shell feels similar to those of higher-end (and significantly more expensive) suitcases, such as the $1,000-plus Rimowa Essential Check-In M ; it’s strong and flexible, and the Away bag itself feels good in your hands.

Away builds its luggage with impressive components. The wheels are noticeably better than those on any of the hard-sided competitors we’ve tested. We’ve rolled these wheels across every conceivable surface, from cobblestone streets to the smoothest airport surfaces, and they were always a pleasure to use. When we first started testing The Away bag, in 2016, we found that flexibility to be a liability, especially on airport carpets. The first version of this bag that I tested tended to flex into itself and jam up its own wheels when I pushed it in front of me. But I haven’t had that issue with any of this suitcase’s latest models.

Top view of an opened Away The Medium suitcase.

Its interior matches its minimal exterior. The Away bag’s interior is almost as bare-bones as its exterior. Unlike our other picks, this bag has no included suiter or suit folder, but you can buy one for $85 . The interior is split in half: One side closes with a zippered flap, and the other side has a built-in compression panel and straps, which work decently well.

It’s better to stick with the basics. We tested Away luggage for three years before making our recommendation. We traveled with it ourselves across the country, and we lent models of the bag to several testers and frequent travelers to see how they enjoyed using them. Away makes two similar models of checked suitcases with an expandable zipper: The Medium Flex and The Large Flex . For all intents and purposes, these are the same overall bags as the standard Medium and Large, except for the expanding center zipper and the price (they each cost $50 more). Personally, I’m not a fan of expanding zippers. They feel like potentially just one more thing to break. Also, they can increase the likelihood of exceeding the airline’s weight limit. But some people may prefer having the extra flexibility.

Like our other picks, the Away pairs with its matching carry-on : The models are virtually identical, except for their sizes. Matching your luggage sets is visually appealing. But the real value in matching your carry-on to your checked luggage is that the smaller suitcase can, when you’re back home, nest within the larger one. (This holds true for every set of luggage we’ve ever tested. Here’s why: Nesting luggage is the most economical way for luggage manufacturers to ship their wares from their factories overseas.)

The lack of a suit panel for important items, like dresses and suits, may limit this suitcase’s appeal for some travelers. With a bag that has this much space, though, there are other ways to pack fancy clothes (video) without wrinkling them.

4 day trip luggage

If you fly more than 25,000 miles per year, it’s worth investing in luggage that goes beyond the minimums and somehow improves your travel experience. The Briggs & Riley Baseline Medium Expandable 25″ Spinner is that kind of bag. It costs more than twice as much as our top soft-sided pick, but after using all of these bags side by side, I’m sure there’s more than twice as much value hidden within this luggage: This is one of the best checked luggage systems we’ve found for international travel.

It has the best compression system. This suitcase’s most impressive feature is its compression system. Briggs & Riley’s proprietary compression system is superior to anything else we’ve seen—it allows you to fit an additional week’s worth of clothing into a bag with the same external dimensions as those of the Travelpro Platinum Elite suitcase. To manage it, you pull upward on two plastic handles inside the bag; this extends its depth by a full 2½ inches. Load the bag as full as you need to, and zip it closed without putting stress on the zippers. Then you simply push on the bag to compress it back down again, and a latch mechanism keeps it securely in place. Unlike cheaper zippered expansion systems, which are either fully open or closed (like the Delsey bag’s ), this one can lock in at variable degrees of expansion or compression. This suitcase is unique and satisfying to use. (If you prefer a polycarbonate shell, Briggs & Riley has designed a similar compression system around a hard-shell case, for its Sympatico Spinner line. Still, we prefer the pliability of a soft-sided shell for any compression system.)

Measuring the extra capacity of the Baseline isn’t exact. The bag’s base (that is, where the wheels are) measures an inch deeper than the top of the bag (where the handle is); this design is, I believe, to make the base of the bag heavier when fully packed. At the base, the exterior of the Baseline Medium measures 25 by 18.5 by 10 inches; expanded, it measures 25 by 18.5 by 12 inches.

A person measuring the height of the internal storage space of the Briggs & Riley Baseline Medium Expandable 25-inch Spinner with a measuring tape.

It takes hits like a brick. The Baseline Medium’s exterior is wrapped in 1,680-denier ballistic nylon, which is durable and puncture resistant. (Denier is a measure of the fiber thickness in a fabric.) But even more impressive is what’s underneath the nylon. The Baseline Medium’s frame is the strongest we’ve seen among any of the soft-sided luggage we tested. This bag can take considerable pressure from any angle. Like the Travelpro Platinum Elite, the Baseline Medium has two external pockets: a small one for tickets and passports and a larger one for small items or light outerwear. Briggs & Riley also makes a 31-inch Extra Large version of this bag, with nearly 10,000 cubic inches of interior space. It’s a good bag, but we can’t see the point of something this large. As it is, you can easily exceed most airlines’ weight limits packing the Medium to capacity.

Similar to its carry-on version, the Baseline Medium’s handrail tubes are on the outside of the bag; this makes the inside back wall almost completely flat, so packing is easier because there are no crevices to work around. We liked this feature for lighter carry-on luggage, since exterior plastic handrail tubes can protect the bag when it’s going over an edge, without risking too much damage. However, that all changes when you’re bouncing a 50-pound bag over a curb; in that case, an exposed handrail system seems like an unnecessary risk, especially since there’s so much room for an internal rail system.

The best trunk pick the Monos Hybrid Trunk.

Trunks are a welcome new addition (reimagined from a somewhat older tradition) to checked-luggage lines. Longer than they are wide, modern travel trunks—including our pick, the Monos Hybrid Trunk —stand out against the more-common squat, square luggage of the last few decades.

It has a pleasant shape, and it’s easy to maneuver. The Monos Hybrid measures 30 by 15.7 by 14.3 inches, with a capacity of 6,735.3 cubic inches, and it weighs 13.2 pounds. Imagine something like a small steamer trunk, except without the team of stevedores to move it.

In our early testing, we’ve found that the Monos Hybrid, with its taller, narrower shape, is easier to wheel around than other checked luggage. There’s something about the four wheels’ relative proximity to one another that gives the trunk a remarkable agility across most surfaces. Its wheels make it handle more like a carry-on bag than the other checked luggage we tested.

An opened Monos Hybrid Trunk lying flat on its back.

It’s a pleasure to pack. This element is harder to explain. Packing the trunk somehow just feels more pleasant than packing other types of luggage. Maybe it’s the main compartment’s higher walls, which give a comforting feeling of placing your clothes deep within the confines of a box. Or perhaps it’s the shape’s somewhat vintage appeal, bringing up nostalgia for a type of travel you’ve never experienced except in movies. Packing clothes into the Hybrid Trunk for a long journey is like stepping back in time just for a moment.

That said, unlike the steamer trunks of yore, the modern Monos Hybrid doesn’t have a ton of extra organization. One side has a fabric cover that completely zips in the contents; the other side has a compression panel with two zippered pockets. That said, for most modern travelers using (I hope) a good set of packing cubes , these simple dividers should be plenty to keep everything in the right place.

The Hybrid Trunk does away with the standard zipper closure, opting instead for an aluminum frame that runs along the seam of the luggage, where a zipper might have been. The case has two TSA locks, which close with a satisfying latch. We’ve reviewed a few bags with latches like this, and they’re great. Our only concern is that these locks have lots of small moving components, which could be a weak point over time.

It’s made for long, tough journeys. The only trunk models we’ve seen so far are made of polycarbonate. The Monos Hybrid immediately stands out with three details: an aluminum frame around the center seam that reinforces the body of the luggage, aluminum corner guards, and a reassuringly robust polycarbonate.

The Monos Hybrid Trunk, like our other picks, is protected by a lifetime warranty.

  • We’ve heard from one traveler we know that Delta charged them an oversize fee when they checked their Monos Hybrid Trunk. Other airlines have, in our experience, been more lenient. If your chosen airline has a reputation (as Delta does) for being persnickety, maybe skip this bag.
  • Another potential flaw we’ve found so far (we’ve tested trunks for only a few months) is that a trunk design may require more packing and unpacking to find what you need if you’re making lots of stops while traveling. A suitcase with a clamshell design, on the other hand, has both sides more or less open to you for easier access.
  • Like the Away, the Monos Hybrid Trunk doesn’t have a dedicated suit folder or suit compartment for dresses or formal wear. Again though with this much space to pack in, there are a number of ways to protect clothes like this.

If the Monos Hybrid Trunk is unavailable: Consider Away’s The Trunk , which has a similar design (apart from having a zipper, instead of latches) for a similar price. However, though we’re generally fans of Away’s luggage, The Trunk isn’t as satisfying to use as the Monos Hybrid . The Away Trunk’s shell is flexible and its body is light, so it lacks the robust feel of the Monos Hybrid.

The Delsey Helium Aero , our previous hard-sided pick, comes in a 25-inch and a 29-inch version, so you can choose how much capacity you need. Like the Away suitcase, this bag is made of 100% polycarbonate, so it should last longer than cheaper, less-durable ABS plastic suitcases. However, Delsey’s 10-year limited warranty doesn’t match Away’s limited lifetime warranty.

Briggs & Riley makes excellent luggage, but we don’t think you need to spend this much on a hard-sided case without any extra frills, like the Briggs & Riley Torq Medium Spinner .

The Delsey Peugeot Large Trunk Spinner has a similar zipperless design as the Monos Hybrid, but the Peugeot bag lacks the corner guards and, more importantly, the lifetime warranty. Instead, the Peugeot is backed by a 10-year warranty.

Rimowa defined hard-sided luggage in the 1940s and redefined it in 2000, when it introduced polycarbonate luggage. But paying just over $1,000 for “virgin German polycarbonate” is silly. These bags, including the Rimowa Essential Check-In M , are smart-looking, though.

If you’ve ever wondered how much people pay for those handsome aluminum pieces of luggage, we’ll tell you: at least four figures. The Rimowa Classic Check-In M is twice as expensive as a ticket to Europe, yet it’s little more than a status symbol.

We also tested and dismissed Pelican and Samsonite suitcases that have since been discontinued.

We’re taking a look at the Level8 Voyageur Check-In . Its standout feature is the unusually wide handle, which seems to help its handling. The Level8 bag is less expensive than other luggage of its size and apparent quality. It’s also backed by a lifetime warranty. To make a decision, however, we do need to study the handle and the build quality a bit longer.

This article was edited by Ria Misra and Christine Ryan.

Meet your guide

4 day trip luggage

Kit Dillon is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter. He was previously an app developer, oil derrick inspector, public-radio archivist, and sandwich shop owner. He has written for Popular Science, The Awl, and the New York Observer, among others. When called on, he can still make a mean sandwich.

Further reading

An illustration reading "our 100 most popular September picks."

Wirecutter’s 100 Most Popular Picks in September 2022

by Wirecutter Staff

These 100 useful things were the most-purchased Wirecutter picks in September 2022.

A Travelpro rolling suitcase, next to clothes and a purse.

We’ve Loved Luggage From Travelpro’s Platinum Elite Line for a Decade. Here’s Why.

by Kit Dillon

Travelpro Platinum Elite is our most loyal travel companion.

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Wirecutter’s 100 Most Popular Picks of January 2024

Here are the 100 things our readers loved most in January, from carry-ons to humidifiers and more.

The Away Carry-On in front of a pink field, surrounded by a globe, a beige duffel, and some paper cacti.

Are Away Carry-Ons Worth the Hype?

Although we still prefer the better durability of soft-sided luggage, if you want the look and feel of a hard-sided case, we recommend the Away Carry-On .

Protect Your Trip »

How to pack a suitcase (and not hate it): 12 expert tips.

Take the stress out of vacation prep with these simple hacks.

How to Pack a Suitcase

Young adult woman writing list of accessories and travel stuff before going on summer holidays.

Getty Images

Rolling your clothes, making packing lists and bringing a laundry bag are a few of the ways you can pack your suitcase like a pro.

While nearly everyone gets excited to go on vacation, almost no one looks forward to packing beforehand. This dreaded task is only made worse by the threat of wrinkled clothes, forgotten items and broken gear when you arrive at your destination. Read on to learn how to pack a suitcase like a pro.  

Choose the right bag

Choosing the right bag for your trip, needs and style is key to achieving packing success. Narrow down your choice with these multi-purpose options, from soft-sided and hard-sided carry-on bags to travel backpacks and duffels:

  • The Best Carry-on Luggage
  • The Best Checked Luggage
  • The Best Luggage Sets
  • The Best Weekender Bags for Women
  • The Best Duffel Bags in Every Style
  • The Best Travel Backpacks

Invest in packing cubes

Frequent travelers swear by these highly rated packing cubes – lightweight, zip-up compartments allow you to separate different types of clothing, accessories, and even toiletries within your suitcase. They can also help to keep clothing wrinkle-free.

Pack everything from underwear to charging devices in individual packing cubes to keep everything organized and easily accessible. You might even purchase a few packing cube sets in different colors to organize your belongings by color (clothing items in red packing cubes, accessories in blue, etc.) or by a family member. Once you arrive at your lodging, just take the packing cubes out of your bag and place them in the dresser drawer.

Make a few packing lists

Before you start packing, jot down one list of must-haves and a second list of other items that you'd like to bring, but that aren't totally necessary. This will help you to avoid overpacking. Also write a list of last-minute items you'll need to throw in your bag just before you leave.

Read: What to Pack in a Carry-on Bag

Assemble a capsule wardrobe

Emirates cabin crew member Lauren Guilfoyle recommends assembling a capsule collection of basics like black pants, white jeans, neutral T-shirts and a denim jacket. These items are easy to mix and match and can be worn multiple times, so you won't need to pack a brand-new outfit for each day.

Roll your clothes

"Rolling your clothes helps to fit more and, if done right, helps to reduce wrinkles in the clothes you've packed," says Bobby Laurie, a former flight attendant and current host of "The Jet Set" talk show. To do this efficiently, use the Army or Ranger Roll method, which involves folding up the bottom few inches and sleeves of a garment as shown here .

Wrap breakables in clothing

Traveling with wine bottles or other fragile items? Roll any breakables inside a few layers of clothing to prevent damage.

Wear bulky items on the plane

"Wear your bulkiest items on the plane to free up space in your luggage and keep you warm during travel," Guilfoyle recommends. For example, if you're going to the beach, pack your flip-flops in your bag and wear your sneakers on the plane.

Pack a laundry bag

Scott Keyes, chief flight expert and founder of travel website Scott's Cheap Flights , advises bringing a separate, packable bag – even just a small plastic bag or trash bag – for dirty laundry. "[A trash bag] is simple, compresses super small and saves you from having to mix your clean and dirty clothes," Keyes says.

Fill in empty spaces

Be sure to use up any excess space. For instance, you can place socks and other small items inside of your shoes or a clutch purse.

Pack a wrinkle-release fabric spray

Not a fan of ironing or packing for a cruise and worried about wrinkle-prone clothing? Carry a bottle of wrinkle-release spray with you. Simply spray the liquid liberally on clothes while gently stretching and smoothing the garments to eliminate creases caused by packing. You might also consider packing wrinkle-resistant fabrics like 100% cotton, nylon and spandex.

Read:  The Best Garment Bags for Travel

Buy a portable luggage scale

Rather than trying to balance your luggage on your bathroom scale, hook this portable (and affordable) luggage scale onto any bag to check its weight. When you're finished, pack the scale in your baggage so you can check the suitcase's weight for your return flight as well.

Keep toiletries ready to go

To avoid the hassle of packing your toiletry bag every time you go on vacation, keep one in your closet filled with travel-sized items. If you run out of an item on a trip, be sure to refill it as soon as you get home so it's ready for your next getaway.

Read:  The Best Toiletry Bags

You might also be interested in:

  • What Is Allowed in a Carry-on Bag?
  • The Best Luggage Trackers
  • Guide: Carry-on Luggage Sizes by Airline

The Best Travel Neck Pillows

  • The Best Passport Wallets

Tags: Travel , Travel Tips

World's Best Places To Visit

  • # 1 South Island, New Zealand
  • # 4 Bora Bora

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The Best Checked Luggage to Solve All Your Travel Needs

the best checked luggage suitcases for travel

Every product on this page was chosen by a Harper's BAZAAR editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

Kristen Shirley , founder of the luxury encyclopedia La Patiala , knows a thing or two about good luggage. An avid traveler (who previously worked at a travel magazine), she stresses the importance of investing in quality checked bags. “Checked luggage can be expensive, but it’s well worth the money,” she tells Bazaar . “ High-quality luggage will not only last for years—I’ve had some of my luggage for over a decade—but it [also] makes your travel experience so much more enjoyable.” It can save you from certain aches and pains, too (which for Shirley included shoulder pain, caused by using a two-wheel bag instead of a four-wheeler).

Alpha Extended Trip Expandable 4-Wheeled Suitcase

Best Soft-Sided

Tumi alpha extended trip expandable 4-wheeled suitcase.

The Large Suitcase

Best Hard-Sided

Away the large suitcase.

Aviator Grand Recycled-Hardshell Suitcase

Best Sustainable

Paravel aviator grand recycled-hardshell suitcase.

When searching for the best checked luggage, she recommends you first consider what you will be using it for. Sometimes a midsize bag (with a volume around 125 liters) is more useful in the long run, over an enormous 140-liter option that might be necessary only for a journey of three weeks or longer. (A reminder: The bigger the suitcase, the more it will generally weigh empty.) A brand that offers luggage sets is also a smart way to shop. Shirley says her nonnegotiable luggage features are: four spinner wheels, a telescoping handle with at least three different heights or full adjustability, and two carry handles (one on the top, and one on the side).

Next, you’ll need to decide whether a soft-sided suitcase or hardshell better suits your needs. Shirley prefers soft-sided cases, which are more flexible when it comes to packing. “Many soft-sided suitcases are also expandable, which is important to have if you only invest in one checked bag,” she says. Soft-sided suitcases also commonly include an exterior pocket, which Shirley notes is great for slipping last-minute additions inside without opening the entire bag.

Whichever your preference, we’ve rounded up the 12 best checked luggage options below, including a mix of both soft and hard shells, to help you find the suitcase that fits your style and travel needs.

“I bought this Tumi Alpha suitcase in Paris after an inexpensive suitcase broke on my way to Paris Fashion Week,” Shirley tells Bazaar . “Getting the tax rebate made it more affordable!” Although an investment, it has been put to the test and remains a favorite of this expert. “I’ve had it for over a decade and have put it through every test imaginable: long trips, short trips, planes, trains, buses, yachts, subways, and cars,” she says. “It can handle anything, and it makes long travel journeys with lots of connections easier to navigate, thanks to the four spinning wheels and sturdy handle.”

The 30-inch height and expansive capabilities make a long journey (or even an editor’s Fashion Week, where major looks are a must!) completely possible with one case. No more extra baggage fees in your future. And don’t worry, there are still all the classic Tumi features customers love—including a TSA-approved lock and compartments galore.

What reviewers are saying: “Just as the description says ‘Don't think twice what to pack’. Take it all. Whether you’re driving, flying, or going on a cruise, you will not regret having this case. Everything about it says quality. I honestly haven’t found anything I don’t like about it. Would you really expect anything less from Tumi. Absolutely not. ”

Exterior dimensions: 12.99" x 22.05" x 30.91"

Weight: 17.9 pounds

Colors: Black, anthracite

“I have the Away Carry-On bag, which is great for short trips, and my family uses the Large checked bag, so I’ve seen it in action,” Shirley says. “It’s a great, affordable choice for people who prefer hard-sided bags.” Although simple in design, the durable shell has been tested for high impact, while the compressive interior packs it all in. The 36o-degree wheels and a removable laundry bag are additional noteworthy details that, while simple, make this suitcase so great. “Away also offers a limited lifetime warranty, should you have any problems with it, which is unique,” Shirley notes. “Most companies offer a five-year warranty.”

She also recommends using a unique luggage tag, given the brand’s immense popularity, so it won’t get lost in the sea of matching cases on the carousel. Or try one of the limited-edition standout colors that Away sporadically introduces. (Get ’em while they’re hot, though—they go fast.)

What reviewers are saying: “Very nice case, the blue color distinguishes it from all others. The sturdiness is great along with the room. This is our second large case. The first one is holding up perfectly. This size case isn’t that much more than others but the lifetime warranty makes up for the price.”

Exterior dimensions: 29" x 20.5" x 12.5"

Weight: 12.1 pounds

Colors: Navy blue, coast blue, olive green, sorbet orange, jet black, salt white

“Paravel’s Aviator Grand is the first-ever carbon-neutral checked luggage,” Shirley tells us. “It’s constructed from many recycled materials that are sustainably sourced, and all production and shipping emissions are offset by the company. It even estimates the emissions that your first trip will generate and offsets those too!” This eco-friendly option doesn’t sacrifice on style, either.

“The Aviator design is elegant and unique, with two contrasting stripes of vegan leather that wrap around the bag, and it is sure to stand out on the baggage carousel,” Shirley says. “The unique textured finish isn’t just for show—it helps hides the inevitable scuffs that any bag will get once it’s checked.” She also loves the included laundry bag to help keep you organized when traveling.

What reviewers are saying: “The aviator luggage is the best. I have the carry-on and the matching checked luggage. The checked luggage is the perfect size for longer-term trips, and the color selection is great.”

Exterior Dimensions: 18.25" x 28" x 11"

Weight: 11.8 pounds

Colors: Safari green, scuba navy, derby black, scout tan, domino black

Rimowa Essential Check-In Large Suitcase

Essential Check-In Large Suitcase

“Rimowa is the ultimate cool-girl luggage, and has been on my wish list for years,” Shirley says. “The Rimowa Essential Check-in L comes in a lot of fun, fashionable colors.” She suggests this matte blue, noting it won’t get dinged up too badly in the airport during travel. Although an investment, Shirley notes that Rimowa created the world’s first polycarbonate suitcase, and that the brand has been responsible for a lot of advances in luggage design, making the price tag worth it. She recommends this suitcase for trips lasting a week to 10 days. A favorite feature? “It has a telescoping handle that you can stop at any height, not just a couple predetermined ones, which is very convenient.”

What reviewers are saying: “I came for a different piece of luggage and loved that too, but the sheer beauty of the Rimowa stole my heart. As beautiful as it is, it is equally functional. It has super smooth wheels and makes a statement on any flight or hotel check-in.”

Exterior dimensions: 30.6" x 20.5" x 11.1"

Weight: 10.6 pounds

Colors: Matte blue, matte black, black gloss, sea blue gloss, slate gloss, green gloss, petal pink gloss

Monos Hybrid Check-In Large Suitcase

Hybrid Check-In Large Suitcase

Minimalist-inspired luggage that is crafted with high-quality parts and materials, without the designer markup, is the founding concept behind the brand Monos. Its clean, durable luggage has become a favorite due to its lasting appeal and thoughtful designs. The Hybrid Check-In Large was made with longer treks in mind, or for those who are notorious over-packers. Notable features include an aerospace-grade, water-resistant polycarbonate hard shell made from partially recycled materials, aluminum frame and corner guards for protection from damage in transit, reinforced wheel housing that supports extra weight, and two TSA-approved locks. With countless customer reviews, this one is a no-brainer, especially given the price point.

What reviewers are saying: “My first piece of ‘expensive’ luggage has been great for my first 8 day trip. It’s sturdy… I sat on new luggage after finally getting it packed and the sides didn’t fold in or flex holding 140+ pounds! Wheels rolled well through the journey and the locking system is great. Only disappointed in how the luggage crew scuffled up my new hauler. Worth the money and excited to buy the smaller sizes soon.”

Exterior dimensions: 30" x 21" x 11"

Weight: 13 pounds

Colors: Obsidian, silver, champagne

SteamLine Luggage The Editor 27-Inch Check-In Spinner Packing Case

The Editor 27-Inch Check-In Spinner Packing Case

If you ever lusted after the old-fashioned travel trunks of the Hollywood golden era, SteamLine Luggage offers the same authentic look, updated for modern use. This spinner suitcase is surprisingly lightweight, given the unique, structured shape, weighing in at only 9.3 pounds. The outside is covered with a luxe, linen fabric and leather straps for chic styling. This is one suitcase that you won’t want sitting in your closet after travel. Modern features include TSA-approved locks, silent glide wheels, and a three-tier telescopic handle. Extras include a hanging travel kit and organization zippers and pockets to keep contents secure. There is also a ripstop cover included, which will keep this beautiful case clean and protected while in transit, so you won’t have to worry about damage.

What reviewers are saying: “My SteamLine Luggage editor case is one of the most beautiful items that I own. It has a vintage look and very high quality. I hope to pass on one day, as they are pieces I use for much of my travels, especially to places like Paris and New York. I love that when traveling with this luggage I am always stopped and asked about it, is it vintage? There is SO much detail in these crafted luggage pieces, from the leather straps and brass hardware to the gorgeous liners that are full of character. Every time I open up one of my cases to pack I am excited, these luggage pieces come on all of my special trips with my stylish pals, they make for the best bags!”

Exterior dimensions: 25" x 17" x 10"

Weight: 9.3 pounds

Colors: Black, brown, navy

July Checked Plus Suitcase

Checked Plus Suitcase

When July was created, the brand’s founders looked at over 4,000 reviews of competitors’ products to determine what consumers wanted. After extensive research, the brand created its signature eggshell shape, which houses wheels in a new way and protects corners from damage on long journeys. The wheels are also custom to the brand, to create a silent-yet-functional system that can withstand anything from European cobblestones to a gravel sidewalk. The aerospace-grade German polycarbonate shell is a match for wear and tear, as well. And the included nylon, stain-proof laundry bag is just the icing on the cake. Take yours for a spin with July’s 100-day return policy to truly experience the quality.

What reviewers are saying: “When I go on holiday for the long term, I use this Checked Plus. It’s big and so much stuff you can put in it. I like the design and the size. I’m glad I have it.”

Exterior dimensions: 30.25" x 19.75" x 12.5"

Weight: 10.5 pounds

Colors: Navy, sand, moss, forest, shadow lavender, charcoal, monochrome, and clay, plus seven limited-edition shades

Tumi Alpha Worldwide Trip Expandable 4-Wheeled Packing Case

Alpha Worldwide Trip Expandable 4-Wheeled Packing Case

“The Tumi Alpha Worldwide is a monster suitcase, but it’s great for really long trips, when having two bags would be difficult,” Shirley says. “It’s definitely too large to be your only bag, though, so I only recommend it to frequent travelers.” Trust the expert when she says it’s a monster. This bag has a whopping 34-inch height and 22-inch depth, for monthlong vacations or an excessive packer. Of course, there are zippers aplenty for organization, zipper-to-zipper expansion capabilities, dual spinner wheels, a TSA-friendly lock, and even bumper rails and impact-resistant side panels for all the bumps, falls, and throws it might see along the way.

Shirley likes to use this one when hitting the slopes. “I use this bag when I go skiing, so I can bring all of my thick sweaters and ski clothes,” she says. “It has all the same features I love about my smaller checked bag.”

What reviewers are saying: “My wife tends to pack a lot of things, and our previous bag was a bit challenging for her to get everything in that she wanted to pack for trips. I decided to get this bag, since it was the largest Tumi bag I could find. Home run! She loves the bag, and she can pack away to her heart’s desire and still have room left over. She particularly likes the four-wheel design, which makes moving the bag through the airport easier. She also likes the locking zippers of this bag.”

Exterior dimensions: 13" x 22" x 34"

Weight: 18.6 pounds

Colors: Black

Samsonite Omni 2 Hardside Expandable Luggage

Omni 2 Hardside Expandable Luggage

If you are looking for an under-$200 option, this Samsonite case is highly recommended by reviewers. This large, 30-inch bag sits atop four dual spinner wheels for easy maneuvering through airports, train stations, and taxi lines. Inside are two pockets (one zipped and one with compression straps) to organize all your personal belongs for a longer trek. A scratch-resistant, hard outer shell made from polycarbonate will keep this bag from looking worn from wear over time. A built-in lock along the zippered side will keep all your stuff secure, as well.

What reviewers are saying: “I used this for a 5 day / 4 night trip for two and it fit everything we needed. It’s the perfect sized checked bag. It’s sturdy and light. The bag is zippered on one side and has straps on the other. The wheels are easily maneuverable, the handle works as designed. The only con about this luggage is that I got black and it looks like every other bag on the conveyor belt but that’s not much to complain about. Great price too.”

Exterior dimensions: 30.4” x 20.9”x 12.4”

Weight: 10.8 pounds

Colors: Midnight black, arctic silver, Caribbean blue, lagoon blue, nova teal, rose gold, solid charcoal, purple

Briggs & Riley Torq 33-Inch Extra-Large Wheeled Trunk Suitcase

Torq 33-Inch Extra-Large Wheeled Trunk Suitcase

If you favor the look and convenience of a trunk-style suitcase, this one from Briggs & Riley checks all the boxes. Its large, 80/20 interior makes packing for long journeys a breeze. The three-layer, hard-side shell is scratch-resistant, and will withstand plenty of spins on conveyer belts and any sort of careless tosses at baggage claim. Free-spinning, metal ball-bearing, 360-degree wheels were designed to make long walks, either within your terminal or upon arrival at your destination, all the easier. Organization is easy with internal compression straps and a mesh divider. And finally, a built-in TSA lock will keep everything safe and secure. The best part? The brand offers a lifetime warranty and will repair the case free of charge.

What reviewers are saying: “3 years and counting. We have had this style luggage in the 22" and 26" too. This has taken 50-60 airport trips and is in excellent condition. At one point my husband used it for work supplies. It wiped out easily. I’m buying another size!”

Exterior dimensions: 30" x 16" x 15"

Weight: 10.4 pounds

Colors: Hunter, stealth

Béis The 29-Inch Check-In Roller Suitcase

The 29-Inch Check-In Roller Suitcase

Instagram-friendly luggage brand Béis makes chic, travel options without a huge markup, but did you also know that actress Shay Mitchell is the founder? The celeb-approved brand has many of the amazing features you might be looking for—including a durable, hard-sided polycarbonate exterior shell, 360-degree wheels, a cushioned handle, and TSA locks—and one smart tech feature that sets it apart from the rest. A built-in weight-limit indicator ensures you never go over your airline’s restrictions, as a little red light will bring it to your attention when you’ve packed more than 50 pounds. Fidgeting with your at-home scale or having to unpack an overweight bag at the airport will never be a problem again.

What reviewers are saying: “This is all you need with this suitcase! This will fit everything plus some! The expanding zipper is VERY nice for you buy things on your trip and need that little bit of additional room. The locking zippers give that extra feeling of security while still allowing TSA to access anything if needed. I recommend this bag and the carry on size for the perfect set.”

Exterior dimensions: 31" x 18" x 11.5"

Weight: 12 pounds

Colors: Black, beige, teal

Antler Brixham Large Suitcase

Brixham Large Suitcase

Getting the most out of your checked luggage includes considering the weight of the piece. Since we all know how cumbersome large suitcases can be and how many extra pounds they add to the scale, when it comes time to check it, consider this soft-shell option from Antler. Made from strong and durable polyester, this suitcase has four 360-degree spinner wheels, an expander zip, a zip-front pocket for grab-and-go, and two internal pockets for organizing all your belongings. A TSA-approved combination lock keeps things secure, while a lifetime warranty on every item makes it worth the investment.

What reviewers are saying: “Good large suitcase that expands. Very stable when packed and easy to maneuver. Also very light for size of case. Would definitely recommend.”

Exterior dimensions: 31.88" x 18.31" x 12.2"

Weight: 5.95 pounds

Colors: Navy, black, canopy green

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The Best Carry-On Luggage and Weekender Bags for Summer Travel: Away, Samsonite, Calpak and More

Away

The right luggage or carry-on bag for your upcoming vacation can help make any trip as smooth as possible.

If you're gearing up for your summer travel plans, you may be searching for the perfect luggage to accompany you on your upcoming getaway.  Carry-on luggage  — including weekender bags and spinners — is probably the best way to travel if you want to beat the lines at busy airports, especially if you're traveling on a Friday.

No matter where your travel destinations are, one thing's for sure: the right luggage will make all the difference. We've found the best luggage to shop for all of your travels, from spacious duffle bags and practical backpacks to large and luxurious carry-ons  for your next flight.

Need a new tote bag to toss everything in for an upcoming July 4th weekend getaway or a bigger carry-on for a tropical vacation? The Beis Weekender Bag will fit all your essentials and help you travel in style. Need a new go-to suitcase for every travel situation? Away’s  standard carry on traveler bag has plenty of packing space while still fitting in the overhead bin. Trying to avoid the checked baggage fees and long bag drop line? The Samsonite Underseat Carry-On Luggage helps you save money and time by going straight to TSA.

Below, we've rounded up the best carry-on luggage and weekender bags this year to take along on your summer trip.

The Best Carry-On Suitcases for 2024

Samsonite freeform carry-on spinner.

Samsonite Freeform Carry-On Spinner

Not only is the Samsonite Hardside Spinner perfectly sized and extremely durable, it's also incredible lightweight so you won't have to strain putting it in the overhead airplane compartment. With all kinds of pockets, you can easily organize all your belongings confidently. 

$200   $140

Away The Carry-On

Away The Carry-On

This Away bag boasts flashy features such as a durable polycarbonate hard shell, spinner wheels and a TSA-approved, ejectable USB charger. The classic rolling hardside luggage with a retractable handle is designed to fit in most major airlines' overhead compartments, making it a great go-to Carry-On bag for travel, regardless of your destination.

Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage

Rockland Melbourne Hardside Expandable Spinner Wheel Luggage

This Rockland Melbourne Spinner Luggage makes traveling easier by being extremely lightweight. While protecting your items, the wheels rotate 360 degrees for a smooth and seamless stride in the airport. Although it is compact, this carry-on luggage has the ability to hold everything you need for a short vacation.

Take OFF Luggage Personal Item Suitcase 2.0

Take OFF Luggage Personal Item Suitcase 2.0

The perfect-sized luggage that doubles as a personal item — just pop off the wheels and slide it under your seat. 

Travelpro Platinum Elite Hardside Expandable Spinner

Travelpro Platinum Elite Hardside Expandable Spinner

Travelpro is a pilot-founded brand that you've likely seen used by flight crews. Travel stress-free with the Travelpro hardside carry-on luggage that effortlessly fits in the overhead bins of major domestic airlines, thanks to rigorous sizer bin testing and enhanced packing capacity. The PrecisionGlide System delivers impeccable control and a seamless rolling experience, so you can get through the airport with ease.

$370   $314

Samsonite Underseat Carry-On Spinner with USB Port

Samsonite Underseat Carry-On Spinner with USB Port

Compact and convenient, this soft-sided luggage can slide smoothly under the seat in front of you or be tucked away in an overhead bin. The bag's main compartment can fit several outfits and a spare pair of shoes. Interior pockets lining the compartment will keep your toiletries organized. The telescoping handle and rolling wheels make this bag easy to navigate around a crowded airport, making it a great choice for the frequent flyer looking to pack light.

$145   $100

Monos Carry-On

Monos Carry-On

Traveling is a breeze with the minimalist Monos carry-on, designed to fit in the overheard bin of almost any flight.

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage

This Travelpro Maxlite softside luggage has spinner wheels and is lightweight, making it easy to maneuver airport terminals and your flight's overhead storage bins. 

$170   $144

The Best Travel Backpacks and Totes for 2024 

Samsonite detour travel backpack.

Samsonite Detour Travel Backpack

Built to protect your belongings from the elements, the Detour Travel Backpack has enough capacity for your business, overnight or weekend trips.

$150   $105

Béis Travel Tote

Béis Travel Tote

The Beis Travel Tote, from Shay Mitchell's baggage line, can conveniently slot into place atop a suitcase with its trolley sleeve, but can also be carried on its own with a detachable shoulder strap, and top handles designed to rest comfortably on your shoulder. This bag boasts a bottom zip shoe compartment, padded tech sleeve and multiple exterior and interior pockets. 

Calpak Luka Backpack

Calpak Luka Backpack

With multiple storage compartments including a separate laptop sleeve and a space to store your shoes that has its own exterior access, this lightweight Luka backpack will help you stay organized on the go.

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack

Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack

This travel backpack comes with a weight-distributing, low-profile harness system and a 35L capacity, making it suitable for carry-on use. It is designed with a full-wrap zipper opening on the main compartment, along with large and subdivided zippered mesh compartments on the sides, providing convenient packing options. Additionally, its attractive design ensures you can easily identify your bag wherever you go.

Troubadour Featherweight Tote

Troubadour Featherweight Tote

A modern classic and easy-access bag. This Featherweight Tote features a light and waterproof fabric with vegan leather handles, and is perfect for gym trips or a day out!

Dagne Dover Jemi Puff Tote

Dagne Dover Jemi Puff Tote

Whether you're traveling to work or a weekend getaway, this lightweight tote is perfect with pockets for days to keep all your belongings organized. 

The Best Weekender Bags for 2024 

Lululemon go getter bag 2.0.

lululemon Go Getter Bag 2.0

This sleek, modern bag looks like a tote and duffel rolled into one. There's also a little strap in the back that you can attach to your luggage. 

Away The Everywhere Bag

Away The Everywhere Bag

Away Travel's The Everywhere Bag lives up to its name: you can take it everywhere from work to the gym to a weekend away. It also pairs nicely with The Carry-On and The Bigger Carry-On.

Calpak Stevyn Duffel

Calpak Stevyn Duffel

Enjoy the benefits of a large bottom compartment, ideal for stowing shoes or enhancing the organization of your items.The roomy main compartment comes with interior pockets, ensuring you have plenty of space to store your belongings in a well-arranged manner.

SwissGear Apex Travel Duffle Bag

SwissGear Apex Travel Duffle Bag

This duffle bag will come in handy during your next vacation. You can wear it multiple ways and it has reinforced sides to keep your belonging secure.

Dagne Dover Landon Carryall Bag

Dagne Dover Landon Carryall Bag

For weekends away, this extra-large duffle includes a laptop sleeve, shoe bag and plenty of space for all your essentials.

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Road Warriorette

What To Pack for a Four Day Trip

April 16, 2010 by Road Warriorette 14 Comments

a red suitcase with wheels

Want more help? Download the Road Warriorette Business Trip Packing Checklist!

What to pack for a four day trip:

In your suitcase.

Note: try this one from Travelpro  or this one from Briggs & Riley

  • Two bottoms, one comfortable for travel, one suitable for dinner (i.e. slacks, jeans, shorts, a skirt)
  • Four tops that coordinate with both of your bottoms
  • At least one light jacket or sweater (unless you need a heavier jacket)
  • No more than three pairs of shoes, including a pair of flip flops
  • Enough undergarments, including socks/hose
  • Something to sleep in
  • Something to work out in
  • Toiletries (see my toiletry list here )
  • Chargers (phone, laptop, etc)

Note: choose your travel outfits from these clothes as well.

In your personal item

  • Phone, wallet, lipstick, keys, etc.
  • Boarding pass
  • Laptop (if needed)
  • Liquids bag
  • Scarf/pashmina
  • Travel umbrella

And with that you should be good to go! Carrying-on for a four day trip is pretty easy.

My packing list for the last four-day trip I took:

  • Black slacks, gray pinstripe slacks
  • Red cardigan, pink 3/4 sleeve cardigan, gray tunic sweater, teal short sleeved sweater (with coordinating camisoles)
  • Red winter coat , scarf, hat, gloves
  • Blue flats, gray boots, flip flops
  • Yoga pants and tank for sleeping and yoga
  • Curling iron

In my purse:

  • Normal purse stuff (wallet, phone, lipstick, etc)

Packing essentials four day trip

****************************************************************************

Be sure to check out my page with  products I recommend for travel !

a flat lay of hair accessories

Have a travel question or suggestion? Send it to RW @RoadWarriorette.com.

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Share this:

[…] is my full packing list. Carrying-on for a four day trip is very […]

Just read all the recent postings. This warriorette is brilliant. Informative and winsome. Thanks.

Love your list – my downfall to packing is running shoes – what can I say I am addicted?

Found you through Corporette – LOVE that knitting is in your purse. Are you on Ravelry?

I think that flip flops don’t have to count as a pair of shoes since they are so small, and that makes room for your running shoes. It’s packing a pair of shoes for each outfit that gets you into trouble!

Yes I am on ravelry. Knitting keeps me sane! It’s like yoga for your hands.

and btw, I love Corporette 🙂

2 pair of pants: I assume that means wear one, pack one?

Um no don’t think so, I’m going to dc and walking around all day for four days, you’ve GOTTA bring 4 or 5 pairs of almost EVERYTHING, and you can’t forget condoms 🙂

Helpful. Thnx. This made me more sure of myself.

love your list it helped a lot tnx xoxo

As a fellow Texas based Road Warriorette I add one oversized scarf and leave out one necklace. The scarf can function as an accessory, wrap, blanket, or pillow when needed without a lot of space. But, my biggest hassle when packing – the company laptop. Forces the issue of a purse (small cross body that goes into the backpack) plus requires me to scrunch my feet around it since it goes underneath. Advice on this is always welcome.

your list is good

What about a bathing suits, bras ( for girls obviously), hair products , goggles ( if needed for swimming), pads or tampons), deodorant,

Stumbled upon this while looking for advice on what to pack for a 4 day trip and I must say this is one of the most interesting and useful blogs I’ve read in a long time. Thank you and keep it up! More power to you!

Great list! We travel everywhere in our Motorhome, so I’ve become used to taking ALL THE THINGS. Had to get on a plane last week and it was a shock to pack lightly! 🙂

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My name is Sarah and I will teach you how to make business travel less stressful and more fun. I’ve been traveling for work for over a decade so consider me your new business travel friend and advisor. Learn more about Road Warriorette ...

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  1. [2023] How to Pack for a 4 Day Trip in a Carry-On: The Ultimate Guide

    When choosing a carry-on for a 4 day trip, there are a few factors to consider: Size: Look for a carry-on that meets the size restrictions of most airlines.Aim for dimensions around 22 x 14 x 9 inches. Durability: Opt for a bag made from sturdy materials that can withstand the rigors of travel.; Features: Consider features like wheels, multiple compartments, and expandable sections for added ...

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    Ideally, we recommend that your travel suitcase measures 22" x 9" x 14" or less. This is small enough to fit into the overhead compartments on most airlines. Note that US domestic carryon size is larger than European carryon sizing. Choose an "international" carryon like these to be sure.

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    Size: 24 inches by 15 inches by 4 inches. Price: $178. Buy now: Amazon.com. If you need a carry-on bag large enough to store all your travel essentials yet comfortable enough to carry while hiking through a new city (or running between airport terminals), the Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Backpack is the perfect addition to your luggage lineup.

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    5-14 days: 0-50$ Domestic carry-on: 21-22 inches: 7-14 days: 0-50$ Small checked luggage: 23-24 inches: 2-3 weeks: 20-100$ Medium checked luggage: 25-27 inches: 2-4 weeks: ... However, there's a reason why I don't travel with checked luggage. In my opinion, it has more disadvantages, such as: With a personal item, carry-on, and a checked ...

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  10. The 20 Best Luggage Pieces of 2024, According to T+L Editors

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    Best overall carry-on: Paravel The Aviator Carry-On. Best lightweight carry-on: July Carry-On Light. Best budget carry-on: Béis The Carry-On Roller. Best expandable carry-on: Away Carry-On Flex ...

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  20. 12 Best Checked Luggage Suitcases for 2024

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  21. The Best Carry-On Luggage and Weekender Bags for Summer Travel

    Below, we've rounded up the best carry-on luggage and weekender bags this year to take along on your summer trip. The Best Carry-On Suitcases for 2024 Samsonite Freeform Carry-On Spinner

  22. What To Pack for a Four Day Trip

    Carrying-on for a four day trip is pretty easy. My packing list for the last four-day trip I took: Black slacks, gray pinstripe slacks. Red cardigan, pink 3/4 sleeve cardigan, gray tunic sweater, teal short sleeved sweater (with coordinating camisoles) Red winter coat, scarf, hat, gloves. Blue flats, gray boots, flip flops.

  23. How to Pack for a Holiday With Just Hand Luggage

    Toiletries and Medication. - Toothbrush and small toothpaste. - Small roll-on/stick deodorant. - Hairbrush/accessories. - Make-up if you wear it - cut it down to a capsule selection. - Razor (make sure yours complies with cabin bag rules) - Small moisturiser with SPF. - Diarrhoea treatment. - Paracetamol.

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