Whether you’re flying out to meet with clients or attend a conference, carry-on luggage is definitely an essential. Of course, not all luggage is created equal. A good carry-on bag can make your trip easier with less hassle getting through security, easy access to your laptop to check emails at the gate, and even built-in charging stations to keep your phone charged so you don’t miss an important call as you’re jetting to your next destination.
On the flip side of this, the carry-on luggage you choose can contribute to many of the top complaints you probably already have about airline travel. A carry-on bag without dedicated laptop protection can come back to bite you if the TSA damages your laptop during screening ahead of a big meeting or you get to the hotel to find your suit crumbled because your luggage was squashed in a trunk or overhead bin.
Your luggage will likely be your traveling companion for many years to come as you pitch your latest startup to overseas investors or attend important annual conferences. Ideally, you want carry-on luggage designed to safely store your business essentials, look sharp, and travel easily without worrying about domestic and international carry-on standards. There are several important questions you should ask yourself before you choose luggage:
Storage space will likely be high on your list. Most business trips are anywhere from 3 to 5 days and, with the right back, you can fit everything you need in your carry-on to skip the baggage claim and spend more time doing what you do best: making connections and sales. Because carry-on luggage has less capacity than checked bags, it’s important to make the most of the space available to you. The configuration of the carry-on bag will also be very important as internal pockets, zippered areas, and dividers can maximize your usable space.
When it comes to outer material, you will need to weigh the pros and cons of each choice. Leather, for example, looks great when it’s new, but it doesn’t wear well after a few years of use and rain. Ballistic nylon and fabric luggage can be a problem in the rain as well. Many luggage manufacturers now offer high-tech materials that are both flexible and durable. New materials are practically immune to punctures, scuffs, liquid, and other normal damage without increasing the weight of the baggage. These thin materials can also increase the amount of internal usable space.
A final key component are wheels for mobility. How many times have you struggled to get your bag down a narrow plane aisle or wrestle your laptop out of your bag to finish a presentation during the flight? In the past, the two-wheel design was standard, but lightweight materials have introduced four-wheel carry-on luggage with vertical cases that have some advantages. Four-wheel configurations are very easy to move in any direction on a flat surface and maneuver through narrow aisles. You won’t find yourself running late for a meeting because you had to drag your bag through the airport and hotel if you choose a bag with quality wheels.
It has a full suite of tech features, including true GPS tracking, smart phone charging port, built-in digital scale to weight your luggage and more.
P.s. If you don’t have the budget to afford it right now, you can scroll down to see other carry-on luggage that fits your budget.
If you have a limited budget but want something durable, the American Tourister iLite Xtreme Spinner 21″ is a good choice. American Tourister, owned by Samsonite, is one of the world’s largest luggage brands with a history going back more than 75 years. This carry-on luggage features a stylish design with four multi-directional airflow Spinner wheels for improved mobility in any direction. The case also expands for extra capacity with co-molded zipper pulls and two large front pockets. The material is polyester with nylon fabric for greater strength and wear properties.
The American Tourister iLite Xtreme Spinner luggage weighs just 7.2 pounds and measures 21.0″ x 14.5″ x 8.0″ to meet most airlines’ carry-on standards. Be sure you check with your preferred airline’s carry-on limits, though. Airlines measure carry-on bags with the wheels and this bag, with wheels, is 23.5″ tall. Some airlines, such as American Airlines, have a 22″ limit on carry-on bags. This can make the bag too large for overhead compartments if you use the expandable zipper or you fill the outer pockets.
This luggage is designed mostly for clothing and toiletries with no laptop compartment or other business features. The fully lined interior does have a large packing area with two zippered areas on the interior lid.
Founded in 1910, Samsonite is one of the most well-known names in luggage and briefcases. The Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Spinner 20″ case is a good choice for a sturdy carry-on bag that will stand the test of time without showing signs of wear. The Omni PC line was built to withstand even the harshest elements with a scratch-resistant texture and 100% polycarbonate construction for a lightweight bag with heavy-duty protection. The Omni PC Hardside spinner bag has four 360-degree spinner wheels that roll easily through airports and tight plane aisles.
Unlike some hardside cases, the Samsonite Omni PC case does have an expandable design for additional capacity. Even when expanded, the case still meets airline carry-on standards. It also includes side-mounted TSA-approved locks for security. Note that the lock can only be opened by the TSA without a combination; this can cause problems if you attempt to check the bag while traveling internationally. While this model does have a top handle, it does not have a side carry handle, which is one of the main drawbacks. While the case will fit easily into an overhead compartment, it can be harder to lift without the side handle.
The Maxlite 3 series is Travelpro’s lightest line of luggage and includes 4-wheel spinners and two-wheel Rollaboard luggage. The Travelpro Maxlite 3 is small enough to meet even strict airline carry-on standards as long as it isn’t filled to capacity using the expandable zipper. While this model is not designed to protect a laptop, it does offer large storage capacity with organizing pockets inside, an outer zippered compartment, and a ticket pocket.
The outer material of the Travelpro Maxlite 3 is flexible yet durable and the zippers are high-quality and won’t break down after a few trips. The telescoping handle can lock into two positions to accommodate people of different heights. Travelpro offers a limited lifetime warranty on this carry-on luggage. If any wheels come off or the handle pops out, for example, you can send the luggage to the repair facility.
The Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 is hard to beat at this price point with a five-star overall rating and business-minded features. The Silhouette Sphere 2 features the new split spherical wheels with each half moving independently for better rolling over smooth and uneven surfaces. The interior has modesty, WetPak, and mesh pockets as well as a removable tri-fold suiter to protect business attire. The case can expand for extra capacity while still fitting in an overhead compartment.
The Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 is actually an update on the predecessor, which was very popular among business travelers. Improvements include a better-quality handle, improved rolling wheels, and more durable materials. The size can easily fit enough clothing for a three-day trip, including a suit.
If you’re planning to replace your carry-on and checked luggage on a budget, the Travelhouse 3-piece spinner set from Merax is a good choice. The matching set is made from lightweight but durable ABS material and the set measures 20″, 24″, and 28″ tall upright. The smallest piece is appropriate as a carry-on with all airlines. This set has four multi-directional spinner wheels with a squared design for maximum capacity and expandable capacity. The smallest carry-on luggage is the only piece in the set that does not expand.
Merax Travelhouse luggage is made with sturdy ABS material with a patter4-corner riveted protective shell designed to minimize scratches and wear patterns. Each piece has a durable zipper enclosure backed by a warranty for years of travel.
At just under $200, the Lipault offers a compact carry-on with ultra lightweight materials for easy trips through the airport. The Lipault 4-wheeled carry-on is made from heavy-grade nylon and holds up well to common travel perils like scuffs and water. If you want to maximize interior storage space without a lot of features aside from durability, the Lipault 4-Wheeled Spinner is a good choice.
The Spectra collection from Victorinox Swiss Army was designed to be lightweight without sacrificing durability or storage space. The Victorinox Spectra 2.0 carry-on has a hardcase made from 100% Bayer polycarbonate with a scratch-resistant matte finish and corner guards. This model is a good choice if you want easy access to your items with a quick-access door. The Spectra 2.0 carry-on is made to global carry-on standards so you won’t have problems getting your bag onto international flights.
This Spectra 2.0 carry-on has four dual-caster wheels for easy upright rolling and 360-degree maneuvering. The interior has dual Y-shaped compression straps to maximize space. The global 10-year limited warranty means this carry-on is guaranteed to be free of workmanship and material defects for 10 years. If a defect appears in ten years, the luggage will be repaired or replaced with an equivalent model at no cost.
The Victorinox Avolve 2.0 is an all-in-one business carry-on with space for a laptop as well as clothes and other essentials. Unlike the hardcase carry-ons from Swiss Army Victorinox, this carry-on has a padded front pocket that can accommodate a laptop up to 17″. The front pocket makes it easy to remove your laptop for screening while keeping it within easy reach.
The interior of the Avolve 2 has a zippered lid pocket as well as a zippered organizational pocket in the interior with compression straps to save space. The case can expand to add up to 1.5″ additional storage space without making the carry-on too large to fit in an overhead compartment. Like the Victorinox Spectra 2, this model is backed by a global limited 10-year warranty. If a material or workmanship defect is discovered within 10 years, Victorinox will repair or replace your luggage at no cost.
The Bluesmart carry-on is the ultimate in convenience as the world’s first suitcase that connects wirelessly to your smartphone to track your luggage, charge your devices, keep your bag underweight, and keep your belongings secure. The bag was funded via Indiegogo after a $2 million fundraiser. This carry-on solves some of the biggest problems you probably encounter on your travels with a built-in charging dock with two USB ports. You can charge devices up to six times on a single battery charge.
The built-in SIM card in the Bluesmart One allows you to find your bag anywhere via 3G and GPS for free while the scale built into the handle lets you weigh your bag by lifting it to avoid additional fees at the airport. The bag can also be remotely locked or unlocked through your smartphone and even set to auto-lock if you are ever separated from your bag.
The Briggs & Riley Baseline International carry-on bag features slightly smaller dimensions than the standard domestic version to meet international carry-on guidelines and fit easily into overhead compartments. This is a good choice if you want a single carry-on for domestic and international flights. The Briggs & Riley Baseline has a short-and-wide wheel configuration for maximum capacity while fitting perfectly in overhead compartments. The most unique aspect of this luggage is the CX technology that allows the bag to expand up to 34% and compress down to the original size.
Briggs & Riley is known for offering one of the best warranties in the luggage industry and is the premium luggage brand out there. This model, and all others, are backed by a lifetime guarantee. The company offers three repair options if your bag develops problems: you can receive a do-it-yourself repair kit, utilize the company’s repair network to send your bag to a local Authorized Repair Center, or send in your bag to Briggs & Riley for direct repairs if your luggage is badly damaged.
That’s a wrap guys! We’ve included the best carry-on luggage out there so pick them up and have safe travels. If you have any other personal favorites, do leave the comment below to share with others in the community :)