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How to Choose the Best Carry-On Luggage

Carry-On Luggage & Bags

With baggage fees and lost luggage, checking a bag on your flight is sometimes more of a hassle than a convenience. Still, it’s hard to fit all your clothing and personal items into one small carry-on bag and have everything you need for a comfortable trip. So without further ado, here are some tips that will help you choose the best carry-on luggage that suits your style.

Name your price

Like most bags, you get what you pay for when you purchase carry-on luggage. Sure, you can find carry-on luggage for less than $100, but this luggage may only be suitable for people who do not travel often. A frequent traveler will add a lot of wear and tear on a bag that costs so little, possibly resulting in embarrassing spills of underwear and laundry in the airport terminal.

The best carry-on luggage on the market can easily cost hundreds of dollars, but most people will be happy with a bag that costs roughly $150. With a price point in the $150 range, travelers can be sure to choose a durable bag from a decent variety of styles and functionalities. Some of the most stylish and durable carry-ons on the market will cost much more. A fashionable traveler may feel the need to spend the extra money in order to travel in style, but most people will be happy with a bag they can afford at a lower, more practical price.

Wheels or no wheels?

Two wheels, four wheels, wheels that let your bag swivel – the latest carry-on bags have it all. Many people like the ease of wheeling a bag around the airport, especially when the bag is full of heavy items such as books, laptops, and clothing for a long trip. If you like to have wheels on your bag, you may get a bag with up to 4 wheels, allowing you to more easily weave in and out of crowds without worrying about your bag flipping over at awkward turns. Four wheels also allow you to roll your bag sideways, making it easier for you and your bag to fit down the narrow plane aisle.

Young travelers may prefer to just swing a bag over their shoulder, without a worry about the extra weight and length that wheels add to a bag. The best carry-on luggage for these free-wheelers are duffel bags and backpacks.

Hard shells vs. soft shells

A hard bag is ideal for travelers who carry electronics such as laptops and tablets, and also for business men and women who need to keep ironed shirts flat and shoes well kept. For those who carry bulky items, such as hiking shoes and sturdy souvenirs, a soft bag may be best. Soft bags are also more malleable than hard bags, meaning you may be able to cram more things into your carry-on and bring onto the plane than you could with a hard bag.

Other considerations when choosing the best luggage include:

• Weight

• Size (remember that carry-on luggage must fit in the above storage, about 22" x 14" x 9" or 56 x 35 x 23 cm)

• Pockets and straps

• Fabric, which could affect the style or durability of your bag

• Warranties, but these are typically only offered for high-end baggage

Looking to find the best carry-on for you? Check out some of our best carry-on luggage based on reviews and popularity. The Travelpro Crew 9 Rolling Tote is a small, affordable option at $95, and comes equipped with 2 sets of handles and a set of wheels, which offers great flexibility for travelers in terms of comfort and style. The is larger and higher priced, but is still small enough to comply with TSA baggage rules. With its zippered expansion feature, you can add additional clothes as needed.