17 Carry-On Luggage Recommendations from Frequent Travelers

Posted on: August 22nd, 2018 by

I’m going to be doing some international travel soon. Headed to Ireland for the first time and making a return visit to Portugal (see highlights of the latter trip from 2012) Since many of my friends have been and will be traveling all over the world for wine and beyond, I put out a call on Facebook for carry-on luggage recommendations. And boy did I get answers from people with passports loaded with international stamps.

My main concern was finding a bag that would be small enough for domestic and international airlines. The problems/questions:

  • Every airline has different rules about carry-on bag size.
  • Given measurements can me misleading (because many sites don’t factor in wheel/handle size) or just plain wrong. (Read the comments/reviews of any luggage you’re considering.)
  • Does it matter give or take an inch/half-inch? I got responses from people with bags supposedly “too big” that have flown everywhere with no trouble. Maybe it’s ok to roll the dice?
  • You might get unlucky at the gate and have to check it anyway, regardless of size.
  • Your bag’s dimensions might be fine, but it’s too heavy.
  • The maximum size allowed by an airline may/will change.

So with those caveats in mind, here’s the intel I gathered. If a bag got multiple votes, I added that in parenthesis. There is an astonishing variety of styles and configurations. Prices come from the company website. Also I arranged these by most votes, then price from high to low.

You probably won't have an empty overhead bin, so here are carry-on luggage recommendations.

Your plane and bin will not be empty like this. /  SuperJet International via Flickr.

Carry-On Luggage Recommendations

Four Wheels

Away (7)

The Carry-On ($225)

Dimensions: 21.7” x 13.7” x 9” (includes wheels)

Rimowa (3) 

Salsa Air Ultralight Cabin Multiwheel Lata 33L ($495 at Saks Fifth Avenue)

Dimensions: 21.7″ x 15.8″ x 7.9″

Tumi (2)

International Carry-On ($645)

Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″

Travel Pro (2)

Maxlite 5 21″ Expandable Carry-On Spinner ($140)

Lipault

Urban Ballet Spinner 55/20 ($220)

Dimensions: 13.8″ x 21.7″ x 9.1″

Muji

Adjustable Handle Hard Carry Suitcase 35L ($160)

Dimensions:  21″ x 14.6″ x 9.3″ (with wheels and “approximately”)

Two Wheels

Travel Pro (2)

Maxlite 4 International Carry-On Rollaboard ($120)

Dimensions: 19.5″ x 14″ x 8.5″

G-Ro

Carry-On Classic ($349)

Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″

Osprey

Meridan 60L/22″ ($350)

Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″

Victorinox

MVx Touring Global Carry-On ($270)

Dimensions: 21.7″ x 13.8″ x 7.9″

Samsonite

B-Lite 3 Upright Carry-On 20″ Widebody ($230)

Dimensions: 20.75″ x 15.25″ x 7.0″

Large Rolling Underseater ($120)

Dimensions: 16.5″ x 13.0″ x 9.25″

Swissgear

7651 20″ Pilot Getaway ($99)

Dimensions: 22″ x 13.75″ x 9.25″

Backpacks/Bags

Tom Bihn

Aeronaut 45 ($295)

Dimensions: 21.9″ x 14″ x 9.1″

Genius Pack

Tri-Fold Carry-On Garment Bag ($178)

Dimensions: 21.9″ x 14″ x 9.1″

eBags

TLS Motherlode Weekender Convertible ($130)

Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″

Amazon Basics

Carry-On Travel Backpack ($50)

Finally, I received two picks for Kirkland (Costco’s brand) carry-ons. One was a two-wheeler and the other had four, but I only see the former on the site. Might pay to stop by a store if you are a member. And vote for a bag with an indiegogo campaign, Pakt.

Also, shop around because you can find different prices and deals on other sites. And most of the sites above offer a one-time discount for your first purchase. Ask if your friends have a discount code, like for Away.

Are these carry-on luggage recommendations missing your bag? Let me know about it in the comments.

Here are two of my posts about being on international flights:

Wine on Airlines: Will Ferrell, Graham Greene, and Sekt on Lufthansa

Wine on Airlines II: Sparkling Wine Not Bringing Me Down

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