Best Carry-On Luggage For Every Budget (Tested & Reviewed)

Best Carry-on Luggage (For Every Budget)

We’ve reviewed the best carry-on luggage and shared our expert tips on what to look for when shopping for the lightest, most durable and cheapest carry-on bags!


Best Carry-On Luggage Reviewed


Gone are the days of unrecognizable black canvas bags with wobbly wheels and tears in the corners! For even the most infrequent of travelers, carry-on luggage is not something that should be skimped or compromised on.

Top luggage brands have recently rolled out some of the best looking and most practical small suitcases we’ve seen so far. Business travelers and outdoor adventure-seekers alike can find maximum value, space, durability and security in our collection of the top carry-on suitcases of the year.

From cheap carry-on luggage to the best carry-on luggage for international travelers, we have covered it all!


Best Affordable Carry-On Luggage


Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside 20 inch Luggage

If you’re a highly-organized traveler looking for a durable, stylish, and theft proof option, then the Samsonite Winfield 2 is the best budget carry-on luggage for you. With a full-zip interior divider, side mounted TSA locks, and a 10 year limited warranty, this top rated carry-on bag will keep your stuff tidy and last you for a while. Plus, ringing in at under $100, it is super affordable!

Best Affordable Carry-On Luggage

Perfect for: Business or budget travelers who need to keep professionalism and organization in mind.

Compare prices here.



Best Lightweight Carry-On Luggage


Genius Pack 21″ Aerial Hardside Carry-On Luggage

With a sleek, minimalist design and weighing just 6.2 lbs, the Genius Pack “Aerial” is perfect for the no-fuss traveler! The bag features durable spinner wheels, its own laundry compartment, interior organization compartments, a packing checklist, and is scratch and stain resistant.

If you’re looking for an easy packing experience in a lightweight bag, this is the best lightweight carry-on luggage!

Best Carry On Luggage

Perfect for: Those looking to keep their haul as light and organized as possible.

Compare prices here.


Read more: Packing Light: How To Pack For Carry-On Only



Nicole Miller Carry On Under Seat Bag

Weighing in at only 5 lbs, the Nicole Miller Under Seat Bag is perfect for those who prioritize a light, sleek bag. This rolling bag features a retractable handle, side and front zippered pockets, and is stylish to boot!

If you’re seeking a good balance of classy and casual in a bag, then this is one of the best cabin luggage options for you!

Best Carry-On Luggage

Perfect for: Business and weekend travelers keeping it classy.

Compare prices here.



Best Carry-On Luggage For Business Travel


Level 8 Road Runner Carry-on with Laptop Pocket 20”

The Road Runner Carry On features a water-resistant hard shell, ultra quiet 360 degrees spinner wheels, and comes with a convenient front pocket with a laptop sleeve. Most of the hard shell suitcases I have found do not have a front pocket, so this one is perfect for frequent travelers who need easy access to their laptop. I love the dual TSA-approved locks which gives me peace of mind that my laptop will be safe in the overhead bin.

The Best Carry-on Luggage (Detailed Buying Guide)

Perfect for: Business or frequent travelers with durability and organization in mind.

Purchase here (use code “ordinarytraveler10” for 10% off).


Expandable Foldable Duffel Bag Suitcase With wheels

Any travel product with the word “foldable” in the name immediately draws in any seasoned traveler. This Foldable Duffel Bag Suitcase completely collapses to 3″ high for easy stowing away (perfect for sailing trips or sleeping in a campervan!), plus it’s durable and water resistant! However, the real draw is its size.

This bag transforms from a compact 25L daypack to a spacious 40L carry-on bag, and it even expands further to 55L suitcase for extended adventures. Being one of the best international carry-on luggage options on the market, you can be sure that no matter where you fly or what airline you take, this tote will meet all requirements.

The Best Carry-On Bags

Perfect for: The adventurous traveler with limited space, or long-term travelers who want to pack their carry-on light.

Compare prices here.


Read more: The Most Stylish Luggage For Fashion Forward Travelers


Travelpro Platinum Elite

I have to admit, this post would not be complete without mentioning a Travelpro suitcase. This tried-and-true brand has been used by airline employees for years, namely for its simplicity and durability, and has some of the best luggage reviews from airline professionals.

Travelpro’s latest carry-on — the Platinum Elite — can withstand plenty of wear and tear over the years and is practical in every way. A “comfort” handle and and MagnaTrac wheels that self-align, in addition to external USB A & C ports with fast-charge capabilities, are added bonuses on an otherwise no-frills suitcase that will last a lifetime.

Top Rated Carry-on Luggage

Perfect for: Frequent and/or adventurous travelers who prioritize durability.

Compare prices here.



Best Underseat Carry-On Luggage


TravelPro Platinum Elite Underseat Spinner Tote Bag

I’ve been searching for the perfect underseat carry-on suitcase for shorter trips. I love this bag so much that I now use it as my carry-on camera bag instead of a heavy backpack. It really saves my back and shoulders!

TravelPro Underseat Spinner fits under most airline seats comfortably and is surprisingly roomy! It has two front pockets with tons of sleeves to organize your electronics. This bag has a padded pocket for a laptop (up to 13″), four 360 degree spinner wheels, and an adjustable extension handle with Contour grip. It also has a dedicated powerbank pocket with external USB port for easy charging (powerbank must be purchased separately). 

Best Underseat Carry-On Luggage

Perfect for: Frequent travelers looking for a compact bag  that’s roomy and has plenty of front pockets for organization.

Compare prices here.


Read more: The Ultimate Packing Guide for Travel Photographers



Most Durable Carry-On Luggage


Eagle Creek Load Hauler

Dual backpack straps, an adjustable shoulder strap, and padded handles on both the top and front of this bag make Eagle Creek’s latest duffel an ease to carry and one of the best carry-on bags to take along on your adventures!

High durability and maximum abrasion resistance means you can throw this bag around just about anywhere without worry of tears or damage, but the makers of this bag offer a full lifetime warranty on it just in case.

A safety whistle and lockable zippers ensure extra security while you’re near or far from your bag, and practical outer pouches for toiletries and gear give you all the space you need to carry all your travel belongings with you in-flight.

With compression straps, expandable zippers, and a little smart packing (remember to roll your clothes instead of folding or cramming), minimalist packers won’t even need to check a suitcase!

The Best Carry-On Luggage Reviewed

Perfect for: Adventurous travelers who prioritize both durability and flexibility.

Compare prices here.



Delsey Helium Aero

While we typically stand by the saying that “you get what you pay for,” this 100% polycarbonate hardshell suitcase runs for about $100 USD and packs a lot of features in a “small” suitcase. Delsey’s Helium Aero is comparable to Samsonite in strength and style, but has additional organization pockets and an easy-access padded laptop compartment in the front.

Luggage reviews of this carry-on can all seem to agree that the overall quality and price of this Delsey makes it one of the best cabin luggage options on the market!

The Most Durable Carry-On Luggage

Perfect for: Budget and business travelers looking to keep their electronics within reach.

Compare prices here.


Read more: Carry-On Packing Guide for Airplane Travel



Best International Carry-On Luggage


CHESTER Carry-On Luggage/22″

While it does offer a sleek style and a great-sized frame, what we love most about this hardshell suitcase is its sheer durability. Made with 100% polycarbonate, this lightweight piece of luggage is water-resistant, super easy to clean, and even has organized compartments for all your possessions.

Not to mention that the Chester carry-on runs at a little less than $200 USD and includes warranty, meaning it will last forever!

Business Traveler Carry-On Bags

Perfect for: International travelers who prioritize durability and keeping their belongings safe.

Check prices here.



Most Stylish Carry-On Luggage


Bellagio Business V2.0 21” Carry On Spinner

I am completely in love with this bag and bring it on all of my domestic trips! The philosophy of Italian travel bag manufacturer Bric’s Milano is to “create elegant, functional travel bags that are good looking, and include all the practical function and modern amenities demanded by today’s traveler.” And boy, does this bag deliver.

A gorgeous, polycarbonate option with leather trimmings, the Bellagio Business Carry On Spinner features an external pocket acting as a business organizer, is lightweight and durable, and even has a water-resistant zipper.

Running in at a little less than $600 USD, this bag will not only make you the owner of the most fashionable bag on the plane, it will also last you years of travel. This is simply one of the best carry-on suitcases you can buy!

Elegant Carry-On Luggage

Perfect for: Business travelers with a desire for top-end style and functionality.

Compare prices here.




Best Carry-On Backpack


Hynes Eagle Travel Backpack 40L

Not only does the Hynes Eagle Travel Backpack fit almost all carry-on luggage requirements, but it also features packing cubes, three different carrying styles, exterior compression straps, a padded laptop sleeve, and the handiest pockets ever! Hynes Eagle is well-known for creating durable, stylish products and this backpack delivers.

Best Carry-On Luggage

Perfect for: Low-maintenance travelers looking for quality and flexibility.

Compare prices here.


What to Look for in Carry-On Luggage


Size: What is the best carry-on size? In order for you to take your carry-on into the cabin, it’s going to have to meet the airline’s size requirements. That said, different airlines can have different size requirements for cabin luggage, so make sure you check online to see what the standard size is for the airlines you fly with the most.

Weight: As with size, airlines also usually have weight restrictions for carry-on bags. Not only will a lighter bag be easier to lug around, but it’ll give you more wiggle room when deciding what to pack.

Wheels: Carry-on luggage featuring wheels are pretty standard, but not all wheels are created equally. Wheels made of cheaper materials can become scratched, start to wobble, wear away easily, or fall off — and that’s never convenient when you’re on a trip.

Additionally, decide whether or not having two wheels is sufficient for you, or if you would prefer four. Having four wheels could save you arm pain if you have to drag your suitcase around for a while.

Compartments: Regardless of what kind of traveler you are, having conveniently-placed compartments can be a great way to organize your bag. However, make sure these compartments don’t hinder the amount of space inside your bag.

Before you buy, think about the items that you usually take along with you, and whether or not you’ll be able to adjust the compartments to fit them.

Quality: It should go without saying, but definitely read the reviews of every bag before you buy. Look for keywords in regards to the durability and stitching of the carry-on, as an attention to the quality could end up saving you from having to purchase a new bag in a few years.


Is Hard or Soft Luggage Better for Carry-On?

I have personally found hard luggage to be better for my needs. I feel more comfortable putting a piece of hard luggage in the overhead bin — and if it ends up that I need to check my bag, I know my items inside will be safe.

That being said, there are situations where soft luggage is better. A few situations include: packing for a sailing trip (read our tips here How to Pack for a Sailing Trip) and traveling in a campervan (read our tips here A Guide to Traveling in a Campervan).


What’s Not Allowed In a Carry-On Bag


Knowing what you can and cannot bring in your carry-on bag will save you time and hassle when you get to security. These guidelines change a bit country-to-country, but some general guidelines for what to leave at home are are any liquids more than 3.4 ounces (including gels and aerosols), tools, anything sharp (razors, scissors, etc.), sporting equipment (you’ll likely have to check it), weapons & self-defense items, and flammables.

Additionally, most medications will be fine to bring with you in a carry-on, but check the requirements for the country you’re traveling in as you may need a note from your doctor.



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Best Carry-On Luggage

Best Carry-On Luggage (For Every Type of Traveler)


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One Comment

  1. jyotravel says:

    Thanks for sharing this information with us.It’s very useful & helpful for travellers. Fabulous recommendations.I appreciate your content.