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

By Madison Flager

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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

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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The Best Carry-On Luggage 2024, Tested and Reviewed by Travel Editors

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Caroline Morse Teel

Caroline Morse Teel is the Managing Editor for SmarterTravel Media. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline .

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack : "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience : Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto : "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat : "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

E-mail her at [email protected] .

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Packing for a trip can be stressful, especially if you’re trying to fit everything you need into a carry-on bag. With increasingly strict airline baggage allowances and common occurrences of lost/mishandled checked bags, finding the right carry-on suitcase is key to avoiding expensive checked baggage fees and ensuring your stuff makes it to your destination. 

No one understands this struggle more than the SmarterTravel team. As travel editors, we travel a lot (and are firm carry-on only flyers.) We tested and reviewed the top carry-on luggage over hundreds of trips to help you find one perfectly suited for all your travels.

The carry-on bags we reviewed underwent rigorous testing to see how they held up to the realities of travel. We evaluated important factors like size and weight, wheeled performance, ease of packing, durability, and special features. Our testing process included packing each bag to capacity, carrying it through airports, stowing it in overhead bins, and taking it on planes, trains, and automobiles during real-world trips.

Ranging in price from affordable to splurge-worthy, the best carry-on suitcases earned top marks across all our tests for their optimal size, seamless maneuverability, handy organization, stylish looks, and resilience.

From a lightweight hard-sided spinner that fits easily in tiny overheads to a large carry-on that expands for over-packers, these are our travel editors’ picks for the best carry-on suitcases of 2024. 

Best Carry-On Suitcase Overall: Samsonite Outline Pro Carry-On Suitcase

Outline Pro Carry-On Spinner

The Samsonite Outline Pro Carry-On Suitcase was our favorite of all the carry-on suitcases we tested. This smart and sleek suitcase is made from a durable polypropylene shell that helps contribute to its light weight of 6.4 lbs. Smooth spinner wheels and an adjustable handle make this bag easy to wheel even when fully packed.

The interior is just as nice, lined with a fabric made from 100 percent plastic bottles. There’s also a multi-functional panel divider that can compress clothes to create more space while providing pockets for organization. One of the pockets is water-resistant, so you can use it to separate swimsuits or wet clothing on the journey home.

Our favorite feature of the Samsonite Outline Pro is the antimicrobial handle technology used on the trolley grip and side handles, which helps keep us healthy while traveling. 

Dimensions: 15” x 10” x 23”

Weight: 6.4 lbs

Best Large Carry-On Suitcase: Roam Large Carry-On Suitcase

Roam Large Carry-On Suitcase

If you want to test the limits of an airline’s carry-on policy, we recommend the Roam Large Carry-On Suitcase as the best large carry-on suitcase. We’ve taken this suitcase on hundreds of flights and have only ever had to check it on very small puddle-jumper planes. This roomy carry-on can hold up to 42 liters, making it a great suitcase for chronic overpackers. 

This suitcase comes with two compression boards, which can be used to divide the two halves of the suitcase and help you fit even more in. The boards have large pockets perfect for packing cords and other small items. 

We also love that all Roam luggage can be customized to suit your style—you can choose the color of every part of this suitcase, right down to the wheels, to create a unique bag that definitely won’t get mixed up at baggage claim.

Dimensions:  9” x 16.25” x 22”

Weight: 7.7 lbs

Best Expandable Carry-On Suitcase: Delsey Rempart Carry-On Suitcase

Limited Edition Carry-On Expandable Spinner

An expandable suitcase is like having two bags in one—keep it small and compact for a short trip or open it up for a longer journey (or for the return trip when you buy lots of souvenirs to bring home). Delsey’s Rempart Carry-On Suitcase is our favorite expandable bag due to its patented Securitech Zipper that’s three times more resistant than a standard zipper (so you don’t have to worry about it ripping open, even when it’s expanded to its maximum capacity).

Other thoughtful features include an integrated TSA-combination lock, two packing compartments with compression straps, zippered pockets, and a lined divider. We also love that the interior lining can be removed and washed—an innovation you’ll appreciate if you’ve ever come home with a sandy suitcase after a beach trip.

Three carrying handles allow this bag to be carried in various ways. If you have other Delsey suitcases, the Rempart’s modular design allows it to stack on top for easy carrying and storage. 

Dimensions: 13.75” x 10.25” x 21.75”

Weight: 6.7 lbs

Best Soft-Sided Carry-On Suitcase: Travelpro Maxlite 5

Travelpro Maxlite 5

The best soft-sided carry-on suitcase is also one of the lightest weight options on our list. The Travelpro Maxlite 5 lives up to its name, weighing just 5.4 lbs. This model is the brand’s latest and is a full half-pound lighter than the previous iteration, the Travelpro Maxlite 5. 

The suitcase has a unique tapered design that helps prevent it from tipping over when upright (a common problem with soft-sided suitcases). It also has a solid bottom tray design that helps increase the bag’s durability. The Travelpro Maxlite 5 can expand to 2 inches to provide extra space when needed. The interior is lined with a waterproof protectant that helps keep the bag dry. 

This suitcase comes with Travelpro’s limited lifetime warranty, which will cover the cost of repairs if it’s damaged for one year after purchase. 

Dimensions: 23” x 14.5” x 9” 

Weight: 5.4 lbs

Best Luggage Trackers

Best Small Carry-On Suitcase: Eagle Creek Gear Warrior XE 4-Wheel Carry-On Luggage

Eagle Creek Gear Warrior XE 4-Wheel Carry-On Luggage

We love the Eagle Creek Gear Warrior XE 4-Wheel Carry-On because it’s deceptively spacious for its small size and light weight. It even expands slightly to give you a little bit of extra space when you need it. We’ve packed for week-long trips with just this bag and had no issues fitting everything in. Despite the diminutive size, this suitcase is packed with organizational features, like an exterior laptop sleeve and interior zippered pockets. 

Made from 100 percent recycled, water-resistant fabric, this carry-on-sized spinner bag is easy to wipe clean and great for rainy destinations. 

The Warrior is equipped with heavy-duty wheels that allow you to roll this bag over rough terrain—a perfect pick for navigating the cobblestone streets of Europe.

Dimensions: 21.65” x 14” x 10”

Weight: 8 lbs 12 oz

The Best Hardsided Carry-On Suitcase: Away The Carry-On

Away The Carry-On

Away’s The Carry-On Suitcase has won many awards and is beloved by travelers, and for good reason—it’s smartly designed. The Carry-On is Away’s smallest suitcase and will fit in most overhead compartments and pass all but the strictest baggage sizers at the gate.

This durable carry-on suitcase is crafted from 100 percent polycarbonate for maximum impact resistance. It glides smoothly on premium 360-degree spinner wheels and features a telescoping trolley handle with two height settings for ergonomic maneuvering. The water-resistant shell safeguards your belongings, while convenient features like the TSA-approved lock, laundry bag, and color-matched luggage tag help streamline your packing routine. 

Thoughtfully designed, the suitcase maximizes storage with a double-buckle compression pad and extensive interior organization like three mesh pockets and a handy hanging pocket. Reverse coil zippers grant easy access to the wide opening, and an underside grab handle aids lifting. 

As a bonus, Away’s carry-on suitcase comes in a variety of beautiful colors, including glossy and matte options. 

Dimensions: 21.7″ x 14.4″ x 9″

Weight: 7.5 lbs

The Best Luxury Carry-On Suitcase: Tumi Continental Dual Access 4-Wheeled Carry-On

Tumi Continental Dual Access 4-Wheeled Carry-On

The Tumi Continental Dual Access 4-Wheeled Carry-On is an organized packer’s dream. The design of this suitcase keeps suits, shoes, clothes, and toiletries neatly separated and wrinkle-free. Convenient amenities like the built-in USB port and built-in TSA lock maximize functionality. 

This is a great suitcase choice for business travelers, as the interior features a removable garment sleeve and fiberglass rod that allows you to hang a suit or dress inside the case without getting crushed or wrinkled. 

The Continental Dual Access features Tumi’s signature smooth-rolling wheels and a 3-stage telescoping handle for easy maneuverability. Protective features like molded bumpers and side panels guard against impacts, while built-in tracers and TSA-approved locks keep valuables secured. With options for top, side, or bottom access via well-designed zippers, this suitcase optimizes packing efficiency for several days of travel. 

Dimensions: 22.0″ X 16.0″ X 9.0″

Weight: 11.1 lbs

The Best Carry-On Backpack: L.L. Bean Approach Travel Pack

L.L. Bean Approach Travel Pack

A carry-on doesn’t have to be limited to a suitcase. For the ultimate in mobility, opt for a backpack as your carry-on. You won’t have to worry about climbing stairs or pulling a bag over rough sidewalks, and a backpack can fit under your seat on a full plane when necessary, avoiding the dreaded gate-check. 

Our favorite carry-on backpack is the L.L. Bean Approach Travel Pack . Use it on its own for a short trip, or combine it with a checked bag (put all the essentials in the backpack and carry it on the plane) for longer journeys.  

The Approach Travel Pack opens flat and can be packed like a suitcase, unlike a traditional backpack where you’ll have to shove everything in through the top and dig through the entire bag to find something buried at the bottom.

Dimensions: 20” x 12.5” x 10”

Weight: 3.3 lbs

5 Simple Ways to Make Travel Easier in 2024

How We Tested These Carry-Ons

These are the carry-on suitcases that the SmarterTravel team uses on their own trips. We’ve taken them on countless flights, train trips, road trips, and cruises to find out the pros and cons of each bag. 

When testing a carry-on, we consider the following factors:

  • Size and weight
  • Ease of transportation
  • Organizational features

We’ve tested out numerous suitcases that didn’t make the cut, which helped us narrow the list to the best carry-ons worth investing in. 

What Size is a Carry-On Suitcase

The dimensions for a carry-on suitcase vary by airline and generally change depending on if it’s an international or domestic flight. For flights within the United States, the most common size limit for a carry-on suitcase is 22 inches long, 14 inches wide, and 9 inches high. 

The international carry-on suitcase size limit is usually 21.7 inches by 15.7 inches wide by 9 inches high, but this will vary by airline.

Note that airline carry-on size limits include all aspects of the suitcase, including the handles and the wheels, so be sure to check the total dimensions of your bag and not just the interior measurements. If your suitcase meets the size limit but the wheels don’t, it will not pass the carry-on sizer test.

Always check with your airline for the correct carry-on size for your trip, as it can change by destination. 

Is There a Weight Limit for Carry-Ons?

There usually isn’t a weight limit for carry-ons on domestic flights within the United States (unless you’re flying on a very small plane). However, you must be able to lift the suitcase into the overhead bin without assistance.

International flights are generally stricter with weight limits and will weigh your carry-on bag when you check-in. These weight restrictions vary quite a bit by airline but generally range from 15 to 35 lbs. 

What Can’t You Pack in a Carry-On Suitcase?

Remember, carry-on suitcases are subject to stricter security restrictions than checked bags. You can’t pack these items in carry-on suitcases, but you can pack them in your checked luggage:

  • Liquids or gels bigger than 3.4 ounces
  • Sharp objects (including knives, hiking poles, and large scissors) 
  • Certain sporting goods (such as baseball bats and hockey sticks)
  • Self-defense items (including pepper spray and brass knuckles)
  • Weapons (including firearms) 

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Need a new suitcase but you can’t afford to spend too much on it? That’s fine – we found the best suitcases under $50, which are actually pretty good.

At A Glance: Our Top Picks

  • Best Hardside Olympia Apache Ii 21" Jump To Review
  • Best Softside AmazonBasics Lightweight Softside Spinner Jump To Review
  • Best Value Set TBWYF Luggage Set 3 Piece Jump To Review

You can’t find premium quality in that price range, but you can get really great value for money. Especially if you’re interested in a value set – you can get three suitcases for some $30 apiece.

Sounds good? Scroll down to see what the best suitcases under $50 are!

Top Product Overview

Best suitcases under $50, hardside suitcases, american tourister sunset cruise.

American Tourister Sunset Cruise Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels, Pink Berry, Carry-On 20-Inch

The Sunset Cruise is a pretty good suitcase. It’s from American Tourister, whose parent company is Samsonite. Therefore, it’s actually pretty good quality, especially for the price.

As of right now,  only the Apple Green and Pink Berry colors are under $50.    That’s actually a really good deal since the original price of this suitcase is some $80.

This suitcase is  made from ABS plastic, which is lightweight and has good scratch resistance.  It might not be as durable as a polycarbonate suitcase, but that’s something you need to worry about with checked baggage. And since this is a small, 20” suitcase, I don’t think you will ever have to check it at an airport.

Additionally,  the capacity of this suitcase is expandable by 1.5” inches . So, you can even do a little shopping while you’re away, without worrying that it won’t fit in your luggage.

The Sunset Cruise hard side is equipped with single spinner wheels and a telescopic wheel handle . Unfortunately, it  doesn’t have a lock and that’s pretty much the only downside to it. But if you’re looking to get a carry-on, a lock is not something you need to be too concerned with.

The  interior is divided into two packing compartments . One of them features a full-sized zippered divider, while the other one has elastic cross straps. And there’s also  a small zippered pocket in the bottom compartment.

  • Expandable capacity
  • Spinner wheels
  • Carry-on sized
  • No locks on suitcase
  • Only one pocket inside

Product Information

  • Overall Dimensions: 22” x 15.5”x 11”
  • Body Dimensions: 20" x 15" x 8"
  • Weight: 5.7 lbs

Olympia Apache Ii 21"

Olympia Apache II 21 Inch Expandable Rolling Carry On 4 Wheel Spinner Luggage Suitcase with Aluminum Locking System Laptop Compartment, and Interior Divider, Black/Blue

The Apache suitcase is  available in six different colors, and all of them are currently under $50 . Which is pretty amazing, considering that they are discounted from $150!

One thing that’s great about this suitcase (and Olympia luggage in general) is that it features  a hidden zippered compartment. This is Olympia’s patent, so you won’t really see it on other suitcases. The compartment is great for the valuable items that you want to keep safe and protected at all times.

The  exterior of this suitcase is made from 100% ABS plastic, so it’s pretty sturdy.  There are  four single spinner wheels on this luggage , which roll smoothly and quietly. And the  telescopic wheel handle,   which is made from aluminum, will make moving around with the Apache a breeze.

The  interior of this suitcase features two fully lined packing compartments with expandable capacity.  The bottom compartment has two elastic cross straps and a small zippered pocket, while the top compartment features shoe pockets and a divider with a large mesh pocket. Those, in addition to the hidden compartment, make this suitcase  a great choice for people who like to travel organized.

By the way, this brand has a few more affordable suitcases in their range and you can check them out in our detailed review of Olympia luggage .

  • Hidden compartment for valuable items
  • Might not be accepted as a carry-on if expanded
  • Overall Dimensions: 21" x 14" x 9"
  • Body Dimensions: 9” x 14” x 19”
  • Weight: 6.2 lbs

AmazonBasics Vienna Luggage

Amazon Basics Vienna Carry-On Spinner Suitcase Luggage - Expandable with Wheels - 21.6 Inch, Red

The Vienna suitcase is an amazing option if you like to be organized. The  red version is under $51, which is a pretty good deal considering just how good this suitcase is.

Its  scratch-resistant exterior has faux leather accents, which actually makes this suitcase look more expensive than it is.

This is actually one of the few suitcases that features  double spinner wheels. I prefer these to single spinner wheels because they are a bit more stable, and just give you better maneuverability of your luggage.

The  telescopic wheel handle also helps with that, as it locks into an extended position . There are also  two grab handles that are riveted onto the suitcase , so they can handle quite a lot of weight.

The  top compartment features a full panel zippered divider, with two mesh pockets on it. In the bottom compartment, you have elastic cross straps and a small zippered pocket, which is perfect for any small items you don’t want to misplace. And this suitcase has an expandable capacity,  so you’ll be able to fit quite a lot of stuff inside it.

*Note: Most AmazonBasics suitcases are under $50. If you want to see some more options, check out our detailed review on AmazonBasics luggage .

  • Great for organization
  • Double spinner wheels
  • Technically not under $50 (but under $51!)
  • Dimensions: 15” x 8.7” x 21.6”
  • Weight: 9.1 lbs (shipping weight)

Travelers Club Luggage Chicago

Travelers Club Chicago Hardside Expandable Spinner Luggages, Navy Blue, 20' Carry-On

The Chicago suitcase is one of the most affordable checked luggage options in this review. It’s under $40 , with only one color being $5 more expensive.

For the money, it’s a pretty excellent piece of luggage.  The shell is made from ABS plastic,  which has great scratch resistance. And it’s rather lightweight, at only 5.6 lbs. But what I really like about this suitcase is that the corners of the shell are reinforced , which significantly increases its durability and impact resistance.

The Chicago features  four single spinner wheels and a telescopic wheel handle that locks into an extended position . Some pretty standard features, which you expect from any hard side, regardless of the price tag. There are also grab handles on the top and the side , and they are pretty sturdy and comfortable.

The interior of this suitcase is also pretty standard. It’s divided into two packing compartments with expandable capacity, both of which are fully lined. The top compartment has a full-panel zippered divider (no pockets), and the bottom compartment features elastic cross straps with a single zippered pocket.

There are  no locks on this suitcase , and that’s pretty much the only downside to it.

Overall, if you’re on a really tight budget, this is probably the best suitcase you can buy.

  • Lightweight and very cheap
  • Not great for organization
  • Dimensions: 20" x 13" x 11"
  • Weight: 5.6 lbs

Kenneth Cole Reaction High-Lite

Kenneth Cole Reaction High-Lite 20' Hardside 4-Wheel Carry-on Luggage, Pink

This suitcase is definitely not a great fit for everyone because  it only comes in bright neon colors.  But if you like to be different and stand out at crowded airports, then this is an awesome option for you.

The  exterior of the High-Lite is made from ABS plastic,  which is textured for improved scratch resistance. And it features a very simple brand tag on the front, which contrasts nicely with the bright neon color of the shell.

What I really like about this luggage is that they also put that  pop of color inside the suitcase .  Both packing compartments are fully lined , and all the accents inside them match the color of the shell.

And the  interior also features two pockets, one inside the bottom compartment and one on the zippered divider in the top compartment . The bottom compartment is also equipped with elastic cross straps, which are designed to keep your belongings in place.

Unfortunately,  the capacity of this suitcase is not expandable . So, you will need to be thoughtful when packing, as you don’t have the option to get more space if you need it. And there are no locks on the High-Lite, but I don’t think that’s too big a deal.

*Note:  Kenneth Cole Reaction has a couple more affordable suitcases. If you’re interested in seeing more options, check out our detailed review of Kenneth Cole luggage .

  • Good for organization
  • Bright and fun colors; great for people who like to stand out
  • Capacity not expandable
  • Impact resistance not great
  • Dimensions: 21.5" x 14" x 9.0"
  • Weight: 6.35 lbs

Affordable Softside Luggage

Rockland luggage 19 inch spinner.

Rockland Expandable Spinner Carry On, Black, 19-Inch

The Rockland suitcase is  a great option for people who are looking to get a softshell suitcase . It’s available in a variety of different colors, some of which are heavily discounted (65%) at the moment. You can get this suitcase for  less than $35  – a deal you definitely don’t want to miss out on.

This suitcase is carry-on sized. It is 21” tall with wheels and a handle , and most international airlines will accept it inside the cabin. The dimensions listed in the box below are the dimensions of the body of the suitcase.

It is  made from polyester, and it features four single spinner wheels . The double-barrel wheel handle is made from aluminum, so it’s rather sturdy and lightweight. And it locks into the extended position with a push of the button.

The  interior of this Rockland suitcase is fully lined.  There’s  one packing compartment  with expandable capacity , which features two tie-down straps, but not a pocket. However, there is a large zippered pocket on the cover of the suitcase, which is pretty standard for softshells.

And there are  two external pockets  as well. Both are pretty small, so they’re okay for any last-minute necessities or items you want to have easily accessible. In general, this suitcase is  great for organized travelers , since you do get more pockets than in any of the hard sides.

  • Spacious and sturdy
  • Only one internal pocket
  • A bit heavy at 6 lbs
  • Dimensions: 13” x 8” x 19”
  • Weight: 6 lbs

IT Luggage Los Angeles Suitcase

it luggage World's Lightest Los Angeles Softside 2 Wheel, Persian Red, Carry-On 22-Inch

IT Luggage claims that  this is the world’s lightest suitcase . And,  at only 3.8 lbs , it just might be. It is a great option for people who don’t want to be weighed down by a heavy suitcase or struggle with back pain when lifting heavy objects.

Another thing that’s amazing about this suitcase is  the wheel handle.  It’s unlike anything else you’ve seen in this review.  It is wide, and it does not protrude in the packing compartment at all . You can’t lock it into position when extended, and that’s a shame. Additionally,  you can’t really extend it too high, which means that very tall people will have to bend to be able to grab it.

One other thing I’m not a huge fan of is the wheels. They are  in-line skate wheels, and you have to tilt your suitcase to get them rolling . So, you won’t have amazing maneuverability of your luggage. But, at least the wheels are smooth and silent.

And  you do get plenty of space inside the packing compartment , especially because the wheel handle doesn’t take up any space inside. The  interior of the suitcase is fully lined , and it features two tie-down straps. Also, there are four slip pockets on the cover of Los Angeles, which allows for plenty of organization.

And there are  two zippered external pockets,  for anything you want to have handy.

This suitcase is  available in six different colors, three of which are less than $50 . If you like it, grab it while it’s still so cheap!

*Note: IT luggage has a few more affordable suitcases in their range. You can read more about them in our detailed review of IT luggage suitcases .

  • Excellent for organization (6 pockets total)
  • Spacious packing compartment
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Capacity is not expandable
  • No spinner wheels
  • Wheel handle is really short
  • Overall Dimensions: 21.8” x 14.2” x 7.3”
  • Body Dimensions: 19.1” x 13.4” x 7.3”
  • Weight: 3.81 lbs

Jetstream 20 Inch Lightweight Suitcase

The Jetstream is a small, inexpensive soft side carry-on . It is made from 500-denier water-resistant polyester , and it features a retractable wheel handle  and two in-line skate wheels. There are  no pockets in the packing compartment,  but there are  two zippered pockets on the exterior of the suitcase.  

One thing to keep in mind about this suitcase is that  it is really small. It’s smaller than most other carry-ons , so you can’t fit a lot inside it. But that could be a good thing –  if you’re ever in a situation where you have to check your suitcase if it can’t fit under your seat, the Jetstream will definitely come in handy.

And one reason why it looks so small is that i ts wheels are only partially exposed.  Which does mean the maneuverability of your suitcase won’t be exceptional since they are in-line skate wheels.

There is one big downside to this suitcase, and that’s the price. Although it’s pretty inexpensive at only $35, it comes with a $22 price tag. And that feels like a rip-off. However, some people who bought the suitcase did manage to get a refund, so you can always try complaining to the seller.

Overall, it’s  a good piece of luggage if you want something that you’re guaranteed to bring on an airplane without any additional fees. Or for a 2-3 day trip.

  • Water-resistant exterior
  • External pockets
  • Carry on sized
  • Wheel handle protrudes quite a bit into the packing compartment
  • Very small capacity
  • It is overpriced on Amazon
  • Overall Dimensions: 19.75” x 12.75” x 6.75”
  • Body Dimensions: 17.75” x 12.75” x 6.75”
  • Weight: 4.4 lbs

U.S Traveler Rio Two Piece Set

U.S. Traveler Rio Rugged Fabric Expandable Carry-on Luggage Set, Orange, 2 Wheel

The Rio two-piece set is a cheap luggage set that is also amazing value for money . It’s available in six different colors, all of which are under $50. But  you can get the set for less than $39 , which is a really good deal for two bags.

You get  two carry-ons – a 21” suitcase that can fit into overhead bins, and a small travel tote that fits comfortably under your seat . And that tote has a luggage strap, which allows you to mount it to the top of your suitcase and move around the airport with ease.

Both bags are made from polyester, so they’re pretty durable.  The suitcase is a pretty standard softshell – it features  two in-line skate wheels, a retractable wheel handle, and a single packing compartment with expandable capacity . There’s a large mesh pocket on the cover of the suitcase, as well as two external zippered pockets.

The other bag is 14”, and it has a single external pocket . It’s great for cosmetics or any smaller items that won’t fit into your suitcase. The two bags combined allow you to travel organized, and give you plenty of space even for some longer trips.

One downside to the suitcase is that it’s not exactly lightweight. At 6.6 lbs, it’s even heavier than most hard sides I showed you in this review. But that’s because of the EVA padding on the front panel , which is there to improve the impact resistance of the luggage.

  • Great value for money
  • Could be lighter
  • Wheel handle is not very durable
  • Suitcase Dimensions: 21” x 13.5” x 7.5”
  • Tote Bag Dimensions: 14" x 10" x 6"
  • Suitcase Weight: 6.6 lbs

AmazonBasics Lightweight Softside Spinner

Amazon Basics Lightweight Luggage, Softside Spinner Travel Suitcase with Wheels - 22 Inch, Grey

If you want a  cheap suitcase that looks and feels premium , then this one is the best choice. The AmazonBasics softside spinner is  under $50 ,  and it has all the features of luggage that cost 10 times more.

It’s  made from polyester, and it looks very sleek and professional.  Great for business trips! It features  four single spinner wheels that roll quietly and smoothly, and there’s also a telescopic wheel handle that locks into an extended position.

On top of that, this suitcase is equipped with  a TSA lock  as well, meaning you can have some peace of mind if you’re ever forced to check it at an airport. This should not happen, since this is carry-on sized.

The  interior of this spinner is very spacious, and it has expandable capacity . There are two small zippered pockets on the top part of the suitcase, as well as a big one behind those two. And then you also have two external pockets, for the items you forgot to pack inside.

This suitcase is  available in four colors, and all of them are under $50 for the 22” size . Even the 27” version is very affordable, as it costs around $55.

Overall, this is definitely  one of the most polished softside suitcases you can get in this price range . And if you want something that doesn’t look cheap at all, you should consider Amazon’s softside spinner.

  • TSA friendly lock
  • Lots of pockets
  • Wheels are a bit small
  • Handle is not height adjustable
  • Dimensions: 13.8” x 8.7” x 22.4”
  • Weight: 7.3 lbs (shipping weight)

Luggage Value Sets

Luggage sets are the  best value for money if you need more than one suitcase . Because, even if you get just two cheap suitcases, the total will come to some $100.

And  for $100 (in some cases even less), you can get three suitcases of different sizes.  Additionally, luggage sets are pretty much the only way to get a 28” or 30” suitcase for under $50.

TBWYF Luggage Set 3 Piece

Luggage Sets Hard Suitcase set Spinner luggage set 3 Piece Set suitcases shell Lightweight (Rose glod)

This luggage set is definitely the best value for money. It includes  three hard sides (20”, 24”, and 28”), in the $90-120 price range. That comes down to $30 or $40 per suitcase, which is a really great deal. The Rose Gold version is the cheapest one – and the prettiest one, if you ask me.

All three suitcases are made from  ABS plastic and feature spinner wheels with a telescopic wheel handle . They also have two packing compartments (one pocket), and a lock.

SHOWKOO Luggage Set

SHOWKOO Luggage Sets Suitcase Spinner Lightweight Durable for Travels 20in 24in 28in(Blue)

Here’s another great deal.  For $95-110, you can get three hard-side suitcases (20”, 24”, and 28”), which is $35 per suitcase on average.

The Showkoo suitcases are  made from ABS plastic , which has excellent scratch resistance. They are equipped with  spinner wheels  and feature a  t elescopic wheel handle that locks into multiple height positions .  And they have the expandable capacity , as well as a lock to the packing compartments.

DAVIDJONES Vintage Print 4 Piece Luggage Set

DAVIDJONES Vintage Print 4 Piece Luggage Set-Black

If you really want a softshell, then this is a set you should consider. It includes  4 pieces of luggage, for just a little under $120  – an amazing deal.  The suitcases included are 20”, 24” and 28 ”, and you also get a small versatile bag.

The suitcases feature  a spacious packing compartment, an EVA padded front panel for extra durability, and regular in-line skate wheels. Sadly, you don’t get pockets, locks, or expandable capacity. But for $30 per bag, I can live with that.

Some other value sets worth considering:

  • Merax Newest 2 Piece Luggage Set
  • Coolife Luggage 3-Piece Set
  • AmazonBasics Softside 3-Piece Set

Affordable Luggage For Children

If you are looking to get a suitcase for your child and you don’t want to spend too much money on it, I would recommend you check out American Tourister . They have a collection of suitcases for kids, which feature a very fun design.

Maybe your daughter is obsessed with Elsa? Then get her a suitcase with Elsa’s character!

Anyway, I will show you two suitcases here, and both of them are by American Tourister. Be sure to check them out on Amazon, as they are both available in a variety of designs.

American Tourister Kids Hardside

American Tourister Kids' Disney Hardside Upright Luggage, Mickey Mouse 2, Carry-On 16-Inch

This is an awesome suitcase for kids . It’s  just the right size so that they can carry it on their own , and they will just love the design.

The hardside suitcase is made from a  mixture of ABS and polycarbonate,  so it’s pretty durable. It features  in-line skate wheels, a retractable wheel handle, and two packing compartments, but no pockets.

American Tourister Kids Softside

AMERICAN TOURISTER Kids' Disney Softside Upright Luggage,Telescoping Handles, Mickey, Carry-On 18-Inch

The softside suitcase is  approximately the same size as the hard side , but it’s even cheaper. It’s available in lots of cartoon designs, so you’ll easily find something your child loves.

This one is a bit better for the organization, as it features two pockets . It also has  in-line skate wheels and a retractable wheel handle, and it’s small enough that your child can carry it without your help.

What To Look For

Suitcase sizes.

Unfortunately,  you won’t have a lot of size variation in this price range .  You will mostly see smaller suitcases, usually 20” carry-ons.

Here’s the thing – you can find a large suitcase for less than $50, but it’s not going to be good. And I wanted to avoid showing you luggage that has horrible reviews and just doesn’t perform very well.

But you will see some sets in this review, which include large checked suitcases. These are actually pretty  good value for money if you’re looking to get several pieces of luggage, because  they cost between $100-150, and include three suitcases. That comes down to less than $50 per suitcase, which is actually a really good deal.

If that sounds good, you can skip to the section about luggage sets via our quick navigation above.

Softside Or Hardside

The one thing you need to figure out is whether you want a softshell or a hard shell . Here’s the thing – I normally recommend hardside luggage for air travel. But that mostly applies to checked bags, because they will get thrown around a lot.

However, you will only see small suitcases in this review, so that rule doesn’t really apply here.

Hardside luggage is generally more durable, and easier to travel with. All hard-side suitcases featured here have spinner wheels, and give you great maneuverability of your luggage. And you get the benefit of having two packing compartments, which is ideal if you’re sharing the suitcase or just like to separate your stuff.

But soft sides are generally better for the organization because they feature multiple pockets and exterior compartments . This allows you to have some things easily accessible during your travel, which is not the case with hard sides. Soft sides are also a bit lighter and have a more flexible capacity.

So, it’s up to you and your personal preference. I will show you both soft sides and hard sides in this review, so you will have a lot of options to choose from.

Watch Out For Deals!

In some cases, you can get a suitcase under $50 only in a specific color and size . I will make sure to tell you about that in the mini-reviews, so be definitely look out for that info.

Additionally,  some suitcases are heavily discounted from over $100. If that is the case, I will point it out, and tell you what the original price of the luggage was . Be sure to grab these while the deal lasts, as it’s such a great offer!

Luggage For Children

Maybe you’re looking for a small, cheap suitcase for your little one ? If so, you’ll find loads of options here!

American Tourister actually has an awesome line of luggage for kids, and most suitcases are really affordable.  Scroll down to the last section of this review, to find a variety of cartoon-themed suitcases for kids!

Best Suitcases Under $50: Our Top Choices

Can’t decide on which suitcase to buy? Maybe one of our top picks is the perfect choice for you!

The  best cheap hardside would have to be the Olympia Apache .  It’s ridiculous how discounted it is, and it’s a bargain to get it at its current price. I love this suitcase because it is  well made, sturdy and has all the features you expect from a good carry-on . Plus, it has a  hidden compartment for your valuable items,  which is a design feature patented by Olympia. If you’re looking to get a lot of value for $50, this is the suitcase to get.

  • High-quality suitcase with smooth spinners and an aluminum locking system makes transporting luggage a breeze
  • Constructed of durable 100 percent ABC plastic, provides superior strength and exterior toughness; Capacity: 3300 cubic inches

As for  the softsides , I think that the  AmazonBasics Spinner wipes out the competition . It is  the only suitcase that features a TSA-friendly lock and one of the few that has spinner wheels . Plus, it does not look like a cheap suitcase at all. And with the spinner wheels, a  retractable wheel handle, and five different pockets , it actually feels quite premium.

  • Outer dimensions (including wheels): 8.6 x 14.1 x 22 Inches; Interior dimensions: 7.6 x 11.8 x 17.3 Inches
  • Interior capacity: 26 Liters

If you need to get more than one suitcase, then consider getting the TBWYF Luggage Set . It features  three suitcases for some $90 , which is amazing value for money. And that  includes a large, 28″ suitcase!  All of them are hardsides with single spinner wheels, a retractable wheel handle, and a lock. Pretty good for $30 apiece, if you ask me!

  • please contact us If you have any problems first.
  • 100% abs,Lightweight yet extremely durable abs material.

And that’s it! Be sure to check out these suitcases on Amazon, to see their exact prices and all the colors you can get them in. And hurry up – you don’t want to miss out on the awesome deals!

If you’re not impressed by any of these, check out our related posts for more ideas!



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The Best Luggage Brands to Buy in 2024

These are the top-tested suitcases for all of your travel needs.

best luggage good housekeeping

We've been independently researching and testing products for over 120 years. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our review process.

Our top picks


Best Overall Luggage

American Tourister

Best Value Luggage

American tourister.


Best Carry-On Luggage

Briggs & Riley

Best Luggage for International Travel

Briggs & riley.

Amazon Basics

Best Under-$100 Luggage

Amazon basics.


Best Luggage for Frequent Flyers


Best Viral Luggage


Best Luggage for Flight Crews


Best Printed Luggage


Best Fashion Luggage

Each piece of luggage is evaluated by experts in the Lab as well as consumer testers on the go. In the Lab, we look at factors like durability, ease of use and more. We also pack each suitcase with a standard load to see how much it can hold and how easy the compartments are to access. Consumer testers come into the Lab to use the luggage in an obstacle course, where they weigh in on handle comfort, wheel performance, maneuverability and more. Finally, we send luggage out with travelers into the real world for firsthand feedback.

You can learn more about how we test luggage and what to consider as you shop — including how to decide between hardside and softside luggage — but first, here's everything you need to know about our top-tested luggage brands.

Samsonite earns our top spot for the best luggage brand because it has a wide assortment for every preference — from business travelers to vacationers — and has continuously proven to be high quality as we've tested it over the years.

In particular, it stands out for its durability and ease-of-use features: There's been no struggling to open and close the cases, and packing them has been a breeze , thanks to the functional compartments that maximize space. It's certainly not inexpensive, but as direct-to-consumer luggage brand prices have skyrocketed, Samsonite's have remained fairly consistent.

Both hardside and softside styles from the brand have excelled in our tests. We've also been impressed by each of the sizes, including carry-ons, checked bags and underseat luggage. Some of our favorite models include the Freeform hardside (pictured here), the Solyte DLX softside and the Stryde Glyder , which is a checked case that's wide instead of tall so it's less likely to tip over.

best luggage brands samsonite luggage testing at good housekeeping

A consumer tester rolling the Samsonite Freeform carry-on through an obstacle course at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

If you're on a budget or you don’t use luggage regularly — i.e., it doesn’t need to be the most durable and you don’t need all the bells and whistles — American Tourister offers competitive pricing and an excellent variety to choose from . There are a lot of options if you prefer bright colors and fun prints, plus there are cases for the entire family, including a Disney collection . Between the designs and versatile offerings, the models are fun, functional and especially ideal for vacationers.

Just note that while luxury hardside cases are usually made of polycarbonate, American Tourister typically uses ABS plastic, which is more affordable but more prone to scratches. Still, it gets high ratings from online reviewers who note that the bags are surprisingly spacious. Another perk: The brand offers luggage sets for an even better value, especially if you need to purchase multiple pieces. Pictured here is the Pop Max Softside set , which at $150 for a set of three, is less than other single cases.

Away is one of the most popular luggage brands on the market, and our testing shows it actually lives up to its hype. Though the brand has a wide range of offerings, we especially love the hardside carry-on.

It's made of 100% polycarbonate that proved to be durable and lightweight in our evaluations — even lighter than some fabric bags we’ve tested. It was also surprisingly spacious and held a full packing load in our review. The company offers a 100-day return policy on unused items; it also offers a lifetime limited warranty on its suitcases that covers any "functional damage."

Besides the main Carry-On model , it comes in variations like a Bigger Carry-On (which the brand says can hold 20% more) and a Carry-On Flex (which has an expandable zipper). We also love the brand's Everywhere Bag , which is a stylish and surprisingly spacious weekender.

READ OUR FULL REVIEW: We Tested Away's Trendy Carry-On to See If It's Worth The Price

an empty away carry on laid open flat on a white table, good housekeeping's luggage review

An inside view of Away's The Carry On.

Briggs & Riley

Briggs & Riley bags are pricey — a carry-on can cost over $600 — but they come with a lifetime guarantee that will cover all repairs if the luggage ever gets broken or damaged. They also come with innovative features, such as the brand's signature compression packing system. Bags that have this feature expand to let you pack and then compress down after they're filled. In fact, one of our testers said she packed a week's worth of summer clothes for two people into a compact carry-on, and it easily fit into an airline's overhead bin.

The suitcases also use top-notch construction and timeless designs in a range of styles, including hardside, softside, carry-ons and checked bags. The Baseline Global Carry-On Spinner (pictured here in the 21-inch version) has been a selected as GH Family Travel Award winner for the past two years after travel testers gave it perfect scores across the board. Its nylon fabric also aced our Lab's abrasion tests.

a view of the interior of briggs and riley baseline carry on luggage

The interior compartment of Briggs & Riley's Baseline Carry-On, including its easy-to-use expansion button.

It’s hard to find good luggage for under $100, but Amazon’s luggage does not disappoint. There are softside and hardside styles to choose from, plus garment bags , duffels and more. Amazon also boasts extensive testing to make sure their products will hold up, and though the luggage might not the absolute best quality out there, the price can’t be beat.

We were impressed with its hardside 20-inch spinner carry-on (pictured here) when we tested it on our Lab. Our analysts found it to be exceptionally easy to pack, though the ABS material wasn't as scratch-resistant as other models in our tests. Still, consumer testers liked the maneuverability and wheel performance. This style also comes in two other sizes (24 and 28 inches) and can be purchased as a two- or three-piece set.

This luxury brand is on the pricey side but has timeless designs — from hardside to tweed fabric — that never go out of style. In fact, the brand’s marketing and aesthetics are focused heavily on its heritage. It has been a top performer in our tests, thanks to its spacious interior that's easy to pack and its wheels and handles that make it smooth and comfortable to maneuver.

The hardside cases have earned high scores in our tests — especially standing out for being scratch-resistant, lightweight and spacious — but we also love the softside Legend collection (pictured here), which is made of durable tweed fabric and leather trim.

This fashionable yet functional travel brand was founded by actress Shay Mitchell and incorporates smart features designed to make traveling easier. It also has a stunning aesthetic, including monochromatic color schemes in which the handles and hardware match the case.

Pictured here is the Carry-On Roller, its best-selling case that comes in a range of neutral and fun hues. It was spacious for packing and easy to maneuver in our tests, and though it did scuff during use, it resisted dents well during our Lab's drop tests. Another popular style is its Mini Weekender , which can be used as a personal item that fits underneath the airplane seat in front of you.

READ OUR FULL REVIEW: Experts Weigh In on Buzzy Travel Brand Béis

a photo of the beis carry on luggage and beis weekender bag

The Béis carry-on and compact weekender bag being used as a travel set.

This company was founded by a pilot, and it makes luggage specifically for airline personnel who travel for a living. Still, it's just as functional for business and leisure travelers.

The brand primarily sells softside luggage, though it does have some hardside options available. There’s excellent attention to detail that makes frequent flying easier, like cushioning around the handles for comfort, self-aligning wheels that let you roll the luggage in any direction and abrasion-resistant nylon fabric.

The Platinum Elite softside luggage (pictured here) stood out in our Lab tests. Not only was it durable, but it was also spacious enough to hold our entire load with room to spare. The downside was that it was heavier than others, but it's a fair tradeoff for the top-of-the-line features.

This brand increases the fun factor and makes it easier to spot your luggage in a sea of solid colors. There are adorable animal sets for kids' luggage , animal prints for adults and more. There are also options for licensed teams and art (like Britto, shown here), making your suitcase a playful yet functional accessory.

When it comes to materials, most Heys suitcases are hardside and made of polycarbonate and ABS composite. This means it's mostly ABS plastic but has a polycarbonate coating on the outside for added protection. The brand wasn't the most durable in our tests, it but earned high ease-of-use scores.

Style is certainly important when it comes to luggage — it's an accessory, after all — but you don't want to sacrifice quality and functionality. Calpak's cases are both well-made and have unique designs. Though its assortment is tailored with fewer models than some of the big brands, Calpak still has a wide range of materials to choose from, including sleek hardside polycarbonate, printed ABS/polycarbonate blends and ripstop polyester.

Calpak's Ambeur carry-on (pictured here) was one of our testers' favorites; they especially loved the easy-to-use telescopic handle and metallic color. We also found it to be easy to pack and though it wasn't as scratch-resistant as some others we tested (which is expected for ABS composites), it still withstood dents and damage from our durability drop test.


Rolling TUMI luggage through the airport is like a status symbol; the brand is highly recognized for its upscale products for both business and leisure travelers.

In addition to its suitcases , it makes accessories like briefcases and backpacks and has components that make traveling easier, like an anti-slip strap on carrying bags and an extra hook on rolling bags so you can wheel multiple items at once. On top of that, the brand stands out for its unique service offerings, like repairs and luggage registration to help you find lost bags.

We especially love Tumi's Alpha collection (pictured here is the Alpha carry-on ) with its durable materials and removable garment sleeve. One GH analyst who has been using a backpack in this collection appreciates that it fits more than you'd expect and has a versatile design for travel, work and beyond.


If you’re going away for weeks or just have lots to pack, L.L.Bean’s duffels are roomy enough to stuff in everything you need. There are options with or without wheels and lots of sizes to choose from (the Adventure Rolling Duffel , shown here, is incredibly durable and one of our go-to picks for vacations with kids).

The flexible shape of the duffel also allows it to store easily under your bed, so it’s perfect for college students or anyone tight on storage space. It’s also made of sturdy, water-resistant nylon fabric that's made to last no matter where your travels take you — in fact, one of our experts says it's lasted for years without signs of wear. She does note that it's a little more cumbersome to pull than four-wheel spinner luggage and it's spaciousness makes it easy to go over the 50-pound weight limit for airlines, but says it's perfect for packing for two kids.


Monos says its design philosophy is "less is more," — meaning the bags are made to be simple and timeless to avoid passing trends and high quality so they can stand the test of time. Most of its hardside bags are entirely polycarbonate, though some combine polycarbonate and aluminum for increased durability. They also have useful packing features like wide compression straps to help you fit more in the case.

The Check-In Large was a winner of last year's GH Family Travel Awards because of its spacious interior and maneuverability. Testers said it was easy to roll and they loved the sleek appearance. It's also worth noting that the brand has a 100-day return period so you can get a refund if it's not a good fit.

READ OUR FULL REVIEW: Here's Why Travelers Love the Monos Luggage Collection

a group of blue luggage

Monos luggage shown in three sizes: Check-in Large, Check-in Medium and Carry-on

Eagle Creek

Eagle Creek

Whether you’re backpacking internationally or exploring a national park, Eagle Creek gives you both the convenience and durability you need in a bag. Some have various compartments so you can stay organized (or store shoes and dirty laundry separately), and some bags have backpack straps if you need to be hands-free.

We especially love the Cargo Hauler Duffel for shorter trips: It’s affordable, spacious, lightweight and folds up into a small pouch for easy storage. For longer getaways, the Migrate Wheeled Duffel (pictured here) is larger and has two wheels with a telescopic handle. It also opens wide so you can easily access the contents.

best luggage brands how good housekeeping tests luggage

Eagle Creek's Migrate Wheeled Duffel, left, being checked in at an airport terminal.

Headshot of Lexie Sachs

Lexie Sachs (she/her) is the executive director of strategy and operations at the Good Housekeeping Institute and a lead reviewer of products in the bedding, travel, lifestyle, home furnishings and apparel spaces. She has over 15 years of experience in the consumer products industry and a degree in fiber science from Cornell University. Lexie serves as an expert source both within Good Housekeeping and other media outlets, regularly appearing on national broadcast TV segments. Prior to joining GH in 2013, Lexie worked in merchandising and product development in the fashion and home industries.

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Protect Your Trip »

The best checked luggage of 2024, tested by editors.

A checked bag is just as essential as a good carry-on.

The Best Checked Luggage

Two Travelpro suitcases on a sidewalk.

Leilani Osmundson | U.S. News

Every traveler can use a solid piece of checked luggage that can fit enough clothing, accessories and shoes for a long trip. Durability, plenty of storage and wheels that can handle rolling a full bag easily are just a few things to look for in a reputable piece of luggage.

If it's time to purchase a checked bag that can accommodate your belongings and handle the rigor of being tossed around, read on to discover your best options. All of our recommendations have top ratings and have also been personally tested and reviewed.

Best Overall: DELSEY PARIS Sky Max 2.0 Large Expandable Spinner

  • Jump to features and expert insights ↓

Best Hard-sided: Samsonite Freeform Large Spinner

Best soft-sided: travelpro crew classic large check-in expandable spinner, best medium: away the medium, best large: lojel cubo large, best trunk: july checked trunk, best lightweight: lipault plume very long trip, best organization: solgaard check-in closet original – medium.

(Note: Prices and stock availability were accurate at the time this article was updated; they may fluctuate due to demand or other factors.)

DELSEY PARIS Max 2.0 Large Expandable Spinner in black.

Erin Evans | U.S. News

DELSEY PARIS Max 2.0 Large Expandable Spinner in black.

Price: $209.99 or less

Dimensions: 31 x 20 x 13.25 inches | Weight: 8.25 pounds Packing capacity: 14-21 days; 117 liters | Colors: Black, green or blue Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: 3-year limited

The soft-sided DELSEY PARIS Sky Max 2.0 Large Expandable Spinner is our top overall pick for the Best Checked Luggage thanks to its durability and excellent handling. This piece of checked luggage features double-spinner wheels; a collapsible handle for use on two or four wheels; a TSA-approved lock; and cushioned top, bottom and side handles. The bag has one large interior compartment with tie-down straps to keep everything in place and a medium zippered side pocket, plus a large zippered mesh pocket on the inside of the top of the bag, perfect for holding toiletries (or dirty clothes as your trip unfolds).

There are two large front pockets on the exterior of the bag for stashing last-minute or smaller items. The exterior of this checked bag is constructed of a polyester fabric with a twill pattern, and the bag expands quite a bit to fit in any additional souvenirs you may want to bring home with you.

What our editors say:

I am obsessed with this soft-sided checked bag – it fits an absurd amount of stuff. You can easily pack enough clothes, shoes, accessories and gear for a two- to three-week trip, and even when it's filled to the brim, the wheels and handle make it easy to maneuver the suitcase across many types of terrain. Mine has been checked numerous times, and the darker-colored fabric with its subtle design means any scuffs are pretty impossible to see and it hasn't scratched or dented at all. – Erin Evans, Managing Editor

Samsonite Freeform Large Spinner in purple.

Catriona Kendall | U.S. News

Samsonite Freeform Large Spinner in purple.

Price: $279.99 or less

Dimensions: 31.1 x 20.9 x 13.8 inches | Weight: 9.6 pounds Packing capacity: 14-21 days | Colors: Navy, white, gray, black or purple Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: 10-year limited

The Samsonite Freeform Large Spinner is a traveler favorite for good reason. This hard-sided polypropylene suitcase is impressively lightweight for its size and made to last. A built-in TSA lock protects your luggage, and it expands by 1.5 inches when you need more room. There are two main packing compartments separated by a zippered panel on one side and compression straps on the other. The double wheels will allow you to navigate any airport or destination with ease. The Freeform also comes in medium and carry-on sizes, as well as a two-piece set.

I used to only use soft-sided luggage, but I've been won over by this suitcase. I love how easy it is to maneuver and lift such a large bag during my travels. You also can't go wrong with the Samsonite Outline Pro Large Spinner , which comes in a few other colors and has a slightly different compression system inside. – Catriona Kendall, Editor

Travelpro Crew Classic Large Check-in Expandable Spinner in blue.

Price: $349.99 or less

Dimensions: 30.75 x 18 x 13.25 inches | Weight: 10.4 pounds Packing capacity: 14-21 days; 130 liters | Colors: Black, gray or blue Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: Limited lifetime

Like many Travelpro luggage pieces, the Travelpro Crew Classic Large Check-in Expandable Spinner comes with a plethora of handy features. A TSA-approved lock keeps your belongings safe, and the self-aligning wheels make for easy rolling across a range of surfaces. Inside, you'll find a removable fold-out suiter for protecting clothes against wrinkles – so you won't need to bring an extra garment bag for a formal affair. There are also interior pockets (including a water-resistant one) and hold-down straps for keeping your belongings organized and secure.

This Travelpro spinner can hold plenty at 130 liters, but if you need something even bigger, the Travelpro Platinum Elite Large Check-In Spinner is a great alternative with many of the same features and 143.5 liters of space.

I was shocked at how lightweight this suitcase was for its size. The fold-out suiter is a game-changer for business travel or travel that requires formal attire, like a cruise or destination wedding . – Leilani Osmundson, Senior Digital Producer

Away The Medium in green.

Amanda Norcross | U.S. News

Away The Medium in green.

Price: $365 or less

Dimensions: 26 x 18.5 x 11 inches | Weight: 10.4 pounds Packing capacity: 7-14 days; 68 liters | Colors: Several options, including black, sea green, olive or white gloss Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: Limited lifetime

The Medium by Away is surprisingly large, with enough storage for about two weeks' worth of clothing. An interior compression panel and mesh pockets help maximize space, and an included laundry bag allows you to easily separate dirty and clean clothing in your suitcase. This checked bag also comes with a color-matched luggage tag. For the inevitable scratches, you can use a magic eraser to wipe the bag clean.

The Medium is so spacious that I can't imagine using a larger checked bag. I also appreciate all of the grab handles that make it easy to load on to the airport scale or pull off the baggage claim belt. – Amanda Norcross, Senior Content & SEO Strategist

LOJEL Cubo Large in red.

Rachael Hood | U.S. News

LOJEL Cubo Large in red.

Price: $430 or less

Dimensions: 30.5 x 21.7 x 13.4 (14.6 when extended) inches | Weight: 11.7 pounds Packing capacity: 14-21 days; 120 liters (130 when extended) | Colors: 9 options, including burgundy, black, yellow or navy Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: 10-year

The flat-top opening on this large suitcase really makes it stand out from the crowd. Given its size, the top opening makes it easy to pack and close the suitcase when you have limited space. Constructed with 50% recycled polycarbonate, this style has a durable and sustainable design. The interior of the expandable suitcase has a lid with two spacious mesh compartments and a third with a privacy panel. For added organization, there's a zip pocket and a compression divider with four zip pockets, which keeps small items organized and helps you compartmentalize your belongings while in transit.

If you're looking for a large checked suitcase that is sturdy, easy to wheel and can hold a lot of contents, this is it. I really like the variety of zip pockets on the interior to keep smaller items easy to find, and the flat-top opening is a real game changer in small hotel rooms or tight spaces. – Rachael Hood, Senior Editor

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July Checked Trunk in blue.

Price: $545 or less

Dimensions: 28.35 x 16.34 x 14.5 inches | Weight: 13.2 pounds Packing capacity: 10-14 days; 95 liters | Colors: 11 gloss and matte options, including dark green, red or black Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: Limited lifetime with 100-day trial

This trunk is constructed with a rivetless anodized aluminum frame and crush-proof German polycarbonate shell. The trunk design has an 80/20 lid opening, and it closes with twin integrated TSA latch locks. On the inside, the bag has stain- and water-resistant nylon lining, a hidden laundry bag and a Y-strap compression system to keep contents secure. For easy maneuvering, it has a multi-height adjustable soft handle, top and side carry handles, and dual-spinner wheels.

From its sleek exterior to its space-maximized interior, this trunk makes packing for a long trip a breeze. The handle is extremely comfortable to pull, and the silent wheels glide effortlessly on an array of surfaces. – Rachael Hood

Lipault Plume Very Long Trip in blue.

Price: $329 or less

Dimensions: 31.1 x 18.1 x 12.2 inches | Weight: 8.6 pounds Packing capacity: 10-21 days | Colors: Maroon, navy or khaki green Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: 3-year limited

Weighing in at less than 9 pounds, this checked bag doesn't sacrifice quality or features. Its durable nylon construction wipes off easily, so you won't be too troubled by white winter salt marks or spilled coffee. The interior features two fold-down shelves, allowing you to pack it like a trunk or a traditional suitcase. There's also a mesh separation net to keep all of your belongings in place when you open the case, as well as two large interior zippered pockets.

On the front of the bag, you can make use of a spacious front zip pocket, a coordinating luggage tag and a zippered compartment that conceals and protects the telescoping handle when not in use. The spinner wheels glide easily on any surface, and if you want a coordinating carry-on, the Lipault Plume Cabin Size Spinner – U.S. News' top soft-sided luggage pick – can be stowed inside this bag when not in use.

While I try to stick to carry-on luggage, this checked suitcase is extremely impressive and perfect for when I need more space. I absolutely love the shelves that can be folded down flat when I don't want them, but also the ability to pack so I can just use the suitcase like a rolling closet. It's really lightweight, and I love that it coordinates with one of my favorite personal item bags, the Lipault City Plume 24H 2.0 . – Rachael Hood

Solgaard Check-In Closet Original – Medium in black.

Sharael Kolberg

Solgaard Check-In Closet Original – Medium in black.

Price: $355 or less

Dimensions: 24.8 x 14.5 x 11.8 inches | Weight: 10.7 pounds Packing capacity: 10-15 days; 91 liters | Colors: 13 options, including black, red, purple or precious metals Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: Lifetime

If you're the type of person that likes to transfer your clothes from your suitcase to the hotel dresser upon arrival to keep things organized, this Solgaard suitcase is for you. With its built-in shelving system, you don't have to unpack – just pack your clothes into the five shelves and, when you get to the hotel, hang the removable shelving system for easy access. The suitcase is made with a durable polycarbonate shell. It comes with a TSA-approved three-digit lock, and the frictionless wheels paired with its comfortable handle make this checked bag easy to maneuver.

What our contributors say:

Not only does this suitcase make it easier to travel, but I also love that it is designed with sustainability in mind. Each one is made from 100% recycled plastic that is collected in coastal communities, in order to prevent it from going into the ocean. The one downside is that the shelving does take up some room, so you might be trading convenience for maximum capacity. – Sharael Kolberg

How we tested

Taking into account durability, capacity and features, our team tested more than a dozen checked bags from a variety of brands at a range of price points. We tested to see how the overall structure of the bag works for travel needs, along with the maneuverability of the wheels and comfort of the handle on a range of surfaces from moving walkways to cobblestones. After taking these suitcases on a variety of journeys, we've selected these checked suitcases as the best for 2024.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Best Luggage Sets
  • The Best Luggage Brands
  • The Best Carry-on Luggage
  • The Best Hard-sided Luggage
  • The Best Travel Insurance

Tags: Travel , Travel Gear

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SHOWKOO Luggage Sets 3 Piece Hardside Expandable Suitcase with Double Spinner Wheels Tsa Lock Green (20in/24in/28in)

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Rockland Melbourne, RED, 28"x17"x12"

Melbourne, RED, 28"x17"x12"

Samsonite Omni 2 Hardside Expandable Luggage with Spinner Wheels, Midnight Black, Carry-On 19-Inch

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Kenneth Cole REACTION Out of Bounds Lightweight Hardshell 4-Wheel Spinner Luggage, Smokey Purple, 20-Inch Carry On

Kenneth Cole REACTION

Out of bounds lightweight hardshell 4-wheel spinner luggage, smokey purple, 20-inch carry on.

Merax Luggage Set 3 Pcs, ABS Durable Lightweight, 360°Silent Spinner Wheels, TSA Lock, brown/beige, 20/24/28 Inch

Luggage Set 3 Pcs, ABS Durable Lightweight, 360°Silent Spinner Wheels, TSA Lock, brown/beige, 20/24/28 Inch

Amazon Basics Expandable Hardside Carry-On Luggage, 20-inch Spinner with Four Spinner Wheels and Scratch-Resistant Surfac...

Amazon Basics

Expandable hardside carry-on luggage, 20-inch spinner with four spinner wheels and scratch-resistant surface, black.

Wrangler Luggage Set, Grey, 20" Carry-On

Luggage Set, Grey, 20" Carry-On

Traveler's Choice Pagosa Indestructible Hardshell Expandable Spinner Luggage, Pink, Carry-on

  • Traveler's Choice

Pagosa Indestructible Hardshell Expandable Spinner Luggage, Pink, Carry-on

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Crew Versapack Softside Expandable 8 Spinner Wheel Checked Luggage, USB Port, Men and Women, Patriot Blue, Checked Medium 25-Inch

Rockland London Hardside Spinner Wheel Luggage, Champagne, Carry-On 20-Inch, 22"X13. 5"x10" (with wheels)

London Hardside Spinner Wheel Luggage, Champagne, Carry-On 20-Inch, 22"X13. 5"x10" (with wheels)

Travelers Club Chicago Hardside Expandable Spinner Luggages, Rhubarb, 20" Carry-On

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Travelers Club Euro Carry-On Luggage, Black, 3-Piece Set

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Wrangler Astral Hardside Luggage, Dark Shadow, 20-Inch Carry-On

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Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels, Carry-On 20-Inch, Charcoal

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Crew Classic Lightweight Softside Expandable Carry on Luggage, 8 Wheel Spinner Suitcase, Men and Women, Carry On 21-Inch, Patriot Blue

AMERICAN TOURISTER 4 KIX 2.0 Softside Expandable Luggage, Classic Blue, 28 Spinner

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Traveler's Choice Archer Polycarbonate Hardside Spinner Luggage Set, Tie Down Straps, Green, Checked 29-Inch

Archer Polycarbonate Hardside Spinner Luggage Set, Tie Down Straps, Green, Checked 29-Inch

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Luggage Sets 5 Piece, Expandable Luggage Set Clearance for Women, Suitcases with Wheels, Hardside Hard Shell Travel Luggage with TSA Lock (White, 5pcs)

Rockland Vara Softside 3-Piece Upright Luggage Set,Expandable, Black, (20/22/28)

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Travelers Club Richmond Spinner Luggage, Blue, Carry-On 20-Inch

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Samsonite Hardside Spinner Wheel Luggage, Silver, 2-Piece Set

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U.S. Traveler Rio Rugged Fabric Expandable Carry-on Luggage Set, Black, 2 Wheel, Set of 2

U.S. Traveler

Rio rugged fabric expandable carry-on luggage set, black, 2 wheel, set of 2.

SwissGear 7366 Hardside Expandable Luggage with Spinner Wheels, Green, Checked-Medium 23-Inch

7366 Hardside Expandable Luggage with Spinner Wheels, Green, Checked-Medium 23-Inch

Coolife Suitcase Set 3 Piece Luggage Set Carry On Hardside Luggage with TSA Lock Spinner Wheels (White, 5 piece set)

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Luggage Sets 3 Piece, Carry On Luggage 20 Inch With Spinner Wheels,PC Hardside Suitcase Set with TSA Lock,Durable Carry On Suitcase With Travel Backpack for Men Women(Black Brown)

American Tourister Cascade Hardside Expandable Luggage Wheels, Slate Blue, 24-Inch Spinner

Cascade Hardside Expandable Luggage Wheels, Slate Blue, 24-Inch Spinner

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travel suitcase 50

I crammed 10 days of outfits for work & play into just a carry-on suitcase – but my hack helped me sneak four bags on

  • Caitlin Hornik , Night News Editor
  • Published : 7:38 ET, Jun 15 2024
  • Updated : 7:38 ET, Jun 15 2024

PACKING for a trip to another country isn't always a walk in the park - especially when you need 10 days of outfits and only have a carry-on to work with.

On a recent trip from New York to London, I had to find a way to get everything I needed across the pond - and came up with a clever hack.

On a recent trip from New York to London, I had a normal-sized carry-on suitcase and a personal item to work with

My luggage for the trip consisted of a standard carry-on suitcase, an accompanying tote bag, and a garment bag.

But I was packing for a variety of adventures, including work and a wedding, which complicated matters.

I hadn't paid to check a bag, so I was relying only on the airline's standard carry-on and personal item allowance.

So how was I going to fit a floor-length gown into my tiny carry-on and still manage to fit my work outfits and other necessities?


travel suitcase 50

Clever 'plus-one' trick to always flying with just hand luggage

travel suitcase 50

Fuss-free way to get everything in hand luggage without packing cubes or rolling

Somehow I managed to get everything on my list - including three pairs of shoes, the gown, and a laptop - over to London , thanks to a clever hack .


For starters, I made a packing list weeks in advance, adding to it when I came across a must-bring item or dress in my closet.

From there, I was able to strategically plan outfits for each day, making notes of what to wear when depending on my schedule and planned events.

This also helped me avoid overpacking as I scheduled my itinerary and largely knew what activities to expect during my stay.

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I mostly stuck to dresses, as they were much easier to roll up and sort into packing cubes than pants and shirts.

Clothing-wise, I packed into my suitcase:

  • Seven dresses
  • One jumpsuit
  • A two-piece skirt set
  • Denim jacket
  • Three-piece athleisure set
  • Two tank tops
  • Two pairs of shorts
  • Pair of leggings
  • One pair of jeans
  • One pair of heels
  • One pair of sneakers
  • One pair of sandals
  • All other necessary garments

The other side of my suitcase held accessories, including a curling iron, a tote bag for work, a fascinator, a notebook, and some toiletries.

Then, my garment bag had:

  • One floor-length gown
  • A two-piece pink suit

And my personal item - a medium-sized tote - was stuffed to the brim with toiletries, make-up , snacks , my laptop, and a small purse.

The bag-within-a-bag trend was strong this trip, as it usually is whenever I travel - and which is how I managed to avoid checking a suitcase.

How big can my carry-on suitcase be?

While the TSA doesn't have set rules pertaining to carry-on luggage, the FAA has said most airlines abide by a maximum size carry-on bag of 45 linear inches (the total of the height, width, and depth of the bag combined). But airlines can also set their own restrictions on both carry-on and personal items.

  • American Airlines: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (carry-on) & 18 x 14 x 8 inches (personal item)
  • Delta: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (carry-on) & no dimensions for personal item, but has to fit under the seat in front of you
  • United: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (carry-on) & 17 x 10 x 9 inches (personal item)
  • JetBlue: 22 x 14 x 9 inches (carry-on) & 17 x 13 x 8 inches (personal item)
  • Southwest: 24 x 16 x 10 inches (carry-on) & no dimensions for personal item, but has to fit under the seat in front of you

I knew I needed to travel with my gown in my garment bag, as it was going to take up too much room in my suitcase and I wouldn't have been able to fit everything else in.

But naturally, I was panicked at the thought of having that in addition to my suitcase and tote bag, knowing I was only allowed two items.

That's when I realized my garment bag zipped all the way around into a duffle-style bag.

So by zipping it up to create a bag of its own, I was able to tuck my tote inside to have it appear as though I only had a suitcase and a personal item.

And it totally worked.

I arrived at the airport and went straight to security, as I didn't need to check a bag.

Once I got through and arrived at my gate, I knew I'd made it without issue.

The same plan worked for my return flight - even when I was summoned to the airline's check-in desk before security for a passport check, I made it through with my oversized personal item unscathed.

Relying on packing cubes to sort outfits made the process easier

My plan was clever, though I had to be sneaky in approaching the counters when summoned to show my passport.

I did wind up having to gate-check my carry-on for the flight to London - but the fact that I didn't have to pay to do so was a huge win.

Overall, I managed to wear everything once except for one dress and the two-piece skirt set.

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Some items, like my jeans and sneakers, saw way more use than I was anticipating.

I was thrilled with everything I packed, the strategy I used to cram it all into my bags, and the hack that made it possible to avoid bag fees.

My gown made it to London without issue in my garment bag

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  • At the airport

Checked bag policy

Checked bag allowances.

Changes to bag allowances and fees have been updated as of February 20, 2024.

Travel within / between the U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands – 1st checked bag fee is $40 ($35 if you pay online) and the 2nd checked bag fee is $45.

Travel to / from Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and Guyana – 1st checked bag fee is $35 and the 2nd checked bag fee is $45.

All bag fees are non-refundable and apply per person, at each check-in location, each way, even if you purchase or get an upgrade that includes free checked bags. If you believe you've been incorrectly charged for bag fees, contact an American representative for help or file a refund claim within 45 days.

  • Bag limitations
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Checked bags

How many bags can you take?

Check up to 10 bags on american airlines operated flights if your trip is:.

  • Transatlantic
  • Transpacific

Check up to 5 bags on American-operated flights if you’re traveling to / through / from:

  • Mexico / Caribbean / Central America*
  • South America*
  • Bag regions

*There are seasonal and year-round bag restrictions

We calculate the size limits of your bag by adding the total outside dimensions of each bag, length + width + height.

For all regions, except to / from Australia or New Zealand, your checked bag allowance is:

  • Dimension: 62 in / 158 cm
  • Weight: 50 lbs / 23 kgs
  • For First / Business, weight is 70 lbs / 32 kgs for complimentary bags and 50 lbs / 23 kgs for excess charged bags

For all confirmed customers on flights to / from Australia or New Zealand:

  • Weight: 70 lbs / 32kgs for complimentary bags and 50 lbs / 23 kgs for excess charged bags
  • Oversize and overweight bags

What it will cost

In some cases, you won't have to pay the fees for up to 3 bags when traveling on itineraries marketed and operated by American Airlines. If you qualify for complimentary bags based on your AAdvantage ® status or one world ® status, the benefits are based on your highest status level at time of ticketing or check-in.

If your status level is:

  • Higher at ticketing than at check-in, show your ticket receipt to the airport agent
  • Lower at ticketing than at check-in, current benefits will automatically apply

Free checked bags may not apply to codeshare flights operated by our partners. Visit the website of the airline operating your flight for details.

Other airlines

1st checked bag is complimentary for:

  • Eligible AAdvantage ® Aviator ® and Citi ® / AAdvantage ® cardmembers (on domestic American Airlines operated itineraries)
  • AAdvantage Gold ® status
  • GOL Diamond Smiles members
  • oneworld ® Ruby

or when traveling to these destinations:

  • El Salvador*
  • New Zealand^
  • South Korea^
  • Transatlantic*

*Excluding Basic Economy

^Excluding Basic Economy for tickets issued on / after June 7, 2023

1st and 2nd checked bags are complimentary for:

  • AAdvantage Platinum ® status
  • one world ® Sapphire members
  • Confirmed Domestic First customers
  • Confirmed Business customers
  • Confirmed Premium Economy customers

1st, 2nd and 3rd checked bags are complimentary for:

  • Confirmed Flagship ® First and Flagship ® Business Plus customers*
  • AAdvantage Executive Platinum ® status
  • AAdvantage Platinum Pro ® status
  • one world ® Emerald
  • Active U.S. military and / or dependents with ID traveling on orders (1st - 5th bags free of charge)**
  • Active U.S. military with ID on personal travel**

*Applicable only to Flagship ® First International, Flagship ® First Transcontinental and Flagship ® Business Plus. AAdvantage Executive Platinum ® status, AAdvantage Platinum Pro ® status and oneworld ® Emerald members traveling in Flagship ® First may check a 4th bag at no charge

**Free checked bags apply when traveling on American marketed and operated itineraries. Free checked bags don't apply to codeshare flights operated by our partners.

Save time, pay online

Don’t wait in line at the airport – get the best price available and check up to 3 bags when you check-in on or in the app.

Pay for your checked bags online within 24 hours of departure and receive the best price available for travel on domestic flights within and between the U.S., including Hawaii and Alaska, and select markets in the Caribbean and Central America.

For tickets issued on / after February 20, 2024, save $5 on the 1st checked bag fee for travel within and between the U.S., including Hawaii and Alaska, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.

For more information about paying for your bags online, visit our customer service FAQs.

Customer service FAQs

All published bag fees apply at each check-in location and are base rates according to travel dates and destination; applicable taxes are not shown.

All bag fees are non-refundable and apply per person, each way, even if you buy or get an upgrade that includes free checked bags. If you believe you were incorrectly charged for bag fees, contact an American representative for help or file a refund claim within 45 days.

^Main Plus includes 1 extra free checked bag in addition to the Main Cabin allowance (max of 2)

^^A $30 1st checked bag fee and a $40 2nd checked bag fee applies for tickets issued on / before February 19, 2024. A $40 1st checked bag fee ($35 if paid online) and a $45 2nd checked bag fee applies within / between the U.S. (including HI / AK), Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands for tickets issued on / after February 20, 2024. Otherwise, a $35 1st checked bag fee and a $45 2nd checked bag fee applies for tickets issued on / after February 20, 2024.

*Free bag excludes Basic Economy: For Basic Economy travel to / from Haiti, a $30 1st bag fee applies for tickets issued on / before February 19, 2024 and a $35 1st bag fee applies for tickets issued on / after February 20, 2024. For Basic Economy travel to/from Panama / Colombia / Ecuador / Peru a $45 1st bag fee applies. For Basic Economy travel to / from South America (excluding Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname) a $45 1st bag fee applies for tickets issued on / before September 19, 2023 and a $60 1st bag fee applies for tickets issued on / after September 20, 2023. For Transatlantic Basic Economy travel, a $75 1st bag fee applies. For Transpacific Basic Economy travel for tickets issued on / after June 7, 2023 a $75 1st bag fee applies and for tickets issued on / before June 6, 2023 there is no 1st bag fee.

**For travel to / from Panama and South America (except Guyana and Suriname), a $65 2nd bag fee applies for tickets issued on / before September 19, 2023 and a $100 2nd bag fee applies for tickets issued on / after September 20, 2023.

Flights departing Canada

Find out how much you'll pay for checked bags and other fees on roundtrip and one-way flights departing Canada, displayed in CAD.

Bag and optional fees - Canada

If your region isn’t listed, we can still help:

  • Reservations and ticket changes

Through checked bags

We only through check bags if all your tickets are in the same reservation and you’re connecting to another American Airlines or one world ® flight.

Each passenger traveling to Cuba may only check up to 2 bags* with a maximum weight of 70 lbs / 32 kgs per bag, plus 1 carry-on bag and 1 personal item.

  • Carry-on bags

*Seasonal exceptions apply to Havana, Cuba effective for travel on / after March 14, 2023

*For travel to Cuba, a $30 1st bag fee applies to Basic Economy and Main Cabin for tickets issued on / before September 19, 2023. For tickets issued on / after September 20, 2023 a $30 1st bag fee applies to Basic Economy and there is no 1st bag fee for Main Cabin. For tickets issued on / after February 20, 2024 a $35 1st bag fee applies to Basic Economy and there is no 1st bag fee for Main Cabin.

**For travel to Cuba, a $200 2nd bag fee applies seasonally for travel from November 16 – January 9. A $150 2nd bag fee applies otherwise. Excludes Main Plus for tickets issued on / after September 20, 2023.

^Main Plus includes 1 extra free checked bag in addition to the Main Cabin allowance (max of 2).

What else can you travel with?

  • Mobility and medical devices
  • Traveling with pets
  • Special items and sports equipment

Restricted items

There are some items that are only allowed in checked bags or your carry-on. Check to see how to pack and travel with restricted items.

Flying on a partner airline?

Find helpful information if your trip includes 1 or more flights with our partner airlines.

  • British Airways
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  • Qatar Airways

You may also like...

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CBS News

Most useful travel products on Amazon under $50

N ow that Memorial Day has passed and your summer travel plans are coming together, it's time to consider all the gear and goods you'll need to pack to make your summer travel easy and fun. 

We're not just talking about shirts and swimsuits for when you reach your destination. You'll also need gear for the traveling part -- think eye masks, phone adapters and holders, ear plugs and cleaning supplies 

All that new gear can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. To save you some cash, we've taken a trip through the virtual aisles of Amazon, searching for affordable travel necessities you'll need this summer but don't need to splurge on. You'll have extra room on your summer travel budget thanks to these travel products you can find on Amazon for under $50.

Useful necessities to upgrade your travel experience don't have to break the bank. We found reviewer-loved travel essentials that will seriously enhance your summer trip. 

  • The best rolling bag under $50 : Wrangler Wesley rolling duffel bag
  • Best accessory for in-flight entertainment: Avantree Relay Bluetooth adapter
  • Best packing organizers : Veken packing cubes
  • Best phone charger set for travel : Portable charger with built-in cables
  • The best mask for flying : Lightimetunnel Sleep Bluetooth-enabled mask and headphones
  • Best packing solution for shoes : JJ Power travel shoe bags
  • Best rain gear for light rain : Hood to Go portable hood travel accessory
  • Best travel beauty hack : Neutrogena makeup remover facial cleansing towelettes
  • The most useful in-flight phone mount : Perilogics universal in-flight phone holder mount
  • Best earplugs when flying red-eye : EarPlanes 3-pair earplugs

The best rolling bag under $50: Wrangler Wesley rolling duffel bag

Constructed with high-quality nylon, the Wrangler Wesley rolling duffel bag is built to withstand the rigors of frequent travel. Its lightweight design makes it easy to maneuver, while the heavy-duty blade wheel system ensures smooth rolling on any surface. The spacious main compartment provides ample room for packing and multiple additional zippered pockets offer convenient organization for smaller items. You can use it like a rolling suitcase or hold it like a duffel bag. The check-in suitcase size makes it ideal for longer trips or those who need extra storage capacity.

This 30-inch piece of luggage is available in black, charcoal gray, tannin and navy blue colors. Rated 4.3 stars.

The Wrangler Wesley rolling duffel bag is available at Amazon for $45.

Best accessory for in-flight entertainment: Avantree Relay airplane Bluetooth adapter

This device lets you enjoy movies in-flight with your own headphones or earbuds, thanks to its included dual adapter that fits any plane's audio jack. It works with any aux audio device and connects to Bluetooth headphones. Its impressive 20-hour battery life keeps you powered up, and you can use it while it charges.

The best part is that you can easily connect up to two devices, so you and your travel partner can watch shows and movies together in flight.

This Amazon pick has a 4.5-star rating from over 1,300 reviews. The Avantree Relay airplane adapter is available on Amazon for $40.

Best packing organizers: Veken packing cubes

After your first trip using packing cubes, you'll wonder how you traveled the world without them. This set includes a laundry bag and toiletry case, three packing cubes, an accessories bag, a shoe bag and an underwear bag. 

Each bag is made from durable thick fabric featuring sturdy two-way zippers. Each bag features transparent, breathable mesh panels that keep clothing fresh and visible. 

Packing cubes will spare you a suitcase full of wrinkled clothing while keeping your shoes and dirty clothing separate from all those clean outfits you have yet to wear.

This packing cube set is $25 at Amazon.

Best phone charger set for travel: Portable charger with built-in cables

This slim high-speed phone charger features four built-in charging cables for almost all types of devices, including iPhones , iPad tablets and Samsung phones . This charger has six outputs and three inputs, meaning you can charge up to six devices at the same time.

A travel necessity, this portable charger saves you the inevitable cable wad and lost chargers that seem to accompany one's family trip without fail.

This portable charger is $20 (reduced from $40). 

The best mask for flying: Lightimetunnel Sleep Bluetooth-enabled mask and headphones

You need this wireless music sleep headphones eye mask if you struggle to sleep in planes, trains, cars and beds that aren't your own. With a 3D ergonomic design and 100% light blocking, the mask is perfect for problem sleepers -- or if you just don't want to be disturbed on a flight. The machine-washable eye mask has an ultra-soft, breathable feel. Plus, the battery lasts over 10 hours for a full and peaceful night's sleep. 

The Lightimetunnel sleep Bluetooth-enabled mask and headphones are $23 at Amazon.

Best packing solution for shoes: JJ Power travel shoe bags

Don't want your dirty shoes to touch the clean clothes in your suitcase? We have a solution: these durable and functional travel shoe bags. Made with waterproof nylon, double stitching and two-way zippers, they're built to last. They offer ample space for your shoes, with an extra slot for slippers. Not just for travel, these versatile bags can be used for packing, organizing and even as laundry pouches.

These shoe bags are a must-have for any adventurer. Rated 4.6 stars.

JJ Power 2-pack travel shoe bags are available at Amazon for $10.

Best rain gear for light rain: Hood to Go portable hood travel accessory

Imagine this: you're at an amusement park or on a hike, enjoying your surroundings. Then, low and behold, a downpour occurs. What can you do? Well, this hood attaches to any jacket, or you can wear it on its own. It's a lot easier to handle than trying to open a cheap plastic poncho while it's raining.

There's a drawstring that you can adjust to protect you on windy days, and the hood is made from 100 percent water-resistant microfiber that can protect your hairstyle. Rated 4 stars on Amazon.

Hood to Go portable hood travel accessor is $29 at Amazon.

Best travel beauty hack: Neutrogena makeup remover facial cleansing towelettes

Did you know that travel can be rough on your skin? The air on the plane is drying, and the sweat and grime from being in close quarters can add up.

Washing your face with a travel-friendly face wipe can make you feel refreshed. Take off your makeup before you sleep on a flight, rejuvenate your skin in a gas station bathroom or cleanse your face right before you deplane. The ultra-soft, single-serving towelettes are made of plant-based compostable material. They'll make it through the TSA checkpoint and won't take up much space in your travel bag.

Neutrogena makeup remover facial cleansing towelettes are $7 at Amazon, reduced from $9.

The most useful in-flight phone mount: Perilogics universal in-flight phone holder mount

Not all airlines offer an in-seat TV these days -- travelers are increasingly expected to use their phones or tablets for in-flight entertainment. Luckily, the Perilogics universal in-flight phone mount is a versatile and practical accessory loved by over 500,000 travel enthusiasts on Amazon.

With a strong clamp, it securely attaches your phone to airline tables, luggage handles or gym equipment. Its dual joints and 360-degree rotation provide the perfect viewing angle. Compatible with various phone sizes.

Perilogics universal in-flight phone holder mount is $14 at Amazon. 

Best earplugs when flying red-eye: EarPlanes 3-pair earplugs

Do you struggle with ear discomfort on planes? These amazing earplugs are tested by U.S. Navy pilots and approved by flight attendants. They provide relief from air pressure discomfort, making your journey much more comfortable. Additionally, EarPlanes earplugs help reduce noise for a more peaceful travel experience.

This three-pack of EarPlanes earplugs for adults is available at Amazon for $19, reduced from $23.

Kids may struggle with ear pressure on planes even more than adults do. Pick up the children's version for all your littlest travelers.

EarPlanes 3-pair earplugs for kids are $19 at Amazon.


61 pounds of cocaine found in woman's luggage at Chicago airport

An Indiana woman has been taken into custody after authorities discovered 61 pounds of cocaine in her possession at a Chicago airport.

Officials with the Drug Enforcement Administration Chicago Division consensually searched luggage at Chicago Midway International Airport that allegedly belonged to 27-year-old Chania R. Logan from Indianapolis, according to a DEA press release. She and another individual, who was not publicly identified, had traveled to the city from Los Angeles.

Inside her luggage, authorities found 31 pounds of suspected cocaine.

More: Woman tried to board flight at Memphis Airport with 56 pounds of marijuana: Reports

Second person ran away from law enforcement

According to the DEA release, when officials tried to speak with the second individual, he fled the scene, leaving his two bags behind. In total, law enforcement seized 61.7 pounds of cocaine.

The woman, who was ordered to be on electronic monitoring by Judge William N. Fahy, was charged with controlled substances trafficking and possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver, authorities noted.

It's unclear how much the drugs found in the woman's luggage are worth, but in 2021, after arresting a woman who tried to smuggle 59.73 pounds of cocaine , California's El Centro Sector Border Patrol estimated the haul $948,000.

Memphis woman arrested with more than 50 pounds of marijuana in bags

Earlier this year, in April, a Memphis woman was caught with 56 pounds of marijuana in her luggage. She gave police permission to search her belongings that were "busted open" on a United Airlines cart.

The 21-year-old was charged with possession of a controlled substance with the intention to manufacture, deliver or sell.

Taylor Ardrey is a news reporter for USA TODAY. You can reach her at [email protected]

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I'm a Frequent Flier, and These 15 Genius Items Have Helped Me Outsmart Checked Bag Fees — From Just $10

Perfect the carry-on-only lifestyle with these game-changing gear and accessory picks.

Alesandra Dubin is an LA-based lifestyle writer and editor. As a veteran digital journalist, she's covered travel, food, parenting, and more for over 15 years. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, TripSavvy, and countless other online and print outlets. An avid traveler, she often trots the globe with her husband and their twins. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @alicedubin. Alesandra holds a master's degree in journalism with an emphasis on cultural reporting and criticism from NYU, and a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley.

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Travel + Leisure / Francesca Fasciglione

I’m a professional travel writer and devoted carry-on-only packer . I hardly have to explain why: It’s widely known that checked baggage fees can be exorbitantly expensive (and are on the rise ) — sometimes even rivaling the price of an a la carte seat. Beyond that, when you check your bag, you send it out into the unknown, where it can be marooned in some far-away city ( which actually happened to me ), subjected to theft, or altogether lost. Plus, I just like to have all my stuff with me at all times, should I need anything in a pinch (and I like using my carry-on as a perch that rolls my personal item bag through endless stretches of the airport so I don’t have to bear the weight).

Over years of experience and many thousands of miles, I’ve amassed a solid system of tools to help make my carry-on-only travel life happen. And there are a few more I’m eyeing to complete my inventory. The good news: All of my top carry-on essentials picks are available at Amazon, and most are on sale now, with a starting price point of just $10 . Here are the best carry-on luggage, backpacks, duffel bags, and other important packing travel accessories to lighten your load and help you skip those baggage fees.

Rockland London Hardside 20-inch Carry-on Spinner

Before we get into the travel accessories, let's make sure that your carry-on luggage is up to snuff. I’m not the only one in my family who goes carry-on-only: I expect my kids to do the same so we don’t end up paying those extra fees or waiting at the carousel (remember: a traveling family is only as streamlined at the airport as its weakest link). So I got these 20-inch spinners for my twins three years ago; they’ve traveled all around the world with us, and are still holding up great. These have four multidirectional spinner wheels, a telescoping handle with a push button, and interior mesh and zipper pockets. At six years old, my kids were big enough to handle a 20-inch spinner, and these are so much more practical and enduring than the juvenile character-shaped options.

Etronik Weekender Bag

If you're a fan of the Béis Weekender Bag like I am, then you'll love this version from Amazon-loved brand Etronik (which has a price point that's a fraction of what I paid for my Béis one — even in the brand’s warehouse sale). I like that it has a fully separate PVC-lined and vented compartment on the bottom for shoes or dirty clothes, plus it can be used as your sole luggage or an extra roomy personal item bag that you store under the plane seat. It also has a USB interface for easy phone charging on the go. This one is available in 28 colors (I have the pale pink version), and (unlike my Béis bag) it also comes with an extra matching pouch that can be used for toiletries or safeguarding your in-flight essentials. 

Matein Travel Laptop Backpack

Having noticed the impressive volume of five-star reviews from Amazon shoppers (nearly 80,500 and counting!), the Matein backpack seemed like a no-brainer purchase for my husband to use as a carry-on and personal item bag on international trips  — and he’s still traveling the world with it years later. This bag is all about thoughtful organization, with a separate laptop compartment, a hidden anti-theft pocket on the back, and a front compartment that's organized with pen pockets, a key fob hook, and more dedicated spaces. The back padding is thick, and the adjustable shoulder straps are sturdy and comfy. There’s also a built-in USB charger for staying charged up on the go. 

Wrangler Smart Carry-on Luggage With Cup Holder

To be a carry-on-only traveler, you have to get used to always having a piece of luggage with you at the airport. And that means coming up with successful strategies for making the most efficient use of the only two hands I have. That’s why I love that this carry-on roller bag has its own built-in cup holder for that must-have airport coffee. It also has a USB port and phone holder, creating a trifecta of useful features that make carry-on-only travel seamless and convenient. Plus, it boasts an expandable capacity and smooth-rolling multidirectional wheels.

Hanples Travel Backpack

The cool thing about this backpack is it opens all the way — like a suitcase — so you can get the benefits of traveling with a roller bag while reducing the risk you might have to check it if the overhead bins fill up. Even better news: It fits under the seat as a personal item, and weighs just 2.5 pounds. This bag also has a thick cushioned laptop compartment and an expandable design that gives you 5 liters of additional packing space, and there’s a port for a charging cable or headphones.

Coolife 3-piece Luggage Set

If you’re new to carry-on-only travel — or just want to overhaul all of your gear at once — I love this budget-friendly luggage set that covers all of the bases needed to keep you from checking a bag. It comes with a 20-inch spinner bag, a backpack, and a toiletry bag, all nicely matching (I think the white version with camel piping is super chic). The luggage features a TSA-approved lock and a fully lined interior divider for organization. And, the backpack has a sleeve that fits right over the trolly handle for seamlessly rolling through the airport. 

Lovevook Weekender Bag With Accessories

I like this structured weekender bag with a 30-liter capacity to use as a complement to a roller bag (or carried alone for a short trip); it has a sleeve that slides over a suitcase handle for hands-free bliss, and the main body is made with waterproof canvas with the bottom is enhanced with PU leather for added water resistance. It has a sturdy design with its shaping ribs and metal feet at the base for standing freely, which comes in handy when you're packing or trying to find something inside mid-flight. What's more, the main compartment features a wet pocket as well as useful tech sleeves, and the outside ones have zipper closures for essentials. 

Veken Packing Cube Set

Now that you have a quality carry-on bag, you'll need to stock up on important travel accessories. Organization is the key to carry-on-only packing, and packing cubes are a huge help in that effort. This affordable and highly reviewed set comes with eight unique pieces, including a shoe bag, a laundry bag, and a cosmetic bag in addition to the zippered, all-purpose cubes in various sizes. Mesh panels make it easy to see what’s inside each pouch at a glance so you only have to open the one you need.

Fyy Travel Cable Organizer

My tech essentials always stay with me under my seat because I’m typically using both my laptop and my phone in flight (I even keep my Apple Watch charger with me to keep the battery full for the following day on overnight flights). I had a fancy, gimmicky tech organizer before this one, but it was too fussy to be useful — so I bought myself this simple, practical, and compact case at an impulse-buy price to replace it. It does the trick perfectly with its spacious and see-through mesh panels, smooth zippers, and forgiving expandability for tech over-packers (guilty). 

Amasuki Multifunction USB Charger

Speaking of overpacking tech cables, there’s a better way to travel with everything I need without jumbled cords taking up precious luggage space: This multifunction cable supports simultaneous charging of three devices, and eliminates the need for fussing with multiple charging cubes — especially in a confined situation like an airplane seat with limited ports. Mix and match as needed to charge your iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and other devices without packing unnecessary extra bulk so you can stay streamlined in a carry-on-only situation.

Cadence Capsules

If you follow my coverage, you already know I swear by these game-changing capsules that keep all of my toiletries secure and organized — and in the most aesthetic, streamlined way possible. The set comes with individual magnetic cases that attach in a honeycomb pattern to the others, each clearly labeled with its contents. You can keep all your TSA-approved liquids in your carry-on without any risk of leaking (freeing up serious space in your toiletry bag for other essentials). I use mine not just for toiletries but for other essentials I want to keep with me, including delicate jewelry and medications. 

Amazon is stocked with other travel-friendly sets to safely transport your toiletries — like the leak-proof Bpluma Travel Bottles that are just $10 and perfect for shampoo, conditioner, and more. If you're looking for something more stackable and versatile like my favorite Cadence capsules, opt for the Cosywell Small Travel Containers . 

Bagsmart Hanging Toiletry Case

My husband and I both have one of these toiletry cases, which have a smart feature: a hook, so you can hang it in a small space like, say, an airplane lavatory to get freshened up on the go without your stuff rolling everywhere. Its transparent pouches allow you to see contents inside at a glance, and tons of zippers keep everything organized and any potential leaks well contained.

Hibag Compression Bags Set

This set of 12 compression bags is handy when you’re going carry-on-only and need to make every square inch of suitcase real estate count. They have the space-saving effect of vacuum sealing (though you don’t need an actual vacuum to draw the air out) with the promise of freeing up to 80 percent of luggage room. I’ve yet to try this strategy myself, but I’m intrigued — and inspired to give it a shot based on the more than 36,000 five-star Amazon ratings.

Ododos Belt Bag

When I’m only traveling with a carry-on, I have my hands full. And that means that I need to have my most essential items — like my passport, phone, and credit card — easily accessible lest I keep any airport lines from bottlenecking. That’s why I often travel with a nifty belt bag , which I usually wear across my chest so I can keep my eyes on it and away from would-be pickpockets (note: it also works as a waist or shoulder bag). This one is durable, water-resistant, and so affordable. And it comes in more than 40 colors to match any travel wardrobe style. 

Amazon Basics Packable Duffel Bag

Even when I’m packing super compactly for carry-on-only travel, I accept the possibility that I might come home with more than I left with — whether that’s travel souvenirs or bulky materials from a work trip. This 100 percent nylon bag folds flat, packs down small, and weighs nearly nothing (though it has a 50-pound capacity to bring back any overflow items). Packing one of these means always having options — and “options” is my favorite packing strategy in one word.

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A group of luggage on wheels

What’s the best part of the summer? There’s tough competition, but we’d say it’s  summer vacation .

Sure, vacation has to go up against ice cream, swimming pools, the ocean, nice temperatures, backyard barbecues, popsicles, fireworks, burgers, brats, hotdogs, cold beer, cold soda, cold water, July 4th, and Labor Day…but here’s the secret: you can actually enjoy most of these things  while you’re on summer vacation .

Summer vacay simply amplifies all the great parts of summer we just listed above by imbuing them with a sense of adventure. Plus maybe you’ll be by the ocean or palm trees, or something summery like that. Regardless, if you’re traveling, you’ll want to have the right equipment to do so.

Enter the  Tripcomp Luggage Sets 4-Piece Suitcase Set , available for a whopping $300 off today from Walmart.

Lightweight, durable, and made from hardshell materials, this 4-piece set from Tricomp includes four locking bags of different sizes, ranging from carry-on to super-size suitcases, all of which amount to just under $100 today at Walmart.

Tripcomp Luggage 4-Piece Suitcase Set

Tripcomp Luggage Sets 4 Piece Suitcase Set

The Tripcomp Luggage 4-Piece Suitcase Set offers sleek, durable travel solutions for every journey. Crafted with high-quality materials, each piece ensures reliability and style. With ample storage space and smooth-rolling wheels, navigating through bustling airports becomes effortless. Elevate your travel experience with Tripcomp, where functionality meets sophistication.

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