Thrifty Traveler’s Top 5 Favorite Carry-On Bags
This guest post is written by Minneapolis based writers Ashlee Kronforst and Ryan Monk. You can find more of their writing on their blog Twice the Baggage.
Shopping for luggage can be stressful. There are a variety of brands and within the brands, there are different styles. We did the research for you to break down our 5 favorite carry-on luggage pieces.
In fact, members of the Thrifty Traveler staff have tried and tested many different carry-on bags over the years and these are the bags that made the final cut. Without further ado, here is our guide to the 5 best carry-on luggage pieces from least to most expensive.
Travelpro – Maxlite 5 International Spinner Suitcase
Weighing in at just 5.3 pounds Travelpro’s Maxlite International Spinner is one of the lightest carry-on luggage pieces out there. Reviewers rave about the durable handle, widely adjustable height options, as well as the quality of spinner wheels. The price for this piece, along with the quality, is the real selling point.
Travelpro was created by an ex-Northwest Airlines 747 pilot who thought there had to be a better option for carry-on luggage. They are the brand that essentially created the 4 wheeled spinner luggage that we all know and love and what makes wheeling your bag down the aisle of an aircraft so much easier.
The Travelpro Maxlite 5 international spinner suitcase comes with a limited lifetime warranty which will cover defects of materials or workmanship of the bag. It will not cover wear or damage caused by abuse, mishandling, accidental damage, inappropriate selection, or carelessness caused by an airline or other common carriers. You can read more about the bag warranty here.
Cost: $118.99 at Amazon
Biaggi – Leggero 22″ Foldable Spinner Carry- On
The most unique carry-on luggage piece on this list is the Biaggi Leggero Foldable Spinner. If the name sounds familiar you’re most likely a fan of the show Shark Tank. The main selling point and unique feature here is the foldable aspect of the bag.
For those who have traveled abroad and stayed in a small hotel room, you will understand the importance of this feature. Simply unpack and tuck away your luggage, especially important once you arrive home.
As a Bonus, included in your purchase is a complimentary signature Biaggi storage bag to keep your carry-on bag clean when not in use. Further, the bag meets all TSA carry on restrictions and comes with a 10-year warranty. You can read more about Biaggi’s warranty here.
Cost: $159.99 at Amazon
Away – The Carry-On
Have you ever been stuck waiting for your flight, phone battery diminishing, and no outlets in sight? Fret no more, your Away carry-on luggage has a built-in battery specifically for your phone charging needs. Consequently, we think of the Away carry-on as a “smart” suitcase, but you can also pick up the bag without the built-in battery.
A favorite of many on the Thrifty Traveler staff, the Away carry-on has an unbreakable polycarbonate shell, TSA-approved combination lock, and hidden laundry bag. Lastly, Away allows you to test the piece for up to 100 days with a money back guarantee.
The most appealing part of the Away carry-on bag is the lifetime warranty it offers. It will cover cracks or breaks in the shell, wheels, handles, or telescoping handles that break off and are no longer usable, zippers that can no longer be opened or closed and fabric tears that render front pocket fabric non-functional. You can read more about the lifetime warranty offered by Away here.
From an upfront cost and warranty perspective, you are going to be hardpressed to find a better value than the Away Carry-On bag.
Cost: $225 at Away
Thrifty Tip: Use our link to get an additional $20 off this bag, bringing the price down to $205.
Briggs & Riley – Baseline International Carry-On Expandable Wide-Body Spinner
Briggs & Riley has two main selling points and justifications for the high price. Their unconditional lifetime guarantee and their patented compression-expansion technology.
Yes, you may see other brands with a lifetime warranty, but Briggs & Reily sets themselves apart with their statement of “if your bag is ever broken or damaged, we will repair it free of charge, no proof of purchase needed, no questions asked.” Basically, whether you damage your suitcase, or the airline does, it will be fixed free of charge.
Additionally, you don’t even need to send the bag back to Briggs & Reily. You can bring it into any authorized Briggs & Riley dealer worldwide and they will fix it for free. For a full list of authorized dealers, click here.
Another notable feature of Briggs & Riley is the patented compression-expansion technology. You pack your suitcase to overflowing, zip it up, and simply push down to compress all of the air out, drastically increasing the storage capacity of the bag. Lastly, the handle is on the outside of the bag which is unique and allows for more packing room for your items.
Cost: $549 at Amazon
Tumi Alpha 2 – 4 Wheeled International Carry-On
Coming in with the highest upfront price point is the Tumi Alpha 2 – 4 Wheeled International Carry-On carry-on. Tumi is well known and respected for being built with the highest detail to quality. Tumi’s audience has historically been frequent business travelers but has been expanding to those wanting more quality and willing to pay for it.
Two unique features for Tumi are their free personalization options as well as their Tumi tracer. Tumi tracer is a 20-digit unique individual product number that is permanently affixed to the product to assist you in finding lost and/or stolen items. Other features include a built-in suit compartment, hanger bracket, passport pocket, and ticket pocket.
Tumi products come with a 5-year limited warranty for things like handles, zippers, and wheels. You can bring the bag into any Tumi store worldwide and they will fix them no questions asked. You can read more about Tumi’s warranty here.
While this bag has the highest upfront cost of any bag on the list, you can often pick up Tumi products for 40% off by stacking a few deals. During their semi-annual sales, there are usually great opportunities to stack the sale with a cashback offer like the one we recently featured. If you can hold out until the next semi-annual sale, you might be able to grab this bag for $370 which is a much easier price point to digest for a quality bag.
Cost: $625 at Amazon
As you can see there are quality carry-on luggage pieces to fit every budget. Each piece noted has a unique feature that may or may not spark your interest.
Be sure to weigh your pros and cons when purchasing, as you want to be comfortable with your choice while traveling. We recommend using only carry-on’s as much as possible. It will save you money and time, and it is the reason that picking the right bag is so important.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.</