As is typical for most purchases these days, people have a lot of OPINIONS about what makes an excellent carry-on. “It’s got to have lots of pockets for easy access to all my stuff!” “It needs to be able to squish into the overhead.” “No! It needs to be indestructible so I can manhandle it as I travel all over the globe.” Some folks (most of us) go strictly utilitarian – black, has wheels, fits in the overhead, done! For others, fashion is paramount. Here’s our rather unscientific shortlist of the 5 Best Carry-on Bags of the year.
1. Best Budget Carry-on
It has more than 33,000 positive reviews on Amazon, comes in a few bright colors, and has a sturdy, simple design, guaranteed to keep you moving on your travels. Try the Amazon Basics 21-inch Hardside Spinner.
2. Best Carry-on for Backpackers
The 45-liter Setout backpack from Tortuga opens like a suitcase. If you plan on a one-bag trip, this is a great option that abides by all carry-on size requirements. Not only does the interior offer great packing space, but there are plenty of zipper pouches—three on the exterior and a sizable laptop pouch on the interior—for storing shoes, toiletries, and tech accessories. There is also a Velcro compartment that holds the backpack straps when they’re not in use, which is a nice touch when you’re storing this bag.
3. Best Underseat Carry-on
A weekender is a perfect choice for the traveler who prefers to keep the carry-on where you can reach it. The nylon makes it easy to keep clean, and it’s full of roomy pockets for all your organizing needs. Bonus: it’s a bargain at Target – just $79.99.
4. Best for Business/Leisure Hybrid Travelers
The lightweight, sleek 20” LEVEL8 Road Runner has an innovative, padded front pocket that perfectly fits a 15.6 inch laptop. It also comes with a charging port and built-in TSA locks for international travel.
5. Best For Drama-Free Fashionistas
The Wanderer Cabin Suitcase is low-key luxe, for travelers who like the finer things without attracting too much attention. It comes in 5 different supple, cow-leather options, with a 3-level telescopic handle, 360-degree multidirectional spinner wheels, metal hardware, roomy interior, and all the jetsetter attitude money can buy.