Choosing the Best Carry On Luggage

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There are so many different brands, styles and types of carry on luggage that it can be hard to know which bag/case is best (or which one is right for you).

People often ask what the best carry on luggage is. The best carry on luggage (as with most things) is fulfills your needs and requirements.

Do you want your luggage to look pretty? Does it need to have wheels? What size does it need to be? What will you be carrying in it? Answering these questions will help you make a start.

As more and more airlines now charge you for checking bags, there is a need for carry on luggage bags to be lighter and more spacious than ever (as to avoid these checking fees).

On this page we’ll take a look at the different types of carry on luggage out there as well as each of their pros and cons in a bid to find the best carry on luggage out there.


BackpacksThe backpack is the trademark of the traveler, and for good reason, as a solid backpack can make carrying a heavy load on your back a more manageable task as it’ll help to cleverly distribute the weight across your body.


  • Backpacks can be extremely comfortable (if worn properly).
  • They allow you to have both of your hands free whilst wearing them (something that most forms of carry on luggage don’t permit).
  • They typically have lots of different pockets and compartments, meaning you can divide up and organize your items (making it easy to find things in a hurry).
  • Backpacks are versatile and can be used for lots of different occasions (such as when you go hiking).


  • Backpacks lack wheels. As you carry your heavy backpack through an airport you’ll inevitably grow jealous of all the people who are whizzing through with their rolling suitcases.
  • Backpacks aren’t the most fashionable looking items.

Duffle Bags

Duffle bagFor those who are carrying large items short distances, duffle bags are perhaps the best carry on luggage you can buy (when you consider the price). They are fine to carry from the tour bus to the hotel and back again (for example), but over long distances they become extremely uncomfortable to carry.


  • Very spacious.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Lightweight.
  • Great for carrying larger items (such as sporting equipment).


  • Uncomfortable to carry for an extended period of time.
  • Clothes kept in a duffle bag will crease easily.

Tote Bags

Tote bagIf you’re looking for compact and lightweight carry on luggage that’s also fashionable, a tote bag might be the perfect thing for you.


  • Tote bags are the best carry on luggage for those that want a small and stylish accompaniment to their main luggage.
  • Tote bags can be extremely stylish, and many top designers have taken to designing tote bags.


  • Their size. You’ll only be able to fit in a small amount of items. This means that you’ll probably have to check in another bag as your ‘main’ luggage if you plan on traveling with a tote bag.
  • Fashionable/Designer tote bags are expensive.

Rolling Suitcases

Rolling SuitcasesRolling suitcases traditionally have two wheels at the bottom and a long, extendable handle with which to pull the suitcase along with. Rolling carry on luggage is perhaps the most popular kind for those who fly often, as they’re easy to use however old or strong you are.


  • These kinds of suitcases can be extremely well built and can last for many years.
  • The wheels on the bottom make traversing airports an absolute breeze.
  • The sizes of rolling suitcases varies greatly, but because of their rectangular shape you can find relatively small cases that still offer a surprising amount of room inside.
  • It’s easy to fold clothes inside them and avoid having them creased.


  • They’re strictly holiday/business luggage and not designed for travelers. The wheels (because they’re small) won’t work well on surfaces are not flat (such as muddy roads).
  • They are difficult to carry.
  • They can be expensive (although they do typically have a long lifespan).

Rolling Backpacks/Duffle Bags

Rolling BackpackThese are perhaps the least common type of carry on luggage at the moment, but they seem to be increasing in popularity (perhaps due to their versatility).

A rolling duffle bag or backpack is (as the name suggests) just a duffle bag/backpack with wheels attached to the bottom and a handle at the top.

The aim is to give you the benefits of rolling carry on luggage whilst also having a backpack to wear.

Although this aim is a noble one, in reality rolling duffle bags/backpacks don’t work out as intended. Why? Putting wheels and a handle on these bags makes them A LOT heavier (making them difficult to carry on your back – which is why rolling duffle bags are better than rolling backpacks). When you take away this benefit, you’ll soon realize that you’re much better off getting a rolling suitcase.


  • In theory, you have the advantages of being able to carry your bag or wheel it along.


  • Adding on wheels and a handle makes the bag extremely heavy when carrying.
  • The wheels are typically small, so do not work well on uneven surfaces (such as cobblestone roads).

Where’s the Best Place to Buy Carry On Luggage?

There are dozens of luggage stores (both online and offline) where you can buy these different kinds of bags listed above. Here are a few of the best:

Amazon – Everyone knows Amazon and the quality they offer, so it comes as no surprise that they’re a great place to buy carry on luggage bags from. One of the best things about Amazon is the endless list of customer reviews each item has, which can be extremely helpful when making and evaluating a purchase.

Luggage Online – Luggage Online is one of most popular online luggage stores, and it’s easy to see why. They have a huge range of products and guarantee the cheapest prices on carry on luggage anywhere online.

eBags – The cleverly named eBags store has a great range of discount carry on luggage that’s well worth checking out.

Related posts:

  1. How to Travel With Only a Carry-On Sized Bag

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