Whether you choose to criss-cross the country now via plane or make the journey via road, it is important to plan the right luggage to take on board for your next trip. Not all carry-on bags are created equally, and that difference is highlighted more when traveling internationally since many airlines weigh (or size) bags brought into the cabin differently than U.S. airlines. These are some of the best options for those planning 2021 adventures.
Briggs & Riley Sympatico Domestic Carry-On Expandable Spinner
The Sympatico line from Briggs & Riley is universally popular and a best seller for the company. That comes as no surprise given the durability of these shiny, easy-to-roll bags that fit comfortably into airline carry-on sizing units. The Sympatico Domestic Carry-On Expandable Spinner’s Polycarbonate material protects the contents well while its large and sturdy wheels glide across any surface. Best of all, it has an expandable section that can enlarge the capacity of the bag with just one zip. The $569 bag (sometimes discounted online) comes with a lifetime warranty plus the ability to get bigger as you go, making it the perfect bag for travelers that always return with more than they started.
Briggs & Riley Delve Convertible Brief
This professional carry-on bag easily converts from a soft-sided briefcase to a backpack with built-in straps hidden in a zippered compartment. Inside the Briggs & Riley Delve Convertible Brief, there’s space to keep a laptop and paperwork secure. Small pockets keep valuables separated from other things with a larger compartment to store chargers, toiletries, and other carry-on necessities. The bag is ideal for frequent travelers and retails for $289 online.
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The North Face Rolling Thunder 22-inch Carry-On
In multiple colors, The North Face Rolling Thunder 22-inch Carry-On bag has a hard-shell exterior on one side to protect valuable items. On top, its soft shell allows it to expand depending on the amount of space you need. This also helps it to more easily squeeze into tight spaces on an airplane or in the trunk of a vehicle. The $269 bag has two large wheels to roll easily across any surface with a retractable handle as well as top and side handles. There’s an internal mesh pocket for organized packing as well as two exterior pockets for quick, grab-and-go items.
The North Face Base Camp Duffel
Part duffel bag, part backpack, this versatile carry-on bag fits easily into most airline “sizers” while not skimping on interior storage space. If you’re not a “rolling-bag” kind of traveler, this is a great alternative. The duffel bag comes in six sizes from extra small to “extra, extra large,” but only the smallest two are recommended as a dependable carry-on bag, however. As long as it’s not overstuffed, its soft size allows it to squeeze into overhead compartments easily, its main compartment has a zippered mesh pouch to easily organize your items.
TUMI Expandable Organizer Laptop Brief
Keep your paperwork and electronics organized while also having room in your briefcase for small travel items like toiletries, power banks, and snacks. Exterior pockets separate things like pens, keys, coins, and glasses from the rest of your gear. One of the pockets has a water-resistant lining so that you can keep expensive devices like a phone protected. The bag, which can be carried as a briefcase or over the shoulder via detachable strap, comes in a variety of colors with the option to add a monogram for that special gift touch. The $525 TUMI Expandable Organizer Laptop Brief easily fits underneath airplane seats or in the overhead bin. And like any great carry-on bag, a pouch on the back of the bag allows it to slide over rolling carry-on bags.
The Carry-On: Aluminum Edition from Away
This carry-on bag from Away turns heads thanks to its sleek and shiny aluminum exterior. It comes in four colors with a fifth, limited-edition bag, in a partnership with premium audio brand Master & Dynamic, featuring a custom sound wave lining and rich tan leather accents. It retails for $525, and Away is donating 100 percent of net proceeds from the limited-edition bag to MusiCares, a non-profit organization supporting the music community. With easy-spinning, 360-degree wheels that roll easily on any smooth surface, interior pockets and dual TSA locks, this is a great, carry-on bag for travelers.
The Pet Carrier from Away
If you’re bringing Fido along for the flight, Away has a new bag that will keep your four-legged loved one comfortable. The Pet Carrier comes in two colors and slides conveniently over a roll-aboard bag. The $225 bag can also be carried as a duffel bag, and inside, there is a soft Sherpa bedding liner and a safety collar clip. An exterior pocket is a great place to store any required documentation to show the airlines for pet travel or medication for your small travel companion. Owners can also monogram the bag as an added touch.
Victorinox Airox Global Hardside Carry-on
This is the Swiss brand’s lightest carry-on bag yet weighing in at 5.1 pounds with a capacity of 33 liters. Two dividing walls inside the bag help to keep contents organized while the hard-shell, Polycarbonate exterior shields your belongings from any bumps and bruises along the way. The four-wheel spinner is easy to slide across any surface, and its lightweight size (and compact shape) make it ideal for carrying onto the plane.
Victorinox Lexicon Framed Series Frequent Flyer Hardside Carry-On
For maximum security with carry-on bags, the Lexicon Framed Series Frequent Flyer Hardside Carry-On features an aluminum shell and two TSA locks. The $575 bag comes in black or grey and has zippered compartments to keep a suit or business attire wrinkle-free and separated from the rest of your belongings. A pocket keeps small items within easy reach, and the high-quality wheels are effortless to push across both carpeting and hard surfaces.
DELSEY St. Tropez Carry-on EXP Spinner Upright
New for 2020 from DELSEY, the St. Tropez Collection brings a mix of European flair with four wheels to easily spin through and along any airport, train station, or city sidewalk. A large interior compartment features zippered pockets to keep things organized as well as compression straps to keep things from moving around. A favorite feature of this bag: its two shoe pockets to keep footwear from intermingling with other personal items. Weighing less than eight pounds, the bag comes in a variety of color combinations, and the Carry-on EXP Spinner Upright model boasts a ten-year warranty for its $400 price tag (often discounted online).
Source: Forbes – Business