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The Carry-On Suitcases We Use for Every Trip

Updated: Aug 27, 2021

At Just Packed, we know a carry-on suitcase purchase is not to be taken lightly. Of all the luggage in your collection, your carry-on is arguably the most important of all. It's going to put in more work than your personal item bag, and unlike your checked luggage, it'll be by your side throughout your entire journey.

Your carry-on is your ride-or-die travel partner, and it's important to find one that suits your travel style. Are you team hardside or softside? Checked bag or carry-on only? Monochrome set or mix and match?

Regardless, some items on your carry-on checklist should simply be non-negotiable. It needs to be spacious but within the permitted size limit (check luggage allowance specifics for the airlines you fly most frequently, and remember domestic and international rules can differ); lightweight (so you can bring more shoes, obviously); durable (so you can chuck it into the overhead compartment without fear); and cute (because you won't avoid being spotted together).

Of all the carry-on fish in the sea, here are the two bags we can't travel without.

Pick #1 for Best Carry-On Sized Suitcase: Tumi International 21" Carry-On

international 21 inch carry-on suitcase in navy from tumi

When it comes to investing in a suitcase that will never let you down (or go out of style), you can't go wrong with Tumi. If you're a hardside luggage person, Tumi's polycarbonate shells not only look sleek, they're made to last. (And here's a secret: while they're certainly not cheap, you can often find them on sale at Nordstrom Rack!)

A carry-on has to be able to move with you, and the International 21" Carry-On has four 360-degree-swivel wheels that make navigating through a dauntingly huge airport terminal or hauling it into a taxi surprisingly easy. Plus, it has multiple interior pockets — a rarity among hardside cases — keeping your clothes organized and compressed so you can maximize space. All this while complimenting your airport outfit with a glossy, navy blue finish. What more could you ask for?

Pick #2 for Best Carry-On Sized Suitcase: The Bigger Carry-On from AWAY

the bigger carry-on suitcase in dark green from away travel

So, it's been forever since you upgrade your carry-on suitcase. You've been using your old carry-on until it's on its last legs, pulling it with force through the airport—not because you love it, but because you don't believe a new carry-on will significantly change your life. We've been there... but you're wrong. The Bigger Carry-On Suitcase from AWAY has changed our suitcase game. It can easily fit a week's worth of winter outfits and a couple pairs of shoes without fear of the bag exploding. It's lighter than it looks, making it a breeze to zip through security and to the terminal—or just downstairs and into the cab.

If you're trying to decide between the Bigger Carry-On or the normal Carry-On size from AWAY, go with the former. While the smaller size can fit in most overhead compartments (and the larger occasionally has to be checked beneath the plane), it's way less versatile. We've brought the Bigger Carry-On on two-day work trips as well as longer visits back home for the holidays and international excursions. As for the specific color, we love the dark forest green style; it's easier to spot among the hoards of black bags belonging to other passengers.


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