Carry-On Confidante: 11 Tips for Choosing the Best Carry-On Luggage

By | December 8, 2023

Embarking on a journey, whether for business or leisure, begins with a well-chosen piece of carry-on luggage. The right carry-on not only makes your travel experience seamless but also ensures your essentials are within arm’s reach. In this guide, we’ll explore eleven essential tips to help you make an informed decision when buying the best carry-on luggage for your travel needs.

1. Size Matters: Adhering to Airline Regulations

Before investing in carry-on luggage, familiarize yourself with the size restrictions imposed by airlines. Opt for a bag that meets both domestic and international airline requirements, based on what travel you anticipate. Most airlines provide specific dimensions for carry-on items, ensuring hassle-free boarding and overhead compartment storage.

2. Weight Considerations: Maximizing Packing Potential

In addition to size, pay attention to the weight of the carry-on. Lightweight luggage not only allows for more packing capacity but also helps you stay within airline weight limits. Look for materials that strike a balance between durability and weight to ensure your carry-on serves you well on numerous journeys.

3. Durability and Material: Weathering the Travel Storm

Selecting a carry-on made from durable materials is paramount for withstanding the rigors of travel. Hard-shell options, often made from polycarbonate or ABS plastic, offer excellent protection for your belongings. Soft-sided luggage, crafted from materials like ballistic nylon, is known for its flexibility and ability to absorb impact. There is also the risk that someone will crush your soft bag in the overhead, but it will conform different underseat spaces.

4. Organization Features: Simplifying Your Travel Routine

The best carry-on luggage offers smart organization features to streamline your packing and unpacking process. Look for multiple compartments, zippered pockets, and dedicated spaces for essentials like laptops and toiletries. Interior straps and dividers help keep your belongings secure and prevent shifting during transit.

5. Wheels and Handles: Maneuvering with Ease

Efficient mobility is a hallmark of excellent carry-on luggage. Opt for bags with quality wheels, ideally spinner wheels that provide 360-degree rotation, allowing for easy navigation through crowded airports and tight spaces. Telescoping handles should be sturdy and comfortable for smooth maneuvering. Wheels and telescoping handles also take up space, and the handles are another thing to break.

6. Security Features: Keeping Your Belongings Safe

Protect your valuables with enhanced security features. Look for carry-on luggage equipped with TSA-approved locks, ensuring airport security can access your bag without damaging it. Some bags also offer additional security measures, such as lockable zippers and RFID-blocking pockets for added peace of mind. Just remember, a determined individual can get into any bag. Locks may only stop a criminal from quickly pocketing items in your bag, not stop everyone.

7. Style and Personalization: Reflecting Your Travel Identity

While functionality is key, your carry-on luggage is also a style statement. Choose a design and color that resonates with your personal taste. Many brands offer a variety of styles, from classic to contemporary, allowing you to express your travel identity through your luggage. It also helps you identify your bag if it isn’t just another identical black one.

8. Label Your Bag Inside and Out

Make sure that your name and contact details are somewhere inside the bag and outside. Contact details can be a website(there are services that will sell you bag tags with an ID, where the person who finds it can go online and you’ll be notified), a generic email, a phone number, if you feel comfortable…The best baggage name tags are durable, and have a flap so that the details will not be seen by someone casually passing by.

9. Consider Bluetooth Trackers

A lot of people have spoken of putting AirTags, Tiles, etc in their checked luggage, but it is a not uncommon experience to be forced to check your carry-on luggage, so the same considerations apply. If you do place a tag in the bag, the best place to do so is inside the bag, possibly in the zippered lining, or in an interior pocket. You should not put it on the outside, where it may be ripped off accidentally or intentionally. While trackers do give peace of mind, remember that if your bag is in the hands of the airline, they are likely not going to listen when you tell them you know where it is.

10. Technology Integration

A new generation of carry-on bags offers exterior USB jacks for charging your devices, connecting to a battery inside. The marketers call this ‘smart’ luggage, but it is usually just a way to keep your portable battery inside your bag and plug into it from outside. Some airlines have security restrictions on these items, as they do anything with a lithium battery, as a potential fire hazard. Either way, this is a great feature for your convenience.

11. Warranty

Many established luggage companies offer warranties on their items, but usually only for defects, not normal wear and tear. Some may offer replacement parts, should a wheel or handle break. Be aware of the repairability of your item.

Your Travel Companion, Perfected

Investing in the best carry-on luggage is an investment in a stress-free and organized travel experience. You may opt for an inexpensive carry-on, but by investing in a mid-range or higher quality bag, it will last for years and be your trusted travel companion. By considering size regulations, prioritizing durability, and valuing features that enhance functionality, you’ll find a carry-on that seamlessly integrates with your travel routine. Whether you’re a frequent flyer or an occasional explorer, your carry-on bag should be ready to embark on countless adventures with you.