Carry-On Luggage Buying Guide

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    If you buy reliable and just the right luggage the first time it’ll stick around and you’ll have luggage that will prove to be your travel companion you can rely on in any situation or any trip. But if you make the wrong choice you would be stuck with unreliable luggage with dodgy wheels, poor handles or not enough space which would end up making your holidays a lot less fun and a lot more difficult.


Decide How You’ll Use It

What are you going to use your luggage for? Are you going to use it for flying, driving, cruising, or some other purpose? If it is for airplane travel, then you should keep luggage rules of the airlines you plan to travel with under consideration. If you are going to use it for road trips, then luggage that maximizes your trunk space will be the best choice for you. If you are planning to travel on cruise ships—which stack the luggage in the boat’s belly before departure—flat, rigid luggage will be the most optimal choice.


Consider How You’ll Store It

Where do you plan to put your luggage once it gets home? Bags which are hard-sided are the ones that are the hardest to store; they can’t be squeezed to fit into a storage space. Whereas bags with soft-sides are a bit forgiving on the front and back, but the footprint is fixed to its position. If you don’t have enough space to keep a stand-up suitcase, then you should consider getting the unstructured duffels or new collapsible bags.


Measure It

For domestic flights on the big three airlines—American, Delta, and United—the max dimensions for luggage allowed are 22 inches high, 9 inches deep, and 14 inches wide. These dimensions include wheels, retracted handles, and compartment protrusions.



In the United States, most luggage bags come with wheels. According to our survey of more than 14,000 readers who chose to replace their luggage for reasons other than loss or damage, the majority of these people told us that one of the reasons why they replaced their old luggage was that they needed a case that was “easier to wheel.” For carry-on, easier-to-wheel usually means four wheels, not just two.



With carry-on luggage, the color is an important factor to be considered. This might not sound like such an important thing, but there are practical reasons behind it. If you have a bag with a unique color it will be less likely to be mixed up or confused by other passengers, and bright colors prove to be very convenient to identify in case luggage shifts in the overhead bins. Black and blue are the two most popular colors, but a wide range of other color options is also available.



Carry-on luggage often gets pushed and is stored tightly with other luggage as flying involves close quarters, it sometimes can lead to wear and tear on an item. Due to this reason, the durability of a carry-on bag is something which requires thorough consideration before you make a purchase. The material a bag is made of often determines the durability of the bag.


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