Best Carry On Bag for Plane

Heading out on a trip without the right carry-on bag for plane feels a bit like leaving home without your phone; you can probably get through it, but it’s just not going to be as smooth.

I’ve learned that having a go-to bag that’s as ready for takeoff as I am, one that nails the trifecta of being tough, stylish, and practical, changes everything.

Whether you’re a travel pro or just gearing up for your first adventure, finding that perfect carry-on bag is key. It’s a jungle out there with choices like the solid Samsonite Hardside and the sleek, expandable Travelpro.

Trust me, I’ve been there, and it can feel like a lot to sort through. But, I’ve got your back on this one. I’ll share the lowdown on what really matters, so your next trip can start on the right note.

Keep an eye out as I dive into how I stepped up my travel game.

Different Type of Carry On Bag For Plane

What type of carry-on bag best suits your air travel needs? Picking the right one can drastically improve your flying experience, making it smoother and more enjoyable. Whether you’re a minimalist who packs light or someone who likes to have all their essentials within arm’s reach, there’s a perfect carry-on for you. Here’s a look at the different types you might consider:

  • Soft-Sided Luggage: Flexible and often lighter than their hard-sided counterparts, these bags can squeeze into overhead bins or under the seat in front of you with ease. They’re perfect if you’re looking for something that can adapt to tight spaces or if you tend to pack a bit over the limit.
  • Hard-Sided Luggage: Offering superior protection for your belongings, hard-sided bags are the go-to for travelers carrying fragile items. Plus, their sleek design isn’t just about looks; it’s about durability and security, too.
  • Backpacks: Ideal for hands-free travel, a backpack is your best bet if you’re hopping from planes to trains to sidewalks. They come in various sizes, with compartments and pockets that keep your travel essentials organized and accessible.
  • Duffel Bags: The ultimate in flexibility, duffel bags are easy to carry and can fit an impressive amount of stuff. They’re perfect for the traveler who needs something that’s as ready for an adventure as they are.

Before you start packing, it’s crucial to know the airline recommended carry-on luggage guidelines to ensure your bag fits in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.

Importance of Having Carry On Bag for Plane

Carry-on luggage significantly enhances travel convenience and security. It ensures that your travel necessities are accessible during the flight, such as headphones, a book, or medication, providing comfort and preparation for any situation.

The presence of carry-on luggage also offers a sense of security, as checked bags can occasionally be lost or delayed, potentially leaving you without essential items upon arrival. Additionally, carry-ons expedite your departure from the airport by avoiding the baggage claim, and with airlines imposing fees for checked luggage, they present a cost-saving option.

Ultimately, carry-on bags aren’t merely about avoiding extra fees or waiting for luggage; they’re crucial for a stress-free, efficient, and enjoyable travel experience, emphasizing the importance of smart packing and keeping essentials at hand.

5 Best Carry On Bag For Plane

Selecting the best carry-on bag for your plane journey can significantly streamline your travel experience, ensuring that your essentials are both secure and readily accessible. When you’re on the hunt for the perfect carry-on, there are a few key factors you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure you’re making the best choice for your needs.

1. Samsonite Hardside Expandable Luggage Spinner

durable hardside luggage spinner

For travelers valuing durability and style, the Samsonite Hardside Expandable Luggage Spinner emerges as the top carry-on choice.

This 3-piece set, including a 20′ carry-on and 24’/28′ spinners, is designed with a micro-diamond polycarbonate texture, making it scratch-resistant and tough enough for any journey. You’ll appreciate the side-mounted TSA locks ensuring your belongings stay secure.

The four multi-directional oversized spinner wheels offer unparalleled maneuverability, making navigation through crowded airports a breeze.

With a lightweight construction and an expansion feature for added capacity, it’s no wonder this luggage has garnered rave reviews for its spaciousness, ease of movement, and stylish design.

Plus, the 10-year limited warranty against defects assures you of its lasting quality.

Best For: Travelers seeking a durable, stylish, and maneuverable luggage set with added security features.


  1. Extremely scratch-resistant micro-diamond polycarbonate texture for durability
  2. Side-mounted TSA locks for added security and peace of mind
  3. Multi-directional oversized spinner wheels for easy mobility
  4. Book opening case with mesh divider and cross straps for organized packing
  5. 10-year limited warranty against defects in materials and workmanship


  • Scratch-resistant micro-diamond polycarbonate texture enhances durability.
  • Side-mounted TSA locks provide added security for belongings.
  • Four multi-directional oversized spinner wheels ensure smooth maneuverability.


  • Weight of 26.8 pounds may be considered heavy for some users.

To make your travel experience as smooth as possible, we’ve compiled a comprehensive carry-on travel packing list that covers all the essentials for a comfortable journey.

2. Briggs Riley Uprights Baseline Essential

top rated carry on luggage

If you’re a frequent traveler seeking durability and efficiency, the Briggs & Riley Uprights Baseline Essential Carry-On is your go-to luggage choice.

This 22-inch black carry-on boasts an Outsider Handle for maximum capacity and a smooth packing surface.

You’ll appreciate the one-touch CX expansion that increases packing space and the Tri-Fold Garment Folder that keeps your clothes wrinkle-free.

It fits comfortably in most U.S. overhead bins and comes with a PowerPocket for on-the-go charging. The SmartLink™ strap even lets you transport two bags as one.

With sturdy corner-guard protection, self-repairing zippers, and high-density wheels, this luggage rolls smoothly through any adventure. Plus, it’s backed by a lifetime warranty, ensuring your travels are worry-free.

Best For: Frequent travelers who value durability, efficient packing, and smooth mobility in their carry-on luggage.


  1. Outsider Handle: Provides optimal capacity and a flat packing surface inside to minimize wrinkling.
  2. One-touch CX Expansion: Increases packing capacity with the press of a button, allowing for more space when needed.
  3. Tri-Fold Garment Folder: Neatly holds 1-2 suits and prevents wrinkling during travel.
  4. PowerPocket: Conveniently stores battery pack and cell phone for charging on the go.
  5. Discreet Features: Includes a hide-away ID tag and SpeedThru pocket with orange lining for easy access.


  • Offers a unique Outsider Handle and one-touch CX expansion, maximizing packing space and maintaining a flat packing surface.
  • Includes a Tri-Fold Garment Folder to minimize wrinkles, enhancing clothing organization.
  • Backed by a lifetime warranty, ensuring long-term durability and customer satisfaction.


  • Higher price point compared to other brands, which may not be suitable for all budgets.

Familiarize yourself with the carry-on luggage size chart to avoid any last-minute surprises at the airport, ensuring your bag meets the size requirements of most major airlines.

3. Travelpro Luggage Lightweight Expandable Suitcase

top choice for travel

Travelers prioritizing lightweight and durability will find the Travelpro Luggage Lightweight Expandable Suitcase to be an ideal companion for air travel.

This 21-inch carry-on boasts 4-wheel spinners that ensure a smooth roll and a design that’s expandable by up to 2 inches, offering extra packing capacity when you need it.

Weighing in at just 5.4 lbs with a volume of 46 L, it’s equipped with H20 Guard to protect the interior lining and features multiple compartments for organized packing.

The PowerScope handle, unique bottom tray design, and 360-degree rotating spinners make maneuvering through crowded airports a breeze.

Customers rave about its durability, easy handling, and ample storage space, making it a top recommendation for those seeking a reliable carry-on suitcase.

Best For: Travelers seeking a lightweight, durable, and expandable carry-on suitcase for air travel.


  1. Lightweight design: The Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Carry on Luggage is extremely light, making it easy to maneuver and lift.
  2. Expandable capacity: This carry-on suitcase can expand up to 2 inches, allowing for extra packing space when needed.
  3. Spinner wheels: The 4 spinner wheels rotate 360 degrees, providing smooth and easy mobility in any direction.
  4. Durable construction: The bottom tray design and high-tensile-strength zipper increase durability, making it suitable for frequent travel.
  5. Warranty coverage: The luggage comes with a Limited Lifetime Coverage and trusted companion promise, providing peace of mind for any potential damages.


  • Lightweight design at 5.4 lbs makes it easy to carry and maneuver.
  • Expandable up to 2 inches, offering additional packing space when needed.
  • Equipped with 360-degree rotating spinners for smooth movement across various surfaces.


  • Limited to soft-sided construction, which may not suit those preferring hard-side luggage for added protection.

If you’re traveling on a budget, finding the best budget carry-on luggage that combines affordability with durability can make all the difference in your travel experience.

4. Travelpro Expandable Lightweight Polycarbonate Champagne

durable expandable lightweight luggage

Designed with a lightweight 100% Polycarbonate hard shell, the Travelpro Maxlite Air Hardside Expandable Carry-on Luggage is an ideal choice for those prioritizing durability and ease of movement during their plane travels.

This 21-inch suitcase features 8 spinner wheels that glide smoothly across airport floors, ensuring you’re never bogged down.

Its roomy main compartment expands 2 inches, providing ample space for your essentials, while the built-in TSA-approved lock keeps your belongings secure.

Weighing just 6.3 lbs and boasting a spacious interior with zippered divider panels and an accessory pocket, it’s no wonder users rave about its lightweight design and storage capacity.

Despite concerns over wheel quality and the lack of external pockets, the overall satisfaction with this carry-on’s performance and Travelpro’s customer service is high.

Best For: Travelers seeking lightweight, durable, and secure carry-on luggage for air travel.


  1. 8 Spinner Wheels: Allows for superior maneuverability and a smooth glide in every direction.
  2. Lightweight Hard Shell: Made of 100% Polycarbonate, providing impact-absorbing flexibility with a stylish outer finish.
  3. Expandable Capacity: The main compartment expands 2” to maximize packing capacity when needed.
  4. TSA Lock: Built-in lock allows TSA authorities to safely unlock and relock the bag for inspection when needed.
  5. Interior Organization: Features zippered divider panels and accessory pocket to keep contents organized, separated, and secure.


  • Lightweight 100% Polycarbonate hard shell and easy maneuverability with 8 spinner wheels.
  • Roomy main compartment with 2′ expansion and environmentally friendly interior lining.
  • Built-in TSA-approved lock and exceptional customer service with warranty support.


  • Complaints about the quality of plastic wheels and difficulty in finding replacements.

For those who might need a little extra space for souvenirs or unexpected purchases, an expandable carry-on bag is a perfect solution, offering flexibility without compromising on convenience.

5. SwissGear 6283202161 Sion 21 Black

highly rated swissgear luggage

For those prioritizing durability and organization on their journeys, the SwissGear 6283202161 Sion 21 Black emerges as an exceptional carry-on choice. Its 360-degree spinner wheels and retractable handle make navigating through crowded airports a breeze.

Constructed from tough polyester, this luggage withstands the rigors of travel. Its dimensions, including wheels and handles, fit most overhead bins, and at 8 pounds, it’s light enough to manage easily.

You’ll love its expandable design, allowing you to pack more without sacrificing mobility. Customers rave about its smooth wheels, ample compartments, and overall sturdiness.

Whether you’re flying cross-country or hopping on a train, this carry-on meets diverse travel needs with style and functionality.

Best For: Travelers seeking a durable, expandable, and easy-to-maneuver carry-on with ample storage and organization options.


  1. Locking Telescopic Handle: Features a reinforced push button locking handle with an integrated side and bottom handle for easy lifting and carrying.
  2. Multi-Directional Spinner Wheels: Four 360-degree spinner wheels for superior mobility and smooth rolling.
  3. Divider Panels: Interior zippered divider panels keep contents organized, separated, and secured in place.
  4. Multiple Front Panel Pockets: Includes front pockets with a built-in ID tag for easy access to essentials.
  5. Expandable Design: Allows for ample packing space with adjustable tie-down straps, a removable wet bag, mesh lid pocket, and packing pocket for small items and accessories.


  • Robust polyester construction ensures longevity and resistance to travel wear and tear.
  • 360-degree spinner wheels and retractable handle offer superior maneuverability in crowded spaces.
  • Expandable design and multiple compartments provide extensive organization and packing flexibility.


  • Some users report issues with handle retraction over time, affecting usability.

When it comes to convenience and style, a men’s travel carry-on bag designed specifically for the needs of male travelers can keep your essentials organized and easily accessible.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Carry On Bag

Having explored a top pick for carry-on luggage, it’s crucial to understand the key factors that should guide your choice. Whether you’re jetting off for a business trip or a much-needed vacation, the right carry-on bag can make all the difference.

It’s not just about fitting it in the overhead bin; it’s about making your travel experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Here are the key considerations you should weigh before making your decision:

  • Size and Compatibility: Airlines have strict size limits for carry-on luggage. Ensure your choice complies with these restrictions to avoid last-minute gate check-ins or, worse, having to leave your bag behind. Imagine the ease of gliding through security with a perfectly sized bag, worry-free.
  • Durability and Material: Opt for high-quality materials that can withstand the rigors of travel. A tear-resistant, water-proof bag isn’t just an accessory; it’s a travel companion that keeps your belongings safe, come rain, shine, or rough handling.
  • Weight: A lightweight bag ensures you can maximize what you pack without exceeding airline weight limits. Picture yourself breezing through the airport, not weighed down by your carry-on but free to shop, eat, and explore.
  • Compartments and Accessibility: Adequate compartments keep your belongings organized and easily accessible. Envision effortlessly retrieving your laptop for security checks or grabbing your headphones without unpacking everything.

Investing in a bag with the best carry-on luggage wheels can make navigating through crowded airports a breeze, ensuring smooth rolling and easy maneuverability.


What are the most important features to look for in a carry on bag?


Selecting the right carry on bag involves focusing on key attributes to ensure your travels are both effortless and effective. Initially, size is paramount; the bag must fit the airline’s overhead compartment or under the seat, adhering to common airline size guidelines.


Durability stands as another essential aspect, requiring a bag that can endure travel demands, crafted from resilient materials.


The presence of wheels significantly enhances convenience, with a preference for a bag featuring smooth, robust wheels for seamless navigation through airports.


Additionally, the organization is facilitated by compartments and pockets, vital for keeping essentials within reach and electronics safely stowed, thereby streamlining your travel experience.

What are some tips for packing light and avoiding excess baggage fees?

To minimize your travel costs and enhance your journey, mastering the art of packing light is crucial for avoiding excess baggage fees. By being strategic with what you bring, you can save money and reduce the stress of managing heavy luggage. Here are some tips:

  • Wear your heavier clothes and shoes on the plane to save space and weight in your carry-on.
  • Roll your clothes instead of folding to maximize space and minimize wrinkles.
  • Utilize packing cubes or compression bags to organize and compress your belongings.
  • Limit yourself to versatile, mix-and-match clothing that can be worn in multiple combinations, reducing the need for numerous outfits.

What are some essential items to always pack in your carry on bag?

After mastering the art of packing light, it’s crucial to know what essentials to always have in your carry-on bag. These items aren’t just about convenience; they’re about making your journey smoother, safer, and more enjoyable.

Here are four must-haves:

  • A good book or e-reader: Escape the cramped seats and immerse yourself in another world.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones: Block out the engine noise and chatter, making your flight a peaceful retreat.
  • Travel documents and ID: Keep your passport, tickets, and ID at arm’s reach to breeze through security and boarding.
  • Snacks and water bottle: Stay hydrated and energized, avoiding overpriced airport food.

Packing these essentials transforms your carry-on from mere luggage to a survival kit for the skies.

How can I pack fragile items safely in my carry on bag?

Packing your carry-on with fragile items requires a strategic approach to ensure they arrive intact.

First, wrap each fragile item individually in bubble wrap or soft clothing to absorb shocks. Place these items in the center of your bag, surrounded by softer, bulkier items like sweaters or towels, which provide additional cushioning.

Consider using hard-shell carry-on luggage for extra protection against external pressures. Always keep your bag with you to avoid mishandling by others.

If possible, label your bag as containing fragile items, so you and others handle it with care. Remember, the goal is to create a snug environment for your fragile items, minimizing movement inside the bag to prevent damage during travel.

What are some tips for packing liquids and toiletries in your carry on bag?

Frequently, travelers find packing liquids and toiletries in their carry-on bag challenging, yet following a few simple tips can make the process smoother and ensure compliance with airline regulations.

  • Stick to the 3-1-1 rule: Each liquid must be in a container of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less, all of which fit in a single quart-sized, clear, zip-top plastic bag.
  • Choose solid alternatives: Opt for solid deodorants, soap bars, and toothpaste tabs to bypass liquid restrictions and save space.
  • Invest in travel-sized containers: Refillable mini bottles let you bring just enough of your must-have products.
  • Seal and separate: Double bag liquids to prevent leaks and keep them accessible for security checks, reducing stress and mess.

These strategies will keep your essentials close without the hassle.

How can I keep my carry on bag organized and easy to access during my travels?

To keep your carry-on bag organized and easily accessible during travels, use packing cubes, a bag with multiple compartments, roll your clothes, and keep essential items in an easy-to-reach pocket.

Having refined the technique for packing liquids and toiletries efficiently, let’s delve into methods for maintaining an organized and accessible carry-on bag throughout your travels.

Begin by sorting items into packing cubes according to their categories. This strategy allows you to swiftly locate what you need without having to dig through your bag.

Choose a carry-on bag that features several compartments and pockets; allocate each one to different types of items such as electronics, documents, and snacks.

Additionally, rolling your clothes rather than folding them not only conserves space but also makes it simpler to see and select the desired item.

Importantly, store items that you’ll require during the flight within a pocket that’s easy to access. This should include your passport, boarding pass, and entertainment items like a book or headphones.

With thoughtful preparation of your packing, you’ll navigate through your travels smoothly, with everything readily available.


Now that you’ve explored the top carry-on bags for your plane journeys, you’re well-equipped to make an informed choice. Whether you’re leaning towards the durability of Samsonite, the elegance of Briggs & Riley, the innovation of Travelpro, or the practicality of SwissGear, remember to consider size, weight, and functionality.

With the right carry-on, you’ll breeze through airports with ease. Don’t forget to check the FAQs for any last-minute questions.

Happy travels!

Majed Ahmed, a passionate globetrotter, and author, navigates the world through My Travels Guide. With an expert touch, Majed unravels essential travel insights, from packing tips to outdoor gear wisdom. Join Majed on a journey of wanderlust and practical exploration through captivating narratives and informed guidance.