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The best luggage for 2024, according to frequent flyers

Whether you're looking for an oversize checked suitcase, a durable carry-on bag or a top-of-the-line travel backpack, travelers say these are the 35 best pieces of luggage to buy.

Three side-by-side images of rolling travel bags.
Consider one of these traveler-approved bags before your next trip. (Calpak, July, Amazon)

Whether you're going on a quick weekend getaway or a monthlong overseas odyssey, the luggage you bring with you can make or break your trip. It will, you hope, keep your stuff safe and secure and help keep you organized while on the road. But for some truly long-haul travelers, it can mean so much more than that. “Oftentimes, it can be someone’s entire life fit into a suitcase, carry memories, or protect someone’s possessions," says Serenity Lesley, travel blogger at Manifesting Serenity, on the importance of durable luggage. “As a nomad who sold almost everything and fit everything that was essential for me or even the rest of what I just couldn’t part with; it ‘houses’ my many elements of my life in it.”

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So, when it comes to buying luggage, there's a lot at stake, and a lot to consider. And with so many sizes and styles available, from oversize checked suitcases and underseat carry-on bags to duffels, weekenders and backpacks, it can be hard to know where to start. Then you have to consider factors like toughness, maneuverability and materials — not to mention the age-old debate of hardshell vs softshell. In case all that's still not complicated enough for you, many of this year’s models sport special features like built-in charging ports, spinner wheels, compression straps and other handy accoutrements.

We're here to help. We talked to frequent fliers, travel influencers, tour guides and our own team of shopping experts to see which travel bags are worth investing in. Behold: the 35 best luggage pieces for 2024.

Best checked luggage

Dimensions: 26.5” x 17.75” x 11.75”

Weight: 8.34 lbs

Colors: 12 styles

Peter Hamdy, owner and director of a travel tour company, named this crowd-pleasing hardshell as one of his fave pieces, owing to its sleek design and spacious interior. And he’s not its only fan — more than 20,000 Amazon shoppers have given five-star raves. It sports 360-degree spinner wheels and side-mounted TSA locks, and comes in a variety of snazzy colors (Burnt Orange! Caribbean Blue!) that'll make it stand out on the luggage carousel ... which will save you time. And don't fret about your gorgeous new suitcase getting dinged up — shoppers confirm that it'll endure even the most rough-and-tumble international treks. “It holds a lot and rolls very well. I’ve taken it on six flights so far (filled it up to 48 lbs!) and it has held up great … no damage, no issues,” wrote one five-star reviewer.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Spinner wheels
  • 10-year limited warranty
  • TSA locks
  • Scratch-resistant
Cons
  • No pockets or extra compartments
$156 at Amazon

Dimensions: 27 in x 18.5 in x 11.5 in

Weight: 7.3 lbs

Colors: 9 options

Another one of Hamdy’s top picks was this no-nonsense number. The contour grip handle has been ergonomically designed to be super comfortable when schlepping through crowded airports and train stations. It also boasts 360-degree wheels that shoppers say roll like a dream and a water and stain-resistant coating to keep your suitcase looking sharp even after it’s been tossed around in a storage hold. Even better, it has an expansion zipper that will give you two more inches of room — so you can do some serious damage souvenir shopping without worrying about having space to carry home your new goodies.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Expandable
  • Water and stain-resistant
  • Contour grip handle
Cons
  • Only one large compartment
$187 at Amazon

Dimensions: 31” x 20.6” x 13”

Weight: 13.1 lbs

Colors: 2 options

If you’re looking for a suitcase that will keep everything in its proper place, travel influencer Catarina Mello recommends this sleek Samsonite option. “It's super spacious and comes with integrated pockets and a packing cube that doubles as a compression system. It also has an expansion zipper that has more capacity if you need it, which usually comes in handy on the trip back after buying lots of souvenirs. Plus, the hardshell is tough and scratch-resistant, and the wheels are very high quality — the bag rolls smoothly even when packed to the brim,” she told us. It also comes with a removable wetpak and laundry bag to keep dirty clothes separate and a zipper repair kit in case you have any issues.

Pros
  • Multiple pockets and compartments
  • Expandable
  • Comes with a removable laundry bag and packing cube
Cons
  • Expensive
$400 at Samsonite

Dimensions: 28.5" x 18" x 12"

Weight: 11.5 lbs

Colors: 5 options

After years of product testing Yahoo Lifestyle Senior Commerce Writer Kristin Granero, says Calpak remains her top travel brand. “The Evry in particular boasts a hard polycarbonate case for added durability, internal departments for easy organization and an expandable center zipper — complete with TSA-approved locks — for additional wiggle room,” she said. You can buy this large spinner on its own or shop the brand’s starter pack. Each bundle comes with a large checked bag, a carry-on, a five-piece packing-cube set and a luggage tag.

Pros
  • Expandable
  • TSA locks
  • Durable hardshell
  • 2-year warranty
  • Spacious
Cons
  • Pricey
$275 at Calpak

If you’re headed to wine country and want to carry home a few bottles of wine, this clever suitcase is for you. Our Managing Editor, Scott Simone, has owned it for two years and raved about how easy it is to transport your favorite vino in it. “What's not to love — it's built to fit a dozen bottles of wine, and when you take those styrofoam inserts out, you can fit two-plus weeks of clothes as well.” Even though it is built for ultimate protection thanks to its durable hardshell and corner guards, Simone says the suitcase itself is very light. “I've never gone overweight despite times when this was packed with two weeks of clothes and six bottles of alcohol (I packed an Away with the same stuff; it was well overweight). I also have it in the burgundy color and it's easy to spot at baggage claim amongst the droves of Away suitcases.” He did note that the handle is super short, so it’s not the easiest to maneuver.

Pros
  • Patented wine inserts
  • Holds up to 12 bottles
  • Spinner wheels
  • TSA locks
Cons
  • Short handle
$380 at Amazon

Dimensions: 19.5” x 12.5” x 29”

Weight: 11.5 lbs

Colors: 11 options

Hamdy’s final recommendation for checked bags is this large Delsey option because it “offers a combination of durability, functionality, and style.” The 3-dial TSA-approved combination lock gives you peace of mind that your belongings will stay safe and secure, while the expansion zipper will give you two more inches of packing room. Shoppers say the polycarbonate hardshell is both lightweight and durable and they love how much stuff the suitcase can hold. One reviewer called it “massive” before adding, “I'm a one-bag kind of person and have never had a bag this big before. It swallows up 3-4 weeks of travel needs, including multiple pairs of shoes for all kinds of adventures and big fluffy snow clothes.”

Pros
  • Expandable
  • Spinner wheels
  • TSA locks
  • Lightweight
  • Multiple pockets
  • Durable
Cons
  • Some shoppers said it scratched easily
$190 at Amazon

Best carry-on luggage

Dimensions: 21.7" x 14.4" x 9"

Weight: 7.5 lbs

Colors: 8 options

Away is a standout brand for all the right reasons, and this super safe wheeled bag is no exception. When we polled our team of experts for their favorite carry-on bag, this option was by far the most popular. Editorial Director Jeanine Edwards has traveled with this small suitcase for over five years now and raved about the wheels. “They turn in all directions like a dream and work just as well on carpet as they do on hard floors,” she said. Meanwhile, Deals Writer Carrie McCabe loved that it included a built-in combination lock and is the ideal size for most airline overhead storage, so there are “no worries about last-minute bag checks.” Brand Partnership Editor Rory Halperin is a particular fan of its interior compression system. “It's incredible how much you can pack in,” she said. In addition to a variety of cool colors, you can also get it personalized with your initials for an extra fee, so you’ll never get your bag mixed up on the luggage belt. While the brand was best known for having built-in chargers, they unfortunately no longer offer that in this piece.

Pros
  • Can be personalized
  • Durable
  • TSA locks
  • Spinner wheels
Cons
  • Pricey
$275 at Away

Dimensions: 21.5" H x 15" W x 8.5" D

Weight: 8.6 lbs

Colors: 7 options

If you’re a business traveler who reaches for your laptop a lot while on the go, Senior Commerce Editor Ellie Conley recommends this July carry-on suitcase. The front pocket has a polycarbonate shell that protects your laptop and gives you easy access to the device. She also loves that “the inside has a strap compression system, so I can overpack a little and still shut the suitcase. It also has a water-resistant and stain-proof nylon lining. The outside shell also doesn't scratch easily, which is nice because these days a lot of smaller planes make you check rolling carry-ons.” Bonus: It also comes with a lifetime warranty. She did note that the suitcase is heavier than others she’s tried, likely due to the built-in charger.

Pros
  • Portable battery
  • Tech compartment
  • Water-resistant
  • Stain-roof laundry bag
  • Multiple pockets
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Expensive
$325 at July

Dimensions: 21” x 15” x 9”

Weight: 9.9 lbs

Colors: 3 options

Known for its quality and expandable feature, this Briggs and Riley carry-on topped the "best carry-on" lists of both Content Manager Petya Kiskinova and Jack and Sharon Benoff, owners of boutique travel agency Vacationeeze. Its 21-inch height should meet the size requirements of most international airlines' overhead bins (but you should always double-check when booking). It also features impact-resistant corner guards for extra protection, self-repairing zippers and omnidirectional wheels. Shoppers are smitten despite its high price point. “Absolutely the best luggage I’ve ever had! It rolls easily, is high-quality and has great features, especially the expandable option that allows it to fit in the overhead compartment on smaller planes. The 21” carry-on accommodates what used to take a much larger piece of luggage,” raved one.

Pros
  • Self-repairing zippers
  • Ideal size for airline restrictions
  • Expandable
  • Spinner wheels
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Very expensive
$699 at Briggs & RIley

Dimensions: 22” x 15.8” x 8.7”

Weight: 7.8 lbs

Colors: 2 options

Travel expert Nate Axvig is a fan of this ultra-smooth spinner, as it’s a great size for weekend getaways. The bag features the brand’s patented Aero-trac suspension wheels that absorb shocks for a smooth rolling experience. In addition to two spacious main compartments, this carry-on has several pockets for extra storage and organization. And it’s eco-friendly: The durable polycarbonate shell is made from recycled PET bottles. “I love it — it rolls more smoothly than any other luggage I have ever owned. Just keep in mind that it does not expand, but it holds a good amount. The locking mechanism is really smooth as well,” wrote one reviewer.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • TSA locks
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Spinner wheels
Cons
  • Limited colors
$300 at Samsonite

Dimensions: 22" × 14" × 9"

Weight: 8.81 lbs

Colors: 3 options

Instead of using zippers, this brilliant carry-on snaps shut using two TSA-approved combination locks, so you never have to worry about your zipper busting because you’ve overstuffed the bag. Senior Commerce Editor Moriba Cummings says the zipperless design gives him “peace of mind for security if I have to check it (only when overhead bin storage is full on flights).” He added, “Its polycarbonate and aluminum shell also makes it completely durable, so scratches barely show up and it's not dented at all, despite being tossed around a bit from repeatedly placing it in overhead compartments over and over again.” It’s definitely on the pricier side for a carry-on piece, but Cummings says it’s well worth the price, especially since it looks super luxe.

Pros
  • Durable
  • Corner guards
  • Water-resistant
  • TSA locks
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Expensive
$325 at Monos

Dimensions: 22.0" X 14.0" X 9.0"

Weight: 10.9 lbs

Colors: 1 option

Meg Jerrard, a writer at Solo Female Travelers Club, has used her Tumi suitcase on over 400 flights and says the nylon is so abrasion-proof that there still isn’t a single scratch on her bag. “The handle, one of the weakest points of any bag, is made of aluminum and extremely sturdy. The wheels on mine have no damage.” It has a built-in USB port that makes charging your devices a breeze and boasts impact-resistant side panels and bumper rails for extra protection. While the bag only comes in black, you can add colorful accent pieces and a monogram for a fee. Perhaps best of all, Jerrard said, “If anything breaks, you can take the bag to any Tumi store worldwide and they'll fix it, for free, on the spot. I've tried it, and it's true.”

Pros
  • Multiple pockets and compartments
  • TSA lock
  • Compression straps
  • USB port
Cons
  • Very expensive
$895 at Tumi

Dimensions: 21.5" x 15" x 8.5"

Weight: 7.4 lbs

Colors: 13 options

If you love travel gear that comes in a lot of different colors, this is for you. Not only does it come in 13 hues, Deals Writer Britt Ross says it is super easy to steer and fits a ton of stuff. “I was able to pack enough clothes for a two-week trip to Europe and still had room for souvenirs.” It even comes with an ejectable battery with USB-C port and a hidden stain-proof laundry bag to keep dirty clothes separate. Ross noted that “It did get a little scuffed the first time I traveled with it, but Magic Erasers work wonders at removing the spots.” Good to know: If you do run into problems with the bag, the brand offers a lifetime warranty and a 100-day return policy.

Pros
  • Multiple colors
  • Power bank
  • Water-resistant lining
  • TSA lock
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Pricey
$295 at July

Dimensions: 21.7” x 15.8” x 9.1”

Weight: 9.5 lbs

Colors: 4 options

Rimowa is recognized for its innovative use of materials, having created the first aluminum trunk on the market way back in 1937. Recognizable by its distinctive parallel grooves, premium-class Rimowa luggage is stylish and practical, albeit super expensive. Luckily, that high cost does translate into durability and longevity. Sunmer Hull, director of content at The Points Guy, has used her Rimowa bag for over a decade, flying almost half a million miles with it, and she says it “still does the job.” In fact, each suitcase should last you forever, thanks to the brand’s lifetime warranty. Because it’s made from a tough aluminum material, the carry-on is slightly heavier than other options. 

Pros
  • Durable
  • Telescopic handle
  • Multiwheel system
  • TSA locks
Cons
  • Extremely expensive
$1,430 at Rimowa

Dimensions: 23" × 15" × 9.5"

Weight: 7.38 lbs

Colors: 13 colors

“This carry-on from Monos is about as sleek (almost futuristic) as they come, complete with a stylish hardshell, water-resistant case and interior pockets (fit up to a 16-inch laptop) for extra organization,” raved Granero. “The built-in front compartment makes it easy to access essentials (such as tech or quick toiletries for freshening up without having to open your entire suitcase). It also features 360-wheels and a zipper locking system for added security and mobility.” Each suitcase comes with an antimicrobial, silver ion-coated laundry bag, two shoe bags and a vegan leather luggage tag. While the Plus version offers more space than the brand’s standard carry-on, its size might not meet the requirements for all airlines' overhead bins, so be sure to do your research when booking.

Pros
  • Durable
  • TSA locks
  • Telescopic handle
  • Dent-resistant
  • Spacious
Cons
  • Too big for some airlines
$275 at Monos

Dimensions: 20.0" x 14.25" x 9.5"

Weight: 6.97 lbs

Colors: 8 options

This 20-inch carry-on features TSA-approved combination locks for added security, a telescopic handle and multidirectional spinner wheels. Kiskinova loves it because of how stylish it is and how the hardshell frame offers excellent protection. Amazon customers agree, one calling it a “great piece of luggage” They added: “Excellent value. Very durable and easy to lift and place in overhead compartments. It also holds a lot for the size. Perfect for short trips.”

Pros
  • Affordable
  • 10-year limited warranty
  • Spinner wheels
  • TSA lock
Cons
  • Not as durable as others
$131 at Amazon

Dimensions: 21.75 in x 15.75 in x 7.75 in

Weight: 7.7 lbs

Colors: 7 options

Jeannie Mak, managing editor at Travel Fashion Girl, recommends Travelpro bags because of their "Lifetime Limited Worry-Free Warranty" that “covers the cost of repair for damage from airline or other common carrier for the life of the bag after registration.” This specific model features a USB port, a contoured grip handle and 360-degree wheels that make you look like a, um, travel pro as you navigate through busy airports and train stations. Its softshell design also expands two extra inches to allow for more packing room. Plus, it boasts a deluxe tie-down system with compression straps and accessory pockets for organizational purposes.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Multiple pockets
  • Expandable
  • USB port
Cons
  • Only one main compartment
$314 at Amazon

Dimensions: 22” x 14” x 9”

Weight: 6.95 lbs

Colors: 1 option

Yahoo Lifestyle Executive Editor Nicole Sforza says this is so easy to maneuver, even her kids love it! “It feels really roomy and yet somehow fits in the overhead compartment. It's a smooth ride! And the marble design stands out at the airport without standing out TOO much.” In addition to TSA-approved locks, the cute carry-on also has a durable hardshell exterior and is expandable. “I’ve had this luggage for over a year and it has survived several flights and getting checked in. It did get some minor scratches and normal wear and tear. The wheels are super smooth and it is VERY easy to spot on the carousel because people's luggage don’t usually have a white marble luggage print on it! Every time I use it, I'm the only one at the airport who has this design,” raved one shopper.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • TSA lock
  • Expandable
  • Spinner wheels
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Only one color
$137 at Calpak

Dimensions: 15.7” x 22.8” x 9.8”

Weight: 8.36 lbs

Colors: 8 options

“This roller bag has so many smart features that — when used with compression cubes — it can fit a full two weeks' worth of clothes,” raved our Commerce Editor Janelle Randazza. “We're talking sweaters, long pants, bulky sweats — it all fits.” She also loves that the ultra-functional suitcase has tons of smart features. “Incorporated into the design are butter-smooth rolling 360-degree spinner wheels, a TSA lock, a compression panel and my two favorite features: a padded trolly handle and an integrated weight scale.” That’s right, the side handle of the carry-on has a weight indicator to alert you if you’re bag is over 50 pounds (there’s a clear window built-in to the handle that will turn red if you’re over the limit.)

Pros
  • Expandable
  • Handle has a weight limit indicator
  • TSA lock
Cons
  • Size isn’t compatible with certain airlines
$218 at Beis

Best duffel and weekender bags

Dimensions: 22" x 12" x 12"

Weight: 2.3 lbs

Colors: 9 options

When fully opened, this innovative weekender looks like a regular hanging garment bag with a roomy interior that stores your suits and dresses wrinkle-free. But what sets this bag apart is the addition of two fold-out compartments that are attached to both sides. When you fold them up and zip them together, it instantly transforms into the shape of a duffel bag. Cool, huh? Simone has owned one for over two years and can’t get over how much stuff it holds. “It offers enough room as a duffel (even with the suit in the garment section) to fit a week's worth of clothes.” Made from a durable and weather-resistant polyester material, it also comes with a shoulder strap, top handles and a trolley sleeve on the back that makes it easy to piggy-back onto your spinner. Plus, it folds flat when not in use for easy storage.

Pros
  • Doubles as a garment bag
  • Lightweight
  • Folds flat
  • Carry-on friendly
Cons
  • No outside pockets
$98 at Halfday

Dimensions: 10" x 18.25" x 8.75"

Weight: 4 lbs

Colors: 1 option

This leather weekender by Shinola is equal parts stylish and spacious, so it makes sense that it was one of Benoff’s top picks. The buttery soft bag comes with a removable, adjustable shoulder strap and two top handles that make it easy to tote around. It has one main compartment that is super roomy and a top zip closure. While it only comes in black, its classic design ensures it will never go out of style — good thing, too, given its price point.

Pros
  • Stylish
  • Adjustable strap
  • Carry-on-compatible
  • Leather
Cons
  • Very expensive
$995 at Saks Fifth Ave

Dimensions: 13.75” x 16.5” x 6.75”

Weight: 2.6 lbs

Colors: 8 options

Katy Nastro, a travel expert at Going, told us she reaches for this stylish Lo and Sons carryall for weekend or overnight trips. “I mostly love it for the separate shoe compartment on the bottom that keeps your shoes separate from everything else," she said. "It's for the chic and cleanliness factor.” In addition to the different compartments that keep everything organized, she also loves its retro canvas look and the fact that it comes in eight different styles. The bag has a padded laptop compartment, making it great for business travel, and a slot for your water bottle, so you can stay hydrated on the go without worrying about it falling over and spilling.

Pros
  • Multiple compartments
  • Laptop pocket
  • Water-resistant zippers
  • Luggage sleeve
Cons
  • Expensive
$378 at Lo & Sons

Dimensions: 19.25" × 10.25" × 14.75"

Weight: 5.18 lbs

Colors: 7 options

If staying organized on the go is important to you, Mello recommends this Monos Weekender Bag. “It's about the size of a small carry-on, ideal for when a rolling suitcase is not ideal, or as your personal item on planes. It's spacious with interior pockets for organization, a separate laptop sleeve, and a special water-resistant compartment for shoes or wet items. The best feature? A built-in sleeve that fits over a suitcase handle, doubling as an extra pocket.” The sleek travel bag comes in nylon and vegan leather options; both versions are super durable and sustainably made.

Pros
  • Multiple compartments and pockets
  • Removable drawstring bag
  • Laptop compartment
  • Trolley sleeve
Cons
  • Pricey
$250 at Monos

Dimensions: 17” x 8” x 10”

Weight: 2.76 lbs

Colors: 3 options

Mak says this smart little number “Ticks off many boxes for an avid traveler and entrepreneur. It has many organizational pockets for the business traveler, can fit a weekend's worth of clothes and has a laptop and trolley sleeve. It's terrific for work trips, a weekend jaunt or short road trips!” Made from a weather-resistant lightweight ballistic nylon, the compact bag opens down the middle like a suitcase, making it easy to find your stuff quickly. Plus it has a front compartment with several different pockets to store everything you need easy access to, like your phone, passport, charger, etc.

Pros
  • Fits under seat
  • Multiple pockets
  • Adjustable straps
  • Opens flat like a suitcase
Cons
  • Pricey
$200 at Amazon

Dimensions: 16½" x 11" x 9"

Weight: 3.6 lbs

Colors: 6 options

If you’re in need of a great carry-on personal item, Nastro suggests checking out this Dagne Dover option. “It definitely fits more than a few things and fits under most seats,” she said. “Cleans fairly easily, and comes with a ton of pockets for organizing. There's a small pocket on the outside to keep your phone handy, and an interior pocket with a clip for keeping money and other valuables safe.” It includes a trolley sleeve, and its expandable sides can be unbuttoned to give you extra packing room.

Pros
  • Durable
  • Expands
  • Stretch key leash
  • Padded laptop sleeve
  • Removable shoe bag
Cons
  • Some shoppers found it smaller than expected
$215 at Nordstrom

Dimensions: 19in x 9.8in x 15.7

Weight: 3.86 lbs

Colors: 9 options

I’ve owned this Beis Weekender for over two years now and am shocked anew by how much it holds every time I use it. It has a separate bottom zippered compartment for heavy items like shoes or books and a super spacious main compartment that I’ve been able to stuff 4-5 days' worth of clothes into. I love that it has side pockets for stuff I need to grab often because, in truth, it can be hard to find stuff once inside the capacious main compartment. I haven’t brought it on a plane, so I’m not sure it if it would comfortably fit overheard or under my seat, but it is my go-to bag for weekend getaways via train or car.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Separate bottom compartment for shoes
  • Comfortable straps
Cons
  • Not as organized as other bags
$108 at Beis

Dimensions: 12" x 16" x 7"

Weight: 2.1 lbs

Colors: 20 options

E-commerce Editor Julia Webb raved about this cute adorablet Calpak piece. “This duffel has been my go-to bag to bring on any length trip for years because of how thoughtfully designed it is. Not only does it have a convenient trolley slip, it has various pockets to hold everything from my laptop to my lip gloss. It also has an exterior shoe compartment so germ-conscious packers (me!) don't have to worry about dirty kicks touching any clean clothes or accessories.” The duffel comes in 20 different colors, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one that suits your style, and it weighs just over two pounds, so it won’t weigh you down as you dash through crowded travel hubs.

Pros
  • Tons of colors
  • Lightweight
  • Multiple pockets
Cons
  • Not as spacious as others
$128 at Calpak

Best travel backpacks

Dimensions: 24” x 13” x 4”

Weight: 3.09 lbs

Colors: 4 options

Lindsay Stevens, travel content creator at Lindzoutside, called this Osprey backpack her favorite bag she’s ever owned. With a 55-liter capacity, it's likely all you'll need for a long weekend, and it opens like a suitcase so you can see exactly what’s inside without digging through everything from the top. The back is padded to make it comfortable to wear for long periods of time and it has a hip belt and harness that help distribute the weight evenly across your back. Stevens’ favorite part? “This bag has a detachable day pack that I use as a makeshift camera/laptop bag!”

Pros
  • Spacious
  • Side handles
  • Tuckaway harness and hipbelt
  • Padded straps and back
Cons
  • Expensive
$177 at Amazon

Dimensions: 2.3" x 17.8" x 13.3"

Weight: 3 lbs

Colors: 2 options

While it may look like a regular bookbag at first glance, this clever carryall is actually three bags in one. In addition to a normal-sized backpack, it also comes with a detachable "go bag" for daily use. And when the two are combined, it makes the ultimate travel pack, with a pocket and compartment for just about anything. I've had the bag for a few years and love how handy it is. I love to travel with the backpack because it holds everything you may need in a carry-on and it keeps everything hyper-organized. I love how lightweight the daypack is and like to unattach it once I’m at a destination to use it while sightseeing or on long hikes where I may need more stuff that will fit in a purse. I will note that removing and reattaching the two bags can be tricky, but I eventually got the hang of it.

Pros
  • 3 backpacks in 1
  • Multiple pockets
  • Adjustable straps
Cons
  • Can be tricky to attach and unclip the two backpacks
$170 at Ebags

Dimensions: 19” x 11” x 8”

Weight: .875 lbs

Colors: 2 options

Lesley loves to use this compact backpack as her personal bag when traveling and it’s easy to see why. It’s super lightweight — weighing less than one pound — so it won’t weigh you down as you walk around with it. Along with a padded back and sternum strap, the adventure pack also has trekking pole attachments, making it a great option to use when hiking or camping. Another cool feature? The back panel pad can be removed for use as a sit pad for when you need to take a break. One shopper raved, “This is a great little day bag that holds a shocking amount of items — two 32-ounce Hydroflasks in each exterior pocket; two mid layers; room for a water bladder; and so much more. Pleasantly surprised by how comfortable this bag was without anything of structure inside, and the top pouch is extremely useful.”

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Great for hiking
  • Sternum strap
  • Trekking pole attachments
  • Water repellant fabric
  • Recycled fabric
Cons
  • Might be too sporty for some
$60 at REI

Dimensions: 18.5” x 12.6” x 9.25”

Weight: 7.8 lbs

Colors: 1 option

Lesley’s other favorite backpack is this sleek option — ideal for shutterbugs, thanks to its interior partitions that keep all the camera parts safe from damage. “It stores my laptop, professional camera and most valuable essentials,” she said. Also part of the package? Anti-theft zippers, a secret AirTag pocket for added security ... and a matching shoulder bag to hold even more stuff! “The bag is very big (25 liters) and quite stylish. Pgytech crammed so many features into the OneMo 2, going through the bag was like a treasure hunt,” wrote one five-star reviewer. “The configurations seem endless and you can tell they spent a lot of time being thoughtful about the design. The side pockets make camera access a breeze, the padded straps are quite comfortable (I walked around NYC for seven hours with no fatigue), and I was able to carry the camera, multiple lenses, batteries, camera straps, a light, memory cards and a tripod without issue.”

Pros
  • Comes with shoulder bag
  • Secret AirTag pocket
  • Anti-theft zippers
  • Waist strap
Cons
  • Might not be as useful for non-photographers
$220 at Pgytech

Dimensions: 7.5” x 20” x 12”

Weight: 3.3 lbs

Colors: 4 options

This uber-functional backpack has a removable (and compressible) wardrobe compartment that increases space optimization by up to 20% and helps keep your clothes organized, so it’s no wonder that Jerrard loves it. “This is a carry-on backpack that has a 3-in-1 adaptable design to take it from a compact 22- or 30-liter backpack that is approved for carry-on baggage all the way up to a spacious 40-liter pack. There are additional bags for tech and toiletries which can be snapped on and off the front via a magnetic Fidlock, and this frees up space in the actual bag,” she told us. Customers can’t get over how well-made it is. “The perfect backpack for traveling; not only it's a perfect size and super versatile, but it's made with very high-quality materials. I just love it,” wrote one.

Pros
  • Built-in shelves
  • Multiple pockets
  • Adjustable straps
  • Keeps you super organized
Cons
  • Expensive
$249 at Tropicfeel

Dimensions: 22” x 12” x 10”

Weight: 3.2 lbs

Colors: 5 primary options

This carry-on has not met an overhead bin it can't fit in, even when I am the last to board a plane,” said our Senior Operations Analyst Amanda Rickert about this colorful backpack. “I found it incredibly comfortable to carry on trains and long walks with the chest strap, and while it has a hip strap I usually choose to leave it off just to stay more streamlined. It also has handles on all four sides, so it is easy to grab from wherever.” What’s more, the travel bag has a lot of thoughtful safety features like zipper locks and a built-in laptop sleeve that’s against the back section to make it hard for pickpockets access. It even comes with a rain cover to keep the bag protected from the elements, though Rickert noted it can be difficult to put the cover on, and it does take up space in the bag itself.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Padded laptop sleeve
Cons
  • Pricey
$195 at Cotopaxi

Dimensions: 21” x 12” x 6”

Weight: 1.13 lbs

Colors: 5 primary options

Randazza is also a Cotopaxi fan, in particular she prefers this Torre backpack. “I love the high capacity of this bag that includes a padded laptop sleeve, an ergonomic carry design and a highly weatherproof exterior. This is the perfect bag to take with you in inclement weather — it can withstand anything, she told us. The backpack can hold up to 35 liters of stuff and comes in tons of different color combinations. Along with a padded laptop sleeve, it also features anti-theft zippers and carabiner lash loops that let you clip on extra gear.

Pros
  • Compression straps
  • Lightweight
  • Weatherproof
  • Mesh back panel
  • Ergonomic shoulder straps,
  • Removable waist belt
Cons
  • Some shoppers say it’s not super easy to find stuff in it
$135 at Cotopaxi

Best-luggage FAQs

How we chose the best luggage

To figure out which pieces of luggage are worthy of your next trip, we talked to frequent fliers, travel influencers, tour guides and our own team of shopping experts. This team weighed in on what to look for when picking the right piece of luggage for different travel needs. We also polled this crew to find out which suitcases, weekenders and travel backpacks are in their luggage collection — because there's nothing like a firsthand recommendation.

What to look for when shopping for luggage

Several factors should influence your shopping decision. You’ll want to “consider the size, durability, and maneuverability. The size should align with your travel needs and airline restrictions. Durability is crucial for withstanding rough handling during transit. Lastly, maneuverability, determined by factors like wheel quality, can greatly impact your travel comfort,” said Ritesh Raj, COO and CPO of travel website CuddlyNest.

As for the size of the bag, you’ll want to think about the length of your trip. Catarina Mello, travel creator at Professional Traveler told us, “Carry-ons are perfect for quick weekend trips. Medium luggage is a good option for trips that are a week or two. A large suitcase is ideal for longer trips or trips to cold destinations where you might have to pack heavy jackets, thick layers and bulky shoes.” You also should pay attention to how much the piece of luggage weighs, especially when it comes to checked bags that have to be under airline weight restrictions. A lighter suitcase will allow you to add more of your belongings.

According to Sonni Hood, public relations and community relations manager at Unclaimed Baggage, another consideration should be the shape of the bag — you want to choose one that “maximizes packing space and fits comfortably in storage areas.” Also, pay attention to what kind of wheels the suitcase has. “While two-wheel options might be more durable, spinner wheels make them easier to maneuver,” Hood added.

Hardshell vs. softshell

As for the age-old question of hardshell vs. softshell suitcases, there are definitely pros and cons with both options. “If you tend to overpack, softshell luggage may allow you to shove a few extra pieces in, but you run the risk of an overweight or too large suitcase,” said Victor Tam, co-founder and CEO of Monos. Brad Foley, travel blogger at Foley Exploring agreed, saying in his opinion there is “No question ... softshell is better. Particularly for international travel.” Aside from being more flexible, giving you greater packing versatility, they are also “generally lighter than hardshell, allowing you to maximize your baggage weight with more belongings,” he said. Plus, they don’t show dents and scratches — maintaining a better aesthetic appearance, and most “come with exterior pockets, offering convenient storage for items you may need quick access to,” he added.

On the other hand, “Hard shell luggage weighs more, but it is far more durable and has a tough exterior, which will offer more protection, keeping your things safe. It's a far better choice if you want something that's easy to move around, and if you're traveling with breakables or valuables,” says Meg Jerrard, travel writer at Solo Female Travelers. Hardshell suitcases particularly come in handy if you get caught in the rain or snow, as they are much more weatherproof than softshell options, giving your stuff protection from getting wet. Foley also mentioned that a pro for hardshell bags is the fact that they “often come with built-in locks, providing an additional layer of security for your belongings.”

International vs. domestic travel

When it comes to checked luggage, it doesn’t really matter where you’re traveling to. Your choice of a checked suitcase really “depends on the type of trip, the frequency that you’ll be moving from place to place, and what type of transportation you’ll be taking,” said Lindsay Stevens, travel content creator at Lindzoutside. “I don’t believe having different luggage for international and domestic travel is necessary, but I do recommend having different luggage for different types of travel. I have different luggage for lightweight travel, adventure travel, and more maximalist travel where I allow myself to pack more outfits.”

As for picking carry-on luggage and personal items, things get a bit tricker, as the size requirements for these luggage types are different on domestic and international airlines. Jack and Sharon Benoff, owners of boutique travel agency Vacationeeze told us, “If you're planning robust international travel, particularly in Europe or on smaller airplanes, you want to consider a smaller carry-on than you may be used to in the U.S.”

While size requirements can vary by airline, Jeannie Mak, managing editor at Travel Fashion Girl, told us the typical recommended carry-on suitcase size for domestic flights is 22" x 14" x 9", while the internationally recommended carry-on size is 21.5" x 15.5" x 9". “Travelers should check the airline they've booked to determine size restrictions, especially within Europe. While a 21" is fine for many European airlines nowadays, a 20" or even 19" is sometimes a wise choice” if you want to avoid having to gate check or pay extra fees, she said.

Special features

Suitcases aren’t just an empty vessel to hold your belongings anymore. Most bags nowadays have special features that make them worthwhile. Peter Hamdy, owner and director of a travel tour company recommends looking for options that have built-in charging ports to keep your devices juiced or pieces that come with removable laundry bags to keep your clean and dirty clothes separated. “More great features to look for include a TSA-approved lock, telescopic handle, spinner wheels and compression straps on the interior,” added Tam.

Travel expert, solo adventurer and founder of Following Fiona, Fiona Spinks told us that she’s a fan of bags with expandable zippers “because they let you pack bulky layers or purchases with easy access.” Plus, she recommends choosing options with multiple compartments and pockets to make organizing your stuff a much easier process. “Personally, nothing stresses me out like rummaging for my passport at security!” she said.

How long should a piece of luggage last?

There are a lot of factors that can determine this, including how often you travel and the material the luggage is made from. Some suitcases can last a lifetime, while others only last a few trips. In general, experts say a quality piece of luggage should last anywhere between three and 10 years, depending on the above factors and how well it's maintained.

While the notion of how long a piece of luggage should last you varied from expert to expert, they all agreed that the more you spend on a high-quality piece, the longer you’ll have it. “After a 5-month trip across Asia and living out of a suitcase, I've learned to prioritize quality pieces. It's best to invest in durable materials and robust construction. And with regular maintenance, like checking and replacing wheels, you can prolong its lifespan,” said Viola Sender, co-owner and author of the travel blog Away to the City.

Sunmer Hull, director of content at the Points Guy, recommends not to give up on a suitcase or weekender just because it gets scratched or looks a little worse for wear after years of transit. “Most luggage will lose some rolling smoothness over time, but my advice is to keep using it until it just doesn’t roll very well anymore, to the point it is causing you trouble — or has some other issue that renders it less useful,” she said before adding, “I have one Rimowa bag that I’ve used for over a decade that’s flown almost half a million miles – it’s not as smooth as it once was but it can still do the job.”

How to avoid losing your luggage

Hood also shared with us her top tips on how to decrease the odds of your suitcase being lost during travel. First of all, you’ll want to choose a bag that stands out. “Unique or colorful bags are less likely to be mistakenly taken by another traveler, reducing the risk of mix-ups,” she said. “Choose luggage that stands out or attach unique identifiers such as a distinct luggage tag, belts, or ribbons.”

Her second piece of advice was always to make sure your bags are properly labeled — even if you don’t plan on checking them. “The number one reason a bag goes permanently lost is due to lack of identification. Ensure a luggage tag is included on your suitcase with up-to-date contact information including your name, phone number, and email address. Label the inside of the luggage as well. This can be useful if the external tag becomes detached,” she said. When choosing a luggage tag, she said you’ll want to find one that “is made of quality materials and will securely attach to your suitcase. This will decrease the odds of it detaching during travel.” Our Commerce Editor, Janelle Randazza, recommends this option from Calpak, because it doubles as a portable charger — allowing you to juice up your phone or tablet while on the go.

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

Our team of experts