Whether you’re a travel novice or a seasoned jet-setter, you should always have a quality carry-on suitcase in your luggage arsenal. No matter what kind of trip you’re preparing for, bringing carry-on luggage instead of a checked bag will make the entire experience so much less stressful.
Sure, you might not get to bring 17 separate outfits for a weekend getaway, but that’s okay! Slimming down your travel wardrobe is entirely worth it when you get to step off the plane and roll your suitcase right along and start your day, strolling past all those anxious people standing at the conveyer belt as they wait for their belongings and silently pray that their bag hasn’t gone missing. It also means you won’t have to deal with hauling around an enormous suitcase throughout your travels, which is a major treat for anyone suffering from any kind of back pain.
To be fair, fitting your entire packing list in a single carry-on suitcase is an art form, and while it’s up to you to realize that maybe you don’t need three different pairs of black heels on a five-day trip, you can make the process a whole lot easier once you find the right carry-on luggage. Also, invest in packing cubes, because they really do help and give you so much more room.
The top carry-on suitcases suitcases are durable, fit within TSA-guidelines, hold a decent amount of travel must-haves and are also nice to look at. The best luggage is spacious yet sleek, somewhat scratch-resistant (a few dings and marks are inevitable, and it’s important to accept that), and won’t break down during your travels, so you can effortlessly flit about from one destination to the next. Travel is back and better than ever, and you deserve to upgrade your suitcase situation. Below, see the best carry-on luggage to take on all your upcoming adventures.
All products featured are independently selected by Observer editors. When you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission that supports our work.
The Best Carry-On Luggage to Shop Now
Away Bigger Carry-on Flex Suitcase
I’ve been a fan of Away’s carry-on luggage ever since I first used one of the brand’s polycarbonate shell suitcases while traveling on a weeklong trip to Europe. Not only did I manage to easily fit all my belongings, but I had zero issues storing the bag in the overhead bin, and the durable suitcase is so convenient to roll around the airport. That said, I’m always looking for just a little more room, and the New York-based brand’s Bigger Carry-On Flex is my current go-to, as it has an expansion zipper that gives you additional packing space, for those times you want to cram in just one (or two) extra pairs of shoes. The expandable carry-on suitcase is also equipped with a TSA-approved lock, and comes with a laundry bag. Plus, all Away bags come with a lifetime warranty, which is a major advantage.
TravelPro Platinum Elite Carry-On Expandable Hardside Spinner
If you tend to be a bit hard on your luggage, try this extra-durable, leather-trimmed TravelPro suitcase. The hard shell carry-on bag is made of 100 percent polycarbonate that flexes to prevent cracking, and the textured aesthetic helps hide any scuffs. It has a TSA-approved lock, a clamshell design with an expansion zipper and a USB port for all your charging needs, because no one wants to arrive in a new country only to find that their phone is dead. There are zippered interior compartments to keep organized, with a water-resistant pocket to hold any damp items or toiletries. TravelPro also had testers ensure the bag fits in the overhead compartment of most major domestic airlines. It’s all very convenient, and we love that this bag has self-aligning spinner wheels so you can glide around with ease.
Calpak Hue Carry-On Luggage with Hardshell Pocket
This hardside carry-on suitcase is a sleek and stylish option, with a very practical front pocket laptop sleeve, so you can securely store your computer or tablet, with easy access to it during the flight. It helps free up so much space (and takes off the extra weight) in your personal bag, so you’re not weighed down by your tote or travel backpack. The carry-on spinner suitcase also has a TSA-approved combination lock, to keep your items safe.
Arlo Skye The Frame Carry-On
Travelers who prefer sleek hardside luggage sans zippers will flock to Arlo Skye’s stylish suitcases. This zipper-less carry-on is instead opened via lock clasps, for a neat and pristine look. The bag is trimmed in aluminum, with a portable, removable charger and extra-quiet wheels.
iFly Hardside Fibertech Carry-On Luggage
If you’re looking for affordable yet still high-quality piece of luggage, try iFly. This carry-on is adorable and practical, and while it doesn’t have all the extra flashy accoutrements from some of the pricier luggage out there, it’s still equipped with the most important features, like a durable polycarbonate exterior, two interior compartments, a telescopic trolley handle system and an expansion zipper, because practicality doesn’t mean you have to forgo style. It’s available from a few different retailers, including Amazon and Walmart.
Paravel Aviator Carry-On
You can’t get much chicer than this retro-inspired suitcase, which combines the best of style and durability. While this carry-on size is admittedly not the most spacious option, it still offers enough room to comfortably pack a few days worth of clothes, accessories and toiletries, and the interior compression board provides a little more space. It’s also sustainably made, with recycled polycarbonate and zippers as well as interiors that are composed of upcycled plastic water bottles.
Tumi Voyageur Leger International Carry-On
If you’re more of a soft-sided luggage fan (or just want to add a softside carry-on to your collection for trips when it’s easier not to have a hardcase bag), look no further than Tumi’s Leger International Carry-On. It has a convenient front exterior pocket, which is ideal if you want to quickly stow and access any personal items, and the roomy interior of the bag features a zip section divider and compression straps. The bag is also outfitted with a telescoping handle, leather-wrapped top and side handles and a luggage tag.
Rimowa Essential Cabin Suitcase
There’s a reason Rimowa is always a top pick among jet-setters. The celeb-approved brand has long produced high-quality, sturdy and stylish luggage, and while Rimowa might be best known for their aluminum suitcases, this pretty raspberry-hued valise is a chic, lightweight carry-on alternative. The interior has one fully zippered pocket compartment as well as a mesh zipped pocket for even more storage, in addition to Rimowa’s patented compression system flex divider. The telescopic handle offers better comfort and maneuverability on the go, and the suitcase also comes with a luxe leather luggage tag.
Delsey Paris Clavel Expandable X-Small Suitcase
This French luggage brand’s expandable spinner comes in the prettiest shade of pink, and it’s practical, too, with an expansion pocket for extra space (clearly something that’s a big asset on this list), double spinner wheels and a lock. It’s super lightweight and durable.
Monos Hybrid Carry-on
This Monos carry-on combines the best of aluminum and polycarbonate suitcases; it’s a sleek, durable design with a sturdy polycarbonate shell and aluminum frame. Instead of a zipper, it closes via two TSA-approved combination locks, a built-in compression pad and compression straps and sturdy fixed side handles.
Roam The Carry-on
Roam’s suitcases are entirely customizable; you get to select not only the shell color, but also the hues for the stitching, zippers, wheel caps and every other detail. It’s water-resistant and has molded handle grips and a TSA-approved lock, while the interior features a compression-packing system with two main compartments and anti-microbial lining.
Samsonite Freeform Carry-On Spinner
This Samonsite carry-on is ultra-lightweight but also durable, so you can glide all around the airport without feeling your bag dragging you back. It’s a more petite bag and super sleek, with a one-inch expansion zipper for a little extra space.