Looking to enter your frequent flyer era? As the slush and snow creep in, the thought of taking a quick trip sounds pretty enticing. Whether you’re planning a weekend in Montreal or setting your sights on warmer temps, carry-on travel bags are the key to mastering the art of a quick getaway.
What to look for in carry-on travel bags
When on the hunt for a quality carry-on, travel blogger Janice Moskoff recommends considering three things. First, how and where do you plan to use the bag? Second, do you want your bag to be hard or soft-sided? And finally, do you prefer your bag to have four wheels or two?
“If you plan on more adventurous travel requiring heavier wear and tear, I recommend a soft-sided bag with two wheels, giving you the most space with better durability,” says Moskoff. “However, if you are more of a city traveller, a hard-sided carry-on offers more style and better maneuvering.”
Ultimately, if it’s a trip where you’re keeping your bag by your side, easy-to-roll four-wheel spinners are ideal for getting through the airport with ease.
How big can carry-on bags be?
Before buying your bag, Moskoff recommends always checking the allowable bag dimensions of the airlines you fly most frequently. And if you’re unsure, it’s best to follow international standards.
“Most international airlines generally limit carry-ons to a maximum length of 56 cm (22 in), a width of 45 cm (18 in), and a depth of 25 cm (10 in),” Moskoff explains. She adds that this includes all exterior features like wheels, handles, and pockets.
Selecting the right construction, size and style is key to finding carry-on travel bags that lasts. Once you have that out of the way, it’s onto the fun stuff: planning your trip.
The best carry-on travel bags of 2024
Showkoo durable carry-on luggage
Scratch- and wear-resistant, this hardshell four-roller suitcase is all you really need in a quick trip bag. Designed to meet most major airlines’ carry-on luggage size requirements, this 20-inch long bag can be placed in the overhead areas with ease.
Complete with an adjustable handle and durable and silent wheels, it’s compact, precise, and sure to make the journey less stressful.
- 360-degree rotating wheels
- Available in 16 styles
- Secure combination lock
- Some reviewers have noted that the carry-on version of this bag does not expand, which promises to stay true to size restrictions but can be a downside for those who are looking to get a touch of extra space
Travelers Club Cosmo Hardside Spinner
With this budget-friendly piece, you can opt for style — and sturdiness — sans breaking the bank. Made of ABS (a durable and lightweight material often used to ensure strong hard shell bags), this carry-on is perfect for travelling with ease.
Complete with interior-lined pockets, compression straps, and dividers, it’s got the built-in tools for easy packing and staying organized. Plus, it’s 360-degree rolling wheels and easily adjustable handle make the journey that much more comfortable. You wouldn’t even guess it goes for under $70.
- Available in 6 colours
- Quality carry-on luggage for under $70
- Fully-lined interior with compression straps and organizational dividers
- Clever spinner wheels
- An excellent alternative to pricier Eagle Creek options
- Coordinates seamlessly with every other piece of luggage in your collection
- Some reviewers say that, although it works well, the handle feels wobbly at times
Monos Hybrid Carry-On Plus
What’s not to love about Canadian suitcase brand Monos? Designed in Vancouver, this top-rated piece is crafted with sleek exterior design and a plethora of skillfully placed storage space.
With measurements intended to fit all major Canadian airlines, it’s “virtually unbreakable,” according to the brand, thanks to its refined metallic finish and sleek aluminum frame. From the two TSA-approved locks to quiet 360-degree spinning wheels, it’s no wonder this design is top-rated by hundreds of customers.
- Choose from 3 colours
- Durable polycarbonate shell
- One of the best-wheeled bags on the market
- Features an organization-friendly interior with a removable compression pad and zippered pocket for flat items
- TSA-approved locks and whisper-quiet wheels
- Clamshell design
- Though its designed to fit into most major airlines’ overhead bins, because this bag is a bit bigger than your average carry-on, some smaller planes may require you to check it. Be sure to double check before your trip
Amazon Basics spinner
The secret to rolling through a busy airport with ease is having a quality four-wheel spinner bag by your side. And that’s exactly what you get with this fan-favourite hard-shell spinner.
Priced at less than $200 and available in four colours, it’s beloved for its no-frills durability. Made of extra thick ABS, it promises not to scratch or scuff in transport. Best of all, its four-wheel double spinners ensure smooth rolling in any direction.
- Features 4-wheel double spinners that swivel seamlessly
- Protective hard shell with scratch-resistant finish
- Available in 4 colours
- Compartments to store dirty clothes
- When filled to the brim, it will expand slightly. Some reviewers note that it was not considered carry-on on airlines like Air Canada for this reason
Etronik weekender bag
Made with durable, water-resistant nylon, this weekender travel bag is sure to keep your belongings protected on quick getaways. Capable of carrying your travel essentials, strapping onto your luggage handles and charging your phone, it’s ready to keep you organized on the go.
Carrying a bag instead of rolling it can sometimes mean you sacrifice comfort. That’s why this design is complete with adjustable dual handles and a detachable padded shoulder strap to reduce pressure on long trips.
Did we mention it doubles as a roomy gym bag?
- Adjustable straps so you can carry it as a handbag, shoulder bag or messenger bag
- Comes with a USB port for charging on-the-go and interior pockets
- Complete with efficiently designed compartments like a water bottle side pocket and vented shoe compartment.
- Choose from 19 colours and styles
- Useful front pocket for easy access
- More stylish than a travel backpack
- Some reviewers note that while the lighter colour is chic and water-resistant, it tends to show if it gets dirty in transit. For longterm, versatile use, consider opting for a darker shade
Rimowa Essential cabin bag
If you’re looking to treat yourself to some luxury luggage, Rimowa is a tried and true favourite. This carry-on — available in 9 colours — comes complete with everything you need to stay efficient when flying.
Designed in Germany, the interior features a fully zipped compartment with a large mesh zipped pocket for additional storage and a divider that keeps items in order during transport.
- Available in 9 colours, as well as matte and glossy finishes
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Features a telescopic handle that offers seamless adjustment and multi-wheel system designed for stable steering
- Note that the lifetime warranty doesn’t cover cosmetic damages like scratches and scuff marks
Away Aluminum carry-on
If you’re looking for style and function, look no further than Away travel gear. This hard-shell chic roller bag comes in a glossy metallic finish made of striking (and durable) aluminum. Built to last, it comes complete with a plethora of storage space, including a hidden laundry bag, a mesh divider and a compression system that keeps your items securely in place.
For those who want to stay connected while on board, this carry-on comes with an ejectable USB charger that is both TSA-approved and safe to fly with.
- 360-degree spinning wheels
- Available in 3 colours
- Sized to fit in the overhead bin of most major airlines
- Far more sophisticated than a duffel bag
- Plenty of packing space
- Note that the USB charger contains a battery (located under the handle) that may have to be removed on certain flights. Luckily, it was designed to be easily ejected if needed
Travelpro carry-on luggage
Hard-shell may be trendy, but soft-shell carry-on bags have their up-sides too. Easier to make smaller if needed, this nylon bag features a padded laptop pocket, a power-bank dedicated pouch and a pocket for TSA toiletries bags.
Protected in water and stain-resistant coating, this fabric promises to sustain abrasions. With a burnt orange piping and navy blue hue, it offers a vintage aesthetic appeal — with the modern design elements you want.
- Choose from 2 colours
- Adjustable handle to fit most heights comfortably
- Carry-on sized bag fits in overhead compartments
- Comes with a plethora of storage options — including a zip-in garment organizer and compression straps
- Designed to fit in the overhead bins of the world’s largest airlines
- Clever interior organizational features
- This bag comes with four-wheels, which is ideal for city landscapes and airport efficiency. However, if you’re looking for a soft-shell that can sustain rugged landscapes, this two-wheel alternative promises to get the job done
This article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.