Two perfect carry-on options and a niche alternative for special occasions

Stacked old suitcases

I prefer to travel with a single backpack or a backpack and a duffle, but I occasionally travel with a carry-on bag. First, a few things to consider when shopping for carry-ons.

  1. Opt for a 21″ – You don’t want to be the person who gets stopped at the gate and forced to gate-check it, which is even more common outside the US with smaller size requirements.
  2. Rollers > Spinners – You get more space, AND if any other carried bags have a pass-through strap, they’ll sit nicely on top. Spinners take less effort, but I’ll trade that for space.
  3. Steals can sometimes be found at discount retailers – I’ve confirmed this both in and outside the US. You won’t find luxury brands, but you’ll find excellent durable options from quality brands, usually much cheaper than you find anywhere online or in traditional luggage stores. These discount stores are hit or miss, but if you’re looking for a new carry-on, always check these stores and do your research.

Briggs & Riley Global 21″ Carry-on – The “Go-To”
This previous model of this bag has been in our family rotation as long as my Delsey Helium Breeze (10+ years), and it’s an absolute beast. It’s slightly smaller, but the handle on the outside of the bag also gives you space back inside. This bag has been on as many, if not more, trips than my Delsey, and it has held up better. While B&R is pricey, you can find sales, and it has the best warranty in the business. We also have the fantastic rolling duffle we’ll check when we take our travel car seat.

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Carry-on – My next carry-on
The Delsey is on its last legs, and this is next up. It’s a brand, like B&R, widely used by pilots, attendants, and other airline professionals. This option is light, fits international carry-on requirements, has an upright 2-wheeled option, and is affordable.

Briggs & Riley Upright Carry-on Garment Bag – Business/Dress Clothes
I use this bag when I need to travel with a suit and business/dress clothes. Half of the bag is dedicated to nicely holding dress clothes with an included hanger hook. This bag is perfect for a weeklong work trip or a long wedding weekend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *