How to Choose the Best Carry On Luggage


Carry on Luggage

The sheer number of luggage options on the market today is overwhelming. Even seasoned travelers have different bags for different purposes, and it’s hard to decide what the best carry on luggage is for you. Size, color, material, weight, capacity, price, and many other features contribute to their usefulness in different situations.

Traveling with only carry on luggage makes the decision to choose the best carry on luggage even more difficult. Your luggage has to be small enough to meet carry on allowances, but big enough to hold everything you want to take.

The most popular carry on size is 22” x 14” x 9”, but the restrictions vary by airline or plane type. There are a number of things to consider when choosing the best carry on luggage.

Your decision may change based on your travel style. Given your frequent destinations, your physical condition, and your comfort preferences, different carry on types may work better for you. The best method for deciding the best suitcase luggage for you is to try it.



Carry on backpacks are great for travel because they’re convenient.

The backpack you choose should have comfortable straps and a supportive waist strap. A rain cover is a wonderful option to have if your primary method of transportation is walking, or you spend a lot of time outdoors. Backpacks can be the best carry on luggage for stashing on the airplane because depending on how full you pack it, it may fit better in either the overhead compartment or under your seat. It’s soft sided and easy to manipulate into smaller spaces.

Backpacks vary in how you load them, kind of like washing machines. There are top loading backpacks and panel loading backpacks. Be sure you check out all of the pockets and look for measurements. You want to make sure your backpack has a compartment for everything you need. The average size and a good goal to aim for are forty liters.


  • With a backpack, you have both hands free to manage travel documents, eat, or take pictures.
  • It’s also easier to move around with a backpack attached to your back rather than a suitcase in your hand.


  • Carrying all of the weight on your back makes a backpack more difficult. Even if you are adhering to the airline’s weight limit. Having weight on your back for a prolonged period of time gets uncomfortable. It feels heavier than it really is over time.
  • If you have back problems, this is not the best carry on luggage for you.




You may want to consider a suitcase-shaped backpack. They look like suitcases but have straps like a backpack. These give you more space to work with, but they’re hard-sided and can be uncomfortable if you do a lot of walking or change locations often.

This is the best carry on luggage for:

  • People who are very active. It allows for more range of motion, can be used when hiking, camping, or biking.
  • For those who like to have their hands free, or don’t want to lose control of their baggage this is the best carry on luggage because it’s always attached to you.


Carry on suitcases are the most common type of carrying on luggage. The rectangular shape means you can maximize every inch of space, and the wheels make for faster moving through the airport. Digging through a backpack can be cumbersome, but a suitcase is better organized, and it’s easier to find what you need.


  • Keep in mind one hand will always be occupied, making it harder to access documents or carry food.
  • A wheeled bag is also hard to carry upstairs or drag through cobbled streets. However, it is easier to find the right size since airline restrictions are given in three dimensions. Most airlines include the wheels and handle when measuring the suitcase, so if these items are collapsible, that’s even better.

This is the best carry on luggage for:

  • People who have back problems or think the shoulder straps on backpacks are uncomfortable.
  • For people who aren’t athletic, don’t travel lightly, or aren’t active vacationers, this is the best suitcase luggage.


If you are looking for the best carry on luggage of both worlds, look no further than a wheeled suitcase with straps. The straps are hidden away when you’re not using them. You can pull it to give your shoulders a break, and you can wear it when navigating rough terrain.

You may notice that some wheeled carry-ons come with a zip-off daypack. You can wear it as a backpack, roll it like a suitcase, or separate the two pieces so you can store it in the overhead compartment and still keep necessities with you at your feet. This may be the best carry on luggage for you if you find yourself standing up on the airplane to retrieve things out of your suitcase often.


  • This versatile type of carrying on is the best carry on luggage for people who are indecisive, need to maximize space with the option to carry it, or regularly need both types of luggage on the same trip.


  • It doesn’t fit as comfortably as a traditional backpack because it’s structure is more rigid.
  • With a hard, flat surface pressing against your back, it could get uncomfortable quickly.
  • The bag is also heavier because it has a more sturdy frame and you have less packing space because the wheels and handle take up real estate on the inside.

There is a lot to think about when looking for the best carry on luggage. The best carry on luggage is not the same for everyone. Shop around, read reviews, and try them. Try making a list of features you would like and rank them in order of importance. This might include things like:

● Weight
● Material
● Wheels
● Hard/soft sided
● Price
● Color
● Capacity
● Durability
● Pockets or other extra storage options

Everyone’s preferences and comfort levels are different, and you have to decide the best suitcase luggage for you. Finding the best carry on luggage for you will make traveling easier and more enjoyable.