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How do bags with USB Ports Work? Read our Guide to Smart Luggage

Luggage with USB charging ports is ultra convenient - when it’s made right. Travelpro® makes hard shell and soft side carry-on luggage that is designed for FAA compliance with built-in USB ports and dedicated backup battery pockets that are easy to access – even one handed. No more fumbling, juggling or fighting with awkward push buttons. Simply store your powerbank of choice in the zippered external pocket and plug it in. Then use the built-in USB port to charge devices wherever you are. (Powerbank not included.)

The Away Bigger Carry-On with Pocket Is the Smart Luggage I'd Buy

The Away Bigger Carry-On with Pocket is a well-designed smart suitcase with plenty of room and a removable battery for charging your gadgets.

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

travel bag with usb charger

Away is one of the biggest brands in the newly burgeoning Smart Luggage category. Yes, even the suitcase you take on vacation is getting tech-y features. The standard feature on all smart bags is a portable battery that snaps into the suitcase, so you're not scavenging for an outlet at the airport if you need to charge your phone. Away also sells an optional accessory that allows you to track your bag in case it gets lost.

The new Away Bigger Carry-On with Pocket ($295) adds an incredibly sensible feature: a nylon pocket. Why is this simple adjustment so important? It enhances the convenience factor of Away's suitcases, which feature an easy-to-use portable power supply for charging your phone, so you can keep your laptop and important documents within close reach.

On the downside, this pocket costs $50 extra, and that version of the Away isn't available in as many colors. Still, I found the Away Bigger Carry-On with Pocket to be an excellent, albeit pricey, way to travel.

What about that TSA ban on smart luggage?

So, you might have heard about American Airlines , Delta and Alaska Airlines instating bans on smart luggage at the end of last year. But fear not, traveler, not all smart suitcases are banned, only the ones with non-removable batteries. That means the current set of Away's luggage is free to fly the friendly skies, as its battery is easily ejected.

Away's luggage has long stood out for its elegant minimalist designs and for an ever-changing series of hues that were either eye-catching or elegant. Although I liked the dark, restrained blue (the pocket-bearing Away's colors  come in only black or blue) of the bag I tested, I'm a much bigger fan of the purple tone they've used in luggage released in partnership with Kode With Klossy, the coding summer camp from model/entrepreneur Karlie Kloss.

travel bag with usb charger

I tested the Bigger Carry-On format of the Away luggage, which measures 22.7 x 14.7 x 9.6 inches, weighs 7.3 pounds and has a capacity of 46 liters. That means it's larger, lighter and roomier than Muji's Adjustable Handle Hard Carry Suitcase (21.3 x 14.6 x 9.3 inches, 7.7 pounds, 35 liters). The smaller, heavier and less-spacious Raden A22 Carry -on (22 x 14 x 9 inches, 8.4 pounds and 35 liters) is the other smart suitcase with an ejectable battery that's ready for flight.

The Away's shell is made of a durable-feeling polycarbonate material that the company calls "unbreakable." A leather hinge on its spine reinforces the connection between its halves. Its 360-degree wheels did an exceptionally good job of rotating to the correct position, which I admit is kind of a challenge when you carry your luggage as hurriedly as I do. The rubber handles at the top and right of the Bigger Carry-On feel reliable. Raden loves to promote the durability of its luggage, with video of someone standing on it, and leaning in, seemingly trying to break it.

travel bag with usb charger

The Away's pocket is a nylon sleeve that measures 16.5 x 11.25 x 1 inches. That's big enough to fit my 2012 15-inch MacBook Pro, which is thicker than current models, but I instead opted to store my shampoo, body soap and face wash container bag in that sleeve, as that's equally important to have at the ready. The Muji and Raden bags have no such pockets.

travel bag with usb charger

After you unzip the Bigger Carry-On, you'll notice a mesh window can zip up the front half, and that there's a flat divider between both sides that offers a zipper-closed pouch. So, if you buy the Carry-On or Bigger Carry-On without the exterior pocket, you still get a place to store sensitive materials, but it's less accessible. Two buckles can secure that flat pocket against whatever is under it.

The insider lining of the suitcases are nylon, with zippers that run from the top to the bottom. This is because Away suitcases come with a lifetime warranty, and the nylon and zippers cover up the panels where Away's repair technicians  access handles and feet, if a repair is ever needed.

What's in the box

When I opened the large cardboard box with the Away Bigger Carry-on, I was pleasantly surprised to see the luggage came inside a canvas bag. While it seems like a great way to keep the Away clean while it's stored away, I could also see college students using it for an oversized laundry bag.

MORE: Best Smartphones on the Market Now

Inside the bottom half of the Bigger Carry-On, you'll see a small buttoned-up pouch containing a small bag, which I used for laundry during the trip. My extensive testing showed that this bag can fit two dress shirts, five T-shirts and five pairs of socks and briefs. Also, Away includes a USB-based power adapter and a micro-USB-to-USB cord, for charging its battery.

Portable Charger

The major perk of the Away luggage is the 37-watt, 10,000 mAh portable charger that sits conveniently in a slot below the handle, with a cover to protect its ports from spills A 10,000 mAh battery has enough juice to refuel most flagship smartphones completely, and some of them twice. The charger is easily ejectable; you just push down until it clicks, and it then jumps up. The Raden A22's power supply has a smaller capacity of 7,800 mAh.

It draws power from a micro USB port and features dual USB 3.0 ports for charging, with one being a 2.4-amp fast-charging port and the other a 1-amp standard-speed port. Personally, this was a lifesaver at the airport, as it meant I didn't have to run around the terminal, looking for an outlet so I could fill my phone up before a flight.

After I drained my iPhone 8 Plus of its charge, the Away charger's 2.4-amp port refueled 16 percent of the phone in 15 minutes, and 32 percent in 30 minutes. These numbers are similar to the fastest-charging portable charger we've tested, which filled 17 percent in 15 minutes and 33 percent in 30 minutes.

travel bag with usb charger

The portable charger was a lifesaver at the airport, as it meant I didn't have to run around the terminal, looking for an outlet so I could fill my phone up before a flight.

Also, dual ports means you can charge both your phone and your Bluetooth headphones, or one of your devices and one that belongs to a friend, if you're  kind and not traveling solo.

Bigger is better?

My biggest concern with the Away Bigger Carry-On was that Away was sure that the bag would be allowed on flights. I was not as confident, because the bag's measurements exceed the advertised baggage limit of 22 x 14 x 9 inches  that airlines declare online and at the gates, where they present the small compartment to check your bag's size.

travel bag with usb charger

Away says the bag would fit and be allowed on most planes, because the bin you check your bags in is larger than the advertised measurements. After a series of emails with a Delta employee named Michael, who couldn't clear up this question, I bit the bullet and decided to test the Bigger Carry-On to find out what would happen if I tried to get it on a plane. My concern was for naught, as the flight attendants on my Delta plane from New York to New Orleans didn't bat an eye at my luggage.

The Bigger Carry-On's capacity is 6.2 liters more than that of the Carry-On, and as someone whose suitcase was packed to the brim upon his return — I had to bring back beignet mix from the world-famous Café Du Monde — I was happy to have that space.

TSA-Friendly Lock

If you're worried about prying hands opening your checked luggage, you've probably breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of the TSA-approved combination lock.

travel bag with usb charger

I had no trouble setting a three-digit combination code on the lock, and locking the suitcase is as easy as snapping its zippers into the dual grooves at the top of the suitcase, near the keyhole that TSA agents can easily unlock. The Raden and Muji bags have similar locks.

Bluetooth location tracking

Away has partnered with the Bluetooth tracker-maker Tile for a $30 Tile Luggage Tag, which works by logging its location when its within 100 feet of the paired smartphone, and when any other Tiles come within that  range. From Tile's app, you can set your tracker to ring when it comes within the range, or instruct your phone to send a push notification when the Tile tracker is found.

travel bag with usb charger

At the baggage claim, I got a notification on my phone shortly before it appeared on the carousel, and could hear the tag's ringing chime as it came out of the entrance.

After I checked my bag for my return flight, I set it to alert me when the bag's location was next detected. I got my first notifications when the flight was getting closer to taking off, as the suitcase was loaded into the belly of the plane. At the baggage claim, I got a notification on my phone shortly before it appeared on the carousel, and could hear the tag's ringing chime as it came out of the entrance.

travel bag with usb charger

The Muji suitcase has no battery or location tracking, while the Raden includes built-in location tracking, and uses a similar group-based GPS tracking. The Raden can also weigh itself, which is helpful for those who overpack but also want to reduce fees at check-in.

Bottom Line

While you could place a Tile tracker and a portable charger inside  any suitcase, the Away Bigger Carry-On with Pocket streamlines the process completely. The amount of care that's gone into this design shows, and the simple move of adding an easy-access pocket has made the bag all the more convenient.

The Muji bag is a more-affordable $160, but it carries less luggage and doesn't include the portable battery or a place to easily access it. The $295 Raden packs more built-in smart features, but isn't as spacious. The Away, though, especially with the Tile tag, does a lot to take the pain out of going to the airport.

Credit: Tom's Guide

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travel bag with usb charger

The Best Carry-On Luggage

Kit Dillon

By Kit Dillon

Kit Dillon is a writer focused on bags and travel gear. He has worked for Wirecutter for a decade and lost count of the number of bags he has tested.

Traveling well is not always easy. Keeping your suitcase with you when you fly not only protects your belongings from loss or damage but may help you avoid extra fees as well.

If you decide to do so, you need a good carry-on bag.

Over the past 10 years, we’ve handled, tested, and traveled with 67 bags from more than 35 brands, and we remain convinced that the Travelpro Platinum Elite offers the best balance of value and quality for most travelers.

It packs five days’ worth of clothes into standard US carry-on dimensions 1 and has premium touches you might expect from a $600 bag at about half the price.

It’s a bag that you can rely on for life, even if it’s damaged by airlines —a rarity at any price.

Everything we recommend

travel bag with usb charger

Travelpro Platinum Elite 21″ Carry-On Spinner

The best soft-sided carry-on.

This spinner carry-on offers the best balance of size, value, reliability, and durability, plus high-end details. It’s backed by a lifetime warranty.

Buying Options

travel bag with usb charger

Travelpro Platinum Elite 22″ Carry-On Rollaboard

A bit more capacity and extra wheel durability.

This two-wheeled carry-on bag isn’t as maneuverable, but it offers slightly more space, a garment folder, and larger, more durable wheels.

travel bag with usb charger

Away The Carry-On

The best hard-sided carry-on.

This great-looking and relatively resilient piece of hard-sided luggage has top-of-the-line components—including wheels as smooth-rolling as any we’ve tested.

travel bag with usb charger

Away The Bigger Carry-On

Slightly more room, but you might get checked.

With more capacity than Away’s standard carry-on, this suitcase is sized appropriately for most flights. On smaller planes, though, you may get gate-checked.

Budget pick

travel bag with usb charger

Travelpro Maxlite 5 21″ Carry-On Spinner

Lightweight and appealingly inexpensive.

Remarkably well priced for a reputable brand, this is an ideal lightweight pick and provides many features of luggage costing nearly twice as much.

Upgrade pick

travel bag with usb charger

Briggs & Riley Baseline Essential 22″ Carry-On Expandable Spinner

A soft-sided carry-on that fits more in less.

This carry-on bag offers superlative build quality, plenty of expandable room, and a uniquely effective compression system. It’s a buy-it-for-life suitcase.

travel bag with usb charger

Briggs & Riley Baseline Essential 22″ 2-Wheel Expandable Carry-On

More room, bigger wheels, less maneuverability.

If you’re willing to give up maneuverability for more space and bigger wheels, this is also a great option.

travel bag with usb charger

Carl Friedrik The Carry-On

A more luxe hard-sided carry-on.

Luxury touches and a strong polycarbonate and aluminum design give this bag a standout look with exceptional feel and performance. It does cost nearly $200 more than the comparably sized Away bag, though.

travel bag with usb charger

Yeti Crossroads 22″/35L Wheeled Luggage

A bag built for tough conditions.

A polycarbonate back and rugged wheels make this design suited for rougher travel over difficult surfaces. However, it has a limited warranty, and it’s somewhat unwieldy to handle.

What to consider

Four-wheel bags, aka spinners, are easier to maneuver down tight airplane aisles, but two-wheel bags will always be more durable .

Hard-sided looks better to most people, but soft-sided luggage withstands the bumps and knocks of travel for longer .

Plenty of reputable brands offer lifetime warranties; it’s generally worth paying a little extra for the peace of mind .

Depending on where you travel, you might need to look for specialty luggage sizes .

We’ve also included picks that stood out for their form and individual functionality: an upgrade with best-in-class compression, a pick made of polycarbonate , an upgraded hard-sided case with latch closures and an aluminum frame, a rolling soft-top hybrid , and a budget pick that’s also the best ultra-light suitcase we can find.

Travelpro’s Platinum Elite line of luggage is still our top pick after 10 years of testing. It addresses the concerns of most travelers for an affordable price while offering the best warranty against potential airline damage in the industry (as long as you register the luggage within 120 days of purchase, which you can do in minutes).

The Platinum Elite features smooth-rolling, replaceable wheels, as well as solid and comfortable telescoping handles and a hard-wearing nylon exterior propped up by a solid internal chassis. Travelpro also provides a full catalog of other replaceable parts . Instead of chasing the smart-bag moment, Travelpro added an exterior pocket with a USB pass-through extension that lets you insert your own battery pack for charging your phone. And weighing less than 8 pounds when empty, the Platinum Elite is dead in the center of average weight for bags this size.

In our view, soft-sided luggage lasts longer and shows less wear, but if you prefer the look of a hard-sided bag, Away’s The Carry-On is our choice. Like our other picks, this bag stands out for its high-end components: YKK zippers, smooth-running wheels, and a well-braced handle. Its strong but flexible polycarbonate shell shows scratches—however, after seven years of using the Away Carry-On, our testers have found that it is capable of enduring most of the trials of travel with fewer knocks than other similar models we’ve tested.

Away also makes a slightly larger version of the same model: The Bigger Carry-On . It conforms to carry-on size for most major airliners, but you might be asked to gate-check it on smaller planes.

Similar to our soft-sided picks, this Away bag is backed by a limited lifetime warranty. And though the coverage doesn’t explicitly protect against airline damage, it does apply to any damage that an airline could possibly dish out—specifically, but not limited to, the shell cracking or wheels breaking off.

Some companies have tried to shave off a few pounds from their standard luggage designs to make so-called ultra-light luggage. The Travelpro Maxlite 5 21″ Carry-On Spinner is the best of these bags we’ve seen, and it comes with the pedigree of our top pick but not quite as strong a warranty.

The Maxlite 5 is just over 2 pounds lighter than our top pick—that’s the weight of two or three pairs of jeans. It’s not a huge difference, but if you have trouble lifting luggage over your head and prefer an easier-to-manage suitcase, the Maxlite 5 may be your choice. This bag is also the best one we’ve found under $200, with almost all the benefits of luggage nearly twice the price.

For the more frequent flyer who is willing to invest in a higher-quality bag, we recommend the Briggs & Riley Baseline Essential Carry-On . Every detail of this bag, from the zippers to the wheels to the wrinkle-resistant suit compartment, is made to the highest standards, and it has a higher proportion of usable space than any other spinner bag we tested.

Briggs & Riley boosts this extra capacity with a ratcheting compression system that easily presses an entire extra outfit (if not more) into the same external dimensions as most other carry-ons. It’s simple, impressive, and unmatched by any other brand’s compression system.

The Expandable Spinner version is also the only spinner luggage model we tested with a built-in garment folder, which helps shirts and pants stay wrinkle-free if you pack them well. If things go awry, Briggs & Riley has a catalog of replaceable parts and a global network of repair centers , as well as a reliable lifetime warranty covering repairs for airline damage.

For some people, Carl Friedrik’s The Carry-On may be worth the extra cost. Behind the maturity of Italian leather accents and polish of higher-end Hinomoto wheels, the Carl Friedrik Carry-On bypasses the biggest compromise in most polycarbonate designs: the stitched-in zipper. Incorporating an aluminum frame around the center of the case and two latch locks, it feels comfortingly secure and well structured where other luggage tends to sag or bend away.

There’s a potential catch, however: The flex in a polycarbonate design (and most luggage, incidentally) is its strength. The more robust a piece of luggage becomes—by replacing, for instance, a zipper with an aluminum frame—the greater the chance that if something hits the case hard enough, the frame can bend or break. That said, you need to hit a frame like this with an extreme amount of focused force for that to happen. And Carl Friedrik provides a lifetime warranty that appears to cover airline damage in the event that an airline doesn’t compensate you within 14 days.

The Yeti Crossroads 22”/35L Wheeled Luggage represents the best of a relatively niche type of luggage design. Call it a hybrid model—a blend of a soft-sided luggage on top and hard-sided luggage on the back—that lends itself to fairly specific circumstances. It’s ideal for tough roads, broken streets, and slamming your luggage into uneven curbs with abandon. Do most people need this kind of luggage for their day-to-day travel? Absolutely not, and it can feel heavier than it really is. But if you do, this is the best there is—at least for the moment.

The Yeti Crossroads has everything you might expect from a brand that has built its reputation for over-the-top toughness and durability. The two heavy-duty wheels are among the largest and broadest that we’ve seen. Externally, Yeti blends a polycarbonate shell back with a water-resistant 700-denier nylon front and waterproof zippers. However, Yeti backs its luggage with only a three-year warranty and no mention of airline damage. That’s very limited protection, especially for the conditions this bag was designed for and definitely in comparison with the standards that our other picks set.

The research

Why you should trust us, how we picked and tested, our pick for the best carry-on luggage: travelpro platinum elite, our pick for the best hard-sided carry-on luggage: away the carry-on, budget pick: travelpro maxlite 5 carry-on spinner, upgrade pick for the best carry-on: briggs & riley baseline essential, upgrade pick for the best hard-sided carry-on: carl friedrik the carry-on, also great for tough conditions: yeti crossroads 35l wheeled luggage, other good carry-on luggage, what to look forward to, the competition.

I’ve been covering luggage and travel bag design for Wirecutter for nearly a decade and have personally researched, tested, and compared hundreds of bags in that time. Over the years we’ve also spoken with plenty of experts: flight attendants for major airlines, product designers and creative directors for luggage and gear companies, and travel and gear writers. My conversations with these people have helped shape our coverage, and we owe much to their collective knowledge.

Six of the carry-on suitcases we tested, shown lined up.

In the 10 years we’ve been covering this category, luggage has evolved, and so has our thinking about what makes the best carry-on for most people. After spending well over 200 hours doing research and interviews and easily twice that time conducting hands-on testing, we’ve seen a few truths become clear. First, at a certain threshold—roughly over $200—most luggage is fine. It will more than likely get you from point A to point B without incident many times a year for many years. What distinguishes great luggage from everything else is mostly an attention to detail—the quality of a bag’s handle, its wheels, the frame, and stitching—and a company’s guarantee that it will stand behind its product.

Every year we try to refine our testing and find new ways to consider what it means to be the best luggage. We’ve weighed and measured suitcases, comparing our results with company claims. We’ve calculated true internal capacity with hundreds of Ping-Pong balls 2 and some decently complex math for a writer to scratch out. We’ve packed and unpacked more bags than I care to remember. We’ve studied and compared wheel bearings, wheel sizes, pocket counts, pocket quality, the curious subtleties of garment bags that will (or more often won’t) keep your clothes wrinkle-free, the strength of warranties, and repairability.

A person pouring white plastic balls into the Travelpro Platinum Elite Spinner.

We believe that any maximally sized carry-on should be capable of holding enough clothes to last you five days with room to spare for miscellaneous necessities. Most years we aim to have two testers, one male and one female, pack two bags individually as if headed to the same wedding. 3 What we included isn’t representative of a family traveling or a couple splitting a bag, but we erred on the side of bulky, and we hope it gives you a clear idea of how much of your own stuff these bags will hold.

Women's clothes, shoes, and accessories packed for a five-day trip and a fancy gathering.

We looked at how each bag loaded. Was there an easy way to keep smaller items (such as socks and underwear) organized? Did it have compression straps to keep things in place? Were the straps thick enough to avoid creasing the clothes? Just how much would the bag compress? How much room was left over? Once packed, was the bag prone to tipping over?

An obstacle course and mock fuselage in Virgin America’s old training facility.

Over the years I’ve torn bags apart to see how the frames were put together, taken apart wheels, dismantled handles, and more or less treated luggage as poorly as one person could. I’ve wheeled loaded bags around many neighborhoods, looking at how well each bag rolled and how well it handled broken sidewalks, uneven pavement, grass, bricks, dirt, and curbs. I’ve dragged bags up and down two flights of concrete stairs, noting how easy this task was and how much damage the bags sustained. For our finalists, I’ve repeated the torture test along a second, even rougher route because I like the sound that polycarbonate luggage makes when it bounces down cavernous stairwells.

The twenty carry-on suitcases we tested lined up against a fence.

In fall 2023, we asked a panel of paid testers with a wide range of body types, dexterities, and mobilities to examine our picks and share their perspectives. We’ve incorporated their feedback in this review.

Our top picks for the best carry-on luggage, The Travelpro Platinum Elite 21-inch Carry-On Spinner and the Travelpro Platinum Elite 22-inch Carry-On Rollaboard.

The Travelpro Platinum Elite 21″ Carry-On Spinner is our pick for a soft-sided carry-on; if you need a little more room, we also recommend the Travelpro Platinum Elite 22″ Carry-On Rollaboard .

It has a history of great performance. Travelpro’s Platinum Elite line has been our top pick for almost every iteration of this guide because it addresses the concerns of most travelers for an affordable price: In addition to smooth-rolling, replaceable wheels, it features solid and comfortable telescoping handles and a hard-wearing nylon exterior propped up by a solid 7.8-pound internal chassis. Travelpro backs it all with a lifetime warranty that covers airline damage and shipping to the repair facility (as long as you register the luggage within 120 days of purchase). Additionally, Travelpro supplies a full catalog of other replaceable parts .

It moves well across most surfaces and through most situations. The spinner bag’s configuration stands out in particular because of its MagnaTrac wheels, which magnetically snap into a forward position when the bag is moving. The small tracking assistance makes a large difference when you’re navigating the Platinum Elite through a crowded airport or down a busy street. It also has an easy-to-use, removable garment bag. After years of testing, we think the superior maneuverability of spinner luggage, along with improvements in manufacturing processes, makes four-wheel bags a better choice for most people. However, if you prefer slightly more packing capacity (the equivalent of squeezing in two more sweatshirts), larger wheels that run more smoothly over rough terrain, and a more protective built-in garment folder, 4 you may appreciate the two-wheeled 22-inch version of the Platinum Elite. One of our paid testers, who’s 6-foot-6, told us that although he could see the appeal of a spinner, “I would still choose the two-wheeler. It has a little more space, and when you’re my size, packing is just so horrible.”

Our pick for best carry-on luggage sitting in front of an American Airlines carry-on size diagram to show that it will fit in the overhead bin.

It’s sized to maximize your space, but you have options. Measuring 23 by 13.5 by 9 inches, the Platinum Elite carry-on bag (in either wheel configuration) hits the upper margins of actual carry-on size limits and could get you gate-checked by an overzealous agent. However, it fits into most standard-size baggage caddies at check-in, including that of American Airlines and United Airlines. I’ve personally traveled with Travelpro carry-ons this size for more than 45,000 miles spread across 50 flights, from regional to long-haul to international routes, and I’ve never had an issue fitting within gate-side luggage sizers. If you’re nervous about getting caught at the gate or often fly in very small regional planes, Travelpro makes a 20-inch Platinum Elite as well as a slimmer international size, but they hold less (naturally) and lack a suiter insert.

An opened Platinum Elite Carry-On Spinner next to its removable garment bag.

It keeps clothes compacted but not creased. Inside, the Platinum Elite has a pair of tie-down straps and two broad panels with pockets that cinch down, similar in design and function to what you’d find in much more expensive Briggs & Riley luggage . Compared with the simple tie-down straps you often find in cheaper luggage, the panels do a great job of keeping things compacted without creasing clothes—a problem we’ve encountered in numerous other bags we’ve tested. Beyond that, the Platinum Elite’s internal organization system is about average. It will be familiar to anyone who has used a suitcase before, which means there’s no learning curve for optimizing the storage capacity. One long mesh pocket sits on one of the bag’s sides, and a smaller removable transparent plastic bag sits on the other side for easy TSA inspection of toiletries.

It’s tough yet flexible. The exterior is made of a hard-wearing nylon fabric, a key feature of all the bags we’ve tested. It hides scuffs and scratches, and it’s much more versatile than hard-sided bags. An expansion zipper lets you increase storage by about 30% in a pinch—although the bag is no longer carry-on compliant at that point. We prefer to use the expansion zipper as something of an ad-hoc compression system: We unzip the expansion zipper while packing the bag and then zip it at the end, tamping everything down tight. The Platinum Elite carry-on also has a variety of convenient exterior pockets, including two in the front, suitable for a sleep mask and other small miscellaneous items, and one on the side for a battery, though it can fit a bit more if necessary. It also has an accordion pocket on the front for magazines and electronic tablets.

It’s well balanced and spacious. This luggage has an 1,856-cubic-inch interior, which we measured using hundreds of Ping-Pong balls . In real-world terms (the needs of Ping-Pong champions notwithstanding), the Platinum Elite swallowed up five days’ worth of clothes with no problem and had a good deal of room to spare—and that’s without our resorting to the expansion zipper.

It has an excellent warranty. Should anything go wrong, you can take advantage of Travelpro’s generous lifetime warranty, which covers airline damage . The sole other company we’ve seen offering this extensive a warranty is Briggs & Riley, whose carry-on suitcases start at about $500. Travelpro bags have owner-serviceable parts and multiple repair centers . To get repair service, you can either drop the bag off at a repair center or ship the bag to Travelpro, the cost of which the company will cover. Keep in mind that the warranty doesn’t cover cosmetic wear.

Travelpro has a history of fixing production errors remarkably quickly. In 2019, we noticed a small uptick in Wirecutter reader complaints about zipper tabs breaking. We reached out to Travelpro, and a representative told us that a production error expanded the capacity of the front pocket of the Platinum Elite; this allowed travelers to overpack the pocket, which put excessive strain on the zipper. Travelpro identified and fixed the issue before it had reached the threshold of more than a few comments online.

Dimensions: 23.5 by 14.5 by 9 inches (HWD) Weight: 7.8 pounds Volume: 46 liters

How the Platinum Elite has held up

After nearly a decade of testing the Platinum Elite line of bags from Travelpro, we have yet to encounter a single serious issue. The fabric exterior brushes off scrapes and is easy enough to clean. Simply, it is a remarkably built bag that continues to travel well, year after year.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The back of a Travelpro Platinum Elite carry-on suitcase.

  • Though the Platinum Elite rolled well in general, we are still concerned when dragging the bag up stairs. Some of the other bags we tested had long plastic bumper strips running most of the way up the length of the bag; this Travelpro model’s skid plate isn’t as big or as protective. I haven’t had an issue, but if you’re particularly rough on your luggage or uncomfortable lifting the bag over curbs or up stairs, it’s something to be aware of.

Close-up of the battery pocket on the side of the Travelpro Platinum Elite.

  • In 2018, Travelpro added a USB-A pass-through cable to the Platinum Elite as a way to compete with so-called smart bags. We like the battery pocket, but the built-in cable itself, which routes from the pocket to a USB port less than 6 inches away, is an unnecessary item, which at best adds a potential point of failure to the bag—USB cables do not last forever. Does it ruin the bag? No. Is it a feature? Not really.

Our picks for the best hard-sided carry-on luggage, an Away The Carry-On and the Away The Bigger Carry-On.

If you prefer the look of hard-sided luggage or the security of knowing that you can’t overpack your suitcase, Away’s The Carry-On is the carry-on we recommend. If you want to maximize your available carry-on space, it also comes in a slightly larger size: The Bigger Carry-On .

It can take wear and tear. Most travelers are still better off with one of our soft-sided picks than a hard-sided carry-on; soft-sided luggage shows less wear and typically lasts longer than hard-sided luggage. But the Away Carry-On’s wheels and zipper are as well made as those of our soft-sided picks, and its polycarbonate showed fewer scratches than that of hard-sided competitors.

We’ve tested the Away Carry-On for six years, traveling with it ourselves across the country and lending several units to testers and frequent travelers to see how they enjoyed using the bag. Its polycarbonate feels similar to that used on more high-end (and significantly pricier) suitcases such as the Rimowa Essential Cabin , which is more than three times as expensive.

An opened Away The Carry-On suitcase.

You have options if you need extra space. Away makes a similar model of suitcase with an expandable zipper, The Carry-On Flex . The Flex is the same bag as the standard Carry-On except for the expanding center zipper and the price (it’s about $50 more). Personally, I’m not a fan of expanding zippers on suitcases. It feels like just one more thing to break. But some people may prefer having the extra flexibility.

It feels great to use. The bag itself feels good in the hands, and the wheels are noticeably better than those on any of the hard-sided competitors we tried. Away also uses YKK zippers, outclassing our top pick in that regard (Travelpro moved to Supra zippers in 2015). At this point, we’re pretty comfortable saying that years of debate over the best zipper are largely redundant, but YKK still sets the standard.

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Away has sparked more imitators and outright duplicates than any other brand in the past decade, in part due to its appeal with younger travelers. I’ve thought about why, and as best as I can guess, a simple polycarbonate cube dripped in limited-edition soft hues does exude a certain calm; the fact that some of those same colors also coat the exteriors of pills ending in suffixes -ax and -il is not, one assumes, accidental.

It has a great warranty. The Away Carry-On is backed by a limited lifetime warranty that protects against defects and parts breaking. Though the warranty doesn’t specifically mention airline damage, the damages it does list—cracks or breaks in the shell, wheels or handles becoming unusable, zippers that don’t work, fabric tears that render any pocket unusable—basically outline anything an airline could possibly dish out.

Dimensions (for The Carry-On): 21.7 by 14.4 by 9 inches (HWD) Weight: 7.5 pounds Volume: 40 liters

  • The Carry-On’s sleek style comes at a cost: Its polycarbonate shell is ultimately more likely to break than the nylon fabric of our other picks.
  • It lacks certain amenities, such as external pockets and a suiter, that our top picks have.
  • The clamshell design, which splits down the middle and opens into two parts, can make the bag frustrating to pack and unpack. Packing cubes help, but after years of packing and unpacking soft-sided luggage with a single lid, I personally find a clamshell design to be more finicky when packing.

Our budget pick for best carry-on luggage, the Travelpro Maxlite 5 21-inch Carry-On Spinner.

The Travelpro Maxlite 5 21″ Carry-On Spinner is one of the lightest pieces of luggage we’ve tested, at a great price.

It’s lightweight. We have a hard time imagining how anyone could make a suitcase much lighter than this without breaking certain laws of physics. A few years ago, I took apart a Maxlite suitcase to see how the internal frame was built. What I found beneath the fabric was a clever lattice of plastic supporting the frame, which offered the best balance between weight-saving and structure.

For some people, especially those with limited upper-body strength, a lighter bag—even by just a few pounds—may be easier to lift or manage. That said, most people don’t need extremely light luggage, but just to pack less. For all the innovative design, the Maxlite 5 shaves only 2.4 pounds off the weight of our top pick. That’s the equivalent of a couple of pairs of jeans.

It’s inexpensive. My general advice to friends is to spend more than $200 but less than $500 to get good, if not great, luggage. The Maxlite 5 is the one piece of luggage I’ve found that breaks that rule. You can usually find it for about $150 or less, which is a remarkable price considering the bag’s quality.

Top view of an opened Travelpro Maxlite 5 21-inch Carry-On Spinner.

Simple is good. This model doesn’t have any real bells or whistles—no battery pass-throughs or magnetically tracked wheels, as with our other Travelpro picks. Instead you’ll find two simple front pockets, a few well-placed handles, and a cavernous main compartment with a couple of pockets and two light straps to hold your stuff in place.

It comes from a trusted brand. We haven’t covered, examined, and interrogated a single luggage brand at Wirecutter for as long as we have Travelpro. For a decade, Travelpro has done a premier job of maintaining trust with its customers and with us—we’ve watched the company make small changes in design, catch flaws quickly, and address warranty concerns promptly. This is not something we say lightly: Travelpro is a name you can trust.

Dimensions: 23 by 14.5 by 9 inches (HWD) Weight: 5.4 pounds Volume: 46 liters

  • The Maxlite 5’s warranty isn’t as robust as that of our top pick: Manufacturing defects in the wheels, zippers, and handles are covered for as long as you own the bag, but airline damage and shipping to a Travelpro repair center are covered only for the first year. (And you do need to register the bag.) Considering that this bag costs half the price of the Platinum Elite, this makes sense, but it’s something to be aware of.

Two Briggs & Riley Baseline Essential 22-inch Carry-On Expandable Spinners, the four- and two-wheeled versions, shown side by side.

If you’re a frequent flyer and willing to invest in higher-quality gear, we recommend the Briggs & Riley Baseline Essential 22″ Carry-On Expandable Spinner (also available in a two-wheeled version with more capacity).

It’s the best of the best. Every detail of this top-rated bag, from the zippers to the wheels to the wrinkle-resistant suit compartment, is made to the highest standards, and we found that it had a higher proportion of usable space than any other spinner bag we tested. Briggs & Riley keeps its design consistent, adding, at most, small improvements such as this year’s upgraded lifting handle. Our 6-foot-6 paid tester pointed out that the Baseline Essential’s handle extended an inch and a half farther than that of the Travelpro Platinum Elite, which made it less likely to hit his heels as he pulled it.

Although the wheels don’t snap into alignment, they are exceptionally smooth-rolling and easy to maneuver. If you fly more than 25,000 miles per year, it’s worthwhile to invest in luggage that goes beyond merely being sturdy and actually improves your overall travel experience. That’s why we’ve been recommending it since we first covered this topic in 2014. The Baseline Essential is one of the best carry-on luggage options available today.

Close-up of the plastic handle of the Briggs & Riley’s CX expansion and compression system.

Its compression system is truly a marvel. The most ingenious part of the Baseline Essential bag is its CX expansion and compression system. Pull upward on two plastic handles inside the bag, and you can extend its depth a full 2.5 inches. Load the bag as full as you need to, and zip it closed. Then you push down on the bag, which compresses it as a clip mechanism secures it in place. Unlike other expansion systems, which are either open or closed, this one locks into incremental positions. It’s a unique design and very satisfying to use.

The inside of a Briggs & Riley and a Travelpro Platinum Elite spinners.

It’s the easiest to pack. Briggs & Riley placed the tracks for the Baseline Essential handles on the outside of the bag, which allows for a flat surface in the interior of the bag, with no small crevices to work around for simple packing. And in our tests, after packing 10 bags and trying to figure out strategies for each nook and cranny, packing on a broad flat surface felt like a luxury. According to our measurements, the bag, unexpanded, offers 1,905 cubic inches of storage room (and that accounts for the space occupied by the wheel wells and such). Expanded, it can stow 2,110 cubic inches. That’s remarkably efficient for a bag that does so much. All of these features add up to a carry-on that is easier to pack than any other bag we tested.

The Baseline Essential spinner is also the only spinner luggage model we tested with a built-in garment folder. It’s similar to the folder in Travelpro’s two-wheeled Platinum Elite bag, and that’s a good thing. It’s easy to pack and has an anchor point for hangers. Each of the three folds has a bit of padding that helps to keep a suit from pinching onto itself and creasing, though much of that depends on how well you pack. You can fit a week’s worth of clothes in the Baseline Essential, including some puffy gear for colder weather. A wide, wrinkle-free tie-down system completes the package.

It’s understated. On the outside, the Baseline Essential is pretty unremarkable. There’s nothing eye-grabbing about the bag, which is good if you’re trying to avoid being gate-checked (or having it stolen). Its outer, nylon fabric seems to be of a tighter weave than that used on the other bags we’ve tested. We also noticed a robust feel to the zippers, which are a self-repairing type made by YKK.

Similar to our top pick, the Baseline Essential includes a charging pocket. However, Briggs & Riley skipped the internal USB wiring, instead opting for a simple pocket arrangement (video) on the back of the bag for discreetly storing a charge pack and your phone. It’s an elegant solution.

It comes with an excellent warranty. All Briggs & Riley bags come with a lifetime warranty that covers any damage to the “functional aspects” of the bag, even if caused by an airline (like Travelpro, Briggs & Riley does not cover cosmetic wear or cleaning). Although Briggs & Riley handles warranty-covered repairs at no extra cost, you do have to pay to ship the bag to the company to carry out any repairs; it will ship your bag back to you for free. Or you can drop off the bag at one of the many repair centers . Briggs & Riley emphasizes that returning your bag to you in its original condition, even after repairs, is not always possible. The bags are easy to service and repair, so you can also order the parts you need and replace them yourself at home.

We’ve put in the miles, and the Baseline Essential is in a separate league. Over a five-year period before the pandemic, Wirecutter founder Brian Lam carried a two-wheeled Baseline Essential carry-on while traveling 150,000 miles and farther. After considering all the bags in our test and logging an additional 40,000 miles with a similarly priced bag by Tumi, he was convinced that this model is the best for anyone who’s always on the move. “I love this bag. It carries so much,” Brian said. “Sometimes I check it. Sometimes I carry it. It always fits.”

Dimensions: 22 by 14 by 9 (expands to 11.5) inches (HWD) Weight: 10 pounds Volume: 37 liters (expands to 48 liters)

  • Despite the plastic shielding, the exposed rails on the exterior could use more protection. While dragging the bag up stairs (which we don’t advise doing), we felt more scraping than we’d like.
  • At first glance, the handle feels too loose for a roughly $700 bag. We spoke to Briggs & Riley representatives, and they explained that this is a deliberate choice: The looser tolerances allow for the handle to retract by itself when you click its button, without your having to force it down. In practice, this is very helpful for scaling stairs and could save you some hassle in tight quarters, such as in the aisle of an airplane.
  • At 10 pounds, the Baseline Essential is the heaviest bag we recommend. In this price range, weight often equals durability, which equals quality. But if you’re uncomfortable with a heavier bag, this isn’t the best pick for you.

A Carl Friedrik The Carry-On, our upgrade pick for the best hard-sided carry-on.

Carl Friedrik’s The Carry-On is an impressive polycarbonate case that improves in areas where most other companies tend to cut corners.

It’s robust and durable. It improves the usual hard-case design primarily by replacing the zipper with an aluminum frame sealed with two metal latches incorporating TSA locks. This trim makes the case feel far more robust, which is a very satisfying feeling when you’re wheeling luggage around an airport.

An opened Carl Friedrik The Carry-On suitcase showing its removable compression pad.

Clasping shut an aluminum frame with a metal lock is pleasing—it feels like closing a safe and locking it tight. The polycarbonate shell has an equally rigid feeling but exhibits plenty of flexibility under strain. Although it’s difficult to compare polycarbonates between brands, higher-end polycarbonate feels dense to the touch even as the material flexes; in this piece of luggage, Carl Friedrik offers impressive quality.

Additionally, the Carl Friedrik Carry-On has YKK zippers internally and Hinomoto spinner wheels from Japan—both considered the top of their class.

It’s thoughtfully styled. The soft leather accents and bolted frame all have a certain maturity that’s often lacking in other, competing cases. This look carries to the inside of the luggage as well. A simple gray polyester lining accompanies two sets of compression straps and a removable compression pad, which has a zippered pocket.

It has an excellent warranty. As you might expect for the price, Carl Friedrik backs up its luggage with a lifetime warranty that protects against airline damage (assuming the airline hasn’t responded to your request for compensation within 14 days).

Dimensions: 21.6 by 14.5 by 9 inches (HWD) Weight: 8.6 pounds Volume: 40 liters

  • This is a brand-new pick—so far we haven’t found any flaws, but we’re keeping an eye on the latches. Luggage latches are small, complicated mechanical devices that have a myriad of ways to fail.
  • The handle feels just a touch loose, which, as with our upgrade pick from Briggs & Riley , can be a benefit. It can also sometimes be a hazard. Again, we’ll continue testing it.

A Yeti Crossroads 22-inch/35-liter Wheeled Luggage.

Hybrid designs like the Yeti Crossroads 22″/35L Wheeled Luggage aren’t for everyone, but if you like the flexibility of a soft-sided luggage with the hard-hitting ruggedness of a polycarbonate back and two large fixed wheels, then this bag is just right.

It’s made from tough materials and easy-to-repair parts. Yeti has a reputation for using tough, sometimes cutting-edge, materials in all its gear. The Crossroads is no exception. The 700-denier nylon is one of the better nylons we’ve tested—tightly woven and exceptionally durable. (Denier is a measure of the fiber thickness in a fabric.)

View of the inside of a Yeti Crossroads 22-inch/35-liter Wheeled Luggage.

The Crossroads comes in only a two-wheeled design, which is usually able to withstand more damage than a four-wheeled design. The wheels are also easier to service on the road and often replaceable. 5

It’s well organized. It includes a front panel organizer, similar to that of modern laptop backpacks, with two slots for your laptop and tablet plus a mesh pocket for spare gear. Fully packed, it still has room for a few magazines as well, if you like. Internally, the soft top has a zippered main compartment with a decent amount of packing space, as well as two mesh organizing pockets.

It’s a pleasure to pack. As the Crossroads is built around a molded polycarbonate base, the entire suitcase becomes, in essence, a large tray to pack and then zip shut. It’s a very satisfying design—easier to manage than many of the clamshell designs that are currently popular. Yeti’s packing cubes are designed to fit snugly in the Crossroads’s main compartment, and the bag does come with one small cube. But if you choose these, you’re spending a premium for additional packing cubes when almost any packing cube will work.

Dimensions: 22 by 14 by 9 inches (HWD) Weight: 8 pounds Volume: 40 liters

  • We’d love to see a better warranty. Three years is very limited when compared with other luggage brands selling similarly priced suitcases—especially for a bag that claims to be as tough as the brand’s reputation.
  • Occasionally, Yeti’s tough-gear reputation veers almost into absurdity, as with the inclusion here of self-sealing zippers on a bag that isn’t actually waterproof—merely weather resistant. They’re top-of-the-line zippers. But self-sealing zippers can be hard to operate and require regular lubrication, which most people aren’t used to providing.
  • The front-facing laptop organizer is woefully unshielded. If you’re traveling with a laptop, place it deep within the bag if you want it properly protected.
  • The bag feels heavy—by our measurements, it weighs about a half pound more than Yeti’s 7.5-pound estimation. It’s not the heaviest of our picks, but something about the weight distribution and shape of the bag makes it feel heavier when you’re swinging it around.

If you need a hard-sided budget bag: Look at the Gregory Quadro Hardcase 22″ , an unexpectedly high-quality suitcase from an outdoor-gear company. Gregory offers a lifetime warranty with service and repair. Although the warranty doesn’t explicitly mention airline damage, Gregory’s good reputation speaks for itself in this matter. However, the Quadro Hardcase is a pound heavier (at 6.5 pounds) and about $60 more than our budget pick.

If the Away Carry-On is sold out: Consider the Monos Carry-On Plus . Picking between these two models came down to splitting some very fine hairs. Both use YKK zippers. Both have lifetime warranties. The handles and interiors are almost identical. Monos even hides the stitching that attaches the zipper to the polycarbonate frame, which is a nice aesthetic touch. The difference came down to the Away Carry-On’s wheels, which spun just that much more freely in our testing, and the underside handle, which made it easier to pull out of overhead bins. And we’ve tested the Away Carry-On for longer. However, if it’s unavailable, the Monos model is a good, nearly identical substitute.

If you want a bag made of recycled materials: We suggest the Paravel Aviator Carry-On . Paravel is attempting to design luggage with recycled materials and some environmentally minded transparency to the company’s production methods. However, you pay a premium for the effort. Quality-wise, the bag is similar to our other hard-sided picks, for about a hundred more dollars. And much of the Paravel branding is built on carbon offsets, which we are deeply skeptical of (though we wish they worked).

If you’re an infrequent adventurer: Try the Topo Designs Global Travel Bag Roller , which could almost be an also-great pick under our hybrid pick . It’s cheaper, has a better warranty (but no explicit coverage for airline damage), and is made from recycled materials. However, the overall build quality is wanting. For example, the polycarbonate shell doesn’t fully cover the tubes for the extendable handle as it does with our hybrid pick. It seems an oversight for bags that are built to knock around.

If the best possible suit-packing experience is all you want, and money is no object: The Vocier C38 Carry-On Luggage is worth a look, despite a few flaws and an $800 price tag. The C38 takes a unique, fold-free approach to packing clothes. Rather than folding garments in on themselves to fit in the bag, it bends the suit around the outside of the luggage frame in a U shape. This packing method creates no creases and therefore no wrinkles. The case is protected by a limited lifetime warranty that doesn’t cover airline damage.

We hope to take a look at the European brand Floyd , which is currently popular on Instagram. At first glance, it’s another piece of luggage looking to appeal to a younger mass audience. But the easy-to-replace polyurethane wheels and bearings—similar to skateboard wheels—do have “user-serviceable parts inside” curb appeal.

We’re currently testing Level8’s Voyageur series of luggage, which features an extra-wide handle. It’s a design trend we’re starting to track with a few lesser-known brands (and, incidentally, a Louis Vuitton case costing several thousand dollars). A wide handle should do two things: It should free up a little more space inside the luggage, and it should improve handling.

Lastly, we’re considering expanding our coverage to include equipment cases like those made by Pelican . Though their appropriate use is very specific, when you need to travel with high-end gear or fragile valuables, Pelican cases more or less set the standard.

Soft-sided carry-on luggage

Cotopaxi Allpa 38L Roller Bag : We’re generally fans of Cotopaxi’s Allpa line, but this two-wheeled bag falls short. Specifically, the bottom of the bag is split by the zipper, which gives the bag an unstable feeling when it’s standing upright.

Eagle Creek Tarmac XE 4-Wheel 22″ Carry On Luggage : If this bag were about $150 cheaper, it would be a good price for the quality. We like the recycled materials, but the bag lacks framing.

Solo Re:Treat Carry-On Spinner : I appreciate any bag made entirely out of recycled materials, but this model (from a brand owned by the same company that manages Briggs & Riley) felt awfully flimsy. Even with its five-year warranty, I just don’t trust that this bag can go the distance.

Thule Subterra : The clamshell design—similar to the ones you find on hard-sided bags—makes this bag difficult to close if you’re trying to fill it to its full capacity. It just isn’t as easy to use as our soft-sided picks.

Timbuk2 Copilot Luggage Roller : The balance on this bag was decent, and it stood up well unloaded or loaded. Its wheels had a cheap ball-bearing rhythmic chatter, though, and the abundance of zippers and internal compartments made it tedious to pack.

Tumi Aerotour International Expandable 4 Wheeled Carry-On : At about half the price, this would be a great bag. But paying nearly $700 for a five-year warranty and a bag that doesn’t do nearly as much as a Briggs & Riley suitcase seems a bit silly.

Hard-sided carry-on luggage

Amazon Basics 24-Inch Hardside Spinner : This bag is a surprisingly good carry-on for about $90. However, its ABS plastic shell is not as tough as a polycarbonate shell. It’s worth investing more in your luggage—the bag you choose will last longer and work better.

Arlo Skye The Frame Carry-On : The Arlo Skye carry-on is a decent piece of luggage, but it’s hard to square the bag with its cost: $200 more than our pick from Away .

Away The Carry-On: Aluminum Edition : 10 pounds! At this weight, you’ve lost a quarter of your allowable luggage weight to the suitcase alone, unpacked. And it’s nearly as expensive as our upgrade pick, with a much less satisfying compression system.

Briggs & Riley Torq and Sympatico : Though these collections seek to solve a different problem, neither is as impressive as the Baseline series.

Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage : We preferred sturdier polycarbonate shells over Calpak’s blended ABS polycarbonate shell. Also, the bag’s handling felt jittery against normal airport floor surfaces.

Delsey Rempart Expandable Spinner Carry-On : At just around $200, the Rempart is a decent budget option. However, the external styling (like layers of pressed sheet pans) is an odd choice. It has some practicality, but only if you’re stacking identical Delsey cases one on top of another, which might happen, I suppose, at some point … maybe.

July Carry On : In the lineup between July, Monos, and Away, July falls just short. We appreciate the lifetime warranty, YKK zippers, and flexible but dense-feeling polycarbonate. But the overall design doesn’t do much to improve on the category (as the Monos bag subtly does).

Level8 Road Runner Pro Carry-On 20″ : This is potentially a decent budget pick at just around $200. But the one-year warranty and the somewhat fiddly TSA lock and front latching panel give us pause.

Lojel Cubo Medium : Although we liked the uncommon top-loading design, the internal organization of the lid made packing this carry-on difficult. We also weren’t impressed by the zippered expansion system, which made the suitcase feel bulkier than our picks.

Lojel Voja Medium : An odd suitcase, this would be a great children’s suitcase or a budget pick—especially if it were under $200. But its current price is steep for a polypropylene blend with a couple of latches.

This article was edited by Ria Misra and Chris Ryan.

Airline policies vary, but a general rule is that the bag must be under 45 linear inches—the total sum of the bag’s length, width, and depth. Here’s the current sizing breakdown among the major US airlines:

  • Alaska Airlines: 22 by 14 by 9 inches
  • Allegiant Air: 22 by 14 by 9 inches
  • American Airlines: 22 by 14 by 9 inches (the dimensions of soft-sided garment bags are allowed to add up to 51 inches)
  • Delta Air Lines: 22 by 14 by 9 inches
  • Frontier Airlines: 24 by 16 by 10 inches (and less than 35 pounds)
  • Hawaiian Airlines: 22 by 14 by 9 inches
  • JetBlue Airways: 22 by 14 by 9 inches
  • Southwest Airlines: 24 by 16 by 10 inches
  • Spirit Airlines: 22 by 18 by 10 inches
  • Sun Country Airlines: 24 by 16 by 11 inches
  • United Airlines: 22 by 14 by 9 inches

We double-checked the measurable packable space of our top picks against the manufacturers’ listed volumes by filling each piece of luggage with hundreds of Ping-Pong balls: 144 Ping-Pong balls weigh exactly 0.5 pound, and each Ping-Pong ball represents approximately 2 cubic inches (PDF) . After weighing each piece of luggage three times to establish an average empty weight, we filled the bags as full as we could with Ping-Pong balls and measured the change in weight. For every half-pound increase in weight we estimated 288 cubic inches of packable space.

His five-day travel kit included the following:

  • 1 two-piece linen suit on a hanger
  • 1 dress shirt on a hanger
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 pair of khakis
  • 5 medium-weight to lightweight shirts
  • 1 heavy sweater
  • 2 flannel shirts
  • 5 pairs of boxer briefs
  • 5 pairs of sport socks

Her five-day travel kit included the following:

  • 1 dress on a hanger
  • 1 blazer on a hanger
  • 1 blouse on a hanger
  • 1 pair of heels
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of light sneakers
  • 5 pairs of underwear and 3 bras
  • 1 pair of yoga pants
  • 1 flannel shirt
  • 1 hair dryer
  • 1 curling iron
  • 1 jewelry/makeup kit
  • 3 pairs of sport socks
  • 4 lightweight shirts

You use a garment folder by laying a suit or dress across the panels, folding them into themselves, and zipping up the inner compartment. A folder should be wide enough that a suit isn’t cramped, and it should include hanger straps (which should fit around everything, even larger plastic hangers) to keep things from shifting around too much. Some folding boards have 0.75-inch-diameter foam rolls in them to help prevent creases along the packed clothes’ fold lines. When you aren’t traveling with fancy clothes, you can take the whole apparatus apart and use it as luggage dividers in the main bag itself, or leave it at home, converting the suit/dress compartment into an extra packing cube.

Yeti doesn’t seem to have an easy way to order replaceable wheels. But the 3.5-by-1-inch wheels are fairly common, and we’re looking at the best possible alternatives.

Meet your guide

travel bag with usb charger

Kit Dillon is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter. He was previously an app developer, oil derrick inspector, public-radio archivist, and sandwich shop owner. He has written for Popular Science, The Awl, and the New York Observer, among others. When called on, he can still make a mean sandwich.

Further reading

Our six choices for best luggage tags displayed on a wooden surface

The Best Luggage Tags

by Geoffrey Morrison

We chose five luggage tags that will help you identify your belongings in a sea of similar suitcases.

A person standing outside in a light blue short sleeve shirt wears the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L backpack, in black with a gray llama-head logo and aqua accents.

The Best Carry-On Travel Backpacks

by Kit Dillon

The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L is our backpack pick for most travelers. We also have picks for other travelers, including those who want to carry a bit more.

An illustration reading "our 100 most popular September picks."

Wirecutter’s 100 Most Popular Picks in September 2022

by Wirecutter Staff

These 100 useful things were the most-purchased Wirecutter picks in September 2022.

A Travelpro rolling suitcase, next to clothes and a purse.

We’ve Loved Luggage From Travelpro’s Platinum Elite Line for a Decade. Here’s Why.

Travelpro Platinum Elite is our most loyal travel companion.

The Best Carry-On Luggage, Tested & Reviewed By Our Editors

By Madison Flager

All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Carry-ons are arguably the piece of luggage travelers pull out most often, whether it's the only bag coming on a weekend trip or used in tandem with a checked suitcase. It also spends the most time with us in transit, which means the functionality is even more important: Are your belongings easy to get to if you need to retrieve something while waiting at your gate? Is there a space to stash whatever item you remember on your way out the door? These are a few of the things Traveler editors considered when sifting through the seemingly endless options on the market. We set out to find the best of the best—bags that are lightweight but still sturdy, have enough space to house clothes, shoes, toiletries, and accessories, and will hold up for many trips to come. After months of testing, these are the pieces we've deemed the best carry-on luggage of 2023.

What we considered:

When testing out carry-on luggage, we asked editors and contributors to consider several factors: How light a bag was on its own, how much it could fit, whether the design and organizational factors were helpful (and aesthetically pleasing), how well it held up in transit, how easy or difficult it is to roll and pick up, whether it's worth the price point, and if there are any unique features that set it apart from other carry-on suitcases or bags they've used.

This article is part of Condé Nast Traveler' s first-ever Luggage Week , for which dozens of suitcases, backpacks, and weekender bags were road-tested by our editors.

What size can a carry-on bag be?

It depends on which airline you're flying with, but typically, dimensions are limited to 22 inches long, 14 inches wide, and 9 inches high for domestic airlines (Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, and United Airlines adhere to these figures; American Airlines allows for an extra inch of height, while and Frontier Airlines and Southwest Airlines's max is 24" x 16" x 10" and Spirit Airlines's allotment is 22" x 18" x 10"). Some airlines provide a single number; dimensions must add up to that number or below to be considered compliant.

International airlines tend to have slightly different size requirements; 21.5" x 15.5" x 9" is typical, but here are some exact specifications by airline:

  • Air Canada: 21.5" x 15.5" x 9"
  • Air France: 21.6" x 13.7" x 9.8"
  • British Airways: 22" x 18" x 10"
  • Emirates: 21.6" x 15" x 8.6"
  • Lufthansa: 21.6" x 15.7" x 9"
  • Qatar Airways: 20" x 15" x 10"
  • Singapore Airlines: 45 total inches

What can’t I take in my carry-on?

Liquids over 3.4 ounces (100mL) are not allowed in your carry-on. Additionally, firearms and other potentially hazardous items are prohibited. Check TSA's website for specific items you may have questions about.

Are carry-on bags free?

Again, it depends on which you're flying with and what kind of ticket you purchase. These airlines offer one free carry-on (and one personal item), regardless of what level ticket you bought:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines

While these airlines offer one free carry-on (and one personal item) to all travelers except those who purchased a base fare:

  • United Airlines

Top recommendations:

  • Best overall carry-on: Paravel The Aviator Carry-On
  • Best lightweight carry-on: July Carry-On Light
  • Best budget carry-on: Béis The Carry-On Roller
  • Best expandable carry-on: Away Carry-On Flex
  • Best softside carry-on: Travelpro Platinum Elite softside spinner

travel bag with usb charger

Weight: 8.2 lbs. Dimensions: 22" x 14" x 9"

Pros: Glides smoothly even when fully packed, unique look and feel Cons: No external phone charger included, could use an interior pocket along the length of the bag

Luggage brand Paravel has built a dedicated following thanks to its retro Wes Anderson–style designs and use of sustainable materials. The Aviator Carry-On is no different: Available in shades like scout tan, safari green, and scuba navy, it has a recycled polycarbonate shell, recycled zippers, and an interior lining made from 15 upcycled plastic water bottles. It's a favorite of senior editor Megan Spurrell : “This is one of two carry-on roller bags I have used regularly for nearly three years—we’ve traveled everywhere from Lisbon to Mexico City to Los Angeles together.” Spurrell has used it for weeklong trips, and notes that it's still in good shape after years of use: “It has definitely gotten scratched up from being thrown into the hull of planes (I have checked it before, even though it’s carry-on), but it has held up well otherwise—there are no cracks in the shell, zipper issues despite how much I have stuffed it, nor sticky wheels.” The one minor flaw: The top handle placement is a bit counterintuitive, placed on the side of the suitcase further from your body.

travel bag with usb charger

Weight: 8.36 lbs. Dimensions: 23" x 16" x 10"

Pros: Comfortable handle, fairly easy to clean Cons: Although the beige color is incredibly pretty, it gets dirty very quickly; I would recommend a darker color

With a pretty, ribbed design and thoughtful features like a cushioned silicone grip on the handle, you wouldn't guess this is one of the most affordable suitcases on our list. It's been tested by commerce producer Paris Wilson , who used it to pack for her and her boyfriend on a weeklong trip to the Florida Keys; with the help of the expandable zipper, it fit at least 14 outfits as well as four pairs of shoes and two purses. The wheels have stood up to bumpy roads—“We live in downtown Manhattan where cobblestone streets are a staple and we still managed to make it to the subway without any hangups”—and the included pouches come in handy for dirty clothes or even souvenirs. “I’m tempted to buy the remaining luggage to create a set; I would recommend this to anyone who's interested in building their luggage collection but might not know where to start.”

A suitcase.

Weight: 7.9 lbs. Dimensions: 23" x 15" x 9.5"

Pros: Durable wheels, easy to lift, compression straps Cons: Because of its size, it may be checked on smaller planes or flagged to be checked on planes at full capacity

Away recently upgraded a few of its core suitcases, including The Bigger Carry-On. Updates include an additional zipper compartment, a color-matched interior made of recycled polyester, and an underside grab handle for easy overhead bin lifting. Tested by editorial assistant Jessica Chapel , who has taken it on a flight to New Mexico, a bus ride to New Jersey, and in cars on weekend trips from New York, it's one of the lighter bags on the list at under eight pounds. Compared to her previous suitcase, “It does wonders. Prior to this luggage I often traveled with a checked bag. I can fit almost as much in this suitcase, and it's way more practical—and feels more swift, given the 360-degree wheels.”

travel bag with usb charger

Weight: 3.9 lbs. Dimensions: 21" x 14" × 7.5"

Pros: I enjoy the ease with which you can move this piece of luggage around; it feels very zippy Cons: The telescopic handle sometimes sticks

July calls this the lightest double-wheel suitcase in the world, and it is the lightest we've tested here at Traveler at just under four pounds when empty. Research director Alexandra Sanidad has brought it on planes to Phoenix, Arizona, and Portland, Oregon, and on an Amtrak to Woodstock, New York; she says “it's very cute and fits nicely in tight spaces,” and is a “good price for a sturdy, colorful, functional suitcase.” As for what it fits, light packers can fit a week’s worth of clothing in here; if you’re bringing multiple day and night outfits, plan for a weekend’s worth.

travel bag with usb charger

Weight: 11.1 lbs. Dimensions: 22" x 16" x 9"

Pros: Extremely functional and stylish, glides smoothly even when full Cons : It’s a little large for a carry-on; I've had to check it twice so far

Tumi bags are an investment—at over $1,000, this is one of the priciest bags on our list of the best carry-on luggage—but for frequent business travelers or those looking for a lifelong investment piece, it might be the bag for you. It's gone with former Traveler editor Alex Erdekian on trips to Mexico, Italy and France, a bachelorette party at Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, and Boston. She calls it “the most beautiful suitcase I’ve owned,” and appreciates the “zipper expansion that drastically increases the depth of the suitcase,” as well as the “sneaky zipper around the front that allows you to pull out clothes quickly.” It is one of the heavier bags on the list, though, and Erdekian says she's had difficulty lifting it overhead when full. Also of note: It comes with a five-year warranty, and can be customized with a monogram or set of “pop of color” accessories.

travel bag with usb charger

Weight: 6.53 lbs. Dimensions: 21.5" x 15" x 9.5"

Pros: Budget-friendly, very lightweight Cons: Since its design is pretty plain, it's not the most aesthetically pleasing suitcase on our list

This hardside carry-on with spinner wheels and a built-in TSA lock has racked up rave reviews on Amazon, like this one: “It fit an odd amount of stuff in it. It's like a clown car. It has compartments and zippers that keep things separate and organized. It holds up well and is really good looking. It's absolutely worth every penny. I'm purchasing more for the rest of the family.” Traveler editor Meaghan Kenny agrees, calling it an overpacker's dream bag. The hardside spinner comes in black, navy, bright blue, and orange.

travel bag with usb charger

Weight: 8.1 lbs. Dimensions: 23" x 15" x 10.3"

Pros: The front zipper is such a plus, with lots of sections for organizing Cons: The color range isn’t huge—I wish they alternated in more shades

This Arlo Skye zipper-front suitcase has gone on many trips with Spurrell —she alternates between this and a Paravel carry-on, and this one has been to Peru, upstate New York, and Montauk: “I take it as a carry-on for most flights—from weekend trips to weeklong getaways—because it’s surprisingly roomy, with an organized front pocket that I can easily stow essentials like my laptop, book, and magazines in.” Sleek yet durable, it comes with a removable charger (boasting both USB C and USB A ports), two shoe bags, a laundry bag, and a cotton storage cover. The aesthetics are a plus, too: “I love the design of this bag—it feels like a reliable, sleek rolling bag, with design you’ll never get tired of.”

travel bag with usb charger

Weight: 7.8 lbs. Dimensions: 23.5" x 14.5" x 9"

Pros: Expandable design, multiple exterior pockets Cons: Some travelers may prefer a clamshell opening; may be too large for some international flights

Every inch counts—especially if you're traveling with just a carry-on—and softside luggage offers a little more give than hard-shell bags. This expandable pick has a telescopic handle, spinner wheels for easy gliding, and an external USB port for charging your devices. It's earned an “Amazon's Choice” distinction thanks to its consistently high reviews and competitive pricing (its larger size, which has many similar internal features, is a favorite of former Traveler editor Louis Cheslaw). The suitcase is available in several shades (including black, Bordeaux, and true navy) and three carry-on sizes (19-, 20-, and 21-inches).

A suitecase.

Weight: 8.15 lbs. Dimensions: 21.7" x 13.7" x 9"

Pros: Expandable, easy to roll Cons: Scuffs easily, no exterior pockets

Go one step further, space-wise, with this expandable suitcase, which gives you an additional 2.25" of packing space when needed. Traveler 's global associate director of audience development Lara Kramer has used this bag for trips as long as a week (including a trip to London ), and noted how smoothly it rolled across almost any surface, thanks to its 360-degree spinner wheels. “The joy of this luggage is its simplicity,” she says. “It's a pretty straightforward design, but what it does, it does very well: glide smoothly and easily with its 360-degree spinner wheels and provide the luxury of expanding to add more room if needed. Between my husband and I, one of us is always snagging it as our main carry-on.” Kramer recommends choosing a unique color for your bag, or adding your favorite sticker to the outer hard shell to help it stand out, and notes the inevitable scuffs can look pretty jarring against the black colorway.

travel bag with usb charger

Weight: 12.5 lbs. Dimensions: 22" x 14" x 9"

Pros: Very easy to store, even in small places; soft handle grip Cons: Expandable mechanism can be tricky to lock into place

The designers at Béis knew what they were doing when they built this soft-sided expandable carry-on , a favorite of senior commerce editor Madison Flager . It's a big space saver for people with minimal closet or storage space, and yet still fits plenty when expanded—enough for a long weekend to five-day trips. An exterior front pocket holds a laptop sleeve, pocket to place a portable charger (and a small hole to slip the charging cord through), plus a key clip. Smooth-rolling wheels and a soft hand cushion on the underside of the handle are great touches, too.

travel bag with usb charger

Weight: 7.16 lbs. Dimensions: 21.5" x 14" x 9"

Pros: Responsive handle, very lightweight Cons: No exterior pockets for added storage

Lightweight with a rugged exterior, frequent traveler Patrick Thompson noted that this bag “seems like it would hold up to the hustle and bustle of an airport, getting jammed into an overhead compartment, and any excessive packing into the trunk of a car.” He's been using it regularly for over a year, bringing it on trips as long as two weeks (Argentina and Italy), as well as long weekend trips to Utah, Georgia, and Florida, and while it has gotten scuffed, it's still in good shape, and is a bag he'd recommend to other travelers. “I love the color and that it's very lightweight. I find it to be easily rollable when traveling.” While there is “a stealth pocket on the top corner that holds smaller items, which can be very useful and convenient while trudging through the airport,” he hasn't often utilized the front exterior zipper, which is meant for easy access to the main compartment, and would prefer another exterior pocket in place of it.

travel bag with usb charger

Weight: 10 lbs. Dimensions: 20" x 14" x 7.9"

Pros: Built-in garment folder, interior compression system, exterior pockets Cons: Doesn't roll as easily when full

Senior features editor Rebecca Misner calls this suitcase “a professional travelers’ dream carry-on: very sturdy, and full of bells and whistles that actually make packing easier.” Briggs & Riley's signature expansion system allows travelers to press a button and pull up on a lever in the main compartment to expand the suitcase sides vertically. “Once you’re packed and zipped, you just push down on the exterior sides to compress.” Other notable features include mesh interior pockets, a built-in garment folder with a foam roll bar that keeps clothes from wrinkling, and unassuming SpeedThu pocket pockets on the exterior made to fit a passport and boarding pass—with a bright orange lining that signals when the pocket is open (meaning your important docs are at risk).

travel bag with usb charger

Weight: 9.9 lbs. Dimensions: 14" x 22" x 9.5" Pros: Keeps dress clothes wrinkle-free, exterior pocket to hold documents or other small items Cons: May not be large enough to be your only suitcase on a trip

Heading to a wedding or business trip ? Kramer vouches for this compact Travelpro garment bag. “The lay-flat garment bag design is the real gem of this carry-on. It holds way more than you think—and arriving with all of your dresses and shirts wrinkle-free is a huge game changer.” The durable nylon fabric, made with a Duraguard coating, is a bonus, too.

travel bag with usb charger

Weight: 7.9 lbs. Dimensions: 22.8" x 9.4" x 15"

Pros: Smooth-rolling wheels, built-in phone charger, antimicrobial lining Cons: Scratched easily on first use

Tested by destinations editor Shannon McMahon , who prefers to travel with expandable hard-side spinners, this one stands out for “its super roomy packing capacity and its smooth-rolling wheels.” It's become her go-to carry-on after first using it for a four-day getaway last year with room to spare ( even after buying souvenirs ). Smart features of the utilitarian bag include a built-in phone charger, zippered laundry compartment, oversized mesh organizational pockets, and antimicrobial lining. The exterior scratched surprisingly easily on that first trip, but beyond that it hasn't seen much damage: “It's not a fight against scratches on the outside like I thought it would be, it seems like it was just a first-use thing.” The bag's biggest pros: Its packing power and its ultra-lightweight—“it's light as a feather when empty,” McMahon says.

travel bag with usb charger

Weight: 6.06 lbs. Dimensions: 22" x 14" x 9" Pros: Wheels smoothly, easy to carry around Cons: Laptop sleeve doesn't fit much else, so if not using it, feels like an unnecessary use of space

Frequent traveler Katie Thompson has been using this suitcase for over a year, bringing it to Italy, Argentina, Florida, upstate New York, and Savannah, and calls it “an organizer's dream.” The Samsonite carry-on is loaded with zip pockets and mesh nets to give every item its own place. Thompson says it “can comfortably fit a week's worth of clothing if you are a light packer, but is probably best for a weekend trip,” and notes it rolls easily and in all directions. Another perk: The hardshell exterior has built in patterns that help to hide any scratches, though it has gotten some scuffs with time. Overall, it is “sleek, unique, and compact,” though overall storage is on the smaller side: “The additional pockets on the top side make the inside smaller,” Thompson says. “It fits less than my previous carry-on, but I still managed 10 days in Italy with it.”

travel bag with usb charger

Weight: 8.25 lbs. Dimensions: 21" x 13.5" x 9.5" Pros: Front pocket for last-minute items, plenty of interior compartments Cons: Limited color options, no expansion

Hard-shell bags with a front pocket are few and far between, but this Calpak bag makes a strong case for it. Executive editor Erin Florio says she “actually [looks] forward to packing this thing;” while she was worried about its size at first glance, after traveling with it, she says smart packers could pack for up to 10 days with it. “The inner compartments make it really easy to organize all your items, from shoes to laundry to toiletries, which helps you fit in more,” she says. As for that exterior pocket, it can fit a laptop, hardcover book, and magazines.

travel bag with usb charger

Weight: 6.3 lbs. Dimensions: 23" H x 14.5" W x 9.5" D Pros: Lightweight and fits a lot of clothing including shoes Cons: Hard to lift when heavy. Also hard to clean/get scuffs out

Recommended by associate social media manager Kayla Brock , this expandable carry-on has a mesh zip compartment and zip-lock compartments inside, which make organizing clothes, accessories, and toiletries easy. She has brought it to North Dakota, Europe, New York, Zanzibar, Seattle, Jamaica, Chicago, Colorado, and the Cayman Islands, packing for as long as three weeks with it (though in winter time, it's better suited for weekend trips). “Although it originally looks like my clothes wouldn’t fit (I’m guilty of overpacking), the suitcase closed with ease,” Brock says. In the year-plus that she's been using it, it has gotten some scuffs and discoloration on certain parts of the body, and the zippers have bent a little; however, Brock still strongly recommends it: “Out of all the suitcases I have this is my absolute favorite and without a doubt the one that I take with me on a trip.”

This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.

travel bag with usb charger

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13 Best Luggage with a Charger

  • Travel Gear
  • 13 Best Luggage with a…

13 Best Luggage with a Charger

In today’s digital world where almost everyone is always on their phone (including us), it’s important to have reliable access to power even when we’re on the go. That’s why luggage with a charger is becoming increasingly popular these days. There are so many smart suitcases out there, and after testing some of them, we think everyone should have this kind of luggage. They allow you to charge your phone and stay connected no matter where you are. If they sound interesting to you, you’re at the right place! Our team has rounded up the best options on the market based on factors like their USB ports, durability, and price. So, without further ado, read on to find the perfect luggage for your next trip!

Table of contents

Delsey paris chatelet 2.0 19″ carry-on luggage, samsonite underseat carry-on spinner luggage, wrangler smart luggage, tprc smart under seat 15″ carry-on luggage, delsey paris cruise 3.0 21″ carry-on luggage, tumi alpha 3 22″ carry-on luggage, samsonite omni 2 20″ carry-on luggage, level8 road runner pro 20″ carry-on luggage, victorinox lexicon frequent flyer 22″ luggage, briggs & riley sympatico domestic 22″ carry-on luggage, samsonite centric 2 hardside carry-on 20″ luggage, voltaic systems array solar backpack, travelpro platinum elite hardside 21″ expandable luggage, our verdict, built-in battery or power bank, battery capacity, do airlines allow luggage with chargers, what is a smart bag with a battery, how much is a smart bag.

Known for its sleek design and rugged construction, the DELSEY Paris Chatelet 2.0 19″ Carry-On Luggage is a classic that can never go wrong. With a 100% polycarbonate construction, this luggage is lightweight and durable. In our test, it was able to withstand all of our abuse and drops. What’s more, it’s available in a variety of colors. However, our favorite is the Angora variant. Take a closer look at this luggage by watching its official YouTube video !

This luggage has plenty of amazing features that make it a great choice for travelers. For one, it comes with a TSA-approved combination lock. Meanwhile, the spinner wheels make the luggage a piece of cake to maneuver. The MVP, though, has to be the USB-A charging port. It offers a convenient charging experience for travelers who need to have their phones on all the time. Need some recommendations? You can always rely on these camping power banks .

  • The internal compartment is big.
  • The SILVADUR lining is great for odor control.
  • With an ergonomic handle, it’s easy to carry the luggage around
  • It’s not expandable.
French influencer Mary Quincy is on the road with CHATELET AIR! #arizona #usa #whatmattersisinside #travel #holidays #parisiantraveler — DELSEY PARIS (@delseyofficial) May 29, 2018

Searching for a lightweight and compact bag that you can bring to the plane and fit under most airline seats? If so, you should consider the Samsonite Underseat Carry-On Spinner Luggage . This softside luggage comes with a TSA-approved lock for added security, and the four spinner wheels promise effortless maneuverability.

Though small, it still allows you to keep everything organized. We were happy when we found the amount of pockets inside the luggage. To charge your devices, this is the perfect carry on luggage with USB port. Since the battery isn’t included, you may want to bring your power bank. If you don’t have one, check out the Baseus Portable Charger !

  • The polyester fabric is durable.
  • There are many different colorways to choose from.
  • It comes with a back sleeve.
  • Not all laptops fit inside the bag.

travel bag with usb charger

When it comes to innovation, we think the Wrangler Smart Luggage takes the cake. So, what’s so special about this suitcase? Just imagine; it comes with not only a USB port but also a cup holder! Don’t worry, as we were also genuinely awed by this. The luggage comes with a three-in-one holder, which can also be used as a phone holder for the ultimate hands-free experience.

To tell you the truth, we were initially anxious about the quality of the cup holder. The last thing we wanted was to make a mess. Luckily, we were wrong. Aside from that, the spinner wheels are also worth highlighting. They offer easy maneuverability and perform well on most surfaces. Plus, the luggage is expandable so you can pack more.

  • With four side studs, you can lay the luggage on the side without typing it over.
  • The side handles allow you to carry the luggage easily.
  • The wheels can spin 360 degrees.
  • The quality of the top handle can be improved.

Are you having a short weekend getaway soon and looking for new smart luggage? Enter the TPRC Smart Under Seat 15″ Carry-On Luggage . This is compact and functional underseat luggage that offers just enough space for your luggage essentials without weighing you down. However, what surprised us the most when we first discovered this luggage was its under-100 price tag, making it one of the most affordable options.

Though cheap and small, you shouldn’t underestimate this carry-on. Inside, we found plenty of pockets to keep things tidy and easy to find. Meanwhile, the side pocket is the perfect spot to keep your boarding pass. Last but not least, there’s a USB port on the side that can power your phone whenever you need to. All you need to have is one of these power banks .

  • Though small, it can still accommodate a 12.5″ laptop.
  • The wheels are smooth and durable.
  • The 1680D polyester fabric is pretty durable.
  • It’s not the best choice for long trips.

The DELSEY Paris Cruise 3.0 21″ Carry-On Luggage is a stylish and durable hardside luggage that’s perfect for short trips. One of the things that impressed us the most when we first tested it was its durability. The impact-resistant polycarbonate shell was able to withstand our abuse and the luggage was surprisingly lightweight. Coupled with the double-spinner wheels, this luggage will amaze you.

Need to charge your phone? Don’t worry! This luggage comes with a USB-A port, which can be connected to a power bank inside the bag. However, it’s not included, so you have to separately get one. If you need a recommendation, check out the Charmast Portable Charger ! Moreover, this luggage also has a TSA-approved combination lock and an expansion system.

  • There are tons of interior pockets for better organization.
  • It’s backed by a five-year limited warranty.
  • There are so many different sizes and colors to choose from.
  • The straps aren’t strong enough.

Best Premium. TUMI has been a favorite brand among many business travelers. Though its suitcases are luxurious and relatively expensive, they’re packed with tons of amazing features. One of the highlights of the TUMI Alpha 3 22″ Carry-On Luggage is its external USB-A port. You can connect it to your power bank. During testing, we used the LOVELEDI Portable Charger . Now, where does the power bank go? To keep things organized, you can put it in the dedicated inner pocket.

To please business travelers, this luggage also comes with a garment bag, which can accommodate one suit. Another big selling point of this carry-on is its dual accessibility. This means you can open only one part of the luggage to easily grab your essentials without having to open the entire luggage, which is a hassle. So, if you don’t mind splurging, we think this carry-on is worth the extra money.

  • It comes with a TSA lock .
  • The expandable design allows you to pack more.
  • It’s available in several different colors.
  • This is a heavier option.
Our legacy of uncompromising durability, intuitive design, and outstanding performance is redefined with Alpha 3—a remastered collection that represents everything we believe in. #PerfectingTheJourney — tumitravel (@tumitravel) January 29, 2019

One of Samsonite’s most sought-after suitcases, adding this one to this list is a must. The Samsonite Omni 2 20″ Carry-On Luggage is a great choice for travelers who want a stylish, durable, and lightweight suitcase. During testing, we found out it was easy to handle and the wheels rolled smoothly. In addition, it also comes with a variety of features that make it ideal for both short and long trips.

Specifically, this Samsonite carry-on is available in many sizes. However, only the carry-on has a USB port. We think this is the perfect choice for travelers who need to stay charged on the go. If you need a new power bank, you can check out the Charmast Portable Charger , which we have mentioned previously. Additionally, the luggage is backed by a 10-year limited warranty, giving you peace of mind knowing that your investment is protected.

  • You’ll find plenty of pockets to keep things organized.
  • There are many different colors to choose from.
  • The wheels are durable and offer effortless mobility.
  • Only the carry-on has a USB port.

Best for Frequent Travelers. Do you consider yourself a seasoned traveler who’s on the go 24/7? If so, then the LEVEL8 Road Runner Pro 20″ Carry-On Luggage is for you. It’s the perfect option that can keep up with your busy but exciting lifestyle. In our test, we witnessed how good aerospace-grade Bayer Makrolon Hard Shell was. Even after numerous drops, it didn’t show any signs of abuse. In addition to that, the material is also lightweight and water-resistant.

One of the things that we love the most is its front pocket. It’s not only designed to accommodate your laptop or tablet but it also houses a USB port. That way, you can keep your gadgets powered up all the time. And since this is a durable suitcase, it’s only fitting for you to pair it with a rugged power bank like the TECHSMARTER Heavy Duty Power Bank . Last but not least, can we take a moment to appreciate its sleek and modern look? Take a look at the product’s comment section and you’ll find many people agree with us!

  • The main compartment is big.
  • There are zipped compartments and straps to keep things tidy.
  • Despite being durable, it only weighs 9.25 lbs.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Dany Dev (@danydevv)

Swiss brand Victorinox knows a thing or two about quality and functionality, and it brings both to the Victorinox Lexicon Frequent Flyer 22″ Luggage . This luggage with charging port is a must-have for travelers with gadgets. When we first tested this luggage, we noticed there was a hidden ID tray in the handle bezel. Once we slided it up we found not only a USB port but also a pen and SIM card replacement tool. We also love the fact that the battery pack is removable.

Furthermore, this fantastic Victorinox luggage touts a break-resistant 100% virgin polycarbonate with scratch-resistant matte finishing. If you’re a clumsy traveler, this one is for you. Meanwhile, the vast 60mm dual-caster wheels provide a smooth roll across any surface. Plus, the double racquet coil YKK zippers are puncture-resistant. Those who want a durable carry-on that gets the job done should give it a try.

  • This hardside luggage is scratch and break-resistant.
  • The zippers are extremely durable and smooth.
  • We love its compact and modern design.
  • Unfortunately, it’s more expensive than many others.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Victorinox (@victorinox)

What we have here is the Briggs & Riley Sympatico Domestic 22″ Carry-On Luggage . This luggage may be more expensive than many others, but it’s also more durable. In our test, the polycarbonate shell didn’t dent even after we dropped the luggage several times. Based on that, we’re confident that it can last five years of frequent use or even more without any significant issues.

Another thing that sets this Briggs & Riley luggage apart is its maneuverability. They’re durable and perform well on any kind of surface. The highlight, however, has to be its Power Pocket, which has a pass-through for your USB cable. This allows travelers to charge their phones directly from the power bank without having to use a physical port on the bag. And if you don’t have a power bank, we highly recommend the INIU Portable Charger . It’s so slim and lightweight yet powerful.

  • It’s a stylish option that doesn’t sacrifice durability.
  • The top carry handles are grippy and comfortable to hold.
  • Inside, there are two mesh pockets for better organization.
  • It’s on the pricier side.
Sunday strolls with our new, redesigned Sympatico in tow. Head over to the link below to check out our newest collection, featuring expansion technology, personalization and our lifetime guarantee! — Briggs & Riley (@BriggsandRiley) October 25, 2020

Best Value for Money. The Samsonite Centric 2 Hardside Carry-On 20″ Luggage is highly reliable luggage that charges phone, making it one of Samsonite’s most popular suitcases. It features a durable clamshell design that protects your belongings from all types of damage. We were also thrilled when we found out about the dedicated sleeve for a portable charger. It allows everyone to keep their devices powered up even when they’re on the go. During testing, we used the Anker PowerCore 10,000 Portable Charger and it fit the power bank sleeve well.

What’s more, we think the Centric 2’s wheels are a significant upgrade over other luggage in its price range. They can glide smoothly and effortlessly across any surface. This makes it easy to transport your luggage through crowded airports and busy streets. Additionally, the Centric 2 is available in various sizes and colors, so you can find the perfect one to suit your needs. However, we think the Emerald Green variant looks the coolest. For more similar options, check out the best Samsonite Luggage with USB ports !

  • There are two USB-A ports.
  • The luggage is backed by a lifetime warranty.
  • There are plenty of extra compartments.
  • The main compartment of this carry-on isn’t that big.

Best With a Built-in Charger. Calling the Voltaic Systems Array Solar Backpack excellent is an understatement. Unlike many other options on the market, this is luggage with phone charger built in. The charger has a generous capacity of 24,000mAh, so you don’t have to recharge it that often. What amazed us the most when we first discovered this bag was its built-in solar panel. Connected to the power bank, it provided us with continuous charge even when we were moving around.

Besides boasting a modern design, this luggage also comes with a big main compartment, a separate laptop sleeve, and an expandable water bottle pocket to keep you hydrated. That’s not all, as this excellent carry-on is water-resistant, too. So, you can wear it during slight drizzles. Best of all, it’s backed by a two-year warranty! For the complete specifications, you can visit its official product page .

  • You don’t have to separately get a power bank.
  • It can charge most phones, laptops, and even cameras.
  • The battery pack can fully charge most phones in an hour.
  • The solar panel can’t be removed.

Best Overall. Our number one pick is none other than the Travelpro Platinum Elite Hardside 21″ Expandable Luggage . There’s a lot to love about this carry-on. For one, we love the addition of an FAA-compliant side pocket that you can use to store your portable charger or battery. During testing, we tried using our FAA-approved Omni Ultimate Power Bank and it worked well with the luggage. Also, you’ll love the fact that there are USB-A and USB-C ports. That way, you can easily charge two gadgets at the same time.

“From its sturdy body to its durable wheels and USB ports, we have nothing bad to say about this awesome luggage. It’s the perfect travel companion for everyone.” WOW Travel

Of course, that’s not all! This luggage is a breeze to use and will make anyone’s trip way more convenient. The spinner wheels let the luggage glide smoothly on all surfaces. Have a lot to pack? Fret not! As the name suggests, this carry-on is expandable, so you can confidently pack more. If the 21″ variant isn’t what you need, you can check out its 20″, 25″, and 28″ variants!

  • There are divider panels that keep your stuff organized.
  • It’s available in multiple different shades.
  • The hardside body is extremely durable.
  • We think the luggage could use more zippered compartments inside.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Travelpro (@travelprointl)

Since there are so many great options out there, it can be hard to decide which luggage to get. After considering all factors, we think the Travelpro Platinum Elite Hardside 21″ Expandable Luggage is the best overall choice. However, the rest aren’t less impressive. We’ve categorized some of them according to the following criteria, so take a look!

  • Best With a Built-in Charger: Voltaic Systems Array Solar Backpack
  • Best Value for Money: Samsonite Centric 2 Hardside Carry-On 20″ Luggage
  • Best for Frequent Travelers: LEVEL8 Road Runner Pro 20″ Carry-On Luggage
  • Best Premium: TUMI Alpha 3 22″ Carry-On Luggage

How To Choose The Best Luggage with a Charger

Before you decide which luggage to get, make sure to consider the following features!

If you don’t want to buy a power bank separately, you should get luggage that comes with a built-in battery. However, there aren’t that many options on the market. Looking for those with USB ports is easier, but this means you should have your own power bank. Thankfully, there are tons of amazing power banks on the market.

If your phone can last for the whole day without any problem, then your luggage’s battery capacity shouldn’t be a concern. However, if you have multiple devices that must be charged every now and then, we recommend getting a piece of luggage with a high battery capacity.

Another thing that you should note is the size of the luggage. That’s because batteries are prohibited in checked luggage. So, make sure that the luggage that you’re getting is a carry-on. It should be able to fit in the overhead compartment or under your seat.

It depends on what kind of luggage you’re using. While battery chargers are permitted in the cabin, checked luggage containing chargers isn’t allowed.

A smart bag usually refers to a bag with phone charger or circuit board that can keep your devices charged during long journeys. Some can even help you remotely track your luggage and prevent identity theft.

A solid, all-around smart bag or suitcase can range anywhere from 200 USD to 600 USD or even more. Of course, there are cheaper ones, too. However, they usually come in the form of smaller backpacks and don’t offer powerful batteries.

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Author:  Danny Riley

As a blogger reviewer, I have had the pleasure of staying in some of the most luxurious hotels around the world, experiencing first-hand the amenities, services, and overall guest experience. Through my reviews, I aim to provide readers with an honest and unbiased assessment of each hotel, covering everything from the quality of the accommodations to the level of customer service. From boutique hotels to large resorts, my reviews offer a comprehensive look at each property, giving readers the information they need to make informed decisions when planning their next vacation. But my reviews go beyond just the basics - I also delve into the unique features and experiences that make each hotel stand out from the rest. From rooftop bars with stunning views to spa treatments that indulge the senses, I highlight the special touches that set a hotel apart and make it a truly unforgettable experience. So whether you're a seasoned traveler or a first-time vacationer, my reviews offer valuable insights into some of the best hotels around the world. Join me on my journey as I explore the world of hospitality, one hotel at a time.

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Home / Features / The 7 best smart carry-on suitcases with battery packs, tracking, and more

The 7 best smart carry-on suitcases with battery packs, tracking, and more

Welcome, traveller, to our hand-picked selection of some of the best smart suitcases money can buy

travel bag with usb charger

Whether you’re a seasoned jet-setter with a stamp-laden passport, or a green-horned explorer looking to expand their horizons, there’s a piece of luggage out there with your name on it. At least, there will be, once you fill in the name tag. Here’s our guide to the best carry-on cases.

Trouble is, there are a lot of suitcases out there, and they’re far from equal. Sure, you could spring for any random one that crosses your path, but chances are you might regret your purchase when you’re left with a ripped, wonky-wheeled case in the middle of a monsoon. And as you mop up the ruins of your life with your second-favourite pair of boxers, you wonder where it all went so horribly wrong.

It’s a sign, you think to yourself. You should have never come on this trip. It’s too soon after the breakup. Travel the world and find yourself? Hah. You couldn’t even find a bag that survived the bus journey from the airport. And now look where you are. You’re soaked to the bone and your zipper is stuck. Where did it all go so horribly wrong?

Anyway, we’ve put together a list of some of the best smart carry-on suitcases — aka, ones that are crammed with clever tech like built-in chargers and GPS smarts— to help ensure that your next trip goes as smoothly as possible.

Before we crack on though, it’s worth noting that since January 2018, airline regulation rules state that any tech-laden luggage with charging capabilities must have a removable battery to be accepted, as battery packs aren’t allowed to be checked in. All of the items on this list fit those criteria, but as always, it’s best to check with your airline ahead of time. #duediligence.

With that said, here are the best smart suitcases :

What’s the best smart carry-on suitcase?

Before we dive into the full list, here’s a quick look at our three top picks:

  • Best budget smart carry-on suitcase: Kono Cabin Case Kono’s suitcase is not only one of the more affordable options, but it ticks all the boxes for most people. Key features include a lightweight build, 33L capacity, and built-in USB charging smarts. Just provide your own battery pack, and you’re good to go.
  • Best premium smart carry-on suitcase: Arlo Skye The Frame Carry-On The Frame is a high-end bit of kit, forged with a robust aluminium frame and polycarbonate exterior, with reinforced corners to match. With sturdy TSA clasps, a built-in charger, and an anti-microbial lining, it’s a sturdy companion that should see you through years of travel to come.
  • Best AirTag smart carry-on suitcase: Samsara Grand Carry-On Samsara’s entry might lack built-in charging smarts, but it’s clever in other ways. It’s got a built-in Apple AirTag holder for a start, letting you slot in the included tag for peace of mind if it ever goes walkabout. It’s designed to serve up a flat surface for resting your laptop on too, transforming it into a portable desk for work and play while you kill time at various airport lounges.

Our roundup of top carry-on cases:

travel bag with usb charger

Away The Bigger Carry-On With Pocket

  • Buy Away’s The Bigger Carry-On for $295/£265

Away’s handsome offering — The Bigger Carry-On with Pocket — is aptly named. At the larger end of the carry-on spectrum, it should comfortably fit everything you need for a week or more, depending on how light you travel. This particular model has a leather exterior pocket, making it ideal for storing laptops, tablets, and documents for quick and easy access.

Your precious cargo is protected by a sturdy polycarbonate hard shell that promises to handle all the knocks and bumps that travel tends to bring, and there’s even a built-in, TSA-approved ejectable battery pack for convenient device charging that complies with airline regulations.

Throw in a TSA combination lock, whisper-quiet 360-degree wheels, and a hidden, water-resistant laundry bag, and you’ve got yourself a do-it-all suitcase that oozes class. Just be wary that if the front pocket is particularly full, you might struggle to squeeze it in the overhead compartment on some smaller planes.

travel bag with usb charger

Horizn Studios M5

Engineered in Germany, Horizn Studios’ 33L, 3.6kg M5 cabin luggage is one of the more handsome suitcases we’ve come across. Available in a plethora of different colours ranging from plain black and light grey to sand and marine green (pictured above), it offers a decent level of customisation too. You can take things a step further by creating your own custom model, letting you select your preferred colours for the body, handle, wheels and more, though this will cost extra and delay delivery times.

Looks aside, it’s made from a premium, partially recycled polycarbonate hard shell, with a front pocket made of Vegan Hi-Core and nylon, with a recycled polyester lining on the inside. Four 360-degree Japanese spinner wheels make for a smooth glide across airport floors, while a TSA lock lets US security peek inside without having to resort to breaking and entering measures.

The front laptop/document pocket is water-resistant for peace of mind, and there’s also a one-click removable smart charger for letting you juice up your dying tech while you’re on the go.

travel bag with usb charger

Samsara Grand Carry-On

  • Buy the Samsara Grand Carry-On for $295

Samsara’s sturdy 4.9kg Grand Carry-On will turn heads in its bright yellow flavour, letting you easily keep tabs on it at a glance. Its standout party trick though is its built-in Apple AirTag compartment, which lets you safely and securely slot in the included AirTag so that you can safely track its whereabouts.

While there’s no built-in battery pack or USB charging ports, its top has been specifically designed to offer a stable platform for your laptop when shut, letting it double up as a portable travel desk for work or watching films during a delayed layover.

One of the more robust offerings on this list, its reinforced frame and telescopic handles are made from hardy aluminium, while the usual TSA lock and 360-degree wheels are included as standard. Oh, and it’s also available in black or white, if you prefer something a little more subtle. Just double check shipping costs and delivery times from the US when you order though, as it’s not sold directly on UK shores.

travel bag with usb charger

Wrangler El Dorado Smart Luggage

It might sound like the name of a Wild West outlaw, but Wrangler’s El Dorado is a rather sophisticated bit of kit, with a built-in USB port for quick and easy device charging. Unlike some of the more expensive suitcases on this list, you’ll need to supply your own battery pack, but with plenty of options out there, it’s not the end of the world.

Unlike the rest of the competition, it also sports something we’ve never seen on any piece of luggage before — a built-in, collapsible cup holder for hot and cold beverages. It might seem silly at first glance, but when you’re weaving in and out of the crowds with your venti mocha nestled securely while your hands are free, your smugness will know no bounds.

Weighing in at just 3.1kg with a 20in height, it’s a dinky little number too, ideal for short trips and tiny spaces. And if you’ve over-bought souvenirs and office snacks, it can expand for a little extra room too.

travel bag with usb charger

Airwheel SR5

We’re not going to make stereotypical, over-used jokes about bowing to our robot overlords when the apocalypse comes. Instead, we will merely state that we really appreciate the SR5’s ability to follow you around automatically, courtesy of its built-in electric motor, obstacle detection sensors, and wrist-band tracking smarts.

Its 20in length makes it suitable for overhead compartments, while a handy smartphone app allows for remote control functionality, as well as the ability to hunt it down if it goes AWOL, with a proximity alarm thrown in for good measure. If a nefarious thief decides to make off with your bag while it’s dutifully following you, the included wristband will also buzz to alert you.

Naturally it has a USB port for easy device charging, but there is a cost for all this tech — it weighs in at a rather hefty 6kg when empty, which might be too much for some travellers to swallow. Still, at least it’ll cart around its own weight most of the time.

travel bag with usb charger

Arlo Skye The Frame Carry-On

  • Buy the Arlo Skye Frame Carry-On for $450

Arlo Skye is the kind of moniker that could belong to a young up and coming Grammy nominee, but it is in fact the name of a US-based high-end luggage purveyor. The Frame is a hybrid carry-on suitcase forged with an aluminium frame and a polycarbonate exterior — as a result (and despite its capacious 40L capacity), it weighs in at a respectable 3.85kg, while serving up a robust build in the process.

All the bells and whistles you’d expect at this higher price point are present and accounted for, including a removable battery pack (complete with USB C and A ports), a sturdy TSA clasp lock, super-quiet wheels, and reinforced corners for extra toughness.

There’s even an anti-microbial lining infused with natural silver fibres to neutralise odour-causing bacteria and prevent germ growth too, which is a welcome feature for longer trips without access to laundry facilities.

travel bag with usb charger

Kono Cabin Case

Despite being the cheapest entry on this list, the Kono cabin suitcase has plenty going for it. It’s under £70 at the time of writing, for a start, saving you precious cash for other expenditures like camel rides, beer, and questionable souvenirs.

Price aside, its 2.36kg weight is easily the lightest of the bunch, while its 33L capacity is rather impressive too. Naturally, you’re getting a thinner, less robust polypropylene body (compared to aluminium) for this price/weight combo, but if you’re not planning on trekking across treacherous terrain and just need something light and large for city breaks, this should have you comfortably sorted.

There’s a built-in USB charging port for hooking up your own battery pack to, along with an adjustable three-level aluminium telescopic handle, TSA locks, and four 360-degree wheels. Throw in a two-year warranty for peace of mind, and it’s well worth a punt at this price.

  • Best iPad accessories: the top cases, keyboards & add-ons for your Apple tablet

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Esat has been a gadget fan ever since his tiny four-year-old brain was captivated by a sound-activated dancing sunflower. From there it was a natural progression to a Sega Mega Drive, a brief obsession with hedgehogs, and a love for all things tech. After 7 years as a writer and deputy editor for Stuff, Esat ventured out into the corporate world, spending three years as Editor of Microsoft's European News Centre. Now a freelance writer, his appetite for shiny gadgets has no bounds. Oh, and like all good human beings, he's very fond of cats.

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Protect Your Trip »

13 best carry-on luggage pieces 2024 - we tested them all.

Discover the best carry-on luggage for your unique travel style and needs.

The Best Carry-on Luggage

Solgaard Carry-On Closet Original – Large.

Rachael Hood | U.S. News

Things aren't always as they seem – especially when it comes to luggage. In our quest to find the best carry-on bags, we discovered that while some suitcases look good, they don't always hold up to the demands of travel. Some designs have attractive features that add bulk but not additional functionality, while others just don't live up to the hype.

To determine the best carry-on luggage, we tested dozens of bags on countless trips to find the ideal bag for every travel need. Read on to find the best option in a variety of categories, tested and reviewed by our team of experts.

Best Overall: Solgaard Carry-On Closet Original – Large

  • Jump to features and expert insights ↓
  • Overall Runner-up: Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-on Hardside Spinner

Best Hard-sided: Away The Carry-On

Best soft-sided: samsonite solyte dlx carry-on spinner, best lightweight: july carry on light, best for international travel: delsey paris helium aero international carry-on - expandable spinner, best affordable: amazon basics 20-inch hardside spinner.

  • Best Expandability: Briggs & Riley Essential 22" Carry-on Expandable Spinner
  • Best Underseater: CALPAK Luka Soft-sided Mini Carry-On Luggage

Best for Business Travel: Amazon Basics Expandable Softside Carry-On Spinner – 20.4 Inch

Best luxury: carl friedrik the carry-on pro.

  • Best Carry-on Duffel: The North Face Rolling Thunder–22"

Best Carry-on Backpack: Cotopaxi Allpa 35L

(Note: Prices were accurate at the time this article was published; they may fluctuate due to demand or other factors. Original photos were taken by our editors during luggage testing.)

Solgaard Carry-On Closet Original – Large

Price:  $315 or less

Dimensions: 22.4 x 14.6 x 9.6 inches | Weight: 8.1 pounds; 8.85 pounds with closet insert Packing capacity: 4-7 days |  Color options:  Red, purple, navy or 6 others, plus precious metals options Hard- or soft-sided:  Hard-sided   | Warranty: Lifetime

Sturdy and attractive, this suitcase is set apart from the rest by its patented and removable shelving system. This unique design feature makes packing easier, keeps items in place and removes the need for unpacking at your destination. Rather than a zippered clamshell design, the Solgaard Carry-on Closet has two latches that open with just the squeeze of two levers together; it secures with a TSA-approved lock.

The waterproof polycarbonate exterior has an aluminum frame and corner guards so this suitcase can withstand all the rigors of travel. There's also an ergonomic handle and frictionless wheels, which make it easy to maneuver on all types of terrain. What's more, this sustainable suitcase helps to repurpose 6 pounds of plastics that may have ended up in the ocean.

What our editors say:

This carry-on suitcase has it all! From the power bank (sold separately) to the super sturdy and comfortable handle to the removable closet feature – not to mention the attractive yet functional appearance – this suitcase packs a punch. I really like how easy it is to pull on a variety of surfaces, including carpet and brick. – Rachael Hood, Senior Editor

Best Overall Runner-up: Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On Hardside Spinner

The Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On Hardside Spinner in cream on a pathway outside.

Leilani Osmundson | U.S. News

The Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On Hardside Spinner in cream.

Price: $369.99 or less

Dimensions: 23 x 14.5 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 8.1 pounds Packing capacity: Up to 10 days; 45 liters | Color options: White, red, blue, green or gray Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: Limited lifetime

The Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On Hardside Spinner is a truly well-rounded carry-on with a plethora of unique features. USB A & C ports on the outside of the bag give easy access to charging. (A power bank is not included, though the bag does have a pocket for one inside the expansion zipper.) Self-aligning magnetic wheels – a reviewer-favorite feature – allow painless travel through the airport as well as on roads, sidewalks, uneven surfaces and more. A built-in TSA zipper lock offers ultimate protection for your possessions.

Even without the features listed above, this Travelpro spinner is, at its core, a high-quality piece. The hard outer shell is ultra-strong and 100% polycarbonate; aluminum corner guards further protect your belongings. The clamshell-style suitcase has two large interior compartments along with three extra pockets, one of which is water-resistant, and the expansion zipper allows for an extra 2 inches of packing room. Plus, this carry-on is made with genuine leather trim, so you can travel in style as well as comfort.

There are some amazing features on this carry-on, but my favorite is the wheels – as someone who typically prefers hands-free travel (primarily backpacks), I found that the way this suitcase easily glides around everywhere absolutely changed my mind about wheeled luggage. Just know that since this is one of the larger bags on this list, I would still check your airline's carry-on size requirements before traveling (though it's been tested for most major domestic airlines, and it fit perfectly on Delta). – Leilani Osmundson, Senior Digital Producer

The Away The Carry-On in green.

Amanda Norcross | U.S. News

The Away The Carry-On in green.

Price: $275 or less

Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.4 x 9 inches | Weight: 7.5 pounds Packing capacity: Up to 5 days; 39.8 liters | Color options: Black, navy, blue gray or olive, plus 2 glossy options Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: Limited

When it comes to hard-sided carry-on luggage , nothing beats The Carry-On by Away. The bag is lightweight yet indestructible thanks to a 100% polycarbonate exterior. Plus, you can easily wipe away most scratches with a magic eraser.

In late 2023, Away launched a new iteration of The Carry-On that somehow made it even more efficient. The most notable new features are an additional underside grab handle, three extra interior compartments, and an enhanced compression system that upholds the bag's ability to accommodate nearly a week's worth of clothing. The bag's 360-degree wheels are also slimmer than those of its predecessor for improved maneuverability. While Away has long been known for its neutral colored matte options, glossy options of this bag are now available.

The Away Carry-On is my ride or die. I've taken it on so many trips over the past five-plus years and it's still in perfect shape. I know I'll have it with me for many years to come. – Amanda Norcross, Senior Content and SEO Strategist

Samsonite SoLyte DLX Carry-On Spinner in blue in an alley.

Catriona Kendall | U.S. News

The Samsonite SoLyte DLX Carry-On Spinner in blue.

Price: $199.99 or less

Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 7.1 pounds Packing capacity: Up to 7 days; 32 liters | Color options: Black, gray, green, aqua blue or royal blue Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: 10-year limited

This classic soft-sided option from Samsonite offers everything you need for a smooth trip. There are three spacious pockets and a trolley strap on the outside so you can stack it on top of another rolling suitcase, as well as a USB port for charging your phone (though you'll have to purchase a battery separately).

Inside the suitcase, three more zippered pockets – including one for wet items – help you stay organized, while buckles keep the main compartment's tie-down straps out of your way while packing. This spinner can conveniently expand by 0.75 inches, but keep in mind if you're flying that overpacking may put it over your carry-on size allowance.

I've used other spinner suitcases in the past, but none of them glide as smoothly as this bag, with its 360-degree dual-spinner wheels. I also love the high-quality, lightweight material, but my favorite part is its organizational features – especially the WetPak pocket. I'd highly recommend the Samsonite SoLyte DLX for anyone who needs a trusty soft-sided carry-on for a flight; it definitely fits more than I thought it would. – Catriona Kendall, Editor

 July Carry On Light in black against a sunny window.

Price: $245 or less

Dimensions: 21.25 x 14.17 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 3.9 pounds Packing capacity: Up to 7 days; 32 liters | Color options: Beige, light green, dark green, lilac, charcoal or 3 others Hard- or soft-sided: Hard | Warranty: Lifetime with 100-day returns

Weighing just under 4 pounds, this bag is the lightest hard-sided carry-on we found on the market. It's constructed with an extremely durable German polycarbonate shell, and the interior has two mesh zippered compartments to keep your belongings from shifting. The inner nylon lining is also resistant to water and stains. To make the suitcase easy to maneuver, there's a top carry handle, a telescoping handle and dual-spinner wheels.

I was absolutely shocked by how light this suitcase is. While some lightweight designs can be extremely flimsy, this July carry-on is very durable and holds a good amount of clothing. With compression packing cubes I was able to pack enough clothing for a week. It was extremely easy to put in the plane's overhead compartment, and the wheels rolled very smoothly for my entire journey. The only thing I noticed is that since the bag is so lightweight, the trolley bag I had was making it want to topple. Next time, I'd use a smaller tote or a north-south design to avoid that issue. – Rachael Hood

The DELSEY PARIS Helium Aero International Carry-On - Expandable Spinner in blue.

Erin Evans | U.S. News

The DELSEY PARIS Helium Aero International Carry-On - Expandable Spinner in blue.

Price: $179.99 or less

Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 10 inches | Weight: 8.16 pounds Packing capacity: 5-7 days; 41 liters | Color options: Black, blue, red or gray Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: 10-year limited

This DELSEY PARIS carry-on is a well-built piece of hard-sided luggage. It meets carry-on suitcase size restrictions for most international airlines and offers an easily accessible front compartment – ideal for a laptop up to 15.6 inches or other items you want to be able to grab quickly. The suitcase has a TSA lock and two spacious internal compartments for clothing, shoes and travel gear. The double-spinner wheels glide smoothly across all types of surfaces, and the handle pulls out and retracts with ease.

I was incredibly impressed by this little workhorse of a carry-on bag. There are so many different pockets and compartments within it for organization, and it fits a surprising amount of clothes, shoes and accessories. The handle and wheels make it easy to maneuver, and the glossy exterior makes it look sleek and chic. – Erin Evans, Managing Editor

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Textured exterior of Amazon Basics 20-Inch Hardside Spinner.

Price: $80 or less

Dimensions: 21.46 x 14.76 x 9.45 inches | Weight: 7.34 pounds Packing capacity: Up to 7 days; 23 liters | Color options: Black, navy blue, orange or light blue Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: 1-year

The Amazon Basics 20-inch Hardside Spinner is similar to many other hard-sided luggage products on the market, but it's available at a fraction of the price. The ABS shell is textured, so even if you – or luggage handlers – bang it around a bit, it does not show scuffs or scratches easily. The double-spinner wheels (a must, honestly, in today's luggage landscape) make the bag effortless to maneuver.

Inside, one side of the bag features a compression strap, while the other has a large fabric zippered closure, complete with a few organizer pockets for smaller items. Thanks to its availability on Amazon Prime, the carry-on luggage ships quickly, so it's also a great option if you need new luggage in a crunch.

This carry-on bag is a superb selection for the budget-conscious traveler. I appreciated how much I was able to get into this bag (it doesn't look huge, but it fit quite a lot), and the textured exterior really ups the durability factor. The compression straps and the interior organizer even helped me squeeze in a bit more. – Erin Evans

Best Expandability: Briggs & Riley Essential 22" Carry-on Expandable Spinner

Briggs & Riley Essential 22" Carry-on Expandable Spinner in blue against stone wall.

Price: $699 or less

Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9 (up to 11.5) inches | Weight: 10 pounds Packing capacity: Up to 7 days; 37-48 liters | Color options: Black, navy or olive Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: Lifetime

The Briggs & Riley Essential 22" Carry-on Expandable Spinner has a standout feature that other bags on this list don't: one-touch CX expansion. Exclusive to Briggs & Riley, this technology allows your bag to expand and compress in one swift motion. Simply press and pull up on the red levers found at opposite ends of the bag, and it will grow 2.5 inches. Once you've packed your belongings, push down on the buttons to compress the bag before zipping it up.

This bag also features a garment folder to reduce wrinkles in a suit or dress, as well as cinch-down garment panels to secure the clothing in place. Other convenient features include interior mesh compartments for organization, an exterior pocket for airport essentials (or even your laptop) and a signature PowerPocket where you can charge your smartphone.

While the bag is undoubtedly an investment at $700, its "simple as that" guarantee (free repairs forever, no questions asked) – plus sturdy features like impact-resistant corner guards and self-repairing zippers – means you'll have it for life.

When it comes to quality, this is the best luggage I've ever used – period. The compression/expansion system is just the icing on the cake. – Amanda Norcross

Best Underseater: CALPAK Luka Soft-Sided Mini Carry-On Luggage

The CALPAK Luka Soft-Sided Mini Carry-On Luggage in black.

Price: $165 or less

Dimensions: 16 x 14.5 x 9 inches | Weight: 5.1 pounds Packing capacity: 2-4 days; 34 liters | Color options: Chocolate, oatmeal or rose quartz Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: 2-year limited

Compact and filled with useful features, this CALPAK underseater has a water-resistant exterior, a TSA-approved lock, and side and top handles for easy lifting into the overhead or pushing under the seat. There's a telescoping handle, a luggage trolley sleeve and two exterior pockets for stowing small items like your passport, boarding pass and earbuds.

On the inside, there's a padded laptop sleeve, multiple interior pockets and compression straps. For added convenience, the main panel can be secured via built-in snaps to get your laptop out while traveling (and keep your other belongings from spilling out), or you can unsnap it while packing to maximize the interior storage space.

When I'm traveling on a quick trip with my laptop, this is my go-to bag. Its compact size glides easily under the seat, and it's also compact and light enough to fit into the overhead bin even on the smallest regional planes. I love the laptop sleeve and the zippered exterior pocket for my book, earbuds and wipes. To maximize the interior space, I use compression cubes from Lug , and I'm able to squeeze in four to five outfits, a pair of shoes and daily necessities. – Rachael Hood

The Amazon Basics Expandable Softside Carry-On Spinner – 20.4 Inch in black.

Price: $83 or less

Dimensions: 20.4 x 14.9 x 8.2 inches | Weight: 6.35 pounds Packing capacity: 2-3 days; 26 liters | Color options: Black, olive, gray, red, blue or purple Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: 1-year

This simple but sturdy carry-on piece from Amazon is a great option for business travelers, thanks to its front pocket for easy laptop access, smooth double-spinner wheels and TSA lock. This Amazon Basics soft-sided carry-on also features a handle on the bottom between the wheels, which makes it easy to put the bag up into and pull it out of the overhead bin. On some airplanes, it may even be small enough to fit under the seat.

The interior of the bag features one large compartment with two compression straps, plus two zippered pockets on the opposite site. The 20.4-inch option is ideal for shorter trips, but this style is available in larger sizes as well. Another bonus: It's available on Amazon Prime, so it ships quickly.

This Amazon Basics option is on the smaller side for a carry-on, but that's what makes it a solid choice for business travelers going on short trips who only need to pack a few things. The laptop pocket is easily accessible, and the handle on the bottom of the bag is super useful for hauling it out of an overhead bin. The black color is professional, and the price can't be beat. – Erin Evans

Carl Friedrik The Carry-on Pro in black against chair.

Price: $565 or less

Dimensions: 21.7 x 15 x 9.6 inches | Weight: 9.5 pounds Packing capacity: 5-7 days; 43 liters | Color options: Gray/cognac, gray/chocolate, gray/black or black Hard- or soft-sided: Hard-sided | Warranty: Lifetime with a 100-day trial

Constructed with premium materials, this luxury carry-on has Italian leather accents, Japanese spinner wheels and a polycarbonate exterior with an aluminum metal frame for stability. It closes via two secure latches with combination locks (rather than a zipper). There's a front laptop compartment with a smaller pocket and pen slots to keep business essentials or travel documents easy to access.

The interior has leather details, compression straps and a removable compression pad with a pocket – ideal for small items like ties, fashion jewelry or silk scarves. Travelers can also purchase an additional compression pad to have a pad on each side of the interior compartment.

This suitcase exudes luxury with its Italian leather trim and understated elegance. The design of it looks very sleek, the interior is spacious, the handle is very sturdy and the wheels glide with ease. I especially liked that the top of the suitcase is very flat, which gave my trolley bag a secure base so it wasn't moving around while I was at the airport, and the front compartment was ideal for accessing my laptop on the go. It feels very sturdy, but the only downside is it weighs more than a typical carry-on. – Rachael Hood

Best Carry-on Duffel: The North Face Rolling Thunder – 22"

The North Face Rolling Thunder – 22" in black on rooftop.

Price: $270 or less

Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 8.5 inches | Weight: 7.34 pounds Packing capacity: Up to 5 days; 40 liters | Color options: Black Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: Limited lifetime

The North Face's 22-inch Rolling Thunder duffel doesn't have the bells and whistles of other carry-on options, but it's a sturdy and reliable option for those who want a duffel style on wheels. The duffel has a hard-sided back panel, two wheels that can withstand various terrain and plastic bumpers for abrasion resistance. The soft-sided top of the bag is made of water-resistant Base Camp material and nylon for extra durability. There are two zippered pockets on the outside to stash small items and a mesh pocket inside for some added organization.

I brought this duffel on a trip to New Zealand, and it held up very well. The Rolling Thunder had no issues after being checked on six different flights, and the flexibility of the style allowed me to easily store it out of the way in my campervan once I had unpacked. It's definitely a simpler style, but it does its job well. Be aware, though, that this wheeled style doesn't have straps that would allow you to carry it like a duffel; it can only be rolled. – Catriona Kendall

The Cotopaxi Allpa 35L in purple.

Price: $200 or less

Dimensions: 22 x 12 x 10 inches | Weight: 3.5 pounds Packing capacity: 5-10 days; 35 liters | Color options: Multiple options but color availability changes frequently Hard- or soft-sided: Soft-sided | Warranty: Lifetime

When it comes to hands-free and adventure travel, the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L can't be beat. This lightweight carry-on backpack comes with a sternum strap, a removable waist belt and a weight-distributing harness system, all to make for a comfortable carry (since sore shoulders can be a concern when it comes to carrying backpacks through time-consuming airport experiences).

Organization is a breeze with a top zippered pocket – perfect for storing travel documents or a Cotopaxi hip pack – and a padded laptop sleeve on the outside. Internally, you'll find two mesh compartments, one large and one subdivided, that work great with Cotopaxi packing cubes . The backpack's straps can be tucked away for more streamlined travel, and the bag even comes with a rain cover (though the Allpa is already TPU-coated to be water-resistant).

Furthermore, Cotopaxi is dedicated to sustainability : 94% of Cotopaxi products contain repurposed, recycled or responsible materials. The vibrant, one-of-a-kind Del Dia Allpa backpacks , for example, use remnant fabric.

I've taken my Cotopaxi Allpa on countless adventures and it's survived everything – wind, rain, being shoved into tiny rental cars, you name it. Besides being incredibly durable, I love how much this backpack can fit; my longest trip so far with only the Allpa 35L as my luggage has been a comfortable nine days, and that included packing bulky cold-weather gear. I just wish it had a water bottle pocket like the Allpa 42L does! – Leilani Osmundson

Also Recommended

Solo New York Re:Serve Carry-On Spinner: While the Solo New York Re:Serve Carry-On Spinner is a solid (and sustainable) carry-on bag for less than $200, it doesn't offer quite enough space – especially for someone who may be traveling for longer.

Away The Aluminum Carry-On Bag: This is a well-built carry-on bag. The only downfall is that it's on the heavier side, weighing nearly 11 pounds. Away's Aluminum Carry-On is also more than twice the cost of the standard carry-on by Away, which works just as well.

Lipault Plume Cabin Size Spinner: This is a great soft-sided option if you're looking for a lightweight suitcase. Featuring a sleek nylon construction, a large front exterior pocket and internal zippered pockets, the Lipault Plume Cabin Size Spinner works well but isn't as lightweight as the July Carry-on Light.

Monos Carry-on Plus: It's a high-quality suitcase with a lot of internal details, but given its larger size this bag doesn't fit in the overhead compartment on multiple planes (especially regional jets). That said, if you're traveling domestically on larger planes, the Monos Carry-on Plus could be an option to consider. Or, the smaller standard Monos Carry-on could be a good option as well.

Pros and Cons of Hard-sided Luggage

Pros and cons of soft-sided luggage, frequently asked questions.

Aside from traditional rolling suitcases, the following items can be used as carry-on luggage provided they meet carry-on size limitations (which vary by airline) and fit in the overhead bin or fully under the seat (not sticking out) in front of you.

  • Duffel and weekender bags:  This includes weekenders and duffel bags with wheels . Just note that wheels are included in carry-on dimension restrictions.
  • Garment bags:  These are also considered carry-on baggage by most airlines. You can place your garment bag in the overhead bin, or in some cases, a small closet on the plane.
  • Pet carriers:  Some airlines consider pet carriers to be carry-on luggage. Check with your chosen airline when preparing for your trip with Fido.
  • Backpacks:  If your carry-on backpack fits under the seat, it will count toward your personal item allowance on most major airlines. This means you'll have the option to bring an additional bag for the overhead bin.
  • Diaper bags: If you're traveling with a baby, diaper bags and other baby travel gear generally don't count toward either allowance – meaning you can bring these items in addition to your carry-on bag and personal item.

Purses , briefcases and camera bags can be carried on the plane as well, but usually aren't considered carry-on bags and are instead labeled personal items. Underseater bags – often designed specifically to fit comfortably under a plane seat – are also ideal as a personal item.

Typically, travelers can bring one carry-on bag (for the overhead bin) and one personal item (for under the seat) on the plane, free of charge.

Carry-on luggage sizes can vary by airline. Several major U.S. carriers, such as American Airlines and United, impose a 22 x 14 x 9-inch rule. If you're buying new carry-on luggage, this is a good default size to choose – especially if you fly with a variety of airlines.

For international airlines, it's often 21.5 x 15.5 x 9 inches. To be sure about dimensions as well as any weight restrictions, see our guide to Carry-on Luggage Size & Weight by Airline . It usually doesn't matter how heavy your carry-on bag is, though some airlines do monitor the weight.

  • Hard-sided: The hard-sided July Carry On Light weighs less than 4 pounds, making it one of the most lightweight carry-on bags on the market. Other lightweight carry-on bags we recommend include the hard-sided Away The Carry-On (7.5 pounds) and the Amazon 20-Inch Hardside Spinner (7.3 pounds).
  • Soft-sided: If you're looking for a lightweight, soft-sided carry-on bag, consider the Lipault Plume Cabin Size Spinner (4.8 pounds) and the Samsonite SoLyte DLX Carry-On Spinner (7.1 pounds).

Hard-sided luggage is often heavier than soft-sided luggage – but only by a few pounds. If you're planning to purchase a hard-sided carry-on bag, look for something that's made of polycarbonate or polypropylene, both of which are lightweight yet durable materials.

How We Tested

Our team tested 26 carry-on bags across several price points and on a variety of trips spanning overseas flights, weekend getaways, overnight trips and more. We traveled by car, plane, train and cruise and packed for a variety of climates and activities, from shore excursions in Mexico to rainy road trips around Iceland. For bags with wheels, we tested their maneuverability on multiple surfaces, including gravel, pavement, grass, moving walkways, cobblestone and carpet. After four months of testing, we deem these carry-on bags the best of the best for 2024.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

The following editors personally tested the luggage recommended in this article:

Erin Evans , Managing Editor: Evans loves a durable bag and also can't say no to a good deal. Considering how banged up luggage can get, her picks on this list are both well-made and affordable.

Rachael Hood , Senior Editor: Hood rarely checks a bag, yet she loves to pack a lot and pick up some new finds along her journey. She looks for a combination of durability, functionality, interior space and overall appearance.

Catriona Kendall , Associate Editor: Kendall opts for convenient and versatile carry-ons that can work well for weekend and weekslong trips alike.

Amanda Norcross , Content & SEO Strategist: Norcross has mastered the art of traveling with a carry-on bag only, but believes this is only possible with the right luggage.

Leilani Osmundson , Digital Producer: Osmundson prefers lightweight, streamlined luggage that's ideal for adventure travel.

You might also be interested in:

  • What to Pack in Your Carry-on Bag
  • What Is Allowed in a Carry-on Bag
  • The Best Travel Insurance Companies

Tags: Travel , Travel Gear

World's Best Places To Visit

  • # 1 South Island, New Zealand
  • # 4 Bora Bora

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The 7 Best Smart Luggage Pieces, From App-Enabled Locks To Built-In Scales

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In an age of smart TVs , smart lights and even smart toasters , it should come as no surprise that smart luggage has made its debut. The best smart luggage offers more than just built-in batteries or integrated weight scales—though both of those features are desirable—but also features solutions like Bluetooth-enabled locks and pop-out cupholders that will make any travel experience much smoother. Our top pick is the Heys SmartLuggage 26-inch Airline Approved Spinner , which features remote locking and an alarm system that monitors when your bag has moved too far away from you.

If you’re a regular traveler, you’ll value everything from the added security to the ease-of-use ... [+] upgrades like biometric locks and pop-out cupholders.

Investing in a piece of smart luggage could save you from having to fight over the last outlet at the airport or pay hefty bag fees for an overweight bag. From the sleek Monos Hybrid Carry-On Plus , which has intelligently designed features like 360 spinner wheels and antimicrobial lining throughout, to the affordable Wrangler El Dorado and the Béis Front Pocket Carry-On , which features a built-in weight indicator, there’s something on this list for every type of tech-savvy need. Below, we’ve selected the best smart luggage pieces of 2023 that will truly make you feel like a modern traveler.

  • Best Smart Luggage Overall: Heys SmartLuggage 26-inch Airline Approved Spinner
  • Best Value Smart Luggage: Wrangler El Dorado Smart Luggage
  • Best Smart Luggage With Biometric Lock: Weego Smart Carry-On Luggage
  • Best Smart Luggage With Aluminum Frame: Monos Hybrid Carry-On Plus
  • Best Smart Luggage With Ejectable Battery Pack: July Carry On
  • Best Smart Luggage With Built-In Weight Indicator: Béis Front Pocket Carry-On
  • Best Smart Luggage With Scooter: Airwheel Se3S Smart Rideable Luggage

Best Smart Luggage Overall

Thoughtfully designed with excellent features, heys smartluggage 26-inch airline approved spinner.

Dimensions: 26 x 18 inches x 10.5 inches | Weight: 8 pounds | Exterior material: Polycarbonate | Battery: AAA

If you’re looking for a smart bag, there’s no better choice than one that’s smart enough to sound an alarm if it moves a certain distance away from you, or one that you can lock and unlock remotely. The Heys SmartLuggage 26-inch Airline Approved Spinner can do both and more, while keeping your personal items secure in two sizable interior compartments. It rolls smoothly on its its 360-degree spinner wheels and the tough polycarbonate shell stands up to drops and bumps with ease.

These smart and sturdy features will usually cost you handsomely, and for a stylish option that boasts plenty of unique features, the price tag is worth it. But luckily, you can currently snag this bag for almost 70% off at Macys. Just take note that this bag won't fit into all overhead bins; the “Airline Approved” in the name refers to the fact that it uses AAA batteries, which are allowed to be checked, instead of lithium ion batteries.

Best Value Smart Luggage

Well constructed at an unbeatable price, wrangler el dorado.

Dimensions: 20 x 11 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 6.3 pounds | Exterior material: ABS plastic | Battery: Sold separately

For a smart rolling suitcase at a great price, we love this option from Wrangler. Even after you buy your own battery (it doesn’t come with one), you’ll still be paying much less for this suitcase than you will for a bag from most other brands. This Wrangler El Dorado has a simple design with two internal compartments, a hard shell and multi-directional wheels, but it also boasts extra features like a handy USB port.

Beyond the included USB port, this bag also has one truly novel feature: A pop-out cupholder that can hold your water bottle or coffee and also doubles as a stand for your phone. And who doesn’t need an extra hand when traveling? Just note that this bag won’t last as long as other picks on our list, but it’s a great option for those working with a budget.

Best Smart Luggage With Biometric Lock

Includes a fingerprint locking system and usb port, weego smart carry-on luggage.

Dimensions: 22.4 x 15 x 8.8 inches | Weight: 7 pounds | Exterior material: ABS plastic | Battery: Sold separately

If you’re the kind of person prone to forgetting a combination code or misplacing a key, this is the luggage for you. The Weego Smart Carry-On has a biometric lock that is opened by scanning your fingerprint, or any of the 40 fingerprints that it can store in its memory. The lock can be opened 400 times per charge, and it can be charged up via a built-in solar panel or from a power source. And when you add your own battery bank into the bag, its external USB port lets it act like a power bank for phones, cameras, or other small devices.

Affordable, durable enough for regular use, and small enough for most overhead bins this suitcase is a savvy choice for the traveler keen on security. And don’t worry about the tech outsmarting you, as it were: if the lock ever malfunctions or its battery dies completely, you can manually open the bag with a key.

Best Smart Luggage With Aluminum Frame

Sleek, durable and perfect for long weekends, monos hybrid carry-on plus.

Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 9.25 pounds | Exterior material: Aluminum and polycarbonate | Battery: No

Sleek in style yet tough enough to take rough handling, the Hybrid Carry-On from Monos is a great bag for the frequent traveler. It features a durable polycarbonate shell built over a rigid aluminum frame, while the exterior corners of the bag are also reinforced with aluminum caps. This bag can be dropped off the back of the luggage train, tossed into a bin, bounced around in the trunk of a car, and it will still keep everything inside itself safe and sound.

Your belongings can be secured even more effectively with the included compression pad and straps, which nestle your clothes, dopp kit, computer and more down into a soft, antimicrobial polyester lining. While not app-enabled or ready to charge up your car, we can vouch for this being a very intelligently designed bag, having used it firsthand.

Best Smart Luggage With Ejectable Battery Pack

Power when you need it, july carry on.

Dimensions: 21.5 x 15 x 8.5 inches | Weight: 7.4 pounds | Exterior material: Polycarbonate | Battery: Included

Unlike many smart bags these days that are compatible with batteries but don't come with one included, the Carry On from July comes with a power bank that can be easily ejected as needed. Aside from allowing you to juice your phone and electronics on the go, this is a rugged bag with a German-made polycarbonate shell, smoothly-rolling wheels and a 20-stop telescoping handle that adjusts to the right height for just about any user.

The Carry On comes with a laundry bag you can use to help compress garments for packing and then hold the clothes you have worn during travel, and it has a TSA-approved lock that will help keep your clothes and other sundries safe at all times. The exterior of the bag does tend to scuff and scratch easily, but the damage is all aesthetic, not affecting function at all.

Best Smart Luggage With Built-In Weight Indicator

A solution for chronic overpackers, béis front pocket carry-on.

Dimensions: 21.5 x 13.5 x 9 inches | Weight: 8.6 pounds | Exterior material: Polyurethane | Battery: No

Frequent travelers know that it’s frustrating to show up to the airport only to be told that your bag is over the weight limit. But with this clever bag from Béis, that won’t happen to you. The Front Pocket Carry-On has a weight indicator built in, so if it weighs more than 50 pounds, the clear window next to the side handle will turn red. The bag also has a top carry handle, a telescoping handle and a spot to secure a bag strap. And as the name of this bag suggests, it has an accessible front pocket that can accommodate a laptop, notebook, iPhone, passport and other smaller items. This handy pocket can alleviate the frantic digging as you try to locate a passport or boarding pass at the gate.

Best Smart Luggage With Scooter

Part rolling suitcase, part electric scooter, airwheel se3s smart rideable luggage.

Dimensions: 21.5 x 14.5 inches x 10.3 inches | Weight: 24 pounds | Exterior material: Aluminum | Battery: Yes

Tired of that long slog through the airport, train station or across town? The Airwheel SE3S Smart Rideable Luggage is an innovative product that is part rolling suitcase, part electric scooter. In its ride-on mode, it can accommodate riders weighing up to 240 pounds and can zip along at up to eight miles per hour for almost five miles with a full charge. Yes, this thing is partly a novelty (and an expensive one at that), but it’s a great option for frequent travelers who are tired of being on foot. And it’s a helpful option for those with mobility issues, as well.

The 9 Best Camping Blankets, According To Rigorous Testing

How to dress baby for sleep, according to experts, why trust forbes vetted.

The Forbes Vetted travel team has researched, written and published dozens of luggage guides, ranging from the best hardside luggage to the best underseat luggage and the best luggage sets . This story was written by contributor Steven John , who frequently writes tech and gear guides for Forbes Vetted and who has personally tested multiple pieces of luggage on this list.

How We Chose The Best Smart Luggage

To determine the best smart luggage, we read hundreds of product reviews and evaluated options from both established and newer-to-market brands. We also relied on our firsthand experience and the input from several travel experts. We considered features that frequent travelers value the most, from built-in batteries to integrated scales and clever locking mechanisms. Beyond smart features, we evaluated each bag’s organization system, storage capacity, exterior and interior materials, durability and maneuverability. The final products on this list reflect several weeks' worth of in-depth research and personal vetting.

Is Smart Luggage Worth Investing In?

If you travel often and you value convenience, then yes, smart luggage is worth the expense over more basic luggage. If you have found yourself searching in vain for an outlet you can use to charge your phone while you travel, worried that your bag may be lifted by sneaky fingers or that your things may be damaged by careless airline baggage handlers, different smart bags can alleviate these concerns with features like battery banks, proximity alarms and tough, rugged exteriors that protect all your belongings.

What Are The Best Smart Suitcases?

Our favorite smart suitcases are the Heys SmartLuggage 26-inch Airline Approved Spinner , Wrangler El Dorado and Weego Smart Carry-On , but the best smart suitcase for you could vary based on your needs. If you travel all the time, a suitcase that is both lightweight and durable should rise to the top of your list, as should features like an easy-to-remove battery for when your bag must be checked. If you travel less often, the quick-access battery may not be as important, and a lower cost suitcase that may not be quite so rugged is probably just fine.

Do Airlines Allow Smart Luggage?

Yes and no; airlines do not allow smart bags with lithium ion batteries inside them to be checked into the cargo hold, as these batteries can, rarely, be known to smoke, burn or even explode. But a smart bag with its battery removed is allowed to be checked, and smart battery bags can be carried onto most planes. It’s a good idea to go ahead and check with your airline before you pack, though, just to be sure.

Steven John

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Kuosdaz Carry On Backpack, Travel Backpack for Men Women, Personal Item Travel Bag with USB Charger, Flight-approved Laptop Backpack for Traveling, Black

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  • CARRY ON BACKPACK FOR AIRPLANES: Travel backpack has a separate laptop compartment that it could hold 15.6 inch computer and protect laptop from moving; Main compartment with double zippers has enough storage room to store your school books or daily necessities for back to school or an overnight trip; Organizer compartment with various small pockets keep your items organized. This luggage backpack also meets airline carry-on requirements, for airlines such as Easy Jet, Spirit, Jet Blue.
  • WET DRY BAG: The travel backpack has a wet bag made of high-density waterproof material inside, which can help you separate wet and dry items. If you have wet clothes or toiletries, you can put them in a wet bag. There are so many pockets for different purposes. It is an ideal choice for women, weekend travelers, or occasional vacationers.
  • DESIGNED FOR TRAVEL: Kuosdaz travel school backpack with an external USB charging port and built-in a charging cable inside, and there is a special pocket inside the airline travel backpack to place the power bank, providing you with a more convenient way to use your mobile phone while hiking or traveling. A luggage strap on the carry on backpack back is designed to fit on luggage/suitcase, for easier carry on international travel or cruise. A great gifts for people who travel!
  • STURDY & SAFE: This Kuosdaz school luggage backpack multi-sided airflow design provides honeycomb back pads, shoulder straps, breathable, adjustable shoulder straps, belt liners, help to relieve the back pressure of shoulders, nd protect your items Free use of any bumps on the road,lasting. High-density polyester waterproof oxford cloth keeps your belongings from getting wet. The hidden anti-theft pocket on the back can protect your valuable items from thieves.
  • VERSATILE OUTDOOR BACKPACK: The dimension of black backpack is 18.1 x 12.5 x 7 inch. And the capacity is 30L. You can carry it onto airplane. The carry on backpack ensure a secure long-lasting usage in everyday life and on weekends, hybrid (backpack/duffel bag/shoulder bag/travel bag) conversion. It can be used as an everyday backpack, a roomy college backpack, perfect for weekend getaways, occasional use. It's also a practical Christmas and New Years gift for your parents, traveler.

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Luggage Computer Daypack

Luggage Computer Daypack

Product description, kuosdaz travel laptop backpack.



carry on backpack


Lightweight Personal Item Bag for Airlines


personal item travel bag


Luggage Computer Daypack College


Capacity: 35 L

Dimensions:18.1 x 12.5 x 7 Inches

Maximum Laptop Size: 15.6 Inch

Material: Water-Resistant Polyester

Occasions: Travel / Work/ Business Trip / Study Abroad/ School / Holiday Vacation

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Product details.

  • Product Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 7 x 12.5 x 18.1 inches; 1.4 Pounds
  • Item model number ‏ : ‎ S37
  • Department ‏ : ‎ unisex-adult
  • Manufacturer ‏ : ‎ Kuosdaz
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0CPLNBV6L
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ China
  • Best Sellers Rank: #6,420 in Laptop Backpacks

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The Complete Packing List for Moscow

Moscow packing list – what you need to bring, how to pack for moscow.

You’ve booked your plane ticket and the time of departure is fast approaching? After the joys of such a decision, comes the question of knowing what to put in your suitcase to go to Moscow. No need to panic, we have prepared a very complete list of the essential things to bring to make sure you don’t miss anything once you are there.

In order to leave no room for unforeseen events, it’s of course preferable to go through this list a few days before leaving rather than the day before departure, as you might miss some items.

Take the time to read and download it in order to identify the things that you absolutely must pack and that you might miss and that could make you lose time and money if you forget them.

You will also need to think about packing according to the type of accommodation you will be staying in, the different modes of transportation you will use during your trip, the climate and the season, as well as the activities you plan to do.

In order to help you prepare your suitcase, this checklist of the essential things to bring in Moscow gathers several categories: clothes, accessories, various objects… It will allow you to have a concrete vision of a typical suitcase for Moscow.

An advice, think of keeping some space in your luggage if you wish to bring back souvenirs or to make some clothing shopping on the spot.

Thanks to this travel list, preparing your bag for Moscow will be a real child’s play and you will just have to enjoy your adventure!

Note : This article contains affiliate links to Amazon.

  • Important hings to do before you go
  • Essential documents
  • Transport essentials
  • Backpack & luggage
  • Clothing and shoes
  • Hygiene & Toiletries
  • Photo, Video & High Tech
  • Useful accessories
  • Medication and first aid kit
  • Activities and Useful Links (+ Printable checklist PDF)

1/ Important things to do before you go

 Prepare your travel itinerary  Apply for a visa (if necessary)  Make your vaccinations (if necessary)  Check-up at the doctor / dentist  Take out a travel insurance  Photocopy or scan important documents (passport)  Write down e-mail and useful phone numbers in your address book  Warn your bank about your trip abroad (if necessary)  Book accomodation for your first night ( Do it now before everything is fully booked! Check the best hotels on Booking )  Download offline applications and maps for  Download movies offline   Prepare your favorite music playlist  Turn off or turn down the heat of your house  Empty garbage cans  Water the plants   Give a copy of your house/car keys to a family member or friend  Close doors and windows

2/ Essential documents

Even before you buy your plane ticket, remember to check the validity of your passport : it must be valid for at least six months after your return date (for some countries) and have a blank page. Another tip: send your important documents to a secondary email in case you lose them.

   Passport   ID card    Plane or train ticket (have a paper copy just in case)   Reservation documents (e-ticket, train ticket, hotel reservation)   Visa (if necessary)   International driver’s license, if you wish to rent a car   Health insurance card   Travel insurance   Credit card   Cash   Useful numbers in case of emergency   Itinerary and address of your accommodation (hotel / AirBnB / camping)   Vaccination certificate   Diving license, sailing license, etc.   Some business cards with your contact information, email, blog, website

3/ Transport essentials

The little things to have with you at all times during the flight or the trip by train or bus:

 Phone and charger  Book / Magazine / Kindle / Travel Guide  MP3 player   Chewing gum   Pen + notepad  Travel pillow ( my favorite )  Sleep mask ( my favorite )   Earplugs   Snacks / sandwich   Small water bottle  Nasal ointment for dry nose  Sunglasses   Glasses case   Watch   Hand sanitizer   Disposable face mask   Tissues   Motion sickness medication

4/ Backpack & luggage

 Waterproof dry bag ( my favorite )  Handbag   Travel laundry bag ( my favorite )  Carry-on suitcase ( my favorite )  Travel bag ( my favorite )   Luggage tag ( my favorite )   Travel Packing Organizers ( my favorite )   Rain cover for backpack ( my favorite )   Zippered carry-on bag   Shoe bag ( my favorite )   Fanny pack   Lightweight foldable backpack ( my favorite )

5/ Clothing and shoes

  Socks  Underwear (panties, thongs, bras, briefs, boxers…)  Tank tops  Skirt ♀  Dress ♀  Pajamas  T-shirts  Long sleeve shirt ( for her , for him )  Short sleeve shirt ( for her , for him )  Polo shirt ( for her , for him )   Sweatshirt / pullover ( for her , for him )   Jeans   Lightweight pants ( for her , for him )   Money belt ( my favorite )   Shorts   Jogging suit   Jacket / coat   K-way ( for her , for him )   Windbreaker ( for her , for him )  Hat / cap / beanie   Scarf / bandana   Swimsuit   Buff scarf ( my favorite )

For shoes, you will have to choose according to the activities you plan to do:

 Comfortable walking shoes   Shoes for going out (restaurants, bars, clubs…)  Flip-flops (for the beach, showers…) ( for her , for him )  Hiking shoes ( for her , for him )  Sandals ( for her , for him )   Water shoes for walking in water (beaches, waterfalls, rivers…) ( for her , for him )  Light trekking shoes ( for her , for him )  Crocs

6/ Hygiene & Toiletries

 Microfiber towel ( my favorite )   Toilet bag   Portable Travel Bottles ( my favorite )  Toothbrush & toothpaste  Dental floss  Soap   Shampoo   Facial cleanser   Nail clippers   Cotton buds (biodegradable)   Tweezers   Make-up   Deodorant   Comb / Hairbrush   Razor & shaving foam ♂   Biodegradable wipes ( my favorite )   Toilet paper roll   Perfume   Makeup ♀   Contact Lenses   Contact lens product   Pocket mirror

7/ Photo, Video & High Tech

For photographers and videographers:

 Camera  Lens  Memory card  Polarizing filters   ND filter   Extra battery   Charger + cable + plug adapter   Cleaning kit   External hard drive   USB key   Stabilizer   Drone ( my favorite )    Waterproof phone case   Flash   Solar charger ( my favorite )    Gopro ( my favorite )   Waterproof case   Selfie Pole  External battery / Powerbank ( my favorite ) 

Don’t forget:

 Portable speaker  Ipad / Tablet  Laptop PC  External battery  Headphones or noise cancelling headphones ( my favorite )

Useful apps to download before you go to Moscow:

 AirBnB  Booking  Couchsurfing  Flush – Public Toilet Finder (Useful for finding toilets!)  Google Maps  Google Translator  Google Trips  Lonely Planet Guide  LoungeBuddy  Meetup  Tripadvisor  Uber  Whatsapp  XE Currency

8/ Useful accessories

The accessories you will take in your bag for Moscow will depend on your travel style:

  TSA lock ( my favorite )  Headlamp ( my favorite )  Sleeping bag ( my favorite )  Sheets ( my favorite )  Swiss Army knife (not in the hand luggage!) ( my favorite )  Travel clothesline ( my favorite )  Powdered or liquid detergent  Clothes pegs  Spork ( my favorite )  Ziploc bags  Lighter  Folding umbrella ( my favorite )  Toilet paper  Mosquito repellent ( my favorite )   Mosquito net ( my favorite )   Sunscreen cream  Aloe vera gel   Waterproof pouch for smartphone    For hikers : GPS, map, compass, water bottle   Walking stick ( my favorite )   Anti-sweat talcum powder ( my favorite )   Beach towel ( my favorite )   Sawyer water filter ( must-have !)  Pills to purify non-drinking water   Mask, snorkel, fins   Diving accessories (gloves, dive computer, lamp, knife…)

9/ Medication and first aid kit

I suggest that you consult your doctor and dentist before leaving. Beware of unauthorized medication and remember to keep your vaccinations up to date!

If you have a treatment don’t forget to take your personal medication and your prescription if necessary (or medical certificate).

You can buy a first aid kit already prepared ( my favorite ).

  Cotton buds   Tweezers   Round-tipped scissors   Pairs of single-use latex gloves  Bandages   Paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain   Sterile compresses   Disinfectant spray for wounds   Physiological saline solution in pods (wound cleaning)   Condoms and other contraceptives

For longer trips and higher risk locations, we can also add:

  Sterile adhesive skin sutures (steristrips)   Rehydration solutions (in case of dehydration)   Water purification tablets   Water decontamination tablets (Aquatabs or Micropur)   Medication for altitude   Medication for sore throat    Anti-malarial medication   Survival blanket   Tick tweezers   Ointment against itching (antihistamine)   Probiotics for the stomach   Corticosteroid pills and cream   Analgesics (painkillers)   Survival blanket   Cold medicine (decongestant)   Biafine (in case of burns or sunburns)   Broad-spectrum antibiotics without a prescription   Anti-diarrhea tablets (immodium, smecta)

10/ Activities and Useful Links + Printable checklist

You can download the complete travel list in PDF format and print it by clicking here.

Book your hotel in Moscow now on

AirBnb : Get a discount for your first booking!

Book now your activities in Moscow on Getyourguide:

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The Most Reliable Charging Bags For Travelers

These are the top five reliable charging bags for travelers on the go with devices to keep energized though out their entire journey abroad.

Sarah Rand • Jun 20, 2024

travel bag with usb charger

It can be hard for travelers to determine what products are the most efficient to travel with. This is especially true with the oversaturated travel industry. TSA rules, changing carry-on standards, and the increasing popularity of digital nomad living make deciding on a travel bag hard. A quality travel bag is a top priority for a traveler.

A truly reliable bag is durable, conveniently sized, and has features that make a journey easier for travelers. All of these things are true of the top-rated charging bags. They provide security for travelers who are on the go for long periods. The capability to charge devices while traveling is a great feature of a travel bag. Not needing to stay in one place is a big benefit to having a go-to bag for trips abroad. 

Our Top 5 Picks for Travelers

  • Lifepack Backpack by Solgaard
  • Sigma Anti-Theft Backpack by Mark Ryden Backpack
  • 5358 USB ScanSmart Laptop Backpack by SWISSGEAR
  • Siena – Smart Backpack by Nordace
  • Smart-Pack + 2.0 by Skyborne  

Lifepack Backpack

Lifepack Backpack

This classic backpack is a great bag for travelers who need plenty of compartments. Sustainable shoppers can appreciate some of the eco-friendly features of the product. Made of Solgaard’s Shore-Tex™️ fabric, its material is created from 100% recycled plastic and saves six pounds of plastic typically bound for the ocean. This bag also has an integrated USB port, which allows for seamless charging. For security, the Lifepack has secret pockets and an anti-theft lock. Solgaard’s bag also has features that travelers can choose from, including solar and wireless charging, a power bank, or a Bluetooth speaker.

Sigma Anti-Theft Backpack

Sigma Anti-Theft Backpack

The Sigma Anti-Theft Backpack is an elegant bag with all the bells and whistles to go with it. It has a TSA anti-theft lock. This is a real appeal for travelers who may or may not get a free carry-on bag. Easily store your most cherished devices like laptops and tablets, and find comfort in their safety with its moisture-wicking coating. To keep devices charged, the bag has an easily reached-USB charging port. The bag’s breathable material makes wearing it quite comfortable, even in some of the hottest destinations. 

5358 USB ScanSmart Laptop Backpack

5358 USB ScanSmart Laptop Backpack

This popular bag is made for travelers who want to stay organized and have everything they need during the trip. The backpack has a TSA-friendly laptop compartment, a roomy main compartment, and excellent padding. It has special panels for airflow that feature meshed fabric which will keep travelers cool. For travelers who depend on a handy charging mechanism, this bag has a dedicated charger pocket for quick access. SWISSGEAR’S laptop backpack is so durable that it has a free 10-year warranty, so customers can rest assured that the product is of quality. 

Siena – Smart Backpack 

Siena - Smart Backpack

This backpack has anti-theft features, a padded laptop compartment, and a USB charging port. Built for daily use, avid travelers will get their money’s worth. Nordace’s Siena Smart Backpack has a modern design, comfortable straps, secret pockets, and seamless spaces for devices. The bag’s secret pockets help to avoid pickpocketing and provide a clean aesthetic. The USB charging port is discreet and the bag has water-resistant fabric. This backpack is a great option when you want to protect and maintain your digital devices. 

Smart-Pack + 2.0

Skyborne Smart-Pack + 2.0

This pack is a premium option for travelers—a simple yet refined design as it resembles combat-style aesthetics. The ultra-secure pack has hidden compartments, anti-theft protection, and a built-in USB. The USB charger offers waterproof charging with a sleek and covered port. This TSA-approved bag even has a shoe compartment, is lightweight, and offers a unisex design. Travelers can also upgrade and buy Skyborne’s GPS tracker which can be placed in the leather luggage tag on the bag. The newly designed 2.0 DOPP kit system is a toiletry kit that fits TSA standards, easily storing travel-sized products. 

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4 Best Solar-Powered Phone Chargers, Tested and Reviewed

Charge up your devices with the power of the sun.

best solar powered phone chargers

We've been independently researching and testing products for over 120 years. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our review process.

3 Solar Charger

Best Overall Solar Phone Charger

Bigblue 3 solar charger.

Solar Charger Power Bank 18W

Best Value Solar Phone Charger

Blavor solar charger power bank 18w.

25 Watt Foldable ETFE Monocrystalline Solar Panel Charger

Best Portable Solar Phone Charger

Sunjack 25 watt foldable etfe monocrystalline solar panel charger.

When shopping, keep in mind that solar phone chargers come in many shapes and forms, including ones that directly replenish your phone’s battery while the sun is strong and bright, as well as those that can store power during the day for use at a later time.

Our experts love how easy it is to unfold this lightweight solar phone charger and expose its four panels to the sun to charge your GoPro, iPhone or Bluetooth speaker (just be sure to check that your device is compatible). In our tests, a drained iPhone XR was charged to 27% percent in just 30 minutes of full sun.

Three USB ports allow you to charge multiple devices at once, making this a great pick for a family camping trip. If heavy clouds pass over, charging will be paused but will restart when the sun is shining again. Our only caveat is that this charger can’t store electricity, so you’ll need daylight to keep your devices up and running.

This do-it-all device is a battery pack, dual flashlight and compass and includes four USB ports, including one USB-C port for faster charging. In addition to being able to charge multiple devices at once, it also offers wireless charging if your phone is Qi-enabled. At just under seven inches, this portable solar charger is small enough to pack in your backpack, so toting it along on your next outdoor trip is a no-brainer.

It also has an IPX5 rating, and in our testing, we found that it was rugged enough to handle exposure to light rain. Just remember to fully recharge your power bank via an outlet before heading out for your next adventure since the solar charging option isn't as speedy or reliable.

While we haven’t taken the SunJack outdoors yet, our pros love this solar charger’s lightweight yet rugged design. With an IP67 rating, you definitely don’t have to worry about accidentally getting some splashes on it. Just clip it onto your backpack while hiking with the provided carbineers and have it juice up your device.

Our pros love that, when ready to be stored, it folds up neatly into a tablet-sized shape that should fit inside most backpacks . Another bonus: USB-C and USB-A charging are supported and built-in elastic straps help you secure your phone while you’re on the go. But if you're looking for a model that includes a power bank, our pros suggest this 15-watt solar charger from SunJack.

Goal Zero Venture 35 Solar Kit

Venture 35 Solar Kit

With a waterproof IP67 rating, this solar panel and battery pack combo is one of the most rugged picks you can find. To charge the battery pack just attach it to the included solar panel and adjust the kickstand to the best angle for optimum charging, or top up at home before you head out. We love that the solar panel, when folded up, is a little larger than a sheet of paper and just over one pound, striking the perfect balance of portability, durability and wattage , according to GH's former engineering director.

In our tests, we were able to get two full charges on an iPhone 11 from the Venture 35 power bank, and it took eight hours on a very sunny day to completely charge the power bank with the Nomad 10 solar panel. According to Goal Zero, the Venture 35 will charge a smartphone about three times, depending on your type of phone and charge status. Best of all, if you don't feel like carrying the power bank with you, you can leave it at home and use the solar panel to charge your devices.

How we test the best solar phone chargers

solar phone chargers being tested outside in full sun

When testing solar phone chargers, our analysts have drained over 400 hours of battery to determine how long it takes to successfully recharge various devices . Our pros have reviewed at least two dozen solar phone chargers in the past few years. In our most recent tests, we evaluated each solar phone charger’s performance, durability, ease of use and more. To assess performance, we positioned each unit outside when the sun was at its highest point and recorded how much it charged a drained iPhone XR battery within 30 minutes.

In previous tests, we’ve also taken each solar phone charger to our standard lightroom and timed how long it took to fully charge each unit. Power banks that come equipped with solar panels are placed outside in direct sunlight to assess how much battery accumulates in four hours. Our experts also evaluated how much power each solar panel produced by plugging it into a PortaPow power monitor .

We additionally considered key specs such as battery capacity (maH), maximum watts, weight, size and features such as built-in flashlights, number and type of ports as well as the solar phone chargers’ general appearance and design. Beyond looking at the IP ratings, which denote the protection against water, dust, dirt and more, we put each charger's durability to the test by using our in-house rain tester and drop tester. Most recently, we tested durability by dropping each solar phone charger from a three-foot height and assessing any damage.

What to look for when shopping for a solar phone charger


✔️ Power : Make sure you get a charger that is powerful enough to charge the device you want in an adequate amount of time. That means you should look for a charger with at least seven watts to charge a smartphone and closer to 15 watts or higher for charging multiple devices or more power-intense ones like an iPad. Skimping on wattage also may mean a slower charge rate, so if you can afford to go a bit higher, go for it!

✔️ Portability : If you don't mind added bulk, a folded solar panel can likely result in a larger surface area and more power than a single panel charger, though you'll likely have to trade some power output for lightweight portability. Another plus for larger chargers is that they usually charge devices more quickly, though wattage is a better indicator of charging speed.

✔️ Connections : Make sure the solar charger is capable of charging the device you own and that it has enough ports to charge multiple devices if that is desired. Smaller electronic devices, like those you can usually charge with a USB, roughly need a 5V output rating. Larger electronics may require 12V-24V.

✔️ Backup battery : If you don't know if you'll have exposure to the sun (i.e. at night or when it's cloudy), make sure your solar charger is able to store your charge by juicing up a rechargeable battery that in turn charges your mobile device later when you need it.

Why trust Good Housekeeping?

For decades, the Good Housekeeping Institute has been providing expert reviews and feedback on the best outdoor gear you can buy for your next camping or hiking trip.

GH Institute Writer and Reviews Analyst Olivia Lipski , who covers everything from travel and outdoor gear to fitness, consumer electronics, home and more, recently tested solar phone chargers in her own backyard to find the best ones on the market. Not only does she bring years of product review experience to GH, but she’s an avid hiker who loves spending time outside.

Headshot of Olivia Lipski

Olivia (she/her) is a media and tech product reviews analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute , covering tech, home, auto, health and more. She has more than five years of experience writing about tech trends and innovation and, prior to joining GH in 2021, was a writer for Android Central, Lifewire and other media outlets. Olivia is a graduate of George Washington University, with a bachelor's degree in journalism, political science and French, and she holds a master’s degree in communications from Sciences Po Paris.

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I'm a Frequent Flier, and These 15 Genius Items Have Helped Me Outsmart Checked Bag Fees — From Just $10

Perfect the carry-on-only lifestyle with these game-changing gear and accessory picks.

Alesandra Dubin is an LA-based lifestyle writer and editor. As a veteran digital journalist, she's covered travel, food, parenting, and more for over 15 years. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, TripSavvy, and countless other online and print outlets. An avid traveler, she often trots the globe with her husband and their twins. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @alicedubin. Alesandra holds a master's degree in journalism with an emphasis on cultural reporting and criticism from NYU, and a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley.

travel bag with usb charger

Travel + Leisure / Francesca Fasciglione

I’m a professional travel writer and devoted carry-on-only packer . I hardly have to explain why: It’s widely known that checked baggage fees can be exorbitantly expensive (and are on the rise ) — sometimes even rivaling the price of an a la carte seat. Beyond that, when you check your bag, you send it out into the unknown, where it can be marooned in some far-away city ( which actually happened to me ), subjected to theft, or altogether lost. Plus, I just like to have all my stuff with me at all times, should I need anything in a pinch (and I like using my carry-on as a perch that rolls my personal item bag through endless stretches of the airport so I don’t have to bear the weight).

Over years of experience and many thousands of miles, I’ve amassed a solid system of tools to help make my carry-on-only travel life happen. And there are a few more I’m eyeing to complete my inventory. The good news: All of my top carry-on essentials picks are available at Amazon, and most are on sale now, with a starting price point of just $10 . Here are the best carry-on luggage, backpacks, duffel bags, and other important packing travel accessories to lighten your load and help you skip those baggage fees.

Rockland London Hardside 20-inch Carry-on Spinner

Before we get into the travel accessories, let's make sure that your carry-on luggage is up to snuff. I’m not the only one in my family who goes carry-on-only: I expect my kids to do the same so we don’t end up paying those extra fees or waiting at the carousel (remember: a traveling family is only as streamlined at the airport as its weakest link). So I got these 20-inch spinners for my twins three years ago; they’ve traveled all around the world with us, and are still holding up great. These have four multidirectional spinner wheels, a telescoping handle with a push button, and interior mesh and zipper pockets. At six years old, my kids were big enough to handle a 20-inch spinner, and these are so much more practical and enduring than the juvenile character-shaped options.

Etronik Weekender Bag

If you're a fan of the Béis Weekender Bag like I am, then you'll love this version from Amazon-loved brand Etronik (which has a price point that's a fraction of what I paid for my Béis one — even in the brand’s warehouse sale). I like that it has a fully separate PVC-lined and vented compartment on the bottom for shoes or dirty clothes, plus it can be used as your sole luggage or an extra roomy personal item bag that you store under the plane seat. It also has a USB interface for easy phone charging on the go. This one is available in 28 colors (I have the pale pink version), and (unlike my Béis bag) it also comes with an extra matching pouch that can be used for toiletries or safeguarding your in-flight essentials. 

Matein Travel Laptop Backpack

Having noticed the impressive volume of five-star reviews from Amazon shoppers (nearly 80,500 and counting!), the Matein backpack seemed like a no-brainer purchase for my husband to use as a carry-on and personal item bag on international trips  — and he’s still traveling the world with it years later. This bag is all about thoughtful organization, with a separate laptop compartment, a hidden anti-theft pocket on the back, and a front compartment that's organized with pen pockets, a key fob hook, and more dedicated spaces. The back padding is thick, and the adjustable shoulder straps are sturdy and comfy. There’s also a built-in USB charger for staying charged up on the go. 

Wrangler Smart Carry-on Luggage With Cup Holder

To be a carry-on-only traveler, you have to get used to always having a piece of luggage with you at the airport. And that means coming up with successful strategies for making the most efficient use of the only two hands I have. That’s why I love that this carry-on roller bag has its own built-in cup holder for that must-have airport coffee. It also has a USB port and phone holder, creating a trifecta of useful features that make carry-on-only travel seamless and convenient. Plus, it boasts an expandable capacity and smooth-rolling multidirectional wheels.

Hanples Travel Backpack

The cool thing about this backpack is it opens all the way — like a suitcase — so you can get the benefits of traveling with a roller bag while reducing the risk you might have to check it if the overhead bins fill up. Even better news: It fits under the seat as a personal item, and weighs just 2.5 pounds. This bag also has a thick cushioned laptop compartment and an expandable design that gives you 5 liters of additional packing space, and there’s a port for a charging cable or headphones.

Coolife 3-piece Luggage Set

If you’re new to carry-on-only travel — or just want to overhaul all of your gear at once — I love this budget-friendly luggage set that covers all of the bases needed to keep you from checking a bag. It comes with a 20-inch spinner bag, a backpack, and a toiletry bag, all nicely matching (I think the white version with camel piping is super chic). The luggage features a TSA-approved lock and a fully lined interior divider for organization. And, the backpack has a sleeve that fits right over the trolly handle for seamlessly rolling through the airport. 

Lovevook Weekender Bag With Accessories

I like this structured weekender bag with a 30-liter capacity to use as a complement to a roller bag (or carried alone for a short trip); it has a sleeve that slides over a suitcase handle for hands-free bliss, and the main body is made with waterproof canvas with the bottom is enhanced with PU leather for added water resistance. It has a sturdy design with its shaping ribs and metal feet at the base for standing freely, which comes in handy when you're packing or trying to find something inside mid-flight. What's more, the main compartment features a wet pocket as well as useful tech sleeves, and the outside ones have zipper closures for essentials. 

Veken Packing Cube Set

Now that you have a quality carry-on bag, you'll need to stock up on important travel accessories. Organization is the key to carry-on-only packing, and packing cubes are a huge help in that effort. This affordable and highly reviewed set comes with eight unique pieces, including a shoe bag, a laundry bag, and a cosmetic bag in addition to the zippered, all-purpose cubes in various sizes. Mesh panels make it easy to see what’s inside each pouch at a glance so you only have to open the one you need.

Fyy Travel Cable Organizer

My tech essentials always stay with me under my seat because I’m typically using both my laptop and my phone in flight (I even keep my Apple Watch charger with me to keep the battery full for the following day on overnight flights). I had a fancy, gimmicky tech organizer before this one, but it was too fussy to be useful — so I bought myself this simple, practical, and compact case at an impulse-buy price to replace it. It does the trick perfectly with its spacious and see-through mesh panels, smooth zippers, and forgiving expandability for tech over-packers (guilty). 

Amasuki Multifunction USB Charger

Speaking of overpacking tech cables, there’s a better way to travel with everything I need without jumbled cords taking up precious luggage space: This multifunction cable supports simultaneous charging of three devices, and eliminates the need for fussing with multiple charging cubes — especially in a confined situation like an airplane seat with limited ports. Mix and match as needed to charge your iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and other devices without packing unnecessary extra bulk so you can stay streamlined in a carry-on-only situation.

Cadence Capsules

If you follow my coverage, you already know I swear by these game-changing capsules that keep all of my toiletries secure and organized — and in the most aesthetic, streamlined way possible. The set comes with individual magnetic cases that attach in a honeycomb pattern to the others, each clearly labeled with its contents. You can keep all your TSA-approved liquids in your carry-on without any risk of leaking (freeing up serious space in your toiletry bag for other essentials). I use mine not just for toiletries but for other essentials I want to keep with me, including delicate jewelry and medications. 

Amazon is stocked with other travel-friendly sets to safely transport your toiletries — like the leak-proof Bpluma Travel Bottles that are just $10 and perfect for shampoo, conditioner, and more. If you're looking for something more stackable and versatile like my favorite Cadence capsules, opt for the Cosywell Small Travel Containers . 

Bagsmart Hanging Toiletry Case

My husband and I both have one of these toiletry cases, which have a smart feature: a hook, so you can hang it in a small space like, say, an airplane lavatory to get freshened up on the go without your stuff rolling everywhere. Its transparent pouches allow you to see contents inside at a glance, and tons of zippers keep everything organized and any potential leaks well contained.

Hibag Compression Bags Set

This set of 12 compression bags is handy when you’re going carry-on-only and need to make every square inch of suitcase real estate count. They have the space-saving effect of vacuum sealing (though you don’t need an actual vacuum to draw the air out) with the promise of freeing up to 80 percent of luggage room. I’ve yet to try this strategy myself, but I’m intrigued — and inspired to give it a shot based on the more than 36,000 five-star Amazon ratings.

Ododos Belt Bag

When I’m only traveling with a carry-on, I have my hands full. And that means that I need to have my most essential items — like my passport, phone, and credit card — easily accessible lest I keep any airport lines from bottlenecking. That’s why I often travel with a nifty belt bag , which I usually wear across my chest so I can keep my eyes on it and away from would-be pickpockets (note: it also works as a waist or shoulder bag). This one is durable, water-resistant, and so affordable. And it comes in more than 40 colors to match any travel wardrobe style. 

Amazon Basics Packable Duffel Bag

Even when I’m packing super compactly for carry-on-only travel, I accept the possibility that I might come home with more than I left with — whether that’s travel souvenirs or bulky materials from a work trip. This 100 percent nylon bag folds flat, packs down small, and weighs nearly nothing (though it has a 50-pound capacity to bring back any overflow items). Packing one of these means always having options — and “options” is my favorite packing strategy in one word.

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