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Getting ready for your next trip and looking for the perfect carry on luggage? This roundup is full of functional, durable, and lightweight carry on suitcase options for your adventures ahead! 

 


Best Carry On Suitcase Size and Style


 

 

Table Of Contents

 

 

When it comes to air travel, a great carry on is a must! Whether you’re a packing pro who loves to fit everything they need into a smaller suitcase, or you want an addition to your checked luggage, having the wrong suitcase could make flights difficult and stressful. So, how do you figure out what’s the best travel carry on suitcase for you?

 

 

What Are the Best Carry On Suitcase Dimensions?

 

A lot of readers ask the very important question, what size is a carry on suitcase? When traveling with a carry on, it’s crucial to make sure that your trusty bag will fit the size requirements so it won’t have to be checked. 

While some airlines or specific planes may differ by an inch or two, the standard carry on suitcase measurements for domestic flights is 22” x 14” x 9”. 

The standard carry on suitcase size for international flights tends to be smaller, with the max height usually being 21”. 

 

In order to figure out what’s the best suitcase for you, check out these comprehensive resources that you can tailor to your specific trip:

 

 

Now, take a look at the top airline approved carry on suitcase options for your next adventure!

 

 

Best Carryon Suitcase Styles for Travel

 

 

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Shop: Amazon

 

Best Carry On Suitcase Hard Shell: Delsey Paris Helium Aero 21”

 

The Helium Aero 4 wheel carry on suitcase is lightweight, the spinner wheels make for a smooth ride, and one can easily see it’s also super stylish! It can expand up to 2” for extra packing space (or to even add the odd souvenir or two), and there’s an easy one-button locking system. It weighs a fairly light 8.4 lbs!

It comes in beautiful, bright colors that are easily recognizable from afar, and the durable, scratch-resistant cover will ensure it looks just as good off the plane as it did getting on! 

One reader who has this suitcase says, “We have the Delsey Helium Aero and love it. It seems to be indestructible, carries a ridiculous amount, and the compression zipper setup is fantastic. I like that each side is packed independently.” 

If you’re headed to Europe, the Delsey Helium 19” version is a great hard carry on suitcase option for European-bound flights!

 

I’ve owned several Delsey carry-on suitcase styles but the Shadow is my favorite. I love their Helium luggage collection!

 

 

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Shop: Amazon

 

Best Soft Sided Carry On Suitcase: Travelpro Maxlite 5 21”

 

So many readers say that Travelpro makes one of the best soft carry on suitcase! And this 21” Maxlite 5 is the #1 selling suitcase on the blog! The Maxlite is also one of the lightest carry on suitcase picks – at only about 5.4 lbs, it won’t be an annoyance to haul around. At the same time, the packing capacity is outstanding, able to expand up to 2” if you need a little extra room! 

This suitcase rides like a dream, with a sturdy handle (that expands up to an impressive 42.5”!) and smooth spinner wheels. Interior and exterior compartments keep things super organized, and the overall quality and durability make it an amazing investment. 

One TFG reader shares, “I love my Travelpro Maxlite 5! Easy to pack, cubes fit great inside. Use it for carry on domestically all the time for work travel. Easy to lift in/out of overhead with handles.” It comes in a range of pretty colors!

 

Read TFG’s review to out why our readers can’t stop raving about the Travelpro Maxlite 5!

 

 

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Shop: Osprey

 

Best Hybrid Carry On Suitcase With Wheels: Osprey Transporter 22”

 

You know I’m a big fan of Osprey and used the Farpoint backpack frequently, so I was excited they made hybrids, like the Transporter carry on suitcase with laptop compartment. This hybrid is crazy durable, with a hard shell and weatherproof fabric. While it’s already spacious, the soft shell gives you some wiggle room, and it also expands, giving you an extra 5L of space! 

The oversized spinner wheels glide ever so smoothly, and the firm handle can be adjusted for easy hauling. Users LOVE the fact that this suitcase comes with a separate laptop compartment. And with all these great features, it only weighs 6.5 lbs! 

A traveler raves, “The case is very light, yet stable, and easy to load in overhead bins, even in smaller regional jets. It’s very easy to maneuver in airplane aisles and crowded airports, especially when dashing for a connecting flight, and sturdy enough to serve as a footstool during long layovers. I’m a big fan of Osprey products, I can’t say enough good things about them!” 

 

The secret to traveling light is to create a functional but minimalist capsule wardrobe. Learn more in my guide!

 

 

best-carry-on-suitcase

Shop: Away

 

Best International Carry-On Suitcase Size: Away The Carry On 21”

 

So many of our readers love and recommend Away’s 21” The Carry On, and many claim it’s the best hard shell carry on suitcase for international travel. Users report that the polycarbonate hard shell rarely shows any signs of wear, even after lots of rigorous travel. You can fit SO much inside, especially with the mesh zippered compartment on one side, and the compression system on the other. 

It’s super easy to maneuver and lift, and it weighs 8.1 lbs. And bonus, it comes with a water-resistant laundry bag, and there’s even an option to add a USB charger! This carry-on is available in some gorgeous colors as well.

It’s clear this suitcase is popular, and one TFG reader says about it, “I managed two weeks in Costa Rica and Nicaragua with the standard carryon (and some careful planning!). I just got back from two weeks in Thailand with my husband and used it, plus one of their Medium Checked suitcases. You can really get a lot in, and they look great, feel like high-quality.”

 

As a bonus the purple color and gold trim just scream girls weekend away. Fun!

 

 

best-carry-on-suitcase

Shop: Amazon

 

Best All-Around Carry-On Suitcase: Samsonite Winfield 20”

 

TFG readers love Samsonite, and the Winfield 20” is a top pick, both for domestic and international travel! This cute carry on suitcase only weighs just over 6.5 lbs, so it’s quite light, and readers applaud its durability and stability, even over years of wear and tear! 

The interior divider zips fully so nothing will fall out when you open it, and the outer zipper locks keep your belongings safe.  One reader  says, “This suitcase has survived many weekend trips to Chicago, being gate-checked several times, and two international trips, and still looks brand new!” 

Samsonite also makes very popular luggage sets that our readers love, too.

 

The best part is that they have several colors and prints to fit any personality – take a look at their other carryons!

 

 

best-carry-on-suitcase

Shop: Amazon

 

Best Small Carry On Suitcase: IT Luggage 22″

 

This IT 22 inch carry on suitcase lives up to its name and its excellent ratings! This style is beloved by readers and is light at 5.18 lbs, yet super durable, with an alumunim frame and abrasion-resistant fabric. 

It has a classic feel to it, especially with the stripe print, which is available in a variety of colors. 

The four wheels are also maneuverable and durable, able to tackle all surfaces with ease.

While a 22” is likely better for domestic travel, one TFG reader shares their international experience with it, “I first used it in May this year. Did carry-on on planes and then on trains all over Italy, in stops Venice, Florence, Rome, and Cinque Terre. Took this over many, many cobblestones and then I used it in Paris in October. It’s held up well.”

 

Wow. What else could you ask for in a rugged bag?

 

 

best-carry-on-suitcase

Shop: Amazon

 

Best Cheap Carry On Suitcase: Rockland London 20”

 

The Rockland London expandable carry on suitcase is a super popular budget option with readers. This 20” carry on is incredibly light, at only 3.6 lbs, though the hard shell is super resilient and will keep your belongings safe. The interior pockets help keep things organized, too! 

When everything’s all packed away, the multi-directional spinner wheels and strong handle make travel days such a breeze! Users say that this bag holds up very well, and is a steal given the low price point! 

One traveler reports, “It’s even cuter in person, it’s so well made, and it’s held up great. There’s not a scratch on it, and the zippers all work well. It rolls like a dream. I couldn’t recommend it enough.”

 

At 9.2 lb it’s not a bag if you’re looking to pack light but it is a good choice if you need something “indestructible”.

 

 

best-carry-on-suitcase

Shop: Amazon

 

Best Luxury Travel Carry On Suitcase: Tumi 19 Degree 22’ 

 

If you’re seeking the most spacious carry on suitcase for international flights, Tumi, although pricier than other brands, is highly popular with readers for its well-made, durable suitcases. 

The 19 Degree 22” is designed with high quality, flexible materials that boast great organization on both sides, retractable side and top handles, a USB port, so you don’t have to fuss with cords, and a TSA lock. And though slightly taller than other sizes, it’s compact and still holds a lot at 8 lbs!  

Take this pretty suitcase for travel within Europe and internationally, and it will hold up over many trips. One reader loves hers and says, “Tumi is an excellent brand, and I love mine!”

 

Use slim packing cubes to save space in your suitcase and travel carry-on only. 

 

 

Rolling Carry On Suitcase Comparison Chart

 

BRAND | MODEL FEATURES | REVIEWS RATING | PRICE
best-carry-on-suitcase Best Carry On Suitcase Hard Shell: Delsey Paris Helium Aero 21” “We have the Delsey Helium Aero and love it. It seems to be indestructible, carries a ridiculous amount, and the compression zipper setup is fantastic. I like that each side is packed independently.”  Check Price
best-carry-on-suitcase Best Soft Sided Carry On Suitcase: Travelpro Maxlite 5 21” “I love my Travelpro Maxlite 5! Easy to pack, cubes fit great inside. Use it for carry on domestically all the time for work travel. Easy to lift in/out of overhead with handles.” Check Price
best-carry-on-suitcase Best Hybrid Carry On Suitcase With Wheels: Osprey Transporter 22” “The case is very light, yet stable, and easy to load in overhead bins, even in smaller regional jets. It’s very easy to maneuver in airplane aisles and crowded airports, especially when dashing for a connecting flight, and sturdy enough to serve as a footstool during long layovers. I’m a big fan of Osprey products, I can’t say enough good things about them!”  Check Price
best-carry-on-suitcase Best International Carry-On Suitcase Size: Away The Carry On 21” “I managed two weeks in Costa Rica and Nicaragua with the standard carryon (and some careful planning!). I just got back from two weeks in Thailand with my husband and used it, plus one of their Medium Checked suitcases. You can really get a lot in, and they look great, feel like high-quality.” Check Price
best-carry-on-suitcase Best All-Around Carry-On Suitcase: Samsonite Winfield 20” “This suitcase has survived many weekend trips to Chicago, being gate-checked several times, and two international trips, and still looks brand new!”  Check Price
best-carry-on-suitcase Best Small Carry On Suitcase: IT Luggage 22″ “I first used it in May this year. Did carry-on on planes and then on trains all over Italy, in stops Venice, Florence, Rome, and Cinque Terre. Took this over many, many cobblestones and then I used it in Paris in October. It’s held up well.” Check Price
best-carry-on-suitcase Best Cheap Carry On Suitcase: Rockland London 20” “It’s even cuter in person, it’s so well made, and it’s held up great. There’s not a scratch on it, and the zippers all work well. It rolls like a dream. I couldn’t recommend it enough.” Check Price
best-carry-on-suitcase Best Luxury Travel Carry On Suitcase: Tumi 19 Degree 22’  “Tumi is an excellent brand, and I love mine!” Check Price

best-carry-on-suitcase

Apple AirTags

 

Luggage Tags

 

A super practical addition to your new suitcase is a luggage tag! TFG readers have been raving about luggage tags, and highly recommend them for every trip. 

Luggage tags are handy little trackers that you attach to your belongings and then track through an app on your phone. The most popular option in the TFG community is Apple Airtags, which hook up to the Find My iPhone app so you can see where your item is in real time. Readers say they’ve been lifesavers for finding lost luggage in an airport! 

For non-iPhone users, readers recommend the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag and the TilePro, which are compatible with Android devices, and the TilePro also works for iOS. 

Luggage tags are not only handy for your luggage, but for your purse, keys, wallet, or even your parked car. You can enjoy your vacation with the utmost peace of mind!

 

 


What’s your top pick for the best women’s carry on suitcase? Please share in the comments below!


 

For even more carry-on suitcase ideas, please read:

 


 

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