Choosing The Best Carry On Luggage

Finding the best carry on luggage for your adventure can be a challenge. There are so many varieties of cabin luggage available that it's hard to know which type will suit you best. 

As more and more airlines start to charge for checked luggage, your cabin luggage needs to be more spacious, durable and lightweight than ever. Read ahead to learn the advantages and disadvantages of each type of carry on luggage and advice on what each variety is best for.


A backpack is the most comfortable way of carrying your luggage on your body. A good backpack is designed to distribute the weight of you luggage evenly across your back and shoulders so you can carry it comfortably.

If you are a backpacker, this will suit you best. You can wear it on your front once you get your main pack.


  • Comfortable to wear.
  • You have both hands free for taking photos, looking at duty free etc.
  • Very easy to carry around.
  • Lightweight.


  • You can't transport a backpack without wearing it. If your luggage is very heavy or you find it difficult to carry your luggage on your back, we would advise looking into rolling luggage.
  • Let's face it - backpacks are not fashion accessories. If looking chic on the road is more important than being comfortable, think about getting a tote!

Duffle Bags

A duffle is a bag with two handles, designed to be carried either over one shoulder or by one hand. We advise that this is the best carry on luggage for travelers who don't have to carry their luggage far (e.g. if you are on a bus tour and staying at hotels)


  • Have a lot of space.
  • Relatively cheap.
  • They are great for carrying sports or other equipment.
  • A good duffle bag is very strong.


  • Duffle bags are uncomfortable to carry for long distances, especially if they are heavy.
  • It is harder to organize a duffle bag than a suitcase.
  • It is difficult to keep clothes from getting creased in a duffle bag.


It's very useful to have a smaller bag to carry your personal items (toothbrush, deodorant etc.), and a tote bag is perfect for this. A tote bag is great to take in addition to your main carry on luggage.


  • Tote bags are small and manageable.
  • They can be very stylish.


  • Not everyone wants to have more than one carry on bag.
  • Tote bags do not have much space.

Rolling Suitcases

A standard rolling suitcase rests on two wheels and has a retractable metal handle to pull the suitcase with. These are very popular for cabin luggage, as they are practical, spacious and easy to keep organized.


  • It has a good amount of space (but not as much as a duffle).
  • Organizing a suitcase is easy.
  • It's easy to keep clothes from being creased.
  • The wheels on a good two wheeled suitcase are very strong.


  • If you need to carry your luggage, it is cumbersome to carry a suitcase more than a short distance.
  • If you need to transport your suitcase over rough terrain (eg. cobblestones) it may be difficult.

Spinner Luggage

Spinner luggage is a type of suitcase that has four that has four multi-direction wheels on the bottom of them. This type of bag is very easy to maneuver on the ground, however, the wheels can be quite heavy and reduce the amount of space in the case.


  • Spinners are extremely easy to handle on the ground. If you find it difficult to pull a two wheeled case, or don't like carrying a backpack or duffel, a spinner is perfect or your carry on luggage.


  • Spinners are heavier than most cabin luggage. Even though they are very maneuverable, it it more difficult to lift them into the stowage area.
  • Spinners have less space than other types of bags, due to the extra space the wheels take up.
  • Spinners are not good on rough or uneven ground.
  • The wheels are more exposed and tend to break more easily than other types of luggage.
  • Spinners can roll away when on a slope! Be sure to lay you spinner on its side if you are leaving it on a slope.

A rolling duffle or backpack is a duffle/backpack with attached wheels. This gives you the flexibility of being able to carry your backpack/duffel and also wheel it across the ground. We believe, however that this type of luggage combines the worst of two worlds. 

Adding the wheels makes the luggage a lot heavier and also reduces space. If you will be rolling your carry on luggage for most your trip, consider a two-wheeled suitcase or a spinner suitcase. If you will be carrying your luggage but don't need to carry it far, choose a duffel. If you will be carrying it further, choose a backpack. 

Think carefully about whether you really need those wheels added to your duffle or backpack. If you do decide you really want to go with this type of luggage, we recommend a duffle, as we really cannot see the point in getting a rolling backpack.


  • Having wheels on your luggage means that you don't always have to carry it. This can be useful if your bag is very heavy or you don't want to carry it all the time.


  • The wheels make the bag significantly heavier.
  • The wheels reduce the amount of space in your bag
  • While wheels are convenient on smooth surfaces, they are not so handy if you are trying to roll them across rough surfaces. Europe is full of cobblestoned roads, and many third world countries have damaged pavement.
  • We believe the greatest disadvantage is that wheeled duffles or backpacks are less useful than suitcases, duffles or backpacks!

Where To Buy The Best Carry On Luggage

Most good luggage stores will stock at least some of the items mentioned above, but if you are looking for the best variety, the best place to shop is online. 

Luggage Online 

This is a great online store to buy luggage. Not only to they stock a huge variety of luggage, but they also guarantee the cheapest prices on the Internet - if you find the same item sold cheaper online (within 30 days), they will refund you 110% of the difference in price! 


Another great online store for luggage, Luggage One has a good range of carry-on luggage. 


eBags has a huge range of carry on luggage that you can check out. 


Amazon is a great place to buy almost anything online! Be sure to read the customer reviews to ensure you get the best carry on luggage. 

We hope that this advice helps you to find the perfect piece of luggage! 

Don't forget to to keep your luggage safe with padlockscombination locks or if you are travelling to the USA or UK - TSA locks

To make sure you don't leave anything at home, use our travel packing checklists. And make your holiday more enjoyable with some great security accessories and travel accessories

› Carry On Luggage

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