Tuesday Tip: Choose the Best Carry-On Luggage
By Yehudit Garmaise
After many airlines started charging fees to check baggage, many travelers switched to taking along only one carry-on bag and found that doing so is “the only way to go.”
While carry-on bags should be lightweight, compact, and durable, they should also provide enough space and at least one extra compartment to separately store shoes and dirty laundry away from other personal items.
Four-wheeled carry-on bags, or “Spinners” are key. Spinners allow travelers to glide through airports with ease. In addition to telescoping pull handles that can be easily pushed in or pulled out, Spinner luggage uses four wheels, instead of other roller bags, which only have two wheels underneath, which only roll when pulled: making getting suitcases around feel heavier and more cumbersome. Cheaper two-wheeled carry-ons will not stand up vertically on their own, making for frustrating waits in line at security and at the airport gate.
Four wheels make maneuvering through airports easy, and take the weight out of heavy suitcases, as travelers can easily push, pull, or park their bags: without any strain or struggle whatsoever.
Soft-shell or hard-shell suitcases? Hard shell suitcases can be better at protecting fragile contents, which must be cushioned well, regardless of whatever suitcase you choose. Another plus of hard-shell suitcases is that each side has separate, roomy compartments that can help travelers stay organized by keeping different types of packed items separate.
While some hard-shell cases can expand, the option might tempt travelers to overpack and change what they thought were carry-ons back into checked luggage.
While soft-shell suitcases are more flexible, personal items always seems to get jumbled together upon arrival, unless travelers pack very carefully and/or use packing cubes. Plus, soft-shell suitcases can look lumpy and bumpy if many items are stuffed inside haphazardly.
For approximately $100 to $120 or less on sale: Travelpro, which is often used by flight crews, American Tourister, and many other brands, all make great Spinners that come in either soft or hard shells, depending on travelers’ preferences. While Good Housekeeping rated Samsonite high for overall luggage, the magazine’s editors said that for those looking to spend less than $100, Amazon Basics’ luggage “does not disappoint.”
The maximum size for carry-on bags on most major U.S. airlines is 22 inches long by 14 inches wide by 9 inches deep, but smaller bags are easier to maneuver and stow. Remember to travel light, as you will likely need much less than you think you will need.
To easily identify your bag in overhead compartments and on the baggage claim, tie a colored ribbon around the handle of your suitcase, which is likely black and looks very similar to other bags.