Shopping Product Reviews

13 Travel Bags And Suitcases That Are Worth The Splurge

If you’ve ever found yourself trudging along a busy airport terminal with a travel bag that’s doing nothing but holding you back, it may be time to invest in something that, while expensive, is worth the money.

I appreciate a good affordable product as much as the next person, but there are times when my money-savvy ways led me to spend more in the long run by buying something that costs less, but doesn’t last as long. This is most often the case with bags for travel, which can be incredibly pricey.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve been in touch with tons of frequent travelers, from flight attendants to travel influencers to our very own HuffPost staff, in order to find out what expensive pieces of luggage and bags actually justify their cost.

Their testimonies, along with the help of reviews from other travelers, helped us create the following selection of carry-on backpacks and suitcases, including with larger checkable luggage, that have paid for themselves in traveling performance.

HuffPost and its publishing partners may receive a commission from some purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently curated by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.

Caraa

A dual-carry Caraa Studio 2 bag

This large convertible bag from Caraa offers two different carrying modes, backpack or standard crossbody, and is endorsed by one Caraa reviewer named Bethany F. who said they use this bag regularly for weekend trips between LA and San Diego.

“I love how it has multiple zipper closure and I especially love the lock that comes with the main compartment,” they wrote.

Hidden within its spacious interior is a 15-inch dedicated laptop pocket and two separate main compartments outfitted with several pockets that are ideal for all your smaller items and valuables. Also available in a medium size, the Studio 2 is made with a waterproof and antimicrobial lining and water-resistant exterior so any accidental spills, treks through the rain or leaking water bottles are never an issue.

Away

A larger carry-on from Away

Away is a luxury travel brand that seems to have gained tons of happy customers who claim the hype is real. One of which is reviewer Tanya D., who wrote that after wearing out two sets of luggage with work travel, they finally made the Away investment and were pleased with the results.

“I honestly could not believe how great they function! I took my first international trip last week and unfortunately tore my rotator cuff on my dominant arm just before the trip. Pushing, pulling, rolling, escalators, it didn’t matter, it was effortless, even with [my] right arm in a sling and having to use my left hand! Everything compresses down so efficiently that I had room to spare even though I was packing for a week long trip. Fantastic! Can’t wait to travel again,” they wrote.

Away’s line of sleek and durable checked bags and carry-ons like this one are designed with the traveler in mind and contain three organizing mesh pockets as well as a double-buckle compression belt to help you pack more into the four- to seven-day-sized interior. Like all their suitcases, this carry-on, which comes in seven colors, has smooth 360-degree spinner wheels for smooth maneuvering and even an underside handle to make lifting easier.

Amazon

A women’s Osprey 40-liter backpack

Minimal lifestyle vlogger Sophie Daquis previously recommended this Osprey Fairview 40 travel backpack. “It’s a very well-built and functional bag. I love it because it is big enough to hold all of my essentials (camera gears, laptop, clothes, and other small essentials), but also small enough that it makes me think twice about what I actually need on the trip,” she said.

This 40-liter technical backpack is constructed with adjustable chest and torso straps that are considerate of a women’s frame, and the design is lightweight enough to use for outdoor hiking treks or for navigating busy airports as a carry-on. The main interior compartment features a clamshell opening and several internal pockets, including an easy-access 16-inch laptop sleeve.

Amazon

A waxed canvas Thule Aion daypack

Geoff Grisdale of One Bag Travels, a blog dedicated to finding and documenting the perfect travel bag, previously recommended this Thule rucksack to HuffPost. According to Grisdale, it’s large enough to hold his gear and organize it well, but it also has a pretty simple minimalist look and feel so it doesn’t weigh too much. It has the ability to expand from 28 liters to 32, a divided main compartment and ia recycled polyester and waxed canvas construction that stands up to water and the elements. Grab this in black, slate blue or this natural khaki color.

Timbuk2

A travel backpack that doubles as a duffle

HuffPost’s senior culture editor Erin E. Evanspreviously endorsed the luggage company Timbuk2. “When my Timbuk2 [bag] broke, I mailed it off to them and they fixed it and sent it back,” she said. While everything on their site is covetable, this 38-liter travel backpack and duffle is especially versatile and chic. With a roomy main compartment, interior water bottle pocket and wipeable bottom cargo pocket for shoes, it holds everything you need for a carry-on.

Béis

The viral Béis Weekender bag

If you’ve been anywhere on TikTok the past year or two, you’ve most likely seen the Béis Weekender bag, a chic tote-style bag that’s famed for its separate lower compartment and its ability to stay propped open so you can easily rummage inside without the soft sides collapsing.

One Béis reviewer said they gifted this iconic tote to a friend who travels from New Jersey to Washington, D.C. often and she highly recommends it. Another happy customer from Béis wrote, “Beautiful bag that lives up to the hype!! Fits in everything needed for my husband and I for a getaway weekend – and still has lots of room to spare!! This bag was definitely worth it – it looks great and holds so much!!”

In addition to the bottom section that’s great for shoes or extra toiletries, there’s also a designated laptop pocket, a trolley sleeve and several organization compartments throughout. You can currently get this in eight different colors and also a mini size.

Rimowa

A luxury suitcase that holds 10 days’ worth of clothes

Chandler Jane, a flight attendant and travel influencer, previously said that in her opinion, a good checked bag is hard-sided. “[Hard-shell bags] are less likely to flip over when weight is added, and the durability of the shell will protect your belongings inside,” she explained.

One of her favorite brands, Rimowa, has some of the most durable luggage available as well as a unique color selection to help avoid confusion at the luggage carousel. Both lightweight and strong, the Essentials check-in suitcase features stable ball-bearing-mounted wheels for optimal maneuverability and a flexible interior divider to keep packed items secure during transit. (You can get a “cabin” size of this bag for $900.)

Briggs & Riley

A durable spinning trunk

Deb Higgins, vice president of sales for SpeedBird, a private jet charter service headquartered in Orlando, previously told HuffPost that “good luggage is one that glides smoothly next to you and is easy to maneuver in tight spaces. I love 4- and 8-wheeler luggage, especially 360-degree spinners because they make moving luggage a breeze.”

Higgins recommended the brand Briggs & Riley. “They’ve got incredible compression technology that a lot of hard-sided luggage does not have,” she said. “They’re also durable and have great spinner wheels for maneuverability. Though they’re quite expensive, I’d say they make sense if you travel a lot.”

This medium hard-side rolling trunk is made with three layers of polycarbonate material that’s scratch-resistant, lightweight and resilient. The brand offers a lifetime guarantee on all luggage.

(If you’re interested in a carry-on bag, Briggs & Riley also offers this style in a 22-inch bag for $549.)

Amazon

A Nomad Lane carry-on Bento bag

Hunter Lihas is a Tampa-based flight attendant and travel vlogger who previously called the Nomad Lane Bento bag “a must for travel.” According to Lihas, this cavernous duffle has a space for everything and is the perfect size to meet most airline carry-on requirements and save pricy baggage fees.

“It has a unique design that allows you to carry your laptop, water bottle, and a built-in toiletry bag all in one. It seriously makes packing soooo much easier! It has the shape of a tote bag, but zips in the middle to open like a suitcase, allowing you to maximize space,” Lihas said.

The Bento is available in three colors and hardware options.

Pakt

An expanding travel backpack

This travel backpack from Pakt is a very similar option to one that minimal lifestyle vlogger Spencer Scott Pugh previously recommended to HuffPost. Featuring a clamshell opening and a divided main compartment, Pakt backpackers can slide this bag over luggage handles, access a separate waterproof wet pocket and enjoy several of the other hardworking features that this expanding bag has to offer. It’s currently only available black and comes in 35-liter and 45-liter size options.

Monos

A large Monos check-in luggage

I travel out of state around three or four times a year. My old checked luggage served me decently well, but after the wheels gave out and it became impossible to maneuver, I decided on this large hard-sided suitcase from Monos as a replacement. Fresh out of the box, I could tell right away that these wheels were the real deal: slightly oversized, incredibly smooth to roll across a variety of terrains (yes, I took it outside on the street for a test run) and seemingly durable enough to withstand everything I put luggage through. I also really appreciate the dual layers of organization pockets (which even includes shoe sleeves!) that are built into the suitcase’s dividers; most large luggage I’ve seen only have one. The rest of the interior is just as thoughtfully designed, and the exterior includes a TSA lock and a high-grade aluminum telescoping handle. I just took the case on its first official travel run on a trip to New York and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it functioned. (You can find the carry-on version of my bag for $255 here.)

Amazon

An Osprey wheeled duffle

Helene Sula, a travel and lifestyle blogger, recently updated her bag situation to this Osprey duffle that, in a previous article, she called “truly one of the best bags ever.”

“I can easily convert it from a rolling bag to a backpack. This is handy for maneuvering from airports to cobblestone streets while saving my back,” Sula said of the durable Osprey, which opens fully to reveal a generous main compartment and has multi-pocket storage for smaller items. It also features a unique compressive design that provides extra padding and allows travelers to pack a little more.

Wandrd,

A weatherproof bag great for traveling photographers

HuffPost art director Jianan Liu said her boyfriend has (and loves) this super versatile travel backpack which features a protected section for a camera and camera-related accessories. Although this weatherproof bag is designed by and for photographers, the big inner pocket’s designated camera section is actually made with removable foam dividers in order to fit personal items for standard travel. Other pockets in the innovative rucksack-style bag include a designated laptop sleeve and water bottle pocket.

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