Recently, after years of inadequate solutions to my carry-on bag problem, I had to finally purchase one that suited all my needs. The search was far too long and tedious. After all, how hard is it find a tote bag with a shoulder strap, multiple organizer pockets, and a laptop compartment?
Apparently, I underestimated what’s out there and, perhaps, my overly critical eye because it took several months to locate the perfect bag. Now that I’ve been through the fire, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the concerns of today’s jet setter and I’ve compiled a list of options that should satisfy the most persnickety amongst you- at an affordable price.
For The Traditionalist – $49
Increased use of regional jets for frequent travel between airline hubs has necessitated a change in carry-on luggage. Gone are the days of generous overhead bin space. On most flights, you’ll be lucky to have your bags stowed above your assigned seat. Passengers who wish to forgo the hassle of checked baggage are in for a rude awakening when they paddle down the air-gate to the inevitable gate-check.
Luckily, manufacturers have caught up to consumer demand and now offer luggage under the 24″ limit. Traveler’s Choice Cambridge is a 20″ 360° spinner. Comprised of a hard outer shell with aluminum handles, the Cambridge is spacious and lightweight. The interior contains a center divider with a zipped mesh pocket and has tie-down straps to keep your folded clothes in place. Amazingly, some customers have been able to fit two weeks worth of clothes in this tiny wonder!
For The Adventurer – $45
It wouldn’t be a comprehensive list without something for the backpackers. SwissGear’s Travel Gear Jetta ScanSmart is an accurate mouthful. Not only does this bag have a dedicated – and padded! – laptop compartment, it flips open for easy access through airport security, which might finally put a smile on that one TSA agent’s face.
There are a specialized water bottle and cell phone pockets; an enhanced shoulder-strap system, airflow back system, slots for laptop peripherals and smaller accessories; a key clip and a carabiner. Basically, enough space to hold your laptop, important documents and the overpriced meal you bought at the gate because you refuse to pay $10 for a snack box containing two cookies and a stale bag of chips. Not that I would know…
For The Minimalist – $35
When you simply need to carry only the essentials and check the rest. This cross-body bag features five interior RFID blocking card slots, two interior pockets suitable for a passport and cell phone; two pen loops, a key clip with LED flashlight, front and rear zip compartments; two front pockets with magnetic enclosures for quick access and a cut-proof shoulder strap for extra security.
I use this bag everywhere! It is the perfect errand bag. I have enough room for my phone, wallet, keys, pens, a book and my 9.7″ tablet…with room to spare! I’ve had it for about four years and it still looks pristine. I highly recommend it!
For The Professional – $46
For those who travel weekly for business, Lucas has you covered. The Wheeled Under the Seat Cabin Bag is only 14″ tall and has a telescopic handle for easy maneuvering. It comes with a handy document folder that fits around the handle, a cosmetic satchel, and slippers for airport security checks.
Interior pockets have clear, plastic windows so you can easily find what you need. With two large side pockets, you can store all of your chargers and other accessories without having to rifle through the main compartment for them. This bag is also suitable for weekend trips, college students, and presenters, making it one of the most flexible options on this list.
For The Commuter – $35
Messenger bags are, hands-down, the most versatile bag in use today. In the past, I’ve used it for flights, daily commutes, as a school bag or simply to hold my yarn while knitting in the doctor’s office. In short, it’s a classic and I consider it a staple for the frequent traveler, which is why I recommend the Zuolunduo Vintage Canvas Messenger Bag.
Comprised of durable canvas, this bag is lightweight and spacious. You’ll be able to fit a couple of notebooks, textbooks and a laptop with the appropriate accessories. It’s really all you need for a day on campus or the unavoidable six-hour layover at your least favorite airport. We all have one…
Now that you’ve seen the different types of carry-on bags available, you should be able to find one that suits your needs without breaking the bank. Go forth and get organized!
BTW, be sure to let us know what your favorite carry on is in the comments below.