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16 top-rated carry-on bags for every need and travel budget in 2024

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Photo by Shutterstock.
Photo by Shutterstock.

If you travel once or twice a year, your travel luggage probably lives in darkness (at the back of that miscellaneous cupboard) for the majority of it.

Since travel bags don't receive much use (or love) during this time, you might not think to replace them.

Believe it or not, the average life expectancy of a luggage bag is about three to five years. I think that means my tattered bag is well into the afterlife.

Although the life expectancy of a bag depends on how much you use it, it's true that even without proper use, factors including how and where it is stored and what materials it is made from can all affect its lifespan.

If you haven't inspected the overall 'health' of your luggage bag in some time, it might be worth doing so.

There's a lot to think about when travelling, and the old bag faux pas of a hole or broken zip is not one that you particularly need while boarding a plane.

If you are looking for a replacement carry-on luggage bag for your next trip, here are a few product recommendations that might help narrow the search.


Toot-toot, coming through!

If you've never used a carry-on with wheels, the reduced strain of lifting your bag around the airport can be a godsend. Plus, you'll feel pretty slick as you glide to your boarding lounge.

Below are a couple of carry-ons with wheels that I recommend.

Hanke hard shell suitcase. Photo by Amazon.
Hanke hard shell suitcase. Photo by Amazon.

Hanke hard shell

The sophisticated Hanke hard shell luggage comes in a range of carry on and check in sizes if you want a matching set.

It is also made from a scratch resistant polycarbonate shell, so it's both lightweight and ultra-strong (meaning it can handle a few bumps in transit).

Features you will love include:

  • A body case and wheel seat designed to ensure larger capacity
  • Multiple sections within the bag to organise items
  • Built-in TSA locks for your peace of mind
  • Spinner wheels which feature a thicker wheel skin designed to reduce noise and shock for effortless (and soundless!) rolling
  • Premium YKK zippers that prevent burst
  • Luxurious interior fabric that is strong
Hanke hardside carry-on. Photo by Amazon.
Hanke hardside carry-on. Photo by Amazon.

Hanke hardside 

The Hanke hardside carry-on is another strong contender. It has similar internal and external features to the Hanke hard shell luggage, but features a front pocket.

The front pocket makes it easy to stow away documents, laptops and chargers you will want easy access to while traversing through security or while traveling. There is a 15.6 inch laptop pocket, and an iPad pocket, along with ID and mesh pockets for ad hoc items.

With a built-in combination lock and durable wheels it's an all-rounder bag.

This one comes in a range of colours but smoke white is by far the cheapest colour if you're sticking to a budget. Tick!


Sometimes, it's not the travel souvenirs that push you over the bag limit on the way home, but the travel bag itself.

Or at least that's what I tell myself when I go overboard on the shopping.

If you want to shake the excess on baggage, finding a lightweight option can be helpful. And your back will also thank you.

It's a little obvious, but the easiest way to lower bag weight is to downsize your baggage and challenge yourself to pack light.

If you're struggling to fit belongings in a smaller bag, it can be useful to learn some smart packing hacks. Yes, this will mean folding (or rolling) your clothes.

Here are some great lightweight carry-on products.

Artrips mini carry-on. Photo by Amazon.
Artrips mini carry-on. Photo by Amazon.

Artrips mini carry on

If you are taking to the skies why not accessorise with a bag that looks like a puffy cloud? The Artrips mini carry-on is adorable, yes, but it's also lightweight.

The wavey shell and 'bread' design makes this carry-on feel fashionable and stylish.

Inside are separated compartments and pockets to encourage travellers to pack smarter, so they can both fit (and find) everything in their carry-on. It also has a built-in combination lock for extra security.

Neos carry-on pro. Photo by ZoomLite.
Neos carry-on pro. Photo by ZoomLite.

Neos carry on pro

The sleek Neos carry-on pro from Zoomlite is my personal favourite.

Like the Hanke hardshell luggage, it is made from a polycarbonate shell - meaning it is both hardy and light.

With a combination lock, double coil zippers, a 10-year warranty (score!) and two sizes to choose from (i.e. one for carry-on and one for check-in), it's a fail-safe option.

Zoomlite has designed the Neos - which is Greek for 'new' - to embody innovation and a fresh approach to travel. The design features a front zip pocket to quickly access essentials while you are navigating through terminals.

Be sure to check out their range of handy packing cubes as well.


Backpacks come in handy for travellers because they are easy to take on public transport and there's no need to wheel them across changing terrains.

Even if you plan to stay put for most of your trip, a backpack can be a spacious and flexible carry-on option.

Plus, it's convenient if you prefer to have your hands free most of the time.

Below are some quality backpacks from trusted brands.

Tommy Hilfiger signature water repellant backpack. Photo by Tommy Hilfiger.
Tommy Hilfiger signature water repellant backpack. Photo by Tommy Hilfiger.

Tommy Hilfiger signature water repellant 

Tommy Hilfiger's signature water repellent backpack is a trendy staple, especially if you need a day pack for exploring foreign cities.

This signature backpack includes a water repellent fabric, double zip closure and adjustable straps for extra comfort.

Its low-key, incognito appearance is perfect for those early morning pre-work flights where you want a bag to match the sports cap hiding your bed hair.

Samonsite roader laptop backpack. Photo by Amazon.
Samonsite roader laptop backpack. Photo by Amazon.

Samsonite roader

If you need to carry a laptop, the Samonsite Roader is a trusty friend.

It has a sleek design perfect for the business traveller who is in need of cabin baggage that is slim and comfortable to wear and carry.

It contains compression straps to adjust the volume of the laptop compartment and the inner lining is made from recycled PET bottles due to Samsonite's Recycled Material Technology Initiative.


Ah, hello duffle bag, my old friend.

As a teen, Country Road duffle bags were like social currency - the most prized ones being limited edition.

While it's important this phase of my life is over, I did enjoy learning that the Country Road duffle never died. Thank you, CR for your loyalty to the cause.

Here are a couple of duffle bags that I recommend (because it's high time I hand over the baton).

16 top-rated carry-on bags for every need and travel budget in 2024
16 top-rated carry-on bags for every need and travel budget in 2024

Gazman weekender 

Featuring a detachable shoulder strap, the Gazman weekender is a cool addition to the flight routine because it's sturdy, stylish and practical.

This bag is also a great companion for the gym or for weekend trips and staycations in town - for when you're travelling, but not very far.

PUMA Evercat Contender 3.0. Photo by Amazon.
PUMA Evercat Contender 3.0. Photo by Amazon.

Puma Evercat Contender 2.0

The PUMA Evercat contender 3.0 comes is a reliable second best. It's a good size for travel, especially if carry-on is the only luggage you are planning to take.

Take a look at the version that's black with red trimming too. Even if you've never played soccer, this bag will make you feel like you're on tour for the FC.

While a duffle is a convenient and lax travel item, be sure to pack light because they can get heavy quickly.

Or tell your chiropractor to expect a call.


If your luggage bags are on their last legs, but you can't afford a major expense, there are plenty of affordable options available that will do the job just fine.

I've stuck to a budget of $100 AUD or less, but it's not too hard to find something under $50 AUD if you're on the savvy side.

Lendolke backpack. Photo by Amazon.
Lendolke backpack. Photo by Amazon.

Lendolke backpack

This Lendolke backpack comes at an affordable price point of $49.99 and a range of colours.

Not only neat in design and look, this is a practical bag perfect for fitting lot of items and making travel easier. How? The design allows you to set up a power bank within the bag and plug it into a port. Then using the USB charging port of the side you can plug in your devices and charge items such as smart phones while on the go.

It is also divided by a series of compartments, including a laptop sleeve which fits more 15 inch devices and a shoe compartment with a wet bag to keep shoes separate and ensure the rest of the items in your bag are clean.

Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner. Photo by Amazon.
Amazon Basics Hardside Spinner. Photo by Amazon.

Amazon Basics hardside spinner

As part of their Amazon basics range, the Amazon hardside spinner has everything you'd expect from a travel suitcase and at a fair price of $130.

It also has an expandable design feature for up to 15 per cent more packing space, for those moments where you need to find a way to fit your souvenirs for the journey home.

Verified buyers on Amazon have given the bag a rating of 4.5 stars (out of five) based on quality, size and appearance.

You might be surprised to learn Amazon - like most luggage brands - puts their products to the test to ensure high quality. Amazon Basic bags are tested in a simulated environment that mimics the conditions of real-world travel usage for stability, strength of features such as wheels, zippers and seams, and durability.

So despite being a budget option, you know what you're getting it an item that will stand up to any sort of travel.

It also comes in a range of colours including black, blue, orange and navy.

Find it here at the Amazon Basics store.


If you're travelling as a family, a small kids carry-on bag is a trusty item for your adventure.

Kids often like carrying their own mini bag to feel included and prepared for the flight with all the necessities.

A kids carry-on bag might typically include things like back-up entertainment, face wipes or sanitiser, a few extra clothing layers and emergency snacks.

Listed below are some fun and clever kids carry-on bags I've found.

Preschooler backpack. Photo by Amazon.
Preschooler backpack. Photo by Amazon.

Preschooler backpack

This preschooler backpack will surely put a smile on your face as your little one toddles around the airport - and make them excited for any trip.

Made from water resistant plastic and neoprene, the bag is lightweight and easy to wash meaning it will will get you and your toddler through any travel scenario and make it easy to clean up any spills.

There is enough room for all the essentials to keep your little one entertained including space for a lunch box, water bottle, pencils and toys.

It comes in different animal designs, including unicorns, mermaids, dinosaurs and lions, in case your kid loves one more than another. I personally love the dinosaur one.

Prices vary based on design and range from $35 to $47.

PUMA big kids backpack. Photo by Amazon.
PUMA big kids backpack. Photo by Amazon.

PUMA big kids backpack

With its cool design, the PUMA big kids backpack is a big hit. It also has a compartment for a lunch box so you can pack some healthy snacks for the flight.

If you plan to take a carry-on bag for the kids, be sure to pack smart. This will help kids access toys like their Nintendo Switch without pulling the whole bag apart.

It's also helpful to pack light as you might find yourself carrying more than one bag at some point - especially when your kids have turned into little sleepwalkers during midnight stopovers.


A shiny new designer bag is a slippery slope for the bank account, but that doesn't mean it's bad for the soul, right? If you're seeking luxury that will last, a quality splurge item can be the way to go.

The list is long, but here are some great suggestions to narrow it down.

Samsonite S'cure DLX spinner. Photo by Amazon.
Samsonite S'cure DLX spinner. Photo by Amazon.

Samsonite S'cure DLX spinner

The Samsonite S'cure DLX spinner bag is dressed to impress with its scratch-proof graphite shell with chrome detailing. It is considered extremely strong, lightweight and shock absorbent.

A three-point locking system helps travellers feel confident their belongings will be safe for their trip.

Rieort luggage. Photo by Amazon.
Rieort luggage. Photo by Amazon.

Rieort crumpled bag

This suitcase from Rieort is like the distressed denim of the luggage world. It screams fashion deconstructivism or as the French call it, "la mode destroy."

Although Rieort's crumpled shell looks like it has been thrown down the stairs a few times, the raw edges and distressed textiles are common decontructivist style features, which are a trending theme (love it or hate it) for 2024.

So, if you're looking for a carry-on that looks more like an art piece in a gallery, I think this is a good option.


When travelling for work, sometimes all you need as a carry-on is a quality laptop bag with enough room to fit the bare necessities.

Below are some I recommend.

MOSISO laptop bag. Photo by Amazon.
MOSISO laptop bag. Photo by Amazon.

MOSISO laptop bag

The structured MOSISO laptop bag comes in two sizes and ten colours. It also features four separate compartments to separate your laptop from other items such as pens, notebooks and a wallet.

The polyester foam padding layer helps to absorb bumps, making it great for flights.

Bellroy Tokyo work bag. Photo by Amazon.
Bellroy Tokyo work bag. Photo by Amazon.

Bellroy Tokyo work bag

The soft Bellroy Tokyo work bag is a stylish and understated classic.

Made from durable water-resistant recycled fabric and eco-tanned leather, it is a bag that is designed to withstand a bit of wear and tear. Internal organisation features includes a laptop sleeve, tablet slip, raised mesh sunglasses pocket and hidden water bottle compartment.

Make sure you do your research to abide by any dangerous goods regulations if you plan to carry any battery-powered devices onboard.

An example of these regulations can be found here on the Qantas site.


Next time you're planning a trip away, show a little love to the bag at the back of the wardrobe to check it's still full of life.

If you do decide it's time to buy a replacement carry-on bag, I recommend also exploring the ways in which you can sustainably part with the old one, such as by recycling or donating it to a non-for-profit.

Whatever you choose, I hope these carry-on luggage recommendations are useful inspiration for your next flight.

Farewell for now, and I hope you have a wonderful travel adventure.

Frequently asked questions

What is my airlines policy on size?

Baggage policies can vary between airlines. Generally, they include limits on the number, size and weight of both carry-on and checked luggage.

For example, the Virgin Australia and Qantas baggage policy is as follows:

  • For domestic flights, economy passengers can typically bring one piece of carry-on baggage weighing up to 7kg, plus one small personal item.
  • Checked baggage allowances vary based on fare class and frequent flyer status (for Qantas passengers), but it's usually around 1-2 bags weighing up to 23kg each.

If in doubt, it's best to check with your specific airline for their current policies, as they can be subject to change.

What do I need in my carry on?

Items such as TSA-approved snacks, water, socks, a neck pillow, extra entertainment, a phone charger, toiletries and spare clothes generally add an extra layer of comfort.

If you want some more detailed inspiration, check out this article on the essentials to make an economy flight feel like first class. For check-in bag related research, this article on the best check-in luggage bags for work and leisure may be helpful.

What can't I bring in my carry-on luggage?

All airlines are required to comply with international aviation authorities such as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and local government authorities.

However, they may have their own specific policies or restrictions in addition to the standard guidelines about what you can carry onboard.

Typically, prohibited items include sharp objects (this includes scissors and even knitting needles), aerosols, some liquids, e-cigarettes, some batteries, and of course ammunition or firearms.

It's important to research the airline you will be boarding to make sure you abide by their rules, or risk personal item being confiscated by security personnel.

You can also download the Dangerous Goods app by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and search by item to find out more on baggage rules.

Depending on the severity of the violation, passengers can also face fines, penalties and even legal consequences.

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