The Best All-Purpose Carry-On Suitcase

July 30, 2017
best carry-on suitcase

For a frequent traveler, having the right luggage is like a pro tennis player having the right racket or a hacker having the right computer—without it, everything is slower, harder, or just not possible.  And I’d argue that there’s nothing more critical than a go-to carry-on suitcase.

I’ll do another post later on other types of carry-ons, particularly different ways to approach the “personal item,” because while I have several (for various types of trips/occasions), I’m not unreservedly in love with any of them yet and so want to keep testing.  This post is really focused on my little black rollaboard, aka life partner.

A Perfect All-Purpose Carry-On Rolling Suitcase | The best carry-on suitcase I've found, perfect for anything from a weekend to a few weeks abroad. A great carry on bag is critical for any traveler, and I've done research to find the most durable and easy to use bags. #luggage #suitcase #traveltips #travelgear

As an FYI, I may make a small affiliate commission from any Amazon sales that come through clicks from my links (which I greatly appreciate, and at no extra cost to you).  All opinions are, as always, completely my own!

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Does it really matter what brand my suitcase is??

Not necessarily, no.  And it didn’t for me for a very long time.

When I knew my beloved no-name tiny carry-on suitcase was about to die (I had that sucker for 10 years, and probably paid $20 for it), I went to TJ Maxx and bought a new one (IT brand due to super light weight).  But it didn’t work out, would tip over anytime I put something in it.

So I bought a different one.  And another one.  But my streak of bad suitcase luck continued…the handles broke, wheels broke, they overbalanced and tipped over.

Basically I couldn’t find a decent suitcase to save my life.  I’ve also had several suitcases die on me mid-trip, like when I was studying abroad in Italy in college, and even last spring in Argentina.  It super sucks, and makes everything from getting to a train station to getting up stairs crazy hard.

So if you have a case that’s working great, ride that horse.  But if you’re in the market for a new one and are doing your research, this article is for you.

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A Perfect All-Purpose Carry-On Rolling Suitcase | This TravelPro is the best carry-on suitcase I've found, perfect for anything from a weekend to a few weeks abroad. A great carry on bag is critical for any traveler, and I've done research to find the most durable and easy to use bags. #luggage #suitcase #traveltips #travelgear

If you need something smaller, here is the tiny rolling suitcase I fell in love with!

My suitcase research process

So after just going to the store and buying 4 or 5 suitcases that didn’t work out, I decided that I needed to do some real research and get a dependable suitcase based on reviews.  It was just time—I was traveling way more than I used to, both for work and for my own international travel, I’m a grown-ass adult with a real career, and I needed something I could count on (and not be embarrassed about).

So here’s what I did:

  • Made a list of the things I cared about in a case—for instance, don’t care about a garment bag
  • Asked friends who are constant travelers what they used
  • Sorted through dozens of different blog posts about “the 10 best carry-ons”
  • Read hundreds of Amazon reviews
  • Compared prices and benefits

There were a few brands that stood out to me, like Briggs and Riley.  But they are EXPENSIVE.  I was tempted, they have a great warranty and tons of fans.  But I wasn’t quite ready to pull the trigger on something like that when there were other great options available.  I want to maybe test a B&R out sometime before buying.

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So without further ado, the best carry-on suitcase for all types of travel…

I am head-over-heels in love with this suitcase.  It has put up with the abuse I heap on it, never let me down once, is easy to roll, and holds an obscene amount of stuff.

TravelPro Marquis 22-inch Rollaboard or the TravelPro Maxlite 5 22-inch Rollaboard

I have the Marquis but sometimes it’s sold out and the Maxlite 5 is almost identical and usually in stock.  I have it as well and love it.  This TravelPro is seriously the best carry-on suitcase I’ve found!

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Why do I love this particular TravelPro suitcase?

  • It’s super sturdy and durable.  Doesn’t over-balance and tip over, and can hold an immense amount.
  • I personally prefer soft-sided cases, gives me a little more wiggle room for fitting things in, and I make use of the zippered pockets on the outside.
  • The zippers are well-made, hold up to a lot (and trust me, I put it through a LOT).
  • The size is very adaptable.  It’s a bit big for an overnight (though I do it anyway for work travel), but I’ve used it for anything from a weekend trip to two and a half weeks in Europe last fall.
  • To that point, it’s expandable—I’ve never had an issue carrying it on except on super tiny puddle jumpers (when they make everyone with a rolling case gate check), but I also expanded it and checked it on my way back from my long Europe last year because I had bought a lot of honeys and wine that I couldn’t carry on.
  • This is fairly subjective, but the way it’s laid out inside gives me a ton of space to work with and really works for my packing style.  Because I roll my clothes (or most of them) you have those grooves from the handle, which gives you little dividers, there’s space under the corners to tuck little items in, and then the straps are really helpful for holding the whole contents in place while in transit.
  • The handle has a couple different levels, which gives me options for leverage when I’m dragging it, including if I’m wearing heels.

I did a ton of research on carry-on luggage so you don't have to. My go-to TravelPro model that has never let me down! The only rolling hand luggage you'll ever need, for any kind of trip.

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I’m always on the lookout for a new suitcase, so if you have a tried & true model please hit me up in the comments and let me know!!

A Perfect All-Purpose Carry-On Rolling Suitcase | This TravelPro is the best carry-on suitcase I've found, perfect for anything from a weekend to a few weeks abroad. A great carry on bag is critical for any traveler, and I've done research to find the most durable and easy to use bags. #luggage #suitcase #traveltips #travelgear

Comments (16)

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    May 11, 2018 at 6:20 am

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    May 11, 2018 at 6:05 am

    […] You might also like:  The Only Carry-On Suitcase You’ll Ever Need […]

  • Everything You Need On Your Beach Packing List | One Girl, Whole World

    April 15, 2018 at 9:51 am

    […] beach destination…I can fit my computer and a bunch of other stuff in there, and then have my small rolling suitcase as my […]

  • The Ultimate Gift Guide for Travelers | One Girl, Whole World

    April 1, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    […] nuts on souvenirs and want to check it back home.  If you want more details, I rave about it more here.  Get it […]

  • What To Do Before A Trip: 10 Absolute Musts | One Girl, Whole World

    January 28, 2018 at 10:26 am

    […] carry-on size and weight regulations and they often really do weigh and measure them.  This is my go-to carry-on suitcase, I’ve used it for everything from a weekend to three weeks in Europe.  It is just a tiny bit […]

  • Emily @ Pizza & Pull-ups

    August 23, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Thanks for the review! I need a new carry on.

  • Michelle

    August 23, 2017 at 9:38 am

    This is going in my save later cart. Great post

  • an.item.abroad

    August 23, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Looks good! Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂

  • Trish

    August 4, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    This looks very similar to the one my sister used when she studied abroad, except hers must have been a larger version. It was definitely a great one. Now I just need to travel so I have an excuse to buy it.

    1. Jessica

      August 4, 2017 at 9:21 pm

      Yes! Or you can use the fact that you have the right gear as an excuse to travel, as I do sometimes 🙂

  • TooChineseForU

    August 1, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    I tend to often carry a backpack as a carry-on, but with constant traveling my back is hurting.I should invest in a rolling carry-on! Thanks for the suggestion and doing tons of research <3!

    1. Jessica

      August 1, 2017 at 9:34 pm

      You’re welcome! Do you have a favorite backpack? That’s an area that my luggage is missing but for some trips it would be really helpful!

      1. TooChineseForU

        August 1, 2017 at 9:56 pm

        My favorite backpack brand is Quechua! Literally all my coworkers and I have one of their 50L bags and a small bag. I also have a 20L bag for smaller trips. They have tons of pockets, compartments, and functional zippers. Some backpacks include free rain covers. You can find it at Decathlon. It’s much cheaper in China then in the U.K.

  • Terra Walker

    August 1, 2017 at 1:38 am

    I always only carry on, even when going overseas. I adore my hard-sided case, but it’s showing a little wear. Thank you for sharing this one!

    1. Jessica

      August 1, 2017 at 7:27 am

      I know, once you go carry-on it’s hard to go back! I’ve always been tempted to try hard-sided but have been too scared. Do you find it easy to pack in/forgiving on space?

      1. starshy926

        August 1, 2017 at 1:04 pm

        Testing reply to reply…

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