Discover the very best carry-on luggage from other brands like Away Travel for every budget and style.
In Search of Carry-On Luggage Like Away
While I love my carry-on suitcase from Away Travel, the brand has become ubiquitous, and some of their design and their style choices are not for everyone.
A range of Away dupes, upgrades, and alternatives have flooded the market, offering a wide range of carry-ons that fit every budget and, in some cases, offer design tweaks, alternative materials and upgrades to make travel easier.
When Jen Rubio and Steph Korey founded Away in 2015, they helped set a trend towards minimalist carry-ons that have decent functionality and that feel fashionable and luxurious without being too expensive. Social media became a major driving force behind Away’s success and has helped fuel the trend for suitcases similar to Away in overall design and function.
Away has a number of attractive features for carry-ons, including locks approved by the TSA, a fairly durable hard shell, and wheels that rotate 360 degrees. It also offers a 100-day return policy and a limited lifetime warranty.
(Away Travel came to fame in part by offering a built in battery to charge your devices, but security concerns and technology improvements have lessened the mass appeal.)
Chart: Compare Prices and Dimensions of Carry-On Suitcases
Compare Carry-On Luggage: Away vs. Monos vs. Beis and More
Away and a growing number of competitors offer a dizzying array of carry-on suitcases. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing, and a comparison of carry-on luggage dimensions and prices.
- Start with Style: What kind of look are you going for? A minimalist hardshell? A sleek aluminum body? A vintage-styled, skater-inspired travel case? A tanned, full grain leather spinner? Mid-century modern nylon? An old-school Steamliner?
- Hard-shell or soft-shell? Hardside suitcases tend to be more durable, but there are times when I prefer the give and flexibility of soft-shell nylon luggage. Some luggage brands offer a hybrid, with a hardshell suitcase body paired with a fabric front pocket.
- 2 wheels or 4 wheels? Most designer luggage tends to feature four-wheeled spinners these days, which in my experience is easier on the back and shoulders, though they tend to stray on declines.
- Wheel placement: Many brands design four-wheel hardshell suitcases to feature two wheels on each side when opened. This provides two distinct, symmetrical compartments for travel. Some four-wheel suitcases, and many two-wheeled luggage, offer one asymmetrical, deep storage area. (I prefer the latter but have gotten used to the former.)
- Flexibility: Consider whether you need a laptop or front pocket for your suitcase, or an expandable model.
- Cost: How much are you willing to spend on your carry-on luggage? Stylish alternatives to away can cost anywhere from $89 to more than $1,000.
The Best Carry-On Luggage Like Away
There’s nothing truly wrong with Away’s luggage, but it’s always good to research your options. The following brands all share overlapping qualities with Away, but they’re each worth considering for their own unique combination of practical features and design elements.
The standard carry-on rollers from this women-owned, California-based brand have a hard shell and come in a range of colors, from navy blue to vibrant pink or orange. They stand apart for their excellent internal organization, including pockets of different sizes, and their weight indicator, which alerts you if the carry-on is too heavy. The brand also offers a collapsible soft-sided carry-on that takes up less storage space when not in use.
Founded in 2008, Level8 emphasizes the value of forming and maintaining connections on the road. Two of its carry-on models, the Road Runner and the Pro, contain padded laptop pockets, and one of these models is designed with a USB port and extra space for a power bank.
The brand, which is based in New York, is also known for the exceptional durability of its carry-ons. One of its carry-ons is made of an aerospace-grade aluminum magnesium alloy, while others are made of Makrolon, a lightweight polycarbonate with impressive impact resistance.
Floyd boasts that it’s “giving modern travel its mojo back.”
Inspired by 1970s skateboard culture in Venice Beach, California, Floyd offers cool carry-ons with distinctive polyurethane wheels. The brand, which was founded in 1996 by Bernd Georgi and Horst Kern, has won design awards for its sleek and vividly colored luggage. The convenient features inside each hard suitcase include Floyd’s signature tear-resistant fabric, multiple closable compartments, and a laptop holder.
Monos has positioned itself as a more durable and well-designed alternative to Away, and positive reviews point out the carry-ons’ smooth maneuverability, array of color choices, and beautiful workmanship, which includes detailing in vegan leather. The Canadian brand, which was launched in 2018, reinforces its carry-ons with a remarkably resilient polycarbonate shell and a handle made of high-grade aluminum that can adjust to four different heights. Each of these hard suitcases comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Founded in 1989 by Edward and Judy Kwon, Calpak offers multiple types of cute and efficient carry-on luggage, and it’s an overall less expensive alternative to Away. Highlights from this California brand include the Ambeur model, which is designed with a grooved exterior and weighs only 6 pounds, and the Hue, a minimalist hard-shell suitcase. Both are expandable, contain TSA-approved locks, and have miniature and front-pocket variations on their design.
One of the pricier brands on this list is SteamLine Luggage, which offers vintage-inspired suitcases that make you feel like you’re a first-class traveler on an ocean liner. With carry-ons like the Diplomat and the Explorer, you enjoy richly colored leather and fabrics, including vivid prints decorating the interior. The Dublin-based brand, which was founded in 2005 by Sara Banks, also incorporates various convenient features into its suitcases, such as TSA-approved locks and internal zippered pockets.
Herschel Supply Company
Hard-shell carry-ons from Herschel Supply Company stand out for their simplicity and reliable durability. The Vancouver-based brand, which was founded by a pair of brothers in 2009, demonstrates high-quality workmanship and thoughtful design for the suitcases’ basic components, which include amazingly quiet, high-functioning Hinomoto wheels and an impact-resistant polycarbonate shell made largely out of recycled road barricades. The brand is confident enough to give you a 100-day trial to test its carry-ons, which are backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
Adrian Solgaard, who launched his brand in 2016, is a luggage innovator.
One of the most exciting products from Solgaard is the Carry-On Closet, an award-winning suitcase that comes in medium and large varieties. Within the powerful polycarbonate shell, you’ll find a remarkable shelving system that functions as a miniature closet, making it easier for you to stay organized and keep your clothes in good condition. The suitcase also comes with a USB charging port, and you have several color options for the exterior.
One of its minimalist carry-ons, the Voja Small, offers a three-point lock system and multiple internal zippered pockets. Another model, the Cubo Small, has a large front pocket and an expandable body that can accommodate more items. Both of these carry-on suitcases come in several color options.
Among the delightful luggage options offered by Australian startup brand July is a double-wheel carry-on suitcase that the Australian brand claims is the lightest one in the world, as it weighs just under 4 pounds. It’s made with an aerospace-grade polycarbonate material and the brand’s proprietary SilentMove wheels.
July, which was founded by Athan Didaskalou and Richard Li, provides a lifetime warranty and a 100-day return window for its long-lasting carry-on luggage. You also have the option of personalizing your carry-on with customized text.
Made by Design (Target)
If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to Away, you should check out Target’s Made by Design luggage. The Hardside Carry-On Spinner Suitcase comes in several colors, and it enhances maneuverability with swivel wheels and with both side and top handles. It also makes packing go smoothly with multiple internal compartments and compression straps.
Founded by Stefan Holwe and Jan Roosen, Horizn is a German brand best known for environmental sustainability. It uses only vegan materials for its luggage and relies on carbon-neutral shipping and eco-friendly packaging. Some of the luggage is made in Europe with a plant-based hard shell.
Longevity is another key quality to Horizn’s carry-on luggage, which is covered by a limited lifetime warranty. The brand is also technologically friendly. It broke ground by introducing a removable smart charger to most of its carry-ons, and some bags have water-resistant laptop pockets.
Briggs and Riley
Long-lasting luggage with excellent craftsmanship is what you can expect from Briggs and Riley, a high-end American brand founded in 1993. One of the bestsellers is the 21-inch Baseline, an expandable model that comes with an ergonomic handle, shock-absorbing wheels, and a tri-fold garment folder that can hold two suits while preventing wrinkling. For a couple of hundred dollars less, you can choose another bestseller, the 22-inch ZDX, which has multiple useful pockets and a nylon outer fabric that’s resilient against moisture, chafing, and dirt.
The stylish, natural-looking luggage from Moln, a Japanese minimalist brand, has been subjected to extensive endurance testing, including thousands of open-and-close tests on the zippers and a running test on rough surfaces for the casters. The five color options, which include moss, stone, and terracotta, form an earthy palette, and the dirt-resistant fronts are made of synthetic leather, adding beautiful texture to each piece. You have a choice of two carry-on models, one of which has a seamless pocket for a laptop.
As a luggage giant, Samsonite offers excellent carry-on suitcases at a range of prices, from roughly $100 to over $500. The brand dates back to 1910, when it was founded in Colorado by Jesse Shwayder, and over decades it has acquired other high-quality brands, including Tumi and Lipault.
Samsonite’s standouts include the Outline Pro, which has a USB port, an ergonomic and antimicrobial handle, and a WetPak pocket to keep damp items separate. Another customer favorite is the Carbon 2, a textured hard-shell suitcase that resists dents and scratches.
Whether you’re buying the smaller or the larger carry-on from Samsara Luggage, you enjoy a stylish suitcase for tech-savvy travelers. Each carry-on contains a Tag Smart tracking device and has a flat-top design that makes it useful as a laptop desk on the road. Founded in 2007, the brand also demonstrates a commitment to sustainability by using a recyclable polycarbonate material and aviation-grade aluminum in its luggage.
Carry-on suitcases from Thule have a soft and rugged look. They’re also tough, subjected to rigorous endurance tests, and they display various degrees of resistance to moisture and dirt.
The Swedish brand, which was founded by Erik Thulin in the 1940s, makes packing less complicated. The Aion carry-on comes with its own packing cube, and the Subterra has a compression panel that increases packing space. Another notable quality to the brand is its commitment to sustainable production, including membership in the Bluesign System.
Founded in the 1970s by Charlie Clifford, Tumi is a luxury brand, pricier than Away, and it offers numerous choices for carry-ons, each with an array of features promoting durability and functionality. For example, some of the carry-on luggage is made of Tegris, a lightweight but powerful thermoplastic found in body armor. Depending on the specific carry-on you purchase, other features range from multiple grab handles to a tracer that helps you track and recover lost luggage.
With Roam, you enjoy the option of customizing your own carry-on or picking from a ready-made selection. The brand, which was launched by Tumi founder Charlie Clifford and one of Tumi’s former executives, Larry Lein, offers carry-ons with a futuristic look and an exterior shell made of 100% virgin polycarbonate material. The standout features include water-repellent zippers, an antimicrobial lining, and the brand’s signature packing system.
Founded in England by John Boultbee Brooks, Antler has been producing innovative, high-quality luggage since 1914, and you can pick from a few different carry-on models, each with convenient features.
The Brixham, for example, has the lightest weight and comes with three zipped pockets, two of them internal. The Stamford offers a USB port and quiet Hinomoto wheels, which turn 360 degrees. And one variant of the Clifton model comes with both a laptop and a tablet pocket.
Committed to quality and sustainability, Paravel created the Aviator, the first carbon-neutral carry-on in the world. Founded by Indre Rockefeller and Andy Krantz in 2016, the brand uses recycled polycarbonate, aluminum, and vegan leather for the carry-on, which comes with double spinner wheels, a removable laundry bag, and a compression board to help you pack more effectively. It’s also a stylish suitcase, and you have the option of personalizing it with a monogram.
Founded in 2013 by a pair of brothers in London, Carl Friedrik offers carry-on luggage with a classy, masculine look, which includes detailing in premium Italian leather. An aluminum lock frame gives each carry-on enhanced security, and the Hinomoto wheels are virtually silent. One variant comes with a large front pocket that can accommodate a laptop and smaller items you may want within easy reach.
Carry-ons from Lipault are plush, lightweight, and have a sheen, giving them a distinctive look.
Founded in 2005 by Francois Lipovetsky, the French brand produces carry-ons in various neutral and vivid colors, and they offer a pleasing amount of storage space, including a zippered front pocket and other compartments. Some of the carry-ons are foldable, taking up less space when you aren’t using them. Also, when browsing through the collection, you’ll be able to find items that are less expensive than what Away offers.
Arlo Skye has won multiple design awards, and its founders used to work for Louis Vuitton and Tumi. Reviews for the carry-ons mention nearly silent wheels, an antimicrobial interior lining, and a removable charger with USB ports.
The Frame model is made either entirely of aluminum or a combination of aluminum and an impact-resistant polycarbonate. It uses only clasps with TSA-approved combination locks. A second model, the Zipper, has a Free-Flex zipper that stretches to allow you to pack a few more items, and one variant includes a front pocket.
Nomatic, a Utah-based brand founded by two cousins, aims for peak functionality with its hard-shell carry-ons, which come in two versions. The Pro model comes with a detachable laptop case. At a lower cost, you can get the Classic model, which shares many of the same features, including Hinomoto wheels, TSA-locking zippers, a Makrolon polycarbonate shell, and efficient internal organization.
Rimowa is an iconic and innovative German brand founded in 1898, and its deluxe luggage has a well-known design of vertical grooves. The brand produced the first polycarbonate suitcase in the world and developed a wheel system that makes steering considerably easier.
Other perks for these luxury carry-ons include adjustable dividers for better organizing your belongings. Even the brand’s more compact model still has space for a 16-inch laptop. However, Rimowa’s prices are steep, so it can’t serve as an alternative to Away for anyone on a tight budget.
You can expect classy suitcases with a timeless style from Hartmann, a brand founded in Milwaukee in 1877 and currently owned by Samsonite. One highlight from Hartmann is a carry-on suitcase with a durable tweed exterior and plenty of well-designed features, including a 12-position ergonomic handle and a tri-fold suiter that will help keep your suits free from wrinkles. Along with the practicality of the design, you can enjoy the elegant touches, such as the leather insignia and the gleaming interior lining.
Italic, which was founded in 2018 by Jeremy Cai, is an online marketplace that obtains products from the manufacturers of high-end brands and sells them at a reduced cost without brand logos. Keep an eye on Italic’s travel section, because you may find well-crafted carry-ons that are similar to Away. These suitcases may include packing cubes, a laundry bag, and other useful features.
Away Travel Also Makes Amazing Carry-On Luggage
While there are plenty of brands like Away, there is only one original. I have enjoyed getting to know the brand since interviewing Co-Founder Steph Korey in 2016 when the brand first emerged to disrupt the travel industry.
There’s a reason why Away’s luggage is so ubiquitous at the airport: It’s a well-designed bag designed around the idea that it shouldn’t cost $1,000 for “a plastic box on wheels.”
For Carry-On Suitcases, What’s Your Favorite Alternative to Away?
Drop a comment about your favorite brand and the aesthetic and functional features you’re looking for in your ideal carry-on luggage.
About JakeJake is passionate about exploring entrepreneurs' global journeys. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the innovative brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and/or fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine, and has provided analysis on international business for BBC Radio, NBC News, CNN and Time Magazine.
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