Baggage fees for many airlines are going up again. Here’s how to avoid them in style with the best carry-on luggage available.

These Are the Best Carry-on Luggage Pieces to Get Around Baggage Fees

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Travel tourist standing with luggage watching sunset at airport window. Woman looking at lounge looking at airplanes while waiting at boarding gate before departure. Travel lifestyle. Transport and travel concept.

Between making passengers pay to select a seat and charging for snacks to upping baggage fees, it seems airlines know no end to the extra expenditures they’re willing to put customers through. It’s exhausting, frankly. But as a professional traveler, one thing I’ve always opted to do is skip checking a bag, no matter how long the trip. You save hours not waiting for your baggage, plus the threat of losing it is practically eliminated. Not to mention the savings. Here are some of the best carry-on luggage pieces on the market to help you do so in style.

Best Carry-On Luggage

Photo courtesy of July


I recently started using the duo of July’s Carry-On Pro paired with the over-the-handle weekender, and am obsessed. Their roller features a polycarbonate hardshell front pocket for a laptop, and there’s an ejectable power bank so you can stay on top of things while on the move. There’s also a compression strap that works like a dream; I packed my outfits for a snow trip, including ski pants and jacket, and still had plenty of space for après gear. The best part is, it comes with a lifetime warranty, so if your luggage ever gets damaged beyond use, you’ll get it replaced gratis.

July Carry-On Pro, $325
Mission Rover backpack on front steps

Thomas J. Story

Mystery Ranch

Our editor-in-chief swears by this handsome 45 L Mystery Ranch Mission Rover for many reasons. First and foremost, it meets the stringent international carry-on requirements. The clamshell design lets you see everything at once, and it has plenty of compartments for stashing things. The bag has a generous exterior compartment for quick access to the stuff you need. Plus, it’s lightweight, deceptively spacious, and even has a built-in shoe bag.

Mystery Ranch Mission Rover, $225
Monos Carry-On in Olive Green

Courtesy of Monos


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If you’re more into the ease of hard-side rollers, there’s no doubt you’ve come across the Vancouver-based company Monos. Their Carry-On Plus is an awesome option that fits in the luggage sizers and overhead bins of major U.S. airlines, but like most roller bags, may need to be checked on smaller planes. The exterior is dent-resistant and features an ultra-sturdy telescopic handle, TSA-approved lock, quiet gliding wheels, and premium vegan leather details.

Monos Carry-On Plus, $294

Photo courtesy of American Tourister

American Tourister

If you don’t have the dough to be splurging on some of these fancier brands, American Tourister is a U.S.-made maker that we can get behind, and their carry-on options are under $70 on Amazon. Their Cascade softside carry-on comes in a darling berry colorway that stands out in a crowd, and is an excellent and affordable option that doesn’t sacrifice on style.

American Tourister Cascade, $59

Photo courtesy of CalPak


Though I’m admittedly not a duffle girlie, there have been times, especially in Europe, that I wished my roller had some sort of option for versatility on those cobblestone roads. The Stevyn Rolling Duffel “delivers the function of a duffel bag with the added convenience of wheeled luggage. With spacious compartments, a handy luggage sleeve, dual handles, a separate shoe pocket, and two durable wheels, this 22-inch rolling duffel bag will get you where you’re going with style, ease, and time to spare.”

CalPak Stevyn Rolling Duffel, $105

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