Travel Writer Review: Away’s The Carry-On Suitcase

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When I flipped on Hulu for a rainy day of binge-watching a few years ago, I had no idea I’d end the night making what would turn out to be one of my best purchases ever. You see, every commercial break, I saw the same ad touting the many benefits of the then-brand-new Away luggage brand — I’m a travel writer, so the algorithm knows my weaknesses! I finally succumbed to the pressure and bought one. Well, friends, sometimes the algorithm gets it right, because years later, I am here to tell you why I love The Carry-On, a suitcase that has since been my constant travel companion for years. We’ve been all over the place together, and it’s just as beautiful, dependable, and indestructible as it was when I first brought it home.

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At the time of the fateful binge-watch sesh, I certainly hadn’t been looking to spend hundreds of dollars on a new carry-on. I had one that I’d been using for years. It still worked fine, so why did I need a new one? But two claims on the commercial kept calling out to me — 100-Day Trial Period and Lifetime Guarantee — so I figured there was no risk in taking an Away bag for a spin.

I chose The Carry-On over a larger piece because, whenever possible, I stuff everything into carry-on luggage instead of checking a bag. (Travel writer tip: Not only does it save you the wait at the baggage claim, but carry-on lets you be more nimble if you need to change flights at the last minute.) The first indication that I had entered a new realm of luggage bliss was the durable — yet still incredibly lightweight — construction. That hard, polycarbonate shell has handled me throwing it, dropping it, sitting on it, you name it… and it still looks just as spiffy as ever. I often travel in small Cessnas that have a baggage weight limit, so the fact that it’s so light gives me extra pounds to play with for actual “stuff.” And I absolutely love the four 360-degree spinner wheels. Unlike with the prior bag that had only two, I wheel this baby through the airport right next to me, which relieves a tremendous amount of pressure from my shoulder versus wheeling it behind me.

The inside of the suitcase is just as well designed as the exterior. When you unzip and open the bag, two separate sides offer different functionality. The one with the zippered mesh cover is perfect for shoes, chargers, toiletries, books, and other accessories. The other side is meant for clothing and has a compression system that buckles shut to ensure that there’s no unused space (Another travel writer tip: Roll your clothes instead of folding them, and you’ll fit way more in your bag). I have a talent for utilizing every spare millimeter of space, which is fantastic… until it’s time to zip the bag. While I’ll admit that sometimes I have to sit on it to get it to zip, that outside zipper still continues to amaze me. There’s not one sign of a rip, tear, or snag. Truly incredible! Even more amazing? Despite the fact that this bag measures just 21.7″ x 13.7″ x 9″ (including the wheels), I’ve traveled for as long as three weeks with just The Carry-On and a backpack.

Additional thoughtful features of Away’s The Carry-On include a water-resistant laundry bag, a TSA-compliant lock, a handhold to help lift it, a luggage tag, and a retractable handle that extends to different lengths depending on your needs. It’s available in loads of chic colors, and you can even opt to buy one with a built-in USB charger. Personally, I went the other way because the charger takes away packing space, but, if you find yourself hugging the wall while you charge devices in every airport, hotel lobby, and train station you visit, foregoing the space might be totally worth it. You can also choose to get it personalized (hello, gift-giving season!).

If you’re in the market for a new suitcase — or even if you’re not — I cannot recommend Away’s The Carry-On highly enough. Safe travels, friends!

Buy: The Carry-On, $275

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