Best Carry-On Luggage for Business Travel

Benefits of owning the best in Carry-on Suitcases

There is one absolute in the world of business travel and that is the need for a reliable carry-on suitcase. BTG recommends that while a business travel backpack may be suitable for many business trips, you will likely, at some point, develop a need for the old reliable, the standard carry-on.

Let’s deal with the obviously straight away, purchasing and using a great piece of carry-on luggage will save you a fair amount of time and money.  The trick here is to avoid the need for checking bags and to fit everything you need into one bag that, and this is important) can be taken onto a plane.

Will Business Carry-On Save Money?

There are several keys ways that a well thought out business carry-on can save your money.  The most obvious cost savings benefit comes from saving any potential fees for checking bags.  Of course, you may wonder how much a checked bag fee might cost and the answer might surprise you.

Of the airlines that charge baggage fees, the average is $30 to $40 and can range as high as $200 for international flights or oversized/irregularly shaped baggage. Keep in mind that businesses will always appreciate your effort to save money and if you are traveling on your own dime then the savings can add up quickly.

How can Business Carry-on Luggage save you time?

For those who have been traveling, you are certainly familiar with the luggage carousel.  Finding your way to baggage claim, wading through the continually circulating train of similarly looking bags is a time-eating glutton. Let’s add to that the time that it takes to check the bags, go through security lines and perhaps even customs and you can quickly see how taking a single carry-on can save the business traveler substantial time.

Safety and Security

Another benefit to keeping your belongings close to you at all times is the added safety and security of using a business carry-on.  One of the first questions that airline security will ask you is “Have you left your luggage for and period of time?” followed by ‘Is it possible that anyone may have tampered with your luggage?”

The reasoning behind this line of questioning is that “bad” people have been known to use luggage belonging to other people to smuggle explosives, chemicals or biological contaminants onto an aircraft, bus or into a large crowd to cause damage and injury.

And while the above-mentioned scenario is very real, the more common safety and security concern is basic theft.  And the possibility of this personally intrusive event might be more possible then you think.

Several major news agencies have reported on baggage theft by actual airport employees, in fact, there have been incidents of TSA agents caught in the act of stealing from passenger’s bags.  Some of the people you trust the most to protect you and to protect your belongings are capable of abusing that trust.

The point here is that your best line of defense is to keep your luggage with you at all times and do not let your bags leave your line of sight.

Tips for Efficiently Packing of Travel Carry-ons

Efficiently packing is a bit of an art form and Business Travel Gadgets is your business trip packing learning center, but for the purposes of this article, we will simply review a few of the basics.  If you are interested in getting into more detail regarding efficient packing check out our Business Travel Packing article.


The Mobility of Travel Carry-on Luggage

Carry-on suitcases with four wheels, also called spinner carry-on cases, are your best bet for mobility issues. Since these carry-on spinner suitcases roll from any angle, you can pull them without straining your body. This can also make a spinner carry-on a great pick for kid-friendly luggage.

While carry-on suitcases work well for most trips, they are not always the best choice. Consider where you’re traveling and how you are getting there. If you are relying on public transportation or walking far distances on either end, then a backpack might be better as you can also put a travel umbrella in the side pocket. Since you can run with a backpack much easier than with a suitcase, it might mean the difference between making a train and needing to wait for the next one.

Tough Terrain
The best carry-on suitcases work best when you can wheel them, so if you’re traveling somewhere with cobblestones, you might not be able to roll the spinner suitcase. If you have to carry the suitcase over cobblestones, then you might want to rethink things. Here again, a backpack is more convenient because you carry everything on your back, so you save your arms the trouble of carrying your luggage up several flights of stairs or across several blocks.

A backpack won’t be as comfortable as a suitcase. But there may be times when it is your better option.

May Need More Space
If you are traveling for business, for a wedding, or for something else when dress is extremely important, you might prefer to check a bag. You will be able to fit more in a checked bag, which is important with formal wear. Knowing you are checking your bag, you can take all the shoes and outfit changes you like.

Winter travel is another time when checking a bag makes sense for practical reasons. Consider how much bulkier winter clothing is than summer gear. You won’t get very far trying to shove sweaters, compression socks and winter accessories in a carry-on, even if you use bags with compression straps. Instead of getting frustrated trying to cram everything in your carry-on, check one bag and save yourself the stress.

Convenience may be another factor when choosing the best carry on luggage. Given that most airlines are charging for carry-ons these days, many passengers try to cram overstuffed bags into the overhead bins. Even if you have complied with the posted carry-on luggage size for your airline, you might not be able to find space for your bag. If space is available, it could be several rows past your seat on the plane. It’s irritating trying to fly with a carry-on in these circumstances, and if you don’t mind spending money or waiting to claim your bag, you might prefer to check your luggage and skip the drama.

The specifics of any trip aside, it’s important to have a great hardside spinner luggage carry-on because you will need it. We’ve given our top 5 recommendations, but what exactly makes a carry-on great? Here’s how you can choose.

Hard or Soft?
Hard or soft is a matter of personal preference, and there are arguments for both options. A hard suitcase is more durable. This means that the suitcase is less likely to be damaged in transit, but additionally, that your items are less likely to be damaged. If you’ve ever had soft-sided luggage get damaged, then you know how irritating it can be to replace luggage that was in good working order before your trip.

The main advantage of soft luggage is the expandable nature. Most hard luggage can’t expand, so you are limited to its maximum carrying capacity. If you’re the sort of packer who is prone to overpacking, you might be partial to soft luggage for the peace of mind, since you can always squeeze a few more things in a carry-on.

Durability matters most for frequent travelers. If you’re living out of your suitcase, you’ll get farther with a hard-backed suitcase than a soft suitcase. Soft suitcases may also be ripped open, leaving you vulnerable to loss or theft. For durability, hard luggage gets the advantage. Also, note the warranty provided by the manufacturer. Even if the manufacturer provides a lifetime warranty, it may not mean much if the bag issues happened during norma wear and tear.

Once you’ve decided hard vs. soft, consider material and qualities. Check the zippers, handles, compression system and wheels of any luggage. You need to make sure if you get a luggage with a telescoping handle that the telescoping handle operates smoothly. If your luggage has spinner wheels you need to make sure the spinner wheels don’t get stuck. If your cabin cases or expandable spinner have expandable zippers you need to make sure that you have easy access if you need to compress your bag. All luggage carry on seams should be secure and well-made. Otherwise, your bag won’t last.

It’s not a matter of wheels vs. no luggage wheels but two wheels vs. spinner. Four wheels make your life so much easier that there is a clear winner here. It’s just smoother to push a spinner bag compared with a two-wheeler. Spinner carry-on luggage is less likely to be knocked off balance by curb cuts, escalators, and other changes to grade. This means a more pleasant journey with less strain (on you and your bag).

Yes, please! You’ll want more than one handle on your lightweight carry-on, because this way it’s easier to grab the bag from different angles. That makes a difference when you’re taking it out of the overhead compartment, grabbing it from the luggage carousel on a courtesy shuttle, or even putting it away at home.

Telescoping handles, which expand to different lengths, are a nice touch, but they’re not a need-to-have feature for most people. Rather than looking for a bag with an adjustable handle, always make sure your luggage has handles on different sides, so you can grab and go from any angle.

Storage and Compartments
Make sure the carry-on bag you end up choosing has plenty of compartments and is laid out in a way that makes sense for how you pack. You may even need to get an expandable carry-on to get more space. For example, if you know you’ll be traveling with your laptop or other electronics as well as some liquids (such as makeup, perfume, and/or hair products), then you’ll want to be sure that your liquids can be safely separated from your electronics within your bag. Some carry-on luggage includes compression straps, zippered compartments, laptop compartments and water-proof compartments for these exact reasons.

There are different sizing guides for domestic and international flights, but also for each airline. Most airlines limit carry-on size for domestic flights to 22” x 14” x 9″, which is inclusive of the handles and wheels. Southwest actually gives you an extra inch: your carry-on there can be 22″ x 14″ x 10″.

While you might be able to squeeze on a bag that’s a little bit larger, you might also find flight agents that strictly enforce the rules by measuring bags at the gate. It’s always best to check your airline’s baggage requirements so you don’t have an unexpected trip hassle.

For domestic flights, there’s no worry about the weight limit for bags unless you’re on a puddle jumper. Then, the plane may limit bag size for practical reasons. The common-sense rule applies that you shouldn’t pack more than you can carry and lift, for safety’s sake.

With international flights, you actually get a bit less space, because carriers not based in the United States set smaller allowances for luggage. Again, the specific size will vary by airline, but most carriers let you take a bag that’s 22″ x 14″ x 9″. There’s usually a 50 lb weight limit for carry-ons.

Let your budget and your travel itinerary inform the best bag for you. If you’re a global jet setter flying on a private jet or just a world traveler, you might want a domestic carry-on and international carry-on luggage. If you rarely go overseas—and if you like to take advantage of the free checked bag for international flights—then go ahead and stick with the larger domestic carry-on.

Style is so personal, there’s no way we can give an answer. If you’re traveling for a business trip, select a professional-looking case, usually in a neutral color. For some business travelers, a hardside spinner may not make sense and they may go with carry-on bags with a nylon exterior. If you only travel for fun, the sky’s the limit!

Smart Luggage or Traditional
Smart luggage comes with features like a digital scale, USB port, and lost luggage detection. While these features sound awesome, the tech is still evolving. We think it’s better to wait for the technology to fully arrive before adopting a smart lightweight carry-on. Due to security concerns, many airlines have placed bans on any cabin luggage with non-removable batteries. This includes both checked baggage and carry-ons. The main concern with these non-removable batteries is that they can post a combustion/fire hazard. This is the same reason certain smartphones and even hoverboards have been recently banned from many airlines.

Unfortunately, for those who have already invested in smart luggage without a removable battery pack, this will essentially prevent travelers from being able to use it while flying. On the other hand, there are a few luggage brands that do make their batteries removable, and these will not be affected by the ban.

Those who have been thinking about purchasing smart luggage with built-in batteries and chargers may want to re-think this, especially since it is only expected that more airlines will continue to place bans on these items. Combine this with the fact that these smart luggage options are usually quite costly, and you could end up wasting a lot of your hard-earned money for a product you won’t even be able to take on a plane.

Warranty or Guarantee
Be sure to buy your carry-on luggage from a company that will stand behind their product. Ideally, you’ll want to buy from a company that not only specializes in the best carry on luggage, but that will offer a money-back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied with your luggage for any reason. CHESTER is a prime example of an affordable luggage company that offers a 100-day trial period, a 10-year lifetime warranty and allows you to return your bag with no questions asked during that period.

Value For The Money
After you take your personal preferences into account, verify the features and quality of the luggage compared to the price you’re paying for it. Good value for the money is when you feel awesome about your suitcase and the price you paid for it.

Luggage is so personal that the right carry-on really comes down to what features matter to you, what style of luggage you like, and where and how you travel. CHESTER makes shopping for modern luggage simple with stylish options and two-day free shipping. Check out our products for all your travel needs!

As noted above, the most common size for a cabin suitcase is 22″ x 14″ x 9″. With international flights, you get less space, because carriers not based in the United States set smaller allowances for luggage and use smaller planes. Again, the specific size will vary by airline, but most carriers let you take a bag that’s 22″ x 14″ x 9″. In addition, there’s usually a 50 lb weight limit for carry-ons. Below are ways to measure you carry-on, carry-on backpack or garment bag so you are not caught at the get checking your bag last minute. If you need a thorough understanding of carry-on dimensions, check our carry-on size limits guide.

Standard Calculation
When you review the allowed size limit for carry-on bags, you’ll usually see it displayed as L x W x H. The first number is the longest edge, the second number is the “width” or medium-sized edge, and the final number is what would generally be referred to as the depth, but it is the shortest edge. Make sure you measure each dimension at its widest point. For example, make sure when measuring that you include wheels or handles to assure no problems upon check-in.

Linear Inches Calculation
Linear inches is a term invented by the airline industry to measure carry-on luggage or your cabin case. Although not common, some airlines calculate luggage dimensions using a linear measurement vs a standard L x W x H. Linear inches simply means the sum total of your bag’s length, width and height, therefore, L + W + H. Again, make sure you measure each dimension at its widest point including wheels and handles. As a general rule, US airlines permit luggage that measures a total of 45 linear inches (115 centimeters). If you need help finding the TSA carry-on size and dimensions, use the above guide as a reference.

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