Traveling between cities or countries is no longer as distant a dream as it used to be. As more people take to the skies, the number of airlines has increased and so have passengers. If you’re on a quick business trip or weekend getaway it can be quite frustrating waiting for your luggage to show up after you’ve disembarked. The worst thing is being told that your luggage didn’t show up.
If you’re a frequent traveler or even if you’re going for that first small vacation, it’s best to invest in good carry-on luggage. You’ll be surprised by just how much you can fit into these handy bags. However, before you zero in on some great luggage that catches your eye, it’s always a good idea to have some pointers in mind. Our guide below will help you understand what to look out for when you want to purchase the best women’s carry on luggage. Also, to help make it easier for you, we’ve reviewed what we feel is the 13 best carry on luggage for women.
How To Choose The Right Carry On Luggage For Women
We all know just how difficult we women are to please when it comes down to buying any kind of bag. Most of us take so long to deliberate on our choices that it’s kind of a foregone conclusion that when we finally decide, we’ve ticked all the right boxes. However, just picking out a bag that looks good on the outside isn’t the only criteria for choosing the best women’s carry on luggage. The old adage ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’ holds true even for a bag. There are certain important factors detailed below that you should keep in mind before putting your money down.
We cannot stress enough on how important good quality is. Don’t go rushing off to buy something just because it’s a steal. Make sure that it passes the quality check first. So how do you know if it passes the quality test? Look at the overall build, that’s the first thing that should catch your eye. Anything that looks too flimsy is definitely a no-no.
Next is the handle, is it firm? Is it built into the inside of the bag? Does it lock well? Good strong zippers are a must. Metal zippers should always take precedence over plastic, and if you can find one with self-repairing zippers, then so much the better. The last thing you should check is the wheels. Push the bag around a bit to make sure the bag is easy to maneuver.
The kind of material you choose depends on what you’re looking for. Hard bags are great for keeping valuables safe and there’s a wide range available that will more than impress. If you’re deciding on a hard bag then make sure that it’s made from a lightweight durable material such as aluminum, ABS or polycarbonate. Soft-sided bags, on the other hand, provide a little more space because of the fabric. The best material for soft-sided suitcases and bags are Cordura, ballistic nylon and polyester. Another thing that you need to consider about the material is that it should be stain and water-resistant and should clean easily.
The kind of style you pick is purely a personal choice. The best carry-on luggage for women can range from hard and soft-sided suitcases, under-seat bags, duffel bags or backpacks. The advantage of a suitcase is that it definitely helps in better organization while a duffel bag is easy to throw around or fit into any kind of space.
If you’re going to be constantly on the move then you’ll probably prefer a backpack. With a backpack, you want to be sure that it’s comfortable. What makes a good backpack are comfortable straps, a supportive waist strap, and a rain cover. Bags that open up like suitcases are easier to pack but more cumbersome to carry around for a longer time.
You should also remember that airlines have specific standard sizes and weight for carry-on luggage so that’s something you need to keep in mind. Luggage of any kind is a long term investment so take your time to choose the right one without being too tight on the purse strings.
If you’re looking for some affordable carry-on luggage with no extra fills then this set is for you. Although some of you may be skeptical about this one given its extremely low price range (Who pays less than 50 dollars for luggage these days!) with over 3,500 ratings on Amazon it definitely is a popular buy.
Made from rigid polyester, the suitcase with corner protectors is equipped for better mobility with inline skate wheels. Since the wheels are quite small you won’t have to worry about it fitting into the overhead bin. The retractable handle works well too with a push of the button. The bag is surprisingly designed to hold quite a bit of stuff and that’s probably why it scores big with those who’ve used it.
We were quite surprised at how functional the bag is despite its price. There are plenty of pockets to organize items separately. The small pocket on the top is especially useful for packing items that you may need to remove. What didn’t score well for us was the smaller bag! There’s not much you can do with it with just one pocket. You may be able to squeeze a 13″ laptop into it but that’s about all. However, it would probably make a great bag for carrying your toiletries and make-up.
What We Love About It
- For the price you pay, you get great storage space and mobility.
- Extremely affordable
- Fits airline carry-on standards perfectly
- Good organization and storage
- The telescoping handle tends to get stuck when you pull on it
TravelPro has always been a trusted name in luggage and this ultra-lightweight 21-inch spinner is a testament to why people swear by the brand. The Maxlite is the ideal carry on luggage for the woman on the go. This no-frills professional bag fits perfectly into the permitted carry on luggage for commuter flights.
What caught our attention about this one is the unbelievable lightness. You definitely won’t struggle to hoist this bag into the overhead bin. Another plus point on the Maxlite is the 2-position PowerScope lite handle with the patented contour grip. The perpendicular handle is a godsend for your wrists when getting on or off the plane. You can be sure that your bag will move smoothly with the sturdy 360 degree rotating rollers.
The interior has an interesting colored lining and good organizational space with a full-length interior lid pocket and side accessory pockets. Adjustable hold-down straps will keep your clothes secure. There are also pockets on the exterior where you can store items you need easy access to.
What We Love About It
- The weightlessness. It’s one of the lightest bags from Travelpro.
- Durable and lightweight
- 2-position adjustable PowerScope handle
- 4-wheel 360 degree spinners
- Lifetime warranty
- The bag tends to tip over
Not all of us like putting our luggage in the overhead bin and would rather have something that goes under the seat. If you’re looking for convenient carry-on luggage for a quick trip then this one’s for you. This solidly built bag has a well thought out design. The laptop sleeve can be removed completely and also has a very wide front pocket. The elasticized back pocket is big enough to hold a laptop.
Samsonite is a well-known name in luggage so you can be quite sure of the quality of their bags. The fabric of this under seater is pretty impressive. Made from tri-core nylon with Samguard treatment, the bag is water-resistant and resistant to abrasions. Also equally impressive are the top quality premium steel cartridge bearing wheels and the sturdy handle.
What We Love
- The sturdy construction of the bag and great organizational space for a bag this size
- 360 spinner wheels
- Zippered pocket with a USB charging port
- Lightweight with rugged durable material
- Could not find anything to complain about with this one
If you’re looking for something stylish which does not go overboard with pricing, we recommend the Chester Carry On Luggage. The unbreakable build and lightweight material make this suitcase a great one to maneuver around. Added to this is the sleek design that you’ll love taking around with you on your travels.
Made from 100% Makrolon polycarbonate, you can be sure that this hard shell is not going to give up on you anytime soon even if you sit on it! The exterior is also extremely easy to clean so that your suitcase looks as good as new when you’re done with your travels. Apart from its great exterior, what impressed us was the organization on the inside. Two fully lined spacious compartments are quite ideal for short trips. It also has three interior pockets for smaller items and a removable laundry bag.
The 4 multidirectional wheels and the aluminum telescoping handle make this lightweight easy to maneuver. With the top and side grab handles, getting this into the overhead bin is a breeze. Another great thing about this bag is that it fits the regulation sizes of any airline. A 10-year limited warranty and a variety of colors make it an even more popular choice.
What We Love About It
- The great organizational space with two separate compartments.
- It comes with a 10-year limited warranty
- Lightweight and durable
- Available in 8 different colors
- Elegant overall design
- Well designed extension handle and four multidirectional wheels
- TSA approved built-in combination lock
- Top and side grab handles are a little small to have a firm grip
If you’re looking for a bag that’s not too fancy but is highly functional then you’re probably going to love this hardshell. Made from ABS plastic, this sturdy bag is extremely lightweight. The durable exterior is easy to clean and is both scratch and water-resistant.
A fully lined interior with organizational pockets helps in keeping your belongings tidy. Added to this are the joinable elastic belt and internal zipped divider for better organization. You can be sure that you won’t be told to check in your luggage with this bag as it fits into airline regulation sizes.
For easy handling of this carry-on luggage, the bag is outfitted with an ergonomic aluminum telescoping handle and four spinner wheels. You can go the distance with the expandable design and not worry about it not getting into the overhead because of its compact size. We loved the five unique colors of this bag which are definitely a standout feature. Overall we feel that this is the best affordable carry on luggage for women.
What We Love About It
- The five unique colors that will make your bag easy to spot
- Expands 2″ for added storage space
- ABS makes it extremely lightweight and durable
- Scratch and water-resistant
- Elastic Tie Straps for secure packing
- Multi-directional wheels for better maneuverability
- Interior zippered pocket
- The wheels tend to get stuck and can be quite cumbersome to push
For those women looking to add a bit of luxury to their travels, this one is for you. This fancy piece of carry-on luggage scored big with us, not just because of its overall look but also because of its sturdy structure. We think this is one of the best luxury carry-on luggage for women and highly recommend it.
What obviously caught our eye is the appealing exterior of this bag with its faux leather accents and rich colors. Made from 100% Virgin Makrolon polycarbonate the case is quite indestructible. It not only stands up well to extreme temperatures but doesn’t lose its shape even if knocked hard.
Another thing that impressed us about this bag is the unique braking system on its wheels. While the wheels are super smooth and can be maneuvered easily, the brakes on the front are a neat addition. You can be sure that your bag will not run away from you if you decide to roll the bag on the two back wheels.
Women who love rich colors are going to be bowled over by the interiors of this bag too. The fully lined rich red interior with the two packing compartments, small interior bags, and a hanger is great for organization. Added to this are the tie-down straps which will keep all your belongings firmly in place. An integrated TSA-approved lock, zipper security and tracking plate for lost luggage add to the security of this piece.
What We Love About It
- Everything! Inside out this bag was a winner for us.
- Highly durable exterior
- Double spinner smooth wheels with a unique braking system
- Luxurious soft-touch interior
- Recessed TSA lock
- Tracking plate to trace a lost bag
- Not as light as other bags in this size
- The material marks easily so it’s a good idea to get a cover for it
With the wide range of carry-on luggage available today, zeroing in on one that suits your needs can be quite confusing. While many women prefer to have a more organized bag to pull along, a mother would probably prefer a backpack. With a bag on your back, you have your hands free to attend to the little ones’ needs.
This bag tops our list of convenient carry-on backpacks. Although it looks like a regular backpack on the outside, it’s a lot bigger. It fits into the overhead bin without any problems on both domestic and international flights. Heavy-duty fabric, strong zippers, and reasonably comfortable shoulder straps also made an impression on us. The great thing about the straps is that they can be stowed when not in use.
One of the best things we liked about this backpack is that it opens up like a suitcase, into two halves. The deeper half is fitted with compression straps to keep your belongings securely in place. However, it’s a good idea to get the packing cubes for more efficient packing. It also has a padded laptop sleeve, 4 exterior compression straps and plenty of extra pockets for better organization.
What We Love About It
- The organizational features for better packing
- The bag opens up like a suitcase which makes packing simpler
- Sturdy zippers
- Zip expansion for an extra 1.5″
- Stowable backpack straps
- Heavy-duty fabric
- Available in 10 different colors
- The zippered water bottle is not stable enough to support a bottle
- The sternum strap is not very secure
This trendy roller carry-on bag is ideal for women who prefer to push a bag under the seat rather than store it overhead. The specified dimensions are exactly that so you can be sure that you won’t go wrong with this one. It fits like a glove under the seat of a domestic plane.
For those who tend to pack extra, the large interior compartment will give you ample space. You’ll probably need to get some packing cubes if you like your stuff organized. Compression straps will keep your items secure, plus the exterior pockets provide additional organizational space for smaller items.
We like the push-button sturdy handle and the 360-degree spinner wheels on this one which makes it easier to maneuver.
What We Love About It
- Fits perfectly into the new ‘personal item’ size limitations of domestic airlines
- Perfect fit for under the seat
- Sturdy push-button handle
- 360-degree spinner wheels
- Available in four colors
- The zipper is quite tough to move and can break if you tug too hard.
There are many women who prefer carrying something a little more stylish than a trolley bag when traveling. If you’re looking for something with ample space for a quick weekend trip then this overnight carry-on tote is perfect. It can slide over the handle of a rolling suitcase for better mobility and stands steady. Five metal studs on the bottom of the bag ensure that it will stay off the ground and not get dirty or scratched.
This sturdy bag can easily accommodate a 15.6-inch laptop along with your other necessities. The adjustable straps give you the flexibility of using this bag to suit different styles. You can wear it over your shoulder, like a crossbody bag or as a satchel. What we loved about this bag is that it can be hand washed which makes it even more durable. The little zipper pouch in the back is convenient for storing your travel documents.
What We Love About It
- Available in a wide variety of fun colors and patterns
- Good looking bag with ample storage
- Straps can be adjusted to different styles
- Fits under the seat.
- Two open top side pockets on the inside
- Will probably need a purse organizer to keep the soft fabric from falling over
- The carry-on strap is a bit long and could be uncomfortable for shorter women.
When a bag has an outstanding rate of positive reviews there must be something right about it, and we were not disappointed. With its great features and top quality build, this is probably one of the best carry-on backpacks for women. What especially impressed us about this backpack is Osprey’s “All Mighty Guarantee.” The company guarantees that it will repair any defect or damage free of charge, no matter when it was purchased. If the functional repair cannot be carried out, they’ll happily replace the bag.
Designed for maximum storage, the two interior lockable compression straps help in keeping your items secure. It can also be opened up like a suitcase for convenient packing. A mesh on the back panel provides better ventilation. The harness and hip belt are also outfitted with mesh to reduce chafing. Added to this is the convenience of storing the entire suspension under a zippered panel. Carrying this backpack becomes easier with the LightWire frame suspension system that helps to transfer the load from the harness to the hip built. It also has a padded shoulder strap. This backpack is ideal if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking.
What We Love
- Quite obviously the “All Mighty Guarantee” which says a lot about the quality
- Stowaway back panel
- LightWire frame suspension system
- Large Internal storage
- Front panel slash pocket
- Exterior and interior compression straps
- Padded laptop sleeve
- Some women may find the shape a little uncomfortable to carry around.
We think this bag is another excellent no-frills carry on luggage for women. With over 3,700 reviews on Amazon, the bag does tick quite a few boxes for us too. Firstly, the 21-inch spinner meets with the specified carry-on size for most international and domestic airlines. You can be quite certain that you won’t be stopped at the boarding gate with this one.
Featuring a scratch-resistant hard shell, made from extra-thick ABS, the bag is lightweight and durable. We also like the easy maneuverability that the telescoping handle and four double spinner wheels provide. The short handle helps in easy lifting and can be collapsed for storing.
For luggage priced this low, the bag has some great organizational space. It opens up into two fully lined compartments and has three separate zippered pockets for smaller items. The bag also has a 15% extra expandable capacity.
What We Love About It
- It functions great for a bag at this price
- Good organizational space
- Lightweight with extra-thick ABS
- Lined divided interior with 3 zippered pockets
- Convenient telescoping handle
- The handle tends to move a bit
We couldn’t agree more with all those who say that this is a well-designed carry on bag for women. It scores big with many because of its classy look and functionality. The bag can be rolled for convenience or used as a tote bag. It’s extremely lightweight and compact which makes it easy to handle and store.
However, the best part about it is the storage space. Numerous pockets on the interior and outside allow you to pack a number of small items. Books and travel documents fit easily into the zippered front pocket while the roomy main compartment provides ample storage for the bigger items. Another plus point on this bag is the side pocket to hold water bottles or a magazine.
Fitted with inline skate wheels and a locking top handle, the bag is easy to maneuver. The bag can also be attached to the handle of a larger bag with the pass-through band.
What We Love About It
- The sleek design and surprisingly good functionality
- The bright interior allows you to find things easily
- Lots of pockets to help in organizing
- Sturdy handle with inline skate wheels for good mobility
- Can be used as a tote bag
- Nice soft fabric
- May not fit under the seat of all airplanes
- Can be a tad uncomfortable to maneuver if you fit it to onto a bigger bag as this bag is a little high
We definitely went by the old adage on this one, judging the book by its cover but thankfully it has held up pretty well. This cute little polka-dotted combo fits the regulated sizes perfectly and holds much more than you think. The suitcase has good organizational space with interior zipper pockets and garment restraints. It can expand to an additional 1.5″ for more storage. It also has a hidden top zipper pocket and convenient zip down exterior pocket. The small padded tote is great for storing your gadgets.
The ultra-lightweight construction with extendable handle and 4-wheel spinners makes it easy to maneuver. Added to this are the handles which also help in more efficient handling, especially when storing in the overhead bin.
What We Loved About It
- The pretty polka-dotted exterior bowled us over
- Perfect size for carry-on luggage
- Spacious interior with organizational pockets
- Attractive print and color
- Smooth wheels
- 10 year limited warranty
- Zippers feel a bit flimsy, may not be very durable
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between checked-in luggage and carry-on luggage?
Checked-in luggage is the bigger baggage that goes into the cargo of the airplane. This is what you wait for at the carousel when you disembark. Carry-on luggage, on the other hand, is taken with you onto the flight and placed in the overhead cargo bins or under your seat.
What is the ideal size for carry on luggage?
Nowadays many airlines have different size restrictions but the size that works for most airlines is 22″ x 14″ x 9.” For international flights, however, it’s safer to go with 21 inches to avoid any last-minute surprises. Remember that this size includes the wheels. A good idea is to check the website of the airline you’re using to know their baggage policy.
Are there any extra features to look out for in good carry on luggage?
Since we always have so many little things that we carry with us, one of the things to look out for is good organization. The best carry on luggage for women comes with lots of compartments and pockets. Some even have a plastic waterproof pouch or a laundry bag to segregate dirty clothes while traveling. Bags with an inbuilt TSA-approved lock are also good.
Is it better to invest in hard-side luggage or soft-side carry-on luggage?
There is no right or wrong option for this as it depends on what you’re looking for. While some business travelers prefer the compactness and security of a hard shell, there are others who would rather have a little more flexibility. Softside luggage is more popular because of the flexibility it offers. You can squeeze them into overhead bins, unlike a hard suitcase which could get damaged. However, the clamshell design of most hard-side luggage makes this a popular option for travelers who like to stay organized.
Every traveler has different needs and while we have done our best to review various styles, it’s always a good idea to do some additional research. What works for one person may not suit another, so it’s a good idea to read up on customer reviews. This will definitely make your travel less stressful and give you invaluable insights into the perfect carry on luggage.