Best Budget Carry-on Luggage for Travel: Top 6

emmigrant suitcases at Hotel New York 1
Immigrant suitcases at Hotel New York.
Find the best affordable carry-on luggage...and don't let this happen to you! Max Hartshorne photo.
Find the best affordable luggage…and don’t let this happen to you! Max Hartshorne photo.

By Helena Wahlstrom

Travel is a topic that lends itself to a variety of exciting tales, from the latest undiscovered paradise location to the mystery dish you sampled on your last trip. One all-important aspect of travel that’s often left out of the conversation is luggage.

What’s the best budget carry-on luggage?

The perfect luggage is convenient enough to erase itself from the traveler’s mind: it makes everything easier, allowing travelers to focus on what matters — their fantastic journey.

Bad luggage, meanwhile, can make it difficult to enjoy traveling, even if it’s only with us on our way to and from the airport. Handles break, fabric tears, space runs out… I even had a wheel melt off during my first use of a cheap, shabbily constructed piece of luggage.

How to find the perfect luggage and avoid these headaches? GoNOMAD presents the top five luggage for five different needs.

Briggs and Riley

briggs riley
Briggs & Riley was the first luggage maker to introduce wheels in luggage

Mankind invented the wheel in ancient history, but it took luggage makers 5,000 more years to put wheels on luggage, said William McDonough at the Fortune Innovation Forum. Now, Briggs & Riley is set to revolutionize the world of wheeled luggage by reintroducing four-wheeled pieces. Briggs & Riley boasts a proud history in this sector, being the first to put wheels on luggage in 1970 and bringing the luggage industry out of the Stone Age.

“The first wheeled luggage had four wheels and the industry has come a full circle again,” said Richard Krulik, the CEO of Briggs & Riley and US Luggage.

In addition to the additional wheels, the Spinner luggage features a handle that provides a flat surface on the inside of the piece, allowing for more space; a pocket for quick storage of items at security checkpoints; durable, dirt and abrasion-resistant ballistic nylon outer fabric; and a lifetime guarantee.

2. Travel Chic

The dry air, cramped spaces and long hours of flying don’t exactly lend themselves to looking great while traveling. However, with the right luggage, even a worn-out traveler can inject style into their journey.

DVF's luggage lets you travel in style.
DVF’s luggage lets you travel in style.

If traveling in high style is important to you, look to Diane von Furstenberg for luggage that combines high quality with chic looks.

DVF features a full range of luggage in colors that vary from practical black to girly lilac with a modern print, sure to upgrade the style factor of your luggage into first class.

“I bought the set a few years ago and can’t even begin to express how much I love them! They are a perfect size, durable, and chic! I receive compliments wherever I go. These items have been everywhere with me a still look great!” said username jb10 from Houston about DFV’s “Color on the Go” collection.

DVF luggage comes with a 10-year warranty, and most of the pieces are constructed of a wear and stain-resistant polyester or nylon fabric.

The company website sells a few of the pieces, but online retailers like LuggageGuy and Shoebuy have a much bigger collection for sale.

In addition to world-famous Swiss army knives, Victorinox manufactures durable luggage.
In addition to world-famous Swiss army knives, Victorinox manufactures durable luggage.

3. Adventuring Spirit

Victorinox supplies famous knives for the Swiss army, but did you know they also make luggage? For rugged travelers who crave quality they can trust during their globetrotting adventures, Victorinox offers a line of durable travel gear.

Although the price is hefty on most of their items, Victorinox luggage comes packed with features almost as numerous and versatile as the knives themselves. A Travel Sentry® Approved luggage lock enables security screeners to open the lock for inspection and relock it after without breaking it, but it also protects your belongings. The line features suitcases constructed from durable polycarbonate with aluminum handles, like the eight-wheeled Spectra 26.

Choose Samsonite for affordable but quality luggage.
Choose Samsonite for affordable but quality luggage.

If your piece of Swiss Army luggage were to get lost during your travels, fear not: select pieces are eligible for the Swiss Tracker™ Bag Tracking Program, which will reunite you with your luggage anywhere in the world.

4. Budget Travel

Even if the prices in the previous categories feel a bit too staggering, there’s no need to resort to cheap, poor-quality convenience store luggage. Samsonite’s five-piece travel set costs only $103.99 on Amazon, but it won’t let you down like many cheap brands.

The set, voted best budget luggage set by, includes a checked suitcase, a carry-on suitcase, a travel duffle, a travel tote and a toiletry bag. Choose between two colors: sleek, timeless black or vibrant, eye-catching red.

Travelon's luggage handles make traveling less of a pain for tall people.
Travelon’s luggage handles make traveling less of a pain for tall people.

5. A Tall Order

Traveling can be uncomfortable enough for tall people without the backache caused by inadequately extending handles. Fortunately, there are a few options for those travelers blessed with a tall frame.

Lexington Luggage has pieces with extra-long telescopic handles from a variety of brands, making them ideal for the tall traveler.

A broken handle can cause a lot of trouble.
A broken handle can cause a lot of trouble.

For a carry-on, Briggs & Riley also offers a sturdy bag with a 42” extendable handle.

Travelon’s alternative, or addition, to extra-long handles, is their luggage handles, which extend the handle height of wheeled uprights and briefcases for up to 8 inches.

Choose Well for a Smoother Trip

Traveling is full of unexpected situations and events that put the “adventure” in “misadventure,” but one thing that should always be consistently reliable is your luggage. Whether it’s style, sturdiness or extra features you’re looking for, you are sure to find it among these quality brands, at prices that fit your budget. And then you’re free to focus on your trip, not your luggage.

Here are Trip Savvy’s best budget carry-on choices for 2022.

Road Test Review: Travel Pro’s Expandable Rollaboard Suiter

By Paul Shoul
Senior Travel Writer

We all know that the world is not flat, but when you travel as much as we do at you find out just how rough and varied the surface of our planet is. I just returned from an eight-day tour of Spain with my new Travel Pro Crew 8-24” Expandable Rollaboard Suiter that easily met the challenge.

At first glance, a suitcase only has to do a few things well. Be easy to pack and unpack, transport well over varied surfaces, keep out the elements. and hold up under the rigors of the road. It is the quality of materials, design, and durability that set some travel luggage apart from the discount brands.

Travel Pro's Expandable Rollaboard Suiter
Travel Pro’s Expandable Rollaboard Suiter

Two Inches Shorter

I usually travel in a 26’’ bag. Although the Crew 8-24” was two inches shorter, the added depth of the bag ( 24”x16”x10.5”) and its two-inch expandable main compartment gave me far more room to pack.

Two mesh pockets on the inside were perfect for shoes, and there is a “secret” pocket for valuables. A suit sleeve on the inside of the cover held my jacket relatively wrinkle-free and can be removed to hang on the road or for extra room if you do not need to bring it.

The hardware on the Travel pro is impressive. The handle is spring-loaded so it will not get caught on anything within the airport baggage obstacle course. The zippers were strong and self-repaired to my delight after overstuffing one of the two exterior pockets.

The fabric is 1050D Micro ballistic nylon with Duraguard with thick rubber skid guards on all corners and the back. I spilled wine on it, dragged it across stone floors, left it in the rain, and hauled it between two fights, seven buses, a train, and five hotels in a week–and the bag still looks brand new.

The telescoping I-beam extension handle has two stops and extends out to 43”. I pack a heavy bag and usually carry my camera equipment on top of it as I travel.  The Travelpro rides on high-quality waterproof in-line skate wheels.

They are incredibly smooth and big enough to have had no problem with long hauls over cobblestones, or over the gap in the elevator that always gets me. The bag is well balanced, light for its size, (9.8lbs), and rolls at only a slight angle putting less stress on your arm.

At around $200 the Travel Pro Crew 8-24” Expandable Rollaboard Suiter is a great bag and well worth the investment  Travel pro comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty covering all defects in materials and workmanship.

A Packing Primer: What, What Not to Bring

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