I’m a Travel Editor, and I Haven’t Checked a Bag in 4 Years Thanks to This Spacious, Internet-famous Carry-on

Yes, it’s worth the hype.

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Away Bigger Carry-on Is Worth the Hype and I Never Check a Bag TOUT
Travel + Leisure / Reese Herrington.

True story: I haven’t checked a bag in four years. As a travel editor and frequent flier, I’ve had a lot of practice packing lightly and efficiently into carry-ons — no waiting around baggage claim if I can help it! — and I’ve finally got my trips down to a science. My secret is, well, not really a big secret: the Away Bigger Carry-on

You’ve probably seen this suitcase that Travel + Leisure editors named the “Best Hardside Carry-on Luggage of 2023” all over the Internet (and rolling smoothly around airports all over the world), but I’m here to tell you that it’s 100 percent worth the hype. For trips less than two weeks, I won’t travel with anything else. 

Away The Bigger Carry-On


To buy: away.com, $295

What makes this bag so special? Well, for starters it’s just about the biggest possible dimension most airlines allow in the overhead bin on airplanes, at 22.7 inches by 14.7 inches by 9.6 inches. I’ve found it to be a perfect fit on a majority of planes (and if not, once I get it on, the flight attendant checks it for free), which means I know I’m getting the most packing space possible, 47.9 liters to be exact. (That’s 20 percent more capacity than the brand’s smaller version, the Carry-on.) 

Paired with the Longitude Tote, I’ve wheeled the green Bigger Carry-on all over the world: to Greece for two weeks, to Scandinavia for a two-country luxury trip, to Florida for beach trips, to Egypt for a week when I covered myself head-to-toe in linen  — heck, it’s even taken me across Switzerland in the winter. On a multi-city itinerary. Think of the bulky sweaters and fancy après-ski looks!

Away Bigger Carry-on Is Worth the Hype and I Never Check a Bag Embed

Kayla Becker

The true secret of this bag is its interior compression system. On one side, there are two adjustable buckle straps you can tighten to flatten your packed clothes in a bit, and on the other a zippered mesh enclosure that compacts your clothes down. The divider compresses even more, and there’s also a convenient zipper pocket for storing smaller items like a travel jewelry case, belts, toiletries, etc. 

Away claims it can hold six to nine outfits, and in my experience that’s accurate. Full disclosure: I almost never pack more than two pairs of shoes in a suitcase, and I prefer to stick mostly to basics that can be matched with other items of clothing and dressed up or down with accessories like a belt or jewelry. Even so, on a recent trip to Charleston, I fit eight outfits, including two dresses, two pairs of shoes, a jumpsuit, jeans, a rain jacket, Patagonia puffer jacket, work out clothes, plus a bathing suit I never travel without in addition to my Lululemon belt bag. So, confirmed that it’s pretty much a magical bottomless carry-on.

Away bag packed

Travel + Leisure / Reese Herrington

Somehow, though, the Bigger Carry-on still has a little give. I’ve stuffed this bag to the brim, and the zipper has never once broken (even in Montréal when I’ve had to sit on it to get it closed — yes, editors do that sometimes too, okay?) 

But roominess is not the only thing I love about this carry-on. I also appreciate that its outer polycarbonate shell is durable enough to withstand any adventure. I’ve seen a scratch and smudge or two on mine in the past four years I’ve had it, but I’m convinced it’s indestructible. 

Away The Bigger Carry-On


To buy: away.com, $295

Why else do I love this bag? Let me count the ways. First, it glides easily in any direction with its 360-degree spinner wheels. Second, it has a TSA-approved combination lock to keep all my belongings safe and secure. Third, it comes with a water-resistant laundry bag. Fourth, it is undeniably sleek in design and colors (there are seven available). By the way, the pink Petal color is even on rare sale right now.

Away The Bigger Carry-On


To buy: away.com, $267 (originally $295)

It’s no wonder this bag has a nearly perfect five-star rating at Away out of 3,300 reviews. One reviewer said the Bigger Carry-on is worth the investment, saying the bag “does everything you would expect at this price point” (and I can attest that with this longevity, it deserves to pass the cost-effectiveness battle you’re having in your head). 

Another traveler who brought it on a 10-day trip to Europe called the Bigger Carry-on “perfect” and said it held “five dresses, [a] ball skirt, six pairs of shoes, spare jeans, multiple tees, pool and loungewear, plus all the foundational garments I needed.”

Even better? Away has improved upon the Bigger Carry-on over the years since I got mine back in 2019. There’s now a Bigger Carry-on Flex, which allows for even more space if you can believe it, expanding an extra 2.25 inches. And my personal favorite, which I would buy if I had to choose a new one today, is the Bigger Carry-on with Pocket, which has a genius front pocket for storing away your laptop with easy access at TSA.

Away The Bigger Carry-On


To buy: away.com, $345

A two-week trip in one suitcase isn’t for everyone or every trip, but it can be done. And Away is so confident in this carry-on that they give buyers a 100-day trial period on top of free shipping, which is pretty great if you’re on the fence. So go ahead, pick up your own Away Bigger Carry-on to see what all the fuss is about — this travel editor is confident you’ll be glad you did.

At the time of publishing, the price started at $267. 

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