carry on luggage
Take a stylish and practical carry-on when you travel, for convenient and quick transfers on and off the flight. Image Credit: Pexels/Gustavo Fring

Winter holidays are nearly here! If you're planning on travelling, invest in compact, sturdy carry-on luggage that’s large enough to fit everything you need. Sometimes travellers will do away with checked baggage altogether and carry all their essentials in a carry-on, when their trip is short. Whether you're going away for longer or need a small cabin bag as your main luggage, find the best carry-ons in this list.

First and foremost, make sure your luggage dimensions are in line with the airline's carry-on allowance. Most UAE-based airlines, like Emirates, draw the line at 55cm (21.65 inches) in length when it comes to cabin baggage, though sizes will vary from airline to airline. There are flight restrictions on the weight, as well, so do pack accordingly to avoid excess baggage fees.

Another important aspect to consider is the shell material: Should you opt for hard- or soft-sided luggage? Our luggage repair expert, Fazal Imam, the founder of Dubai Repairs, advises travellers on the former.

"We suggest our clients go with a hard shell because it's more durable compared to a soft carry-on," said Imam, adding that a softer material sustains stains easily and could collapse. There's also the risk of damaging fragile contents, as the luggage is loaded and unloaded from the cabin. Though, do note that a soft-side case can be expandable to some extent, if you want to pack more, and will usually weigh less than a hard case.

Which carry-on brands should you be looking out for? Imam has seen fewer repair requests from Samsonite, American Tourister, Mont Blanc and Delsey Paris, and highlights how their products come with a warranty, too.

We did the research on Amazon and came up with a list of the best carry-on bags that are lightweight, easy to push or pull, and have sufficient space for all your essentials. Save an extra 10 per cent, if you're a Citibank cardholder - just enter code CB10DEC at checkout. Get ready for your next vacation by ordering these carry-ons via Amazon Prime and receiving your product in just one day.

1. Best Overall: Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage, 20-inch

Pros

  • Expandable
  • Four multi-directional spinner wheels
  • Built-in TSA combination lock
  • 10-year warranty included

Cons

  • Some reviewers say it is not as durable as expected

Travel in style with this Samsonite Winfield 2 carry-on. It's relatively lightweight at 3kgs and made of a hard, outer polycarbonate shell with sharp moulded details, all of which absorb impact and pop out any dents to maintain the original shape. The carry-on has an elegant brushed pattern on the outside that helps hide any potential scratches or scuffs. It comes with a fully-lined interior with cross-straps and a privacy curtain with its own zippered organisational pockets. The suitcase is perfect for travel to countries like the US and UK as it has the approved Transportation Security Administration (TSA) combination lock. Most reviews commend its lightweight build, which helps them pack more, but do note that the exterior sustains scratches easily.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh57.86 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a 10-year limited warranty.

2. Best Budget Hardside Luggage: Amazon Basics Premium Hardside Spinner Suitcase Luggage, 20-inch

Pros

  • 360-degree spinner wheels
  • Built-in TSA numerical lock
  • Up to 15 per cent expandable
  • Six colour options

Cons

  • Relatively heavy at over 3kgs, say reviews

Get the most packing space with this hard-shell carry-on suitcase. It's compact, and easily holds the airline industry standard of 7kg for cabin baggage (or 8kg in the Subcontinent). The bag spins on four double wheels in all directions, so moving through the airport with this is going to be effortless. The hard shell of the suitcase is made of polycarbonate material, whereas the interior organiser is made of 150D polyester to protect your belongings. Reviews love how much this expandable luggage fits - it comes with a divider, a compression pad and three smaller zippered pockets for papers, cables and chargers. This line of luggage is available in six different colours, perfect for travelling in style.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a three-year limited warranty.

2. Best Softside Luggage: American Tourister Jamaica, 58cm

Pros

  • Multi-directional four-wheel design
  • Packs 25 per cent more
  • Lightweight
  • Best suited for short trips

Cons

  • Reviewers say the bag can tip over if it's full
  • Dimensions might be bigger for select airlines, at 58cm

One inevitable con of most hard-shell suitcases is they can tend to get heavy. Get this soft-sided American Tourister Jamaica Luggage, made of polyester – it weighs 2.9kgs and allows for easy travel. The larger version of this bag is our number one choice for the best check-in baggage. This piece of luggage may be smaller but it can hold between 7 to 10kg of weight. The carry-on has a pocket inside to store all your important files, and an expandability option that can accommodate up to 25 per cent more items than usual. You can easily navigate the carry-on around the airport with its multi-directional four-wheel design.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a three-year international warranty.

3. Best Design: Eminent KG82 Carry-On, 20-inch, Yellow

Pros

  • 360-degree spinner wheels
  • Lightweight hard-side luggage
  • Durable, scratch-resistant exterior
  • Expandable storage by 4cm
  • Built-in TSA lock

Cons

  • No smaller compartments for electronics

It’s hard not to love this stylish Eminent KG82 luggage collection. It's loaded with amazing features, including a spacious interior, scratch resistance, and mesh dividers on both sides with an elastic strap. This suitcase is also UV-resistant and made of lightweight high-tech polycarbonate material for low dead weight, at 2.3kgs. Slide your luggage faster with a four-wheel spinner that rotates 360 degrees for smooth transit. It’s a great bag to take with you on long-distance flights. Pick from four colours, which include preppy yellow, turquoise and purple.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a three-year warranty.

4. Best Expandable Bag: Delsey Paris Titanium Hardside, 19-inch

Pros

  • Multi-directional double spinner wheels
  • Built-in TSA combination lock
  • Scratch-resistant, sturdy exterior
  • Expandable by two inches
  • Includes padded interior sleeve for electronics

Cons

  • Expensive

Look chic with this sturdy, practical Delsey Paris hard-side cabin bag. This lightweight carry-on features a stylish hard-shell exterior made of durable polycarbonate, resilient to breaking or scratches. Note that the luggage has a smaller form factor than the other carry-on suitcases in this list - some reviews find 19 inches the perfect size for easy rolling. The interiors of the suitcase have ample space, with an integrated padded sleeve to store a 15.6-inch laptop, which buyers point out can be accessed from the outside. You can expand the suitcase by up to two inches to fit in additional items while packing. The four-wheel spinner assures a stable base with multi-directional rolling that is convenient to manoeuvre. Available in three attractive colours: light silver, graphite and black cherry red.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a 10-year limited warranty.

5. Best Underseat Bag: Briggs & Riley Baseline Deluxe Travel Tote, 16.5-inch

Pros

  • Premium build quality
  • Compact, easy to carry
  • Surprisingly spacious, say reviewers
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Expensive

Weighing 1.56kgs, the Briggs & Riley Baseline tote is the bag you need if you don’t want to bother with bulkier trolley bags, and are heading out on a short flight. This compact carry-on tote is designed to fit under the seat or in the cabin overhead at 16.5 inches. It's made of lightweight ballistic nylon, with leather trim, adding up to a rugged construction that the reviewers say they appreciate. If you’d like to slide it over a trolley bag, there is a slip-through back pocket for easy transport. The bag is deceptively roomy, with plenty of pockets and openings to keep all your electronics and documents organised.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a lifetime guarantee, which includes free repair.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.