10 carry-on bags for for the ultimate business traveler

Business travel is a necessary evil for many of us. And while it can be fun to head out of the office and clear your head for a while, the constant packing and unpacking can be exhausting. There’s also the added joy of the security line madness even for those of us with TSA pre-check. Experienced travelers tend to pack light and pack small so that there’s never an option of having to check—and then wait for—luggage.

Stephanie Goldman, Sr. Director, Brand Communications at Samsonite makes a great case for carry-on luggage “The most logical positives for choosing a carry-on is to avoid checked baggage fees, and to allow yourself extra time when you arrive at your destination.”

Here are some other things Goldman says to consider before deciding on your luggage:

  • Where are you staying? It’s all about where you’re going. Are you going to be staying at an Airbnb? They will oftentimes have a washer/dryer on site.
  • What’s the climate? If it’s warmer, you can pack small t-shirts, shorts (lighter clothing overall) allowing you to fit more in your carry-on. Or consider taking only one or two pair of versatile shoes.
  • How long is your trip? Weekend trips call for carry-ons. Skip the personal items, and take advantage of the travel-sized toiletries in your hotel.

I also polled some travel writers and frequent business travelers for their picks for some of the best carry-on bags for business travelers in no particular order:

Perfect for overnight or a weekend: “I love my Briggs & Riley expandable carry-on. It works just as well for a weekend as it does for a two-week vacation,” offered freelance travel editor Laura Scholz. “It’s durable, lightweight (as in, I can carry it up and down several flights of stairs and put it in overheads by myself, and I’m pretty petite), comes with a lifetime guarantee.” So amazing is this bag according to Scholz, that while her
husband has the non-expandable one “he is forever stealing mine!”

Airport to office: If you hate walking into a meeting with a carry-on bag with wheels, you can opt for a super stylish carryall that transforms into whatever you need at the moment. Pond Los Angeles Transform Tote is made of waterproof and scratch-proof leather and also has detachable straps so you can easily transition from shoulder carry to backpack, to crossbody. It also has loads of pockets for essentials, including a padded
laptop pocket.

A well-weighted tote might do the trick. Lo & Sons large bag gets high marks from frequent traveler and writer Megy Karydes. “I never check my bags and when I travel for an overnight or even a couple of nights, I’ve been able to use my and I love it. I’ve gone through so many but this standby has been with me years and it still looks new.” Karydes adds that “The nice thing about this bag is it’s lightweight and I can either use the shoulder straps or the longer strap as a crossbody, which I often do when I’m using it at an airport. By being able to use it both ways, I can minimize my back strain.”

Back it up: If you’re more of a backpack person, Duchamp London’s Getaway expandable carry-on backpack has room for up to a week’s worth of clothes and still fits in the overhead cabin.

Sweet and underseat: I bought a Delsey Quilted rolling underseat bag after reading rave reviews (I don’t particularly trust reviews on shopping sites anymore, but there were so many reviews with authentic details, so I took a chance). While I love the expandability factor and pockets everywhere, it doesn’t wear very well. It is perfect for overnight trips though and at it’s extremely affordable. Only two wheels on this one.

Lots of room! For anything a few days longer, I opt for a bag that seems to grow as needed and my top pick is Kipling Darcey metallic rolling luggage. It’s a nice option if you’re heading to a conference and might come back with reading materials or plan on stocking up on souvenirs.

A black belt: Let’s face it, fanny packs are here to stay and they’re excellent when traveling since you can stow your important travel documents, phone, and essentials. State’s leather Crosby bag is chic enough to double as an actual handbag and has loads of extra room. One thing though, the belt can be a bit fiddly, so make sure it’s locked.

An extra bag: PLIQO Carry-On is a standalone bag or it can fit into other luggage that’s tough, stylish and abrasion-resistant and even has a folding garment and trouser hanger.

Office on the go: Samsonite Spinner Underseater with USB Port isn’t just adorable and small enough to use for the gym if needed, it also has a USB port so you don’t have to be at the mercy of your surroundings.

The transformer: I heart the Samsonite Encompass Womens Convertible Tote Backpack since it’s an incredibly stylish option for work, and there’s enough room to stow your overnight essentials. You can also wear it as a crossbody, backpack or smallish carry-on.