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Finding the perfect carry-on luggage. 6 Things to look out for!

which cabin bag to buy

Chris and I have been doing a fair bit of traveling lately, and both of us have been on the lookout for the perfect luggage. While your main suitcase, is of-course important, I think it’s the carry-on that needs to function at its best in order to fit your needs. This is particularly so if you’re traveling with only the cabin bag and not checking anything into the hold at all. I think I’ve found the perfect one, and I just thought I’d tell you about it…

I had six criteria the carry-on case needed to meet:

1. I wanted a hard shell, as opposed to fabric material. I’m carrying my camera equipment and usually my laptop with me, so I wantthe best pink carry-on luggage the best possible protection for them – they are my life!

2. I wanted four wheels, not two. My main suitacse that goes in the hold only has two, and therefore to manoever it, it must be dragged behind me. (On a future suitcase purchase, I might also go for four wheels, but my current one isn’t looking like it’s going to give up the ghost yet, so this is the current situation.) I’ve found that there is rarely room to pull two items of luggage along behind you – particularly through airport and hotel doors. Try as I might, the pushing the carry-on in front of me just never worked! The handle would always slide down and I’d end up kicking it. And whilst other people seem to manage to balance their carry-on on top of their suitcase; I couldn’t succesfully do that either! So pushing the carry-on on four wheels in front is the only solution.
(By the way, a rucksack or shoulder bag is just too heavy for my back to cope, so that’s not an option.)

3. This is the tricky one; and immediately took my search from thousands of possible options to about five. I wanted one that had an cabin bag with laptop pocketopen-out pocket big enough for an A4 folder. I usually travel with all our documents in said folder, and it needs to be easily accessible. It contains our airport parking information; our airport overnight hotel booking; our flight documents, our ESTAs (if we’re traveling to America), our car hire information, and print-outs of any hotel bookings we’ve made the other end. Oh, and also our passports. This stuff doesn’t fit into my little shoulder bag. And if you’re traveling a budget airline, you’re often not allowed an additional handbag anyway.
Chris bought himself a very expensive set of Samsonite luggage for our previous trip, and although he’s very impressed with it, if he wants to take anything out, he needs find a flat surface, lay it on its side and unclip the whole thing to get inside. It’s a huge pain.

4. The handle needed to have two metal prongs, not one – one wiggles about too much – and also have a button so you know it’s not going to slide back down under the slightest bit of pressure. My previous carry-on bag was a huge disappointment and waste of money. Just so you don’t make the same mistake as me, I will tell you that I emphatically do not recommend the brand Two Cities, which I bought from the Clarks shop. There were holes in the fabric after one holiday. Ok, it was a big road-trip holiday, but still, I expect better. However the worst thing that whenever I walked slightly downhill with the bag wheeling behind me, the handle would slide in and in and in resulting in it twisting and turning all over the place until I kicked it out again with my foot.
I actually found that by the time I reached criteria number three, they all had these better handle features anyway, but I thought I’d mention it in case it’s helpful to you.

British travel blogger pulling best cabin luggage

5. I wanted to pay a reasonable price. People can pay a shocking amount of money on their luggage, but I’m not one of those people. As it was, I had to take a deep breath before I hit the Buy button on this one, but as the Five Cities one was a waste of £26 (approximately) I thought I’d pay a bit more for something that I hope would last somewhat longer. I didn’t want to pay too muchbest cabin suitcase though in case I didn’t get on with this style of carry-on bag as I’d never used one like it before. This one was £69.99.

6. I actually wanted my luggage to look nice! Is this too much to ask? If I didn’t have criteria three, I could have had the choice of some absolutely beautiful luggage, and oh I was tempted! Stunning shades of dusky pink; stylish patterns and I could imagine myself wheeling it around the airport feeling like a famous blogger. However none of them had that elusive pocket. After everything else taken into consideration, there was literally a choice of one. And it was this ABS one:

I’m so annoyed it’s currently out of stock! I could only find two others that cover most things I’m looking for in a cabin bag, and the second is more of an investment, but is very good quality:

I’ve recently returned from an eight-day holiday in Italy with just this cabin bag, and I really struggled to fit everything in; in fact Chris had my wash bag in his! Maybe when I grow up I’ll learn to pack more frugally! Are you off on holiday this summer? Do you have to fit everything into a cabin bag? Let me know how you get on!

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Writer, pyrographer, renovator, crafter, photographer and maker of bohemian clothing and costumes.

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