What to Consider When Buying Carry-On Luggage

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For travelers, a good carry-on bag can mean the difference between a nasty surprise at the airline’s check-in counter and a worry-free trip without costly checked-bag fees. However, not all bags sold as carry-ons are up to the task, and you should keep the following tips in mind when selecting a piece of carry-on luggage:

– Weight. Carry-on bags rarely end up exceeding the maximum weight that domestic airlines stipulate, but international airlines can be much stricter. In addition, because you have to handle your own bag, the weight of the bag itself can make a big difference in your quality of life during the trip. Aim for a bag that weighs no more than eight pounds before being packed. Otherwise, you may end up straining your shoulders carting your luggage around the airport or being forced to check a too-heavy bag when you fly overseas.

– Make sure your bag can conform to tight spaces. Bags with durable, hard outsides are great for luggage that you plan to check, but in the world of carry-on bags, soft sides tends to work best. Bags with soft sides can be squished into a tight space in an overhead bin or molded to fit the bag tester at the airline check-in counter, which gives you additional flexibility as you travel.

– Choose your carrying method wisely. You can generally save weight by getting a bag that rolls or one that you carry by straps, rather than a bag that can be handled either way. Each method of transporting your bag has its own strengths and weaknesses, and if you choose a bag that must be carried, purchase one that has two carry straps. Hauling a full bag on one shoulder can be painful.

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