Whether you're traveling for three days or three months, the right carry-on luggage can make all the difference when it comes to having a stress-free trip. And a high-quality bag doesn't have to mean a high price tag. The best carry-on luggage under $100 can still be dependable and space-efficient at a budget-friendly price.
When searching for your ideal carry-on, there are three key qualities to think about:
- Size: The carry-on size limit can vary by airline (especially with international flights), so it's always best to look up an airline's specific restrictions before traveling. But the standard carry-on size limit for domestic flights is 14 by 9 by 22 inches. Each bag on my list falls within those dimensions, and one of them can even fit under your seat.
- Portability: Your luggage should be easy to move around with. If you opt for a wheeled suitcase, look for one with four double-spinning wheels instead of two; this will allow you to move easily in any direction without having to tilt it. If you're looking for a backpack or a tote, you may want one that can slide over the handle of a suitcase for added security (and stability) while traveling.
- Durability: Your bag is going to take a beating when you travel, so look for heavy-duty materials that resist tears and scratches, like polycarbonate or nylon. You may also want to choose a bag that's waterproof — especially if you're traveling with electronics.
Whether you're looking for the best travel tote bags or the most durable suitcases, here are three excellent options for affordable luggage.
1. The Overall Best Carry-On Luggage Under $100
Dimensions: 14 by 9 by 21.5 inches
Available colors: Black, blue, green, grey, navy blue, red
What's great about it: Made with a hard, polycarbonate outer-shell (which offers high impact resistance and durability against scratches), this AmazonBasics carry-on is designed to last. It features an inner-lining that's gentle on your clothing and other possessions, as well as a divider you can use to keep things organized.
This suitcase can be expanded by up to 15 percent for those longer trips, and it also includes a compression pad that will let you pack even more. With four double-spinning wheels that let you push it in any direction, this suitcase is also super convenient to transport.
What fans say: "Took it on a 2 week overseas trip, airports, trains, buses, metro, street... this thing took it all like a trooper. The wheels have a good size that allow it to roll on most city streets. The trip had one flight with very tight luggage constraints, this luggage fit everywhere. Highly recommended."
2. The Best Carry-On Luggage With A Laptop Compartment
Dimensions: 12.2 by 5.9 by 18.5 inches at its smallest; 18.3 by 12.2 by 9.5 inches when expanded
Available colors: Black, grey, dark green
What's great about it: This travel backpack features an expandable construction, so while it's perfect for storing electronics, it can also extend an extra 3 inches to fit all the travel necessities you would usually put in a suitcase. The main compartment has two zippered sections to separate your items. The interior sleeves offer a secure spot for tablets and laptops up to 15.6 inches big, while the largest pocket can hold a laptop up to 17.3 inches big.
Built with waterproof fabric that's resistant to tears, this backpack provides a built-in USB port to connect with your power bank, so you can charge your smartphone and other devices. And if you're also traveling with a suitcase, this backpack can be attached to its handle with the help of a velcro strap.
What fans say: "I sincerely love every feature of this backpack and I'm not even 'the backpack type.' As someone who has sworn by roller suitcases all her life, I can tell you this is better. It is hands free, the straps are comfy and distribute the weight very well. The compartments helped keep me way more organized than my suitcase could."
3. The Most Compact Carry-On Luggage
Dimensions: 18.5 by 5.9 by 11.4 inches
Available colors: Indi pink, black, mint green, navy blue, wine red
What's great about it: Despite the low price, this travel tote bag is high on quality; the waterproof nylon material is light but still durable enough to withstand trip after trip, and the double-zipper construction means your belongings will stay safe and secure. While the bag is equally comfortable to hold by the handles or carry on your shoulder, it also has a strap that lets you slide it right over your suitcase handle for convenience.
This tote is small enough to fit under most airline seats, and when empty, it can be folded up into one of its own pockets. In addition to traveling, it's even great for everyday use as a gym or beach bag.
What fans say: "I. AM. OBSESSED. WITH. THIS. BAG!!!! I travel a lot and saw this bag on a list of items for travelers. It is a dream. So easy to slide it on my suitcase and not have to carry it. I also used it as a short trip bag when I didn't want to lug around my suitcase."
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