Cool Carry-Ons for Baggage Buffs

black and white suitcasesGenius Pack black suitcaseWhite Away suitcase
Titus black suitcasewhite under seat suitcase
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As travelers, we have personal relationships with our luggage. We know each other's flaws and foibles (my suitcase's: a loose screw that I remember whenever it snags on my clothes but forget whenever I'm near a toolbox; mine: overpacking). We spend so much time together that those small annoyances can blow up into full-on frustration, but it doesn't have to be that way. Here are four carry-ons—all under $250—to inspire love at first sight, even in the most seasoned, seen-it-all nomad.

For the Extreme Organizer

If you find satisfaction in structure, efficiency, and the value of a good organizational system, this one’s for you—the third iteration of the Genius Pack carry-on is the most intuitive version yet. The dedicated storage compartments (internally, for chargers, socks, and underwear; externally, for a water bottle, passport, and magazines) are a pocket-lover’s dream, the laundry-compression system provides the wiggle room for a few extra pieces of clothing, and the jacket strap is the enhancement you didn’t know you needed—just attach your outer layer after security and free up a hand. The memory-foam top and side handles deliver a comfortable grip, and there's even a handle on the bottom, between the wheels, for easy overhead-bin maneuvering. Tack on the integrated accessories—a removable charger and a mini umbrella—for an extra $60, and consider your needs met.

Genius Pack G3 22” Carry On Spinner, $238,

Courtesy Genius Pack

For the Trend Spotter

Thanks to their stylish build and frequent limited-edition collaborations with everyone from West Elm and Pop & Suki to Madewell and Rashida Jones, these minimalist, tough-shelled suitcases from Away have acquired a loyal following of models, actors, social-media influencers, and regular folks too. Each carry-on has a polycarbonate exterior and comes equipped with USB ports powered by a rechargeable, removable, FAA-, TSA-, and DOT-approved battery, but this winter, we’re particularly smitten with the Alpine. The last remaining offering from the Gray Malin collection, its bright white exterior opens to reveal a lining printed with the photographer’s work, and its tiny, seasonally appropriate skiers couldn’t be any cuter.

The Carry-On, $225,

Courtesy Away

For the Roughshod Roamer

If you’d rather not worry about your luggage surviving a few rounds at baggage claim, you need something that can take a bit of abuse, and this cabin-size case doesn’t need to be handled with kid gloves. With a polypropylene shell, a flexible frame, and compression zones to absorb impact, the Titus is stronger than it looks. Added bonus: It also comes with a built-in USB port, so you’ll never have to fight for an outlet again.

Titus Cabin Suitcase, $199,

Courtesy Antler

For the Light Traveler

With its classic lines and clever details—organizational pockets galore, smooth-rolling wheels, a smart band that can either serve as supplemental magazine storage or allow the entire piece to slip over the pull handle of a larger suitcase for a seamless in-airport experience—this chic little underseater is just what we’ve come to expect from long-standing French luggage brand Delsey. It’s just roomy enough to hold the essentials for a weekend away, and its lightweight construction makes it a good choice for someone with strength or mobility issues: No need to hoist it into the overhead bin or struggle to, from, and through the airport with a heavy backpack.

Chatelet under-seater, Delsey, $180,

Hard case or soft? Four wheels or two? Built-in charger, compression system, combination lock, or laundry bag? Choosing a suitcase involves quite a few decisions, and it can be expensive, but if you pick the right stuff, it'll bring you joy—and that's not a bad return on your investment.

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