Picks for the Savvy Traveler
Between budgeting for flights, rental cars and $17 airport breakfast sandwiches, you’ve got enough on your financial plate when planning a vacation without having to worry about shelling out on pricey luggage. Happily, there are plenty of top-notch suitcases, carry-on bags and luggage options out there for under $100.
What to Consider When Shopping for Suitcases and Carry-on Luggage
There are a few important considerations before you buy make a luggage purchase, including:
- Size: Most modern suitcases bill themselves as “checked,” “carry-on” or “under-seat/personal bag” size. That being said, not all airlines have the same requirements, so it’s a good idea to check the restrictions of airlines before making a purchase.
- Exterior: Consider if you want a hard or soft exterior. Hard luggage offers better protection from the rough and tumble world of baggage handling, but can weigh more than its soft-shell counterparts. Soft luggage adds the benefit of being easier to stuff into a crowded overhead bin than a rigid suitcase.
- Overall quality: Although it’s definitely possible to find quality luggage picks for less, it takes a little more homework. Less-reputable luggage manufacturers cut costs by cutting corners, and flimsy suitcases could spell headaches — and wallet-aches — for your future.
There are a few great bags that stay on the right side of the fine line between cheap to buy and cheaply made. Here are some of our favorite low-cost luggage pieces that won’t leave you with your clothes spilling across a baggage carousel:
Cheap Luggage: Table of Contents
Note: Prices and inventory are subject to change.
Cheap Luggage Under $100
Spinner Luggage Sets: SwissGear Sion Softside Luggage
SwissGears red cross logo is a common sight on baggage carousels, and with good reason. The company has a reputation for making high-quality, reliable luggage that can withstand years of frequent flying. The recent price drop on the Sion Softside offers a chance to snap up a great rolling carry-on suitcase with tons of compartments at a price much less than its worth.
Size: Carry-on (24.5″ x 15.25″ x 11″)
Price: $148 on Amazon.
Carry-on Luggage: L.L. Bean Medium Adventure Duffle
L.L. Bean has always cultivated a reputation of buy-it-for-life gear, and their sturdy Adventure Duffle line maintains that tradition of quality. It’s a no-frills soft bag made of durable waterproof fabric, with a surprising amount of packable room. There’s enough space for about a week’s worth of clothes — impressive for a bag that still meets most carry-on requirements.
Size: Underseat (11″ x 23″ x 11″)
Price: $59.95 at L.L. Bean.
American Tourister: Stratum XLT Hardside Luggage
It’s tough to find high-quality rolling hardshell cheap luggage for under $100 — let alone pieces that look as good as this. American Tourister has made a sturdy hard-shell carry-on bag, with single-track wheels, telescoping handle and a TSA lock — all backed with a limited 10-year warranty.
Size: Carry-on (22″ x 14″ x 9″)
Price: $79.24 on Amazon.
S-Zone Oversized Weekender Bag
The S-Zone Weekender bag, as the name suggests, is a great option for overnight to four-day trips. This rugged vintage duffle packs a lot of stuff and style, with different designs appropriate for both men and women — including genuine leather trim and sturdy canvas exterior. Other nice features include a shoulder strap and handles and rust-resistant metal components.
Size: Carry-on (21.7″ x 14.8″ x 10.2″)
Price: $54.99 on Amazon.
Amazon Basics Carry-on Rolling Travel Bag
Underseat bags offer the convenience of rolling carry-on luggage, while keeping your stuff close at hand in-flight. This model from Amazon Basics offers a ton of compartments, a telescoping handle, and in-line rolling wheels. It’s also stackable on top of your larger bag for seamless check-in.
Size: Underseat (13.39″ x 9.45″ x 14.17″)
Price: $64.56 on Amazon.
Wrangler El Dorado Luggage Set
Standing out among spinner-wheel luggage sets with its great price, Wrangler has made the perfect airport companion for long layovers. This suitcase set doesn’t just feature a pop-out holder for cups and phones, but also a USB port for keeping that phone charged.
Underneath the bells and whistles, it’s also just a nice suitcase set with both a soft-shell carry-on tote and a hard-shell suitcase, equipped with 360-degree spinner wheels and expandability for extra capacity.
Size: Underseat tote (20″ x 13.5″ x 11″) with a carry-on suitcase (14″ x 12.5″ x 5.5″)
Price: $64.80 on Amazon.
Coolife Expandable Suitcase
Coolife makes rugged but attractive hard-shell suitcases that undergo intense quality control testing. Along with 360-degree wheels and a TSA lock to keep your belongings safe, this carry-on suitcase also comes in several color options that will make picking it out of a crowded baggage carousel a snap.
Size: Carry-on (15.4″ x 8.7″ x 22.4″)
Price: $89.99 on Amazon.
Cheap Luggage Under $50
Matien Carry-on Travel Backpack
If you prefer giving your arms a break, this Matien Travel Backpack is a wonder of organization and carrying capacity. The expandable backpack has tons of pockets to keep your important travel gear close at hand, from your laptop to travel mugs to clothes — even a strategically placed compartment for an extra pair of shoes.
Size: Underseat (20″ x 13″ x 8″)
Price: $48.99 on Amazon.
Wrangler Hardside Carry-on Spinner Luggage
Looking for cheap luggage under $50? This carry-on bag from Wrangler slides under the half C-note mark without sacrificing quality. It’s a surprisingly light rolling bag that still keeps a lot of the features travelers look for in luggage — including 360-degree spinner wheels, compression straps and a size that meets most carry-on regulations.
Size: Carry-on (9.5″ x 21.5″ x 14.5″)
Price: $43.79 on Amazon.
Roamlite Travel HoldAll
The Roamlite Travel Holdall is technically a duffel bag, but given its size and shape, it acts like something a little closer to a large checked suitcase — with none of the extra weight. It’s a great buy if you’re in the market for cheap luggage under $50 with a soft shell. This duffle offers a stunning 100-liter capacity in its massive main pocket, as well as an adjustable shoulder strap for a comfortable carry.
Size: Checked (30″ x 14.5″ x 13.5″)
Price: $33.97 on Amazon.
Herschel Fifteen Waist Pack
Fanny packs have come back in style a big way lately, which is great news because they’re also quite useful for travelers. The Herschel Fifteen comes in an array of colors and patterns that match any outfit or style profile, while keeping your important documents, small items and devices safe in a hands-free bag.
Size: Underseat (8″ x 6.5″ x 1″)
Price: $31.94 on Amazon.