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You don’t have to be a frequent flier to know that, when traveling, there are fewer things more reliable and convenient than a piece of rolling luggage. But perhaps just as universally known is that certain rolling suitcases can make you look like a bit of a dweeb when you pull (or worse, push) them along. So finding ones that actually look good never hurts. Still, one person’s go-to suitcase could be another’s nightmare — many travelers can be obsessive and particular about their luggage — and price points for these things vary drastically. So we called upon some of the most well-traveled people we know (who also happen to be smart and stylish), and asked them about their favorite rolling luggage, from hard-shell to soft-case styles in both carry-on and checked sizes.

Lots of our frequent travelers tend to agree that Away is one of the best bets these days. After a three-week, seven-city business trip abroad with only her Away Bigger Carry-On, Kelly Farber, founder of KF Literary Scouting says, “I am basically a walking advertisement for it. That thing just would not quit.” Clémence Polès, founder of the style recommendations site Passerbuys was initially skeptical of the brand’s trendiness, but the Bigger Carry-On’s durability, capacity, and streamlined style won her over. “There is a sensibility to its design,” she says, “which is something I always seek in all the things I buy.” Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill likes the Away, too. “My suitcases get beat to hell so I don’t mind paying a bit more for one that will last,” he says. “It’s sturdy but light, and has a USB charger so I can charge my phone just enough to order an Uber. Plus, inside it has a nylon bag where I can toss in my clothes after getting caught in a sudden jungle downpour, which always seems to happen.” James Feess — aka the Savvy Backpacker, who historically travels with backpacks — recently picked up the Away carry-on, too. “We haven’t put it through any rigorous travel yet, but for the small trips we’ve taken, we’ve liked it — especially the battery pack so we can recharge our phones and iPads,” he says. Stephanie Be from TravelBreak.net and BUENA also likes Away’s “TSA-approved lock, 360 degree wheels, tough hardware, and sleek design.”

For writer Robin Reetz, carry-ons were a source of stress until she tried this 20-inch spinner from AmazonBasics. “I’ve never been much of a carry-on gal. Despite traveling regularly for work and play, I’ve always preferred to check a bag rather than carry it on,” she explains. “There’s something about the stress of having to bring your luggage to the bathroom when traveling alone, then stressing over finding overhead space on the plane.” While she was first drawn to this rolling suitcase for its affordable price, “the compartments and much-better-than-expected functionality are what I can’t shut up about,” she says. “It’s really perfect for a weekend or four-five day trip. I’ve traveled recently with friends who have Away and Delsey luggage and all are now thinking about getting this bag.”

Travel blogger Alyssa Ramos of My Life’s a Travel Movie recommends this carry-on by Ricardo Beverly Hills. “It has a second zipper that allows it to expand for more space, refuses to ever break, fits way more than it looks like it can, and doubles as a seat when I’m in line at airports, customs, train stations, etc.,” she says. “And that’s coming from someone who used it as her only luggage for about three years.”



Travel photographer Anna Mazurek recommends this spinner by Kamiliant. “I have a 24-inch hard-shell suitcase by Kamiliant with two sections,” she says, which she uses to follow a simple organization system. “One section is only for clothes and the other half is for toiletries, shoes, chargers, etc.”

“My favorite rolling suitcase right now is the Horizn Cabin Trolley in the chic navy-blue color,” says Pauline Egge, travel journalist and photographer behind the website Petite Passport. “There’s a charger inside of the trolley so you can charge your phone while waiting at the airport. “The wheels are really smooth and there’s an extra front pocket for my laptop, iPad, magazines, and a thin book,” which she finds convenient for easy access when going through security. Egge swears by her Horizn Studios carry-on so much that she told us she’s hoping to nab the checkable size soon.

“I first heard about the EO Hard Shell Roller when I worked as an editor at a business magazine and I put it into a gift guide,” says Kurt Soller, articles editor at T Magazine. “I then bought one myself, and it quickly became my carry-on of choice. The most genius part is the polycarbonate hard shell; you tuck your laptop into its sleeve and unzip the top of the bag. It allows you to pass the laptop through TSA machines without having to separate it into a bin. (This video explains it.) The suitcase fits more than my regulation-grade Tumi, and because only one side of the InCase has any structure — the rest is made from handsome, lightweight, wooly fabric — it remains light and easy to lift into an overhead compartment. I also love that it only has two wheels (unpopular opinion, I know) because I’d much rather drag luggage in my wake rather than walk it like a dog beside me.”

“My favorite rolling travel piece is the Calpak Ambeur carry-on,” says Caroline Maguire, fashion director at Shopbop. “I love the aesthetic of this bag: clean minimal lines, Über-chic, and easy to use.” She also calls out the compartments and center dividers for how convenient they make for packing. “It’s also functional and fashionable — and a find at $135 — so you won’t feel guilty,” she adds.

“My favorite piece of rolling luggage is without question the Rimowa Classic, and it’s accompanied me on many a journey,” says Tom Marchant, co-founder of luxury travel and lifestyle brand Black Tomato. “As travel is a constant in my life, my luggage needs durability, function, and an understated design.” He loves its timeless and elegant look and the fact that it’s waterproof — “a critical factor when traveling.” It’s also lightweight and can be stored overhead. It’s durable, too: “My Rimowa has seen quite a few things around the world, including a tumble off the roof rack of a tiny car while winding down roads in Greece (miraculously intact).” He never has to worry about items he’s collected during his travels breaking, either. “As I split my time between New York and L.A., this has become a staple of my life on the go and, I do believe, a lucky talisman of the adventures to come,” he says.

“I invested in the Rimowa Salsa Air [rebranded as Essential Lite] the year that I launched Fathom with my business partner, Pavia Rosati,” says Jeralyn Gerba, co-founder and editorial director of the travel-guide website. “It’s the best travel companion. It’s insanely lightweight and sturdy with the smoothest wheels in the game.” She’s taken it with her to 30 or so countries. “Whether I’m traveling for a weekend or six weeks, it’s the only suitcase I need. As a carry-on, it has a more slender silhouette than most — meaning you won’t get any side-eye from the flight attendants.”

For something less utilitarian and a lot fancier looking, Fathom’s Gerba and Rosati recommend Steamline Luggage “for its modern elegance.” “It’s a flexible hard suitcase that looks retro but has all the technological bells and whistles,” they explain.

The Strategist’s former deputy editor Jason Chen resisted rolling luggage for as long as possible because “it always reminded me of pharmaceutical reps, or the dorkiest kid in middle school.” But after discovering 105-year-old British luggage maker Antler while traveling in Europe a few years ago, he decided to get rid of his duffel bag and give it a go — if for nothing else but the sake of his posture. The suitcase, Chen notes, “glides on four precision-made Hinomoto wheels (a company which, according to obsessive fliers, is a standard-bearer of quality caster-making).” He adds: “The thing is extraordinarily light at 5.3 pounds (the Rimowa analogue tips the scales at 7.1), but feels shockingly sturdy; its speckled polypropylene shell is built to combat and conceal obvious (but inevitable) scratches. It also has a handy built-in lock, and indestructible hard casing. But what I really love about it is how much I can fit. Despite its tiny dimensions, which always fit into an overhead, I’ve been able to cram in a week’s worth of clothes for a winter trip in Asia (thanks to clever folding), or enough for ten summery days in L.A. It’s really the clown car of carry-on luggage.”

Stefan Arestis and Sebastien Chaneac of travel blog Nomadic Boys agree. “Our favorite suitcases at the moment are the Juno II by Antler. They are sturdy, extremely secure with a built-in lock mechanism and have four wheels. They also look really classy. We have the one for check-in luggage, and another smaller one for carry-on.”

“Travel whisperer” Wendy Perrin uses an expandable soft-shell Travelpro spinner that she says is fabulous. She likes it because the top is big enough rest her backpack on, which gives her a free hand as she uses the other to push the suitcase through an airport. The suitcase’s expandable sides are key, too, especially since different airlines have different rules on what they consider carry-on size: “I pack everything in the suitcase; put your parka, shawl, and any other stuff you want to grab quickly on top — you can take those things out and wear them on your person if you need to compress it, so you don’t need to check your bag.”

When travel/wellness blogger Olivia Christine Perez isn’t backpacking, she swears by her Skyway carry-on. She’s had it for ten years and says it remains in great condition.

Robert Kittel, general manager of Pretty Hotels, has been using this rolling camera bag for two years now. Not only does it carry camera gear, a drone, and a laptop, but it also fits clothing, too. “This bag is so unique, and you don’t look like a photo-nerd,” he says. “The greatest thing about this bag is that it has enough space to work as a weekender.” As a bonus, Kittel says that you can easily pop another small bag on top and roll it along.

While Fathom’s Gerba swears by the hard shell Rimowa carry-on, she says her co-founder Rosati prefers a soft shell by Tumi. “Pavia’s go to is the Tumi Abbey Continental for the top-loading option (so you can use it like a drawer) and the expandable section (so you can bring home lots of wine from wherever).”

Tumi also makes fashion personality Joe Zee’s rolling luggage of choice. “For most of my trips, I’ll use this,” he says of the Alpha 2. He likes how durable the brand’s luggage is in general, saying that he used his last Tumi suitcase for over ten years, traveling for shoots with reference books in tow. Now, he can look everything up on his phone, but he still needs something with room: “I find that I still need the big bag, though, for all of my personal stuff,” he says. “I travel with a lot of tech: two laptops and the iPad. And I have chargers for everything, and portable chargers in case they run out of juice on the go. The interior of the bag is really easy too: It just has a separate compartment for dirty laundry, and there are clips for a garment bag on the interior. The only thing is that it’s such a basic color. When I was buying it, I kept being like, ‘Are there any other colors?’ Unfortunately not.”

“I’ve been using the rolling luggage from Burton for years now,” says Jeff Halmos, co-founder of Monogram. He owns both carry-on and checkable sizes and has “literally crisscrossed the globe using them.” Halmos particularly loves how smooth and durable the suitcase’s skateboard wheels are, and other features like the wet/dry pocket. “You never know when you’ll find yourself at the beach or by the pool,” he says. “The bags are great for my annual snowboard trip (which is obvious, being Burton and all), but I also took mine to Florida. The wet/dry section came in handy for some preflight pool activities.”

Donna Lennard, founder and owner of il Buco, il Buco Alimentari, and il Buco Vita, loves her Briggs & Riley bag. “It’s lasted me at least 15 years and has followed me all over the world,” she says, noting that she only recently had to replace a wheel (her first repair). Her teenage son started traveling with her, and the bag has been a constant companion for him, too: “We love to travel together and this bag holds everything we need to make traveling easy. We load in our electronics, cameras, books, goodies for the plane, throw mom’s heavy purse on top so that her shoulders are free and off we go.”

Carpet and furniture designer Madeline Weinrib’s luggage of choice is from American heritage brand T. Anthony. “I use the T. Anthony roller in both the carry-on and checked sizes,” she says. “I’m always going to Europe or Morocco or Africa, so I generally bring a lot and usually do have to check a bag. I have found that no suitcase really takes the beating of airport baggage-handling well — even the steel one — so I appreciate that, with my T. Anthony, if the wheel falls off or the zipper breaks, the company will repair it for free.” Plus, it looks great: “My attachment to the brand is also really aesthetic. They’re elegant and chic, especially the black-with-tan-trim versions I own. The contrast makes them easy to spot on the carousel, too. My mother introduced me to the brand, so I like the tradition and history, too.”

Sisters Joana and Sofia Lacerda — the creators of JO&SO, a guide to the best hotels in Portugal — rely on Samsonite for their travels, with Sofia using this hard-shell spinner. “I’ve had a large hard-case Samsonite for twelve years now,” she says. “It’s amazing how resistant it is; it’s never given me any issues and we have travelled so much together. Whenever possible I prefer to travel light, but I still use this bad boy when I need to carry more stuff.”

When it comes to larger rolling luggage, Ramos is also loyal to Samsonite’s large hard-shell suitcase (which she says is basically a larger version of her Ricardo Beverly Hills carry-on). “My all-time favorite that has been the most loyal, both because it refuses to break itself or my back and arms,” she says. “The hard shell is essential because of the amount of trauma my suitcases go through, and also because it protects the random artifacts I collect.” It also lets her squeeze in all the stuff she tends to overpack, and — importantly for her — doubles as a seat. She’s also partial to Samsonite’s smaller Novaire 20-inch spinner “specifically for my camera equipment and my purse. As a frequent traveler, carrying camera equipment and a heavy purse is extremely straining on my neck, back, and arms, so I just put it all in the carry-on and roll it.”

The 85-liter capacity Rimowa Essential Check-in L suitcase is the go-to luggage for Etty Liu and Chris Schalkx of travel website Rice/Potato. “They’ve seen crowded metro stations in Tokyo and have been dragged across sandy beaches in Lamu, and they never let us down,” says Schalkx. It’s definitely pricey, but worth the investment, he adds. “Years after the initial purchase, we often tell each other that this has been one of our best travel investments we’ve made. The polycarbonate makes them lightweight and durable. And the wheels roll as smooth as a knife through butter, [no matter] the terrain they’re on. On top of that, the locks add an extra level of safety, and it’s great to know we can just hop into one of the Rimowa boutiques for assistance if anything happens with them.”

Here’s another recommendation for Rimowa’s rolling luggage, this time from Eugenia Gonzalez de Henn, a contributing editor at Condé Nast Traveler. “My absolute favorite bag is the Rimowa aluminum Topas [now known as Original]. I discovered the brand three years ago through my husband, a perfectionist German architect who swears by their design and practicality. I’ve been a convert ever since,” she says. “I actually don’t own my own yet; I just steal his every time I can. I love how light they are, how when they open the weight is evenly divided down the middle, and these very handy blue dividers that hold your clothing down so nothing moves, wrinkles, or unfolds when you open and close your bag. You can tighten and loosen them, so everything stays in its place. The bag also rolls so smoothly, it feels like it can walk on its own. I love the built-in lock system for security too, so you don’t need to worry about losing the key.”

Like her sister, JO&SO co-founder Joana Lacerda also opts for Samsonite when it comes to checkable rolling luggage — but a soft-shell style instead. “I like the fact that it’s incredibly light and it has an understated look,” she says. “I fell in love with the color combo as soon as I saw it.”

“I travel pretty much monthly between the East Coast and L.A., Austin, and Seattle, or internationally to London and Paris,” says Damien Nunes, global director of men’s trend and concept at Gap. “This bag has to be checked, which is fine with me because it’s super weather-resistant, has smooth, strong wheels, and a great handle. What I love is that it’s just a huge volume of space, without lots of useless pockets and compartments. What’s also great is that it has a zipped bottom lining that I can shove stinky, dirty clothes under during a trip.”

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Professional traveling couple Chanel Cartell and Stevo Dirnberger — the duo behind the blog How Far From Home — love their Big Bastard 90-liter capacity rolling luggage from Douchebag. With one large main compartment that’s lined with mesh pockets, it’s easy to pack in whatever method you prefer. “We don’t personally use packing cubes, but we do roll everything up so that it’s easy to spot an item and just pull it out and replace it with another rolled item (it’s like a real-life game of Tetris),” they told us. “We’ll place bottoms (shorts, jeans, pants, skirts) on the one side, and tops on the other, with miscellaneous items scattered on the sides.”

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Every product is independently selected by (obsessive) editors. Things you buy through our links may earn New York a commission.

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