Road warriors and serious vagabonds all know that good luggage can make travel a breeze and bad luggage is usually a one-way ticket to Purgatory. Though I normally clock in at least 100,000 miles a year, I haven’t checked in a bag in years. And as I intend to keep it that way, I am always on the lookout for good carry-on spinner bags and other gadgets to make the travel experience as carefree as possible.
Here are some of my 2017 favorites:
The Genius Pack Hardcase Collection’s Aerial
This “Aerial” 21-inch hardside carry-on spinner with 360-degree wheels made by the brainiacs at Genius Pack is brilliantly designed. It has the added benefit of making me feel infinitely smarter since forgetting something is highly unlikely as there is an integrated packing list embedded into a “smart” internal pocket. With a separate laundry compartment and four additional compartments for socks, chargers and undergarments, as well as a separate compression strap section for larger clothing items, it’s the ultimate carry-on spinner for those who love to arrive neat, organized and ready to go. That it’s lightweight at 6.2 pounds and its telescoping handle has two locking positions is a boon for those among us who are vertically challenged. Available in matte white or jet black for $169.99.
The 5tar hybrid business cabin luggage
5tar’s 20-inch hybrid is the ultimate carry-on spinner bag for the road warrior/frequent business traveler. Made of lightweight polycarbonate, the hybrid is a two-piece carry-on suitcase that contains a detachable laptop bag/briefcase. One quick unzip and you’re ready for the next meeting. The luggage portion is roomy and contains one large zippered compartment. In the current post-9/11 travel environment allowing just one carry-on and one hand held item, this spiffy two-in-one design appears as one cohesive unit. Thus travelers can attach a tote with a sleeve onto the handle as I recently did containing my toiletry bag and electronics and still be following the rules. Available in jet black and navy blue for $199.00.
Lipault Paris Draw the Fall Spinner
Lipault Paris’ Draw the Fall Spinner at 21.6-inches is the lightest soft-sided carry-on I’ve come across at just 3.7 pounds. With two zippered internal compartments and a separate compression strap section, plus two external zippered compartments, you can stay well organized and probably pack this carry-on with far more than you need for a long weekend or a week away. Available in a geometric autumn print for $199.00 with a matching tote for $75 at.
Knomo London Cross Body Audley
The slim, structured leather Audley tote, made by Knomo London is available in three colors, and is both highly utilitarian and a sophisticated fashion statement. With a padded internal section fitting up to a 14-inch laptop, it makes access a breeze. There’s also a second internal compartment for a 10-inch tablet and other electronics, an internal zippered section, and cell phone, credit card and penholders. The exterior has a magnetic closure snap convenient for storing a file or two, and two zippered front pockets for easy passport and ticket access. The Audley comes with a detachable cross-body strap for hands free use. And when the travel workday is done, the Audley can easily accompany you on a night out on the town. Available in chili red, tan and black for $349.00 with free shipping in the contiguous U.S. at or call 800/737-5160 to locate a retailer near you.
Destination Bag “Cosmetics” case
This “Cosmetics” case by Destination Bags is almost too pretty to use with its textured hand-knit flexible pleather, snazzy rhinestone brooch and gold plated hardware. But because it’s also so expertly well-designed with a place for everything, using it is a pleasure. With three expandable storage sections, four clear compartments in various sizes, five make-up brushes in their own compartments and a built-in hanger for space saving use in hotels and those compact cruise staterooms, the Cosmetics case had a place for everything and never left me digging for items. Available in brown copper with gold bling and black with silver bling for $190.00.
This Bluetooth crowd GPS tracking device “Leash it” is a very cool little widget. This tracking device is available in both the Apple store and Google Play stores. A perimeter alert can be set to notify you anytime your bag wanders too far from you. The Bluetooth extended range is 240 feet, and Bluetooth-to-wifi routers provide an additional range of 390 feet. And even for someone as technologically challenged as I am, set up was a breeze: download the App, turn on the Leash, register it, then hide the leash in your bag. Leash it also makes pet, bicycle and wallet leashes. Available for $49.00.
Julie L. Kessler is a travel writer, attorney and legal columnist based in Los Angeles and the author of the award-winning book “Fifty-Fifty: The Clarity of Hindsight.”