Tired of checking your bags when you travel? Here’s the best carry-on luggage for family travel in 2022.

We all want to get back to travelling now that restrictions are lifting but we also know that airline travel is a bit crazy right now!

Stories of lost luggage or the wait times to claim baggage, never mind the photos going around on social media of the piles and piles of luggage sitting around because there’s not enough staff to load the luggage. It’s enough to make anyone think twice about checking a bag.

The good news is that there are some great new options for carry-on luggage that will make packing for your family a breeze and help you avoid the lost baggage nightmare.

So if you’re wanting to avoid the hassle of checking bags the next time you travel, this post is for you. We’ve rounded up the best carry-on luggage for family travel, from our own personal favourites as well as ones that are highly recommended by other families.

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In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of different types of carry-on luggage, from spinner luggage to carry-on backpacks, and recommend the best carry-on bags for family travel in 2022. So if you’re planning on taking a vacation this year, keep reading for our top picks!

Note: Usually we only recommend products that we’ve personally used and loved, but with something like luggage, everyone has their own personal preferences. So while we’ve definitely added our own personal favourites here, we’ve also tried to include other highly recommended carry on bags from other families, so you can choose what works best for you and your family.

Here’s our top picks for the best carry-on luggage for family travel in 2022:

Why Use Carry-On Luggage?

While at first, carry-on luggage might not seem like a great option when travelling with kids, there are actually a lot of benefits to using carry-on luggage, especially for families.

For one, it can save you money, as many airlines now charge a fee to check bags. These fees can add up, especially if you’re checking a bag for each member of the family.

Another benefit of using carry-on luggage is that it can help you avoid lost baggage.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of lost luggage (or experienced it ourselves) and while there are ways to ways to track luggage, such as apple air tags, even the most prepared traveller can still end up with lost luggage.

By using carry-on luggage, you can also avoid the long wait at baggage claim. And especially when you are travelling with young kids, this isn’t fun as they can get restless waiting for the luggage.

If you’re using carry-on luggage, you can simply head to your next destination without having to wait for your bags.

What to Look for in a Good Carry-On Bag

When choosing the best carry-on luggage for your family, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Material: Do you want a carry-on that is hard sided or soft sided? This is really a personal preference, although soft-sided luggage tends to hold up a bit better in the long run. If you’re going with a hard sided carry-on, a polycarbonate shell is your best bet as it is a better quality than the thinner plastic shell.
  • Warranty: Many brands offer a lifetime warranty or at least a lengthy one, and it may be worth splurging a bit for a more expensive bag if it includes a lifetime warranty.
  • Wheels: Carry-on bags with four wheels are easier to maneuver than ones with two wheels but two wheeled bags tend to be more durable and are more ergonomically correct. If you’re opting for a four wheeled carry-on, you’ll also want to make sure that it’s one with 360 degree swivel wheels.
  • Style: Do you want a wheeled carry-on or a backpack style? Again, this comes down to personal preference, but also might be a factor depending on where you are travelling, especially if you are visiting place such as the cobblestoned streets of Europe or going on a South African safari.
  • Size: And most importantly, be sure to check the size and make sure it meets the requirements of the airline you are travelling with. The last thing you want is to get to the airport and find out that your carry-on bag is too big to bring on the plane!

What Size Bag is Allowed for Carry-on?

Airline policies will vary, so it’s best to check with your specific airline, however a good guideline to follow is:

22” x 14” x 9”

  • Frontier, Southwest, Spirit allow slightly larger bags (24″ x 16″ x 10″).
  • Air Canada allows 21.5″ x 15.5″ x 9″.
  • British Airways dimensions are 22″ x 18″ x 10″.
  • while KLM’s dimensions are 21.5″ x 10″ x 13.5″.

These are just a few of the airlines , so again, it’s best to check with your specific airline.

Now that you know what to look for in a good carry-on bag, and what size bag you need, here are our top picks for the best carry-on luggage for families in 2022:

Best Carry-on Luggage for Family Travel


Away Bigger Carry-On

The Away Bigger Carry-On is one of the most popular carry-on bags on the market, and for good reason.

It’s a hardside spinner with a durable polycarbonate hard shell, but it’s still lightweight and easy to carry.

It fits in the overhead bin of most major airlines and it comes with a lifetime warranty. It’s also one of the larger carry-on bags and holds an amazing 47.9 L.

This is definitely a bonus when you’re travelling as a family, especially with young kids who may not be carrying their own luggage yet.

Other nice features include 360 spinner wheels, sturdy zippers, a laundry bag and an interior compression system.

While the price tag on the Bigger Carry-On is a bit more than some of the other bags on here, it’s money well spent. And if you try it and find it’s not right for you, you can return it within 100 days.

Why it’s great: high quality and lifetime warranty

Samsonite Winfield 3

Samsonite is a well known luggage brand, offering reasonably priced luggage that lasts.

You really can’t go wrong with any of their luggage, but the Winfield 3 is our choice.

It has a hard polycarbonate shell but is still lightweight, coming in at just under 7 pounds.

It’s also an expandable spinner, so you can pack more if needed and includes other features like 360 degree spinner wheels and a side-mounted TSA lock.

The Winfield 3 comes in several sizes, but the Carry-On 20 inch size meets most airline requirements. It’s also available in a variety of colours, so every member of your family can have a different colour.

The Winfield 3 comes with a 10 year limited warranty, which isn’t as great as a lifetime warranty but its still pretty good for an affordable carry-on bag!

Why it’s great: affordable and good quality

**Another good Samsonite option is the Ziplite 5, which is another hard-sided bag more in the price range of the Away Bigger Carry-On. It also features an ejectable USB port.

Travelpro Maxlite 5 (19 inch)

Similar to Samsonite, Travelpro is a trusted name is luggage. They offer affordable options that are good quality and made to last.

The Maxlite 5 (19 inch) is a sturdy, soft-sided bag that’s lightweight at just under six pounds. It has an expansion zipper, so you can pack more if needed and it comes with a built in TSA lock.

With four 360 degree spinner wheels, making it easy to maneuver, and an adjustable handle with two different heights, it’s a great option for family travel.

There’s two convenient zippered front pockets, a side accessory pocket, and a roomy interior with adjustable tie-down straps to keep your packed items securely stowed.

Sized to fit in the bins on most international flights, the Maxlite 5 also has a durable water resistant exterior to keep the luggage looking great, no matter what happens on your family vacation.

If you’re looking for an affordable, good quality soft-sided bag, the Maxlite is a great option.

Why it’s great: lightweight and water resistant

**The MaxLite also comes in a 21 inch, which is slightly larger than many international airline limits, at 23 inches versus the standard 22, but it will work on many domestic flights.

Osprey Fairview 40

osprey fairview backpack is a great option for carry-on luggage for family travel

Osprey is another well-known travel brand, specializing in backpacks but also offering great carry-on luggage.

One of the most popular travel backpacks is the Osprey Fairview 40, and my personal favourite carry-on bag.

Backpacks are a great option as carry-on luggage for family travel, especially when travelling with young kids. They can be easier to manage than traditional wheeled luggage – on sidewalks and stairs, and wearing a backpack frees up your hands, which is especially helpful when you’re also juggling kids and all of their gear.

The Fairview 40 is a great option for carry-on as it meets most major airline requirements. It’s also lightweight at just over three pounds, making it one of the lightest bags on this list.

And while the Fairview is a backpack, it opens like traditional luggage and holds quite a bit, including several packing cubes. It also has a laptop and tablet sleeve and lockable sliders to keep the main compartment secure.

With the hip belt and mesh back panel, it’s a really comfortable backpack, even when you’re wearing it for a few hours at a time. There’s also a built in raincover and the backpack straps tuck away when not in use, so you can easily carry it like a traditional suitcase if needed.

Why it’s great: good quality and comfortable backpack with plenty of room

**The Fairview is a women’s fit, and the Farpoint 40 is the same great backpack but designed for men.

Tortuga Setout

Another popular carry-on backpack, the Tortuga Setout is a great option if you’re looking for a bag with plenty of space.

The backpack opens like a traditional suitcase and is designed to fit everything you need for a week long trip, but it’s still carry-on size.

The backpack straps are padded and adjustable, and there’s even a removable hip belt and inside there’s a dedicated laptop sleeve and several other pockets and compartments.

At the time of this post, the 35L is currently unavailable but the 45L is the same price and also carry-on size.

Why it’s great: affordable backpack with a traditional carry-on design

ebags Mother Lode 21″

ebags mother lode carry-on rolling duffle

Another popular travel brand, eBags is owned by Samsonite, so you know their quality is good.

The ebags Mother Lode 21″ Carry-On Rolling Duffel is a soft sided bag with a hardside back, giving you the best of both worlds. It’s well organized with an easy access front compartment and compression straps, as well as two other zip pockets on the outside.

The main compartment is large and can be expanded an additional 1.5 inches, and there’s also a separate compartment that’s perfect for shoes or dirty laundry.

And it’s great for family travel, as the handle adjusts to three different lengths, making it perfect for anyone who’s tall, or even the shortest members of the family.

Why it’s great: really affordable soft-sided bag with plenty of compartments

Solgaard Carry-On Closet

solgaard carry-on closet is a unique carry-on bag

While not the most affordable on this list, it is by far the most interesting carry-on luggage for family travel!

The Solgaard Carry-On Closet is exactly what it sounds like. A carry-on suitcase with a mini closet inside.

It’s got a six-shelf closet to keep you organized anywhere which also acts as compression cubes to help you save space. When you get to your accommodation, simply open the suitcase and lift the handle to expand the closet shelves.

Similar to some of the other best carry-on luggage we’ve discussed in this post, the Carry-On Suitcase is made with a polycarbonate shell and has four 360 degree spinner wheels, a TSA approved lock an easily accessible USB charging port.

Why it’s great: Unique carry-on suitcase with a built in mini closet

Emmzoe Hardshell 20″ Carry-On

emmzone Hardside carry-on is perfect for travelling with young kids

For families that are travelling with infants or young kids, this carry-on is perfect for you.

What we like the most is the insulated food compartment that keeps milk or food cool while travelling, but also detaches for easy inspection at airport security.

It’s lightweight, with a durable polycarbonate shell and spinner wheels that many traditional carry-on bags have.

What sets this apart, is the detachable food compartment and the various other compartments for clothes, diapers, toys, bottles and anything else you need when travelling with young kids.

It’s also really affordable and can be purchased at Walmart or Amazon. It’s currently out of stock at Walmart.com, but be sure to check frequently as it sells out quickly when in stock.

Travelpro Platinum Elite

travelpro platinum expandable carry-on luggage

This is another great carry-on bag from the Travelpro brand.

At 21 inches, the Travelpro Platinum Elite fits in the overhead bins on most major airlines.

It has a durable polycarbonate shell, USB charging points, large inner compartments plus a lifetime warranty.

The only downside is it is a bit pricier than the other options we have mentioned, but if you’re looking for a high quality bag, this might be the one for you!

Why its great: lifetime warranty and USB charing ports

Delsey Paris

There are a few great luggage options in this line the Delsey Paris line.

The Paris Helium is an affordable, yet good hardside carry-on, while the Chatelet hardside is pricier but also has some great features like a built in laptop sleeve and RFID blocking technology to keep your information safe.

Why it’s great: reliable luggage with multiple options and price points

If you haven’t fallen in love with one of the carry-on bags mentioned above, there are plenty of other options out there.

Most luggage companies make carry-on bags in addition to larger suitcases, so if you have a luggage brand that you love, consider checking out their carry-on as well.

Just be sure to check the measurements to make sure it meets the airline requirements.

Conclusion:

No matter what type of family you are, or what your travel needs are, there is a carry-on bag out there that will fit your needs perfectly.

We’ve discussed some of the best carry-on luggage for family travel above, but be sure to do your own research to find the perfect one for you.

And don’t forget to check the measurements before you buy a carry-on, to make sure it will meet the airline requirements and fit in the overhead bin!

Do you have a favourite carry-on bag? Let us know in the comments below!

Safe travels!

For more family travel tips, be sure to check out these posts:

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