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Review of the Rimowa Carry-On Bag That Took Me Around the World

May 11, 2014
5 min read
Review of the Rimowa Carry-On Bag That Took Me Around the World
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Not that many years ago I traveled by packing in what was essentially a duffel bag. I didn't really think anything of it until after we had our first daughter and we started traveling with more bags. The type of bag we used then quickly started to be a problem. My husband essentially became a "pack mule" through the airport and our packing style in an assortment of duffel/shoulder bags clearly needed to change. At his insistence, I pulled the trigger on a Briggs and Riley 20″ Expandable Upright Wide-Body Carry-On and used it happily for several years until recently. Who knew pulling a bag behind you was so much easier than schlepping it on your shoulder?!

When United Airlines decided to "crack down" on the size of carry-on luggage and began enforcing the written max carry-on dimensions of 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches with more gusto, but slightly too large Briggs and Riley bag became a problem. It was time for a new bag.

Before our recent around the world journey, my husband gave me an early Mother's Day present via the Rimowa Salsa Deluxe Cabin Multiwheel IATA bag. This bag is made from a durable and light polycarbonate and has the stated dimensions of 21.7" height x 15.7" width x 7.9" depth. This makes it still technically too wide, but since the step-less telescopic handle is mounted inside the bag, it fits in the United sizers just fine. The sizers are a bit larger than the stated dimensions, and if it fits, it rolls on board.

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The four-wheel design is so easy to maneuver I can push it around with just my pinky. In fact, my young kids can push it in any direction with one finger -- it's that easy.

Being able to push this bag down the aisle of the airplane "sideways" thanks to the four wheels that go in any direction is insanely helpful. I quickly transitioned from pulling it behind me using two wheels the way my old bag operated, to predominately pushing it through the airport using all four wheels. The tradeoff is that on bumpier terrain, such as concrete once you leave the airport, it doesn't pull quite as smoothly on two wheels (canted at an angle) as my previous bag. I'll take that trade-off for such easy use in the airports and down the aisle on the plane, but think about how you use the bag before deciding if two or four wheels is best for you.

The bag has two removable and adjustable flex-dividers that I used to hold smaller things like swimsuits, toiletries, hair ties, etc. Overall, the storage of the bag was better than I expected given its relatively small size. I was able to pack for our eight-day around the world trip in one carry-on! I would not be able to do this if I needed winter clothing, or many pairs of shoes, but for a beach trip and a stop in Amsterdam, it worked amazingly well. I had to put some pressure on the bag to get it to shut, but once it zipped it was good to go. The bag also has a TSA approved combination lock at the wrap around zipper.

What I love about this bag (in addition to its sleep look), is that it was amazingly easy to maneuver, can turn on a dime with four wheels, is very light, holds way more than you might guess, and it fit in the carry-on sizers just fine. I've flown with it on United, Turkish, Singapore, British Airways, American Airlines, Delta, EVA, Frontier, Spirit and more as a carry-on with no issues at all. (Note it is a paid carry-on on the ultra low-cost airlines.)

I didn't have plans of getting a new carry-on bag for many years as the Briggs and Riley bag I had was very good, but once I dealt with the very high price for this Rimowa bag (retail price around $625), I started to love the beauty of how easy it was to use. If you only travel once or twice a year I wouldn't even consider spending this much on a carry-on, but if you are flying as much as we are, it is very nice to have a bag that is so easy to use, and that you know won't be a problem to carry-on the airplane due to its size.

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Update: Five years since writing the initial review, I still use this Rimowa bag several times per month. Hundreds of thousands of traveled miles later, the wheels don't spin quite as well as they did the first few years, but it's safe to say that I have more than gotten my money's worth. I would not hesitate to buy another Rimowa when the time comes to replace this one.

(Photo by Lisa Weatherbee/The Points Guy)

What type of carry-on do you use for your family?

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Featured image by (Photo by Lisa Weatherbee/The Points Guy)

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023