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Nothing takes away from the travel experience like a mediocre carry-on bag. That falling-apart and completely run-of-the-mill canvas roller that was passed down from your parents? Hard pass.

Here are some quality — and extremely affordable — options that won’t break the bank, saving you cash and loading you up with some serious travel style.

1. Delsey Helium Aero Expandable Trolley ($153)

Image courtesy of Zappos.
Image courtesy of Zappos.

French brand Delsey is one of the leading names in luggage for a reason — its stuff is deadly simple, the craftsmanship is excellent and it’s always priced to sell. One of their most interesting options is the Delsey Helium Aero Expandable Trolley, a 100% polycarbonate carry-on that’s lightweight, durable and a total eye-catcher. Features like 360-degree wheels and a TSA-approved combination lock are cool, but the real winner is its ability to expand an additional two inches, which gives you just enough room for those unexpected souvenirs you snagged.

2. DSPTCH Utility Tote ($168)

Image courtesy of Zappos.
Image courtesy of Zappos.

If you believe less is more, DSPTCH is a brand that needs to be on your radar. Its best carry-on option is this functional zip tote, which is loaded with a padded laptop and tablet sleeve, zipped pockets for accessories like phone chargers, an internal water bottle pocket and a removable shoulder strap. On top of all that, it’s made entirely in the USA and features a lifetime warranty. No complaints here.

3. Samsonite LIFTwo Hardside 21″ Spinner ($180)

Image courtesy of Zappos.
Image courtesy of Zappos.

This ultra-sharp Samsonite carry-on is fit for a British spy. Straight to business with a simple design and quality polycarbonate shell, its subtle but striking honeycomb texture separates it from the other straight forward all-black-everything options. Though there’s plenty going for it in the looks department, the bag’s smooth-rolling wheels that “require virtually no effort” are its biggest selling point.

4. Incase TRACTO Split Duffel 40 — Diamond Wire ($199)

Image courtesy of Zappos.
Image courtesy of Zappos.

This duffel bag is made of weather-resistant 70D Diamond Wire rip-stop nylon, the same material they use to make racing sails. That means it’s extremely durable and water-resistant while still being ridiculously lightweight, a combo you can’t hate. The bag also features nice touches of luxury, like full-grain leather zipper pulls and a convenient easy access zip top that makes getting your laptop out at the TSA checkpoint a breeze.

5. Tavik SETT Travel Backpack/Duffel Hybrid ($149)

Image courtesy of Tavik.
Image courtesy of Tavik.

This bag easily adapts to whatever your travel needs are, thanks to retractable shoulder straps that take it from utility backpack to duffle in seconds. The spacious interior has enough storage to pack for at least a weekend and even comes with a retractable rain cover to protect your gear from unexpected elements. For the adventurous set that appreciates versatility, this is an especially satisfying carry-on option.

What’s your favorite carry-on bag? Let us know, below.

Featured image courtesy of DSPTCH.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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