Airlines lose money with every extra pound you load onto an airplane, which is why if you take a checked bag with you, you can expect a fee lumped onto your ticket. But a good carry-on, especially for short trips, will save you some cash and even more importantly spare you a little time.
Keeping it Light
Before you buy any bag, bust out the scales. The ideal carry-on bag will be light to handle when empty, and don’t think that means you have to stick with one material; both tear-resistant fabrics and tough, light plastics will easily bring you under that weight limit, so it really comes down to feel.
Durability is Key
Take a moment to see how the hardware handles. Does the top handle telescope open and closed smoothly? Do the wheels spin easily? Can you put it down and walk around with your hand in a comfortable position? If you need to use the side handle, is it easy to get your fingers around? Does the lock click open easily? Can you remove any USB batteries or other electronics? On long flights, or just extremely short layovers, reliable hardware will keep you from being tripped up when it counts.
Always be Organized
Check the interior and make sure it has what you need in terms of pockets and organizers. Packing for just one night often means maximizing space, and a good interior design, with handy pockets, straps to pin down items so they don’t fall all over each other, and places to tuck away stuff the TSA might need you to pull out.