The Best Luggage for Minimalist Travelers

Pick a bag that’ll let you travel light.

woman walking at airport
When heading out on that great solo adventure, the last thing you need to worry about is baggage fees.Shutterstock

Sometimes, a trip is so short, or you’re bringing so little, that it just doesn’t make sense to roll out the giant checked bag. But you’ll also want something roomy enough for your stuff and tough enough to survive both the overhead bin and the cargo hold. Here’s what to look for in a minimalist bag.

Built to Last

Delsey Paris Helium Aero Hardside Luggage
Delsey Paris Helium Aero Hardside LuggageAmazon

First, know your bag dimensions. Most airlines allow a carry-on with a maximum size of 22” tall by 14” wide and 9” deep. Any bag for traveling light should be able to fit within those confines. The best choice is to get a hardsided suitcase, as that way you’ll know both the exact size, and also that it’ll be equipped to take anything the crew or your fellow passengers can dish out.

Simple and Sturdy

GoPenguin Carry-on Luggage
GoPenguin Carry-on LuggageAmazon

Check the weight of your bag before you fly. When you’re running to grab your connecting flight, or just don’t feel like muscling a bag into your hotel room for a short stay, new plastics and construction mean that you don’t need a bulky bag. Take a moment to heft the bag you’re considering, remembering it’ll have all your necessities in it, and see if the weight works for you if you’ve got to snap it up and sprint for the gate or the train.

Don’t Skimp on Style

Rockland Santa Fe Hardside Spinner Wheel Luggage
Rockland Santa Fe Hardside Spinner Wheel LuggageAmazon

Style also matters, and not just because you want to look good even at the airport. When you’re keeping a bag close to you and it has everything you’re bringing with you, being able to keep track of it matters, and having a distinctive bag will help keep it from being lost in the shuffle at baggage claim, make you easier to spot in crowds, and limit any confusion with your fellow travelers.