Away Carry-On and Bigger Carry-On Review: Which is Your Best Budget Bet?

away carry-on and away bigger carry-on

If you are a fan of hard-sided suitcases and you have not been living in Bikini Bottom, you have probably heard of the away carry-on suitcases.

It was released in 2015 by the Away brand and since then has been hyped up.

It is nearly impossible not to see an away carry-on or the bigger carry-on in every airport, or when you browse through lifestyle or travel pages on Instagram. But does popularity mean a suitcase is worth spending money on?


Today we will compare the bigger carry-on and the away carry-on. As the name implies, one is bigger than the other, but otherwise, they are quite similar in terms of features and design. If you’re not convinced by cool marketing gimmicks keep reading to find out if buying these suitcases is worth throwing your money away for.

Nuts and Bolts

  • Price

               The carry-on: $295

               The bigger carry-on: $325

  • Materials: Plastic, Polycarbonate, YKK Zippers, and Leather
  • Dimension (measurement Includes wheels)

                The carry-on: Exterior measurements 21.7in x 13.7in x 9in

                        Interior measurements 20″ x 13.5″

                The bigger carry-on: Exterior measurements 22.7in x 14.7in x 9.6

                        Interior measurements 21in x 14.5in 

  • Capacity:

           The carry-on: 39.8L

           The bigger carry-on: 47.9L

  • Colours: black. navy, coast, green, asphalt, sand, and petal.
  • Leather details, including a black leather luggage tag
  • TSA-approved combination lock
  • 360° spinner wheels
  • Interior compression system
  • Laundry bag
  • Leather luggage tag

For an extra $20

  • Battery
  • USB-based power adapter
  • Charging cable

away carry-on open

The suitcase opens like a clam shell, allowing you to pack and access your belongings from a variety of different angles while also allowing you to see and organize all of your gear.

You can use the zippered mesh pocket on the left side of the suitcases to store your laptop, socks, underwear, notebooks, paperback books, or any other item. Two compression straps are located on the right side. These straps are fantastic because they are easy to adjust and keep everything organized and compressed.

There is a compression pad with a zipper as well. The fact that the pad is a little stiff (since it has a frame) aids in further compressing your clothing. There are no quick-grab pockets on this suitcase, which is one of its drawbacks in contrast to traditional suitcases that do come with this feature.

However, Away does offer the “Carry-On with Pocket” which has a front quick-grab pocket. We advise using any packing cube of your choice or giving the Away Packing Cube a try for simplicity of packing and to make the most of your available space.

Away Carry on suitcase compartment.

Materials of the Away Carry-on Suitcases

As we previously stated, the only difference between the carry-on and bigger carry-on suitcases is that they come in two different sizes. The two cases’ exteriors are constructed from polycarbonate, a commonly used material in hard-sided luggage. Polycarbonate is preferred over plastics and even aluminium due to its superior strength-to-weight ratio.

Away carry on Hard side of the bag

The suitcase incorporates YKK zippers, a reliable brand known for its self-locking puller technology that ensures effortless pulling and locking without slippage.

Our positive past encounters with YKK validate our confidence in the quality of their zippers. Moreover, the zippers are equipped with TSA-compatible locks for added security while remaining user-friendly.

It’s worth mentioning that the suitcase comes with leather accents, which might be a deal-breaker for some. However, these details do bring a touch of vintage charm to the design. Additionally, the interior features a liner that can easily be wiped clean in case of any spills.


One feature we like about the Away carry-on suitcases is the variety of colour options available. At the time of this review, both suitcases are available in nine colour ways, including white (on sale for a limited period), black, navy, coast, green, asphalt, sand, and petal. The lighter colours are very elegant and stylish but keep in mind that they will show blemishes and scratches more than the darker colours would.



The away travel team was literally thinking outside the box when they thought of adding a 10,000 mAh battery to the suitcases. This is a creative and thoughtful feature that proves to be useful when travelling.

However, only the “Battery” version of the carry-on comes with this additional feature, and it costs an extra $20. The removable battery is located under the handle and can easily be taken out by pushing down on it. Additionally, international plugs are included in the package, so you can charge your device wherever you go in the world.

Customizable Tag

You also have the option of customizing your luggage with a baggage tag that can be stamped with up to three letters of your choice. This customization comes at an additional cost of $10 on top of the original price.

Opting for this custom touch increases the likelihood of reuniting with your misplaced luggage in case any unforeseen circumstances arise during travel. The leather tag is designed specifically for this purpose and serves as a practical investment.

away Customizable bag Tag

Away also offers a unique feature that enables you to personalize your luggage by selecting three letters of your preference, which may include the initials of your name.

To enhance their appearance and uniqueness, you have a selection of 14 different colours for these letters. This customization service costs $50; however, please note that personalized items are non-returnable or exchangeable.

away Customizable bag Tag

Carry-On Handle

To make it simpler to lift into an overhead compartment or the trunk of a taxi, the carry-on, and bigger carry-on suitcases come with two grab handles—one on top and one on the side. One aspect of the carry-on suitcase handle that we found annoying is its lack of padding, which makes it less sturdy. Additionally, the handles are slim and tightly attached to the suitcase, making it difficult to slip your hands underneath them.


The Carry-On Wheels

One of my favourite aspects of the suitcases is the wheel. The four wheels spin 360 degrees, making it so much easier to move the luggage without putting strain on yourself by constantly twisting and turning.

Away Carry-On Wheels

Laundry Bag

The carry-on luggage comes with a detachable laundry bag, which can be removed easily through the snap button that connects it to the zippered pocket. This can be used as a shoe bag/laundry bag, or whatever else you want to use it for. It holds quite a bit of stuff, and you will likely be able to fit multiple pairs of shoes depending on the size of your feet and a lot of dirty laundry.

carry-on luggage comes with a detachable laundry bag

Ease and Experience

Here is an honest review of this pack from one of our expert reviewers who used it and put it to the test. (Read more on how we test packs.)

I bought the bigger and small carry-on suitcases from the official website. The luggage was delivered to me at no cost within six business days. Although I had requested a navy smaller carry-on and a black bigger carry-on, they were not delivered as expected. Instead, I got a black small carry-on and a large navy suitcase which was not what I had originally requested for.

Despite this, I did not attempt to exchange them right away but tested them instead. After informing customer service of the situation, they apologized for any inconvenience caused and offered to make an exchange; however, I declined their offer.

It is important to mention that Away travel offers a 100-day trial period. This means that within these 100 days, you have the option of returning your purchased item for a full refund or exchanging it for another one.

Although I did not plan on returning my suitcase, I reached out to customer care during this period and found out that it was indeed possible to exchange it or get a refund if the evident seals had not been tampered with. However, keep in mind that personalized items cannot be refunded, and shipping fees are non-refundable.

To be completely honest, there was nothing noteworthy about the luggage apart from the battery that came at an additional cost. While packing with the aid of packing cubes was effortless, I wasn’t pleased with its lack of an external pocket for quick access to items like an iPad or important documents.

Regarding its durability, everything remained in good condition. However, during my two-week trip to San Francisco, I discovered that the smaller carry-on could contain all my necessary items, but I had mistakenly packed unnecessary things in the bigger suitcase. As a result, I ended up filling it with unwanted stuff, such as multiple pairs of travel pants, shirts, and shoes.

Although there were some scratches on the suitcases which is common yet disappointing but not unexpected compared to soft-sided ones, which are less likely to scuff easily, Personally speaking, I prefer soft-sided suitcases over hard-sided ones; although weight-wise, hard-sided suitcases have an edge over them.

It is also important to note that during transit there may be a risk of battery disengagement from its slot, which happened to me a few times, prompting me to remove the battery so I could keep it safe.  Overall, while some aspects of the Away carry-on suitcase may not have met my personal preferences, I appreciate the company’s commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.


What People Have to Say

The good

We purchased three sizes for a 2.5-week trip for two. We fit everything we needed and more. The bigger carry-on size is very lightweight, even when full of stuff, for lifting into an overhead bin. Withstood a lot of abuse pilling luggage for transport. So glad we had reliable bags. Two others in our group lost wheels on day 1! The larger suitcase can easily be over 50 pounds (extra charge at airlines). My medium was 47 pounds.

Review by Linda Lopez, September 28, 2022

Fantastic suitcase! Packed seven days’ worth of clothing, footwear, and personal items. I used it as my carry-on for my whole trip. I love the quality, durability, and colour! Although this suitcase costs more than the average carry-on, it is worth the investment. Numerous friends have AWAY carry-on, and we all love them! I received my order in three days.

Review by Barb Burton, August 11, 2022

The not-so-good

I ordered a carry-on bag for my daughter as her Christmas present before she left for her semester abroad over Thanksgiving. I didn’t receive the bag until well into the middle of January, long after my daughter had left the country. I had to chase them repeatedly; every time I got a new person with no idea what was going on and a different answer to boot. It was wildly frustrating and upsetting. And I think they finally offered some kind of credit should I ever want to order another away bag, but nothing for the current bag ordered and delivered months later. Away bag production and customer service are not what they used to be.

Review by Joanne Roberts Wiles, Feb 5, 2023

Horrible customer service and overall customer experience! I ordered a bag for my wife for Christmas. The wrong bag arrived, which I sent back to them, and they promised me they’d send the correct bag back right away. Days went by with no further communication, so I checked in after 3 days and they had forgotten to send it back out. Four days later, I get another email saying that my order has been cancelled. Nearly a month later, I have no idea what is going on with the order, and there’s not even a number I can call. Customer support doesn’t seem to have any empathy either… Worst service I’ve experienced in a long time!

Review by Greg DiNardo, Jan 5 2023


  •  100-day trial period
  •  Sleek, stylish exterior (with plenty of colourways available)
  •  Built-in battery
  •  Laundry bag


  • The battery bank doesn’t feel secure.
  • The handles are a bit loose


When it comes to choosing between the Away Carry-On and Bigger Carry-On, the decision ultimately comes down to your priorities.

Both suitcases offer clever internal tools, such as the removable laundry bag and compression straps, that significantly simplify packing and promote neatness. However, while the built-in charger option is a nice addition, it may not be worth the additional price point especially when you can carry a separate power bank.

Overall, these suitcases would be a great option if you prioritize functionality and organization, but if you’re on a tight budget, there are other options available that offer similar features at a lower price point.

Where to Shop



Frequently Asked Questions About The Away Carry-On and Bigger Carry-On

Q: Is it easy to carry the Away carry suitcases onto planes?

A: The Away carry-on and bigger Carry-On size perfectly fit in standard aeroplanes. There are no issues fitting it in the aeroplane’s overhead bin. The Bigger Carry-On is made to fit the standard that airlines actually use—the sizer.

Q: Does an Away carry-on and bigger Carry-On hold everything you need?

A:  The Away smaller carry-on and bigger carry-on really do fit in a lot. The bag zips in half, so you have one compartment for clothing, and the other side for toiletries, shoes, etc. You could be honestly shocked by how much stuff could fit into the Away carry-on bag.

Q: How much does shipping cost?

A: Away offers free UPS Ground on all orders $100 and above shipping to the contiguous US. But there are a few faster options too:

Suitcases (per unit)

UPS Ground to the contiguous US: free!

UPS Ground to Alaska, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico: $50

Faster: $50

Fastest: $80

Q: What’s Away bag’s return and exchange policy?

A: If you decide that your new Away product isn’t perfect for you, you can return it within 100 days of your purchase. Fill out the form at, and we’ll take care of the rest. All personalized items, including luggage tags, are made to order, so these orders do not have a 100-day trial and cannot be returned.

Q: Do you get a refund for your Away bag purchase?

A: They do not offer refunds for shipping fees, you will only be refunded the cost of the item(s) you return if you originally selected expedited shipping for your order. Please note all returns must be shipped in a box, as they recommend holding onto your original packaging through the trial period.

Image Credit: Away

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