The gear that helped me travel the world without ever checking a bag

I was a serial over-packer. On most trips longer than a weekend, there was a very good chance I’d show up to my flight with an oversized (but still close to breaking) suitcase that exceeded the 50 pound limit. More often than I’d like to admit, I’ve had to choose at a ticket counter between paying an expensive over-the-limit fee or furiously cramming a few extra pounds into my purse or backpack.

The turning point came when I found myself between jobs. I packed up my New York apartment and started traveling… endlessly. Since I would be hopping from country to country for months at a time, I made it a rule that I would only use one handbag. I knew it would be a challenge, but it just wasn’t practical to travel full-time with a larger suitcase that I would have to check. Not only would it mean paying fees for each of the many flights I would take, but I would also have to pick him up and take him on the countless trains, taxis, rental cars and ferries that -I took in the full two years. -time travel.

From Spain to Thailand, Norway to Argentina, Scotland to Croatia (plus going back to New York every few months to change my clothes and check my mail) there were two items of travel gear which made it possible to go around the globe for years without ever. checking a bag.

Away’s Bigger Carry-On (starting at $295) is the most durable and lightest suitcase I’ve ever owned. From country to country, this 7.4-pound box survived every bumpy cobblestone street, train hold, and airplane overhead compartment with only a few scratches that were immediately sanded away with the sponge that comes with Away’s suitcases. I had no problem with the zipper or the 360 ​​degree wheels.

Plus, there seems to be some kind of magic to how much Away’s Bigger Carry-On can fit. Slightly roomier than the average carry-on, it measures 22.7″ high x 14.7″ wide x 9.6″ deep and has a capacity of 47.9 liters. Away warns that although it’s designed to fit in the boot overhead on major US airlines. , may need to be checked on smaller planes. (Most airlines list carry-on size limits as 22″ x 14″ x 9″, so it’s slightly over those measurements.) That said, I’ve never had a problem fitting it on any plane – big or small, domestic or international – so that extra fraction of an inch doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. If you want to make sure you don’t you need to check never the bag, however, you can either check Away’s comparison chart or play it safe by buying their regular suitcase, which measures 21.7″ x 13.7″ x 9″ and meets all airline requirements.

While my carry-on bag contained all my clothes and toiletries, I still had a lot of gear to carry around while working remotely and walking around the country for months at a time. My laptop for starters – plus chargers and an adapter, passport, reusable water bottle, travel pillow, eye mask, e-reader, headphones and more. Is much. So having a roomy and well-designed personal bag was the other half of my strategy to never check another suitcase.

When I discovered the Studio bag from Caraa – which was founded by CFDA award-winning designer Carmen Chen Wu and Aaron Luo to create form-fitting bags that meet the demands of modern life – I knew I’d found the perfect bag to carry all my gear and equipment but still fit under an airline seat.

Available in three sizes, this stylish and chic must-have bag has room for everything. The Large Studio Bag ($450) measures 15.5” x 10.5” x 9”, and is separated into two main compartments lined with waterproof, antimicrobial material. The outer compartment has several pockets perfect for keeping items you want to keep close at hand, such as adjustable mesh pouches for water bottles, umbrellas and charging cables, and a small clear plastic zippered pocket ideal for storage keys, headphones or earplugs, or a nap. the mask.

The interior compartment has a dedicated 15″ laptop pocket and two adjustable covers that can fit a pair of shoes, as well as a few pockets for smaller items. Two discreet side pockets are perfect for keeping your phone and passport safe, but at Best of all, the clever convertible design allows the wearer to quickly and easily switch between backpack, satchel and crossbody modes.

Like my carry-on, I’ve been ringing my bag 365 days a year for several years. The high-end, super-durable, water-resistant and waterproof fabrics, Italian leather trim and metal hardware looked none the worse for wear after all those miles of travel.

I always keep my Away Bigger Carry-On and Studio Bag from Caraa prepped and ready for my next adventure.

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