We haven’t been able to travel a lot (like, at all) lately but as we start getting vaccinated and the world starts to open up, our minds drift to travel. Whether you’re planning on taking your first solo trip or you’re headed out on a fun girl’s trip, you need the best carry on luggage for women.

Now which one is actually best for you will depend on what kind of traveller you are. Do you prefer hardside luggage (guilty!), something softer, or even a hybrid model? Whatever your fancy, I’ve went through the top picks on Amazon and let you know which ones I like and why.

Editor’s pick for best carry on luggage for women: Kensie 20-inch

I firmly believe that the best lightweight carry on luggage is the 20-inch Kensie because that’s the one I have. Not only do I have this bag, but I have it in the midnight blue that we have featured, and it is GORGEOUS! Seriously, I love everything from the shape to the shine, and the rose gold accents.

The best part of this bag, besides how cute it is, is that it features a built-in lock. I feel just that much more comfortable porting around my laptop and iPad around in it without worrying it can simply be opened and things taken. The lock is simple to work, and the spinners roll like a charm. Plus it features an inside zippered flap.

The downside to this suitcase is that it’s a 20-inch bag, which doesn’t work for every airline. There are smaller bags out there if you need them, they’re just not going to be as cute as this one. However, I have taken this bag on Air Canada and WestJet flights so far and I haven’t had any sizing issues.

Other picks for best luggage carry on

Best hard shell carry on luggage

American Tourister Disney Minnnie 21-inch hardside luggage with spinner wheels

Hardshell carryons are my personal favourite, just because there are people up there moving things around in the overhead bins and you never know what might be hitting your bag when. If you’re looking for a super cute choice, I LOVE this American Tourister Disney pick. It’s Disney, but it’s not crazy-obvious Disney.

This pick is slightly bigger than the Kensie at 21-inches, so if you’re looking for slightly more room this could be the bag for you. It might be one of the best carry on luggage spinner bags due to the easy mobility and locking retractable pull handle. It also features a zippered compartment on one side and a luggage strap on the other.

Amazon Basics 21-inch hardside carry-on spinner

If you’re looking for simple hardside spinner luggage, this Amazon Basics carry-on could be a great pick. This 21-inch suitcase is perfect for weekend getaways. It has 39 litres for capacity and weighs 7.34 lbs on it’s own. The hard shell is made with a scratch-resistant finish, and is made of extra-thick ABS for enhanced strength and durability.

The interior is fully-lined with a divider, and there is built-in organization with three zippered pockets for storing smaller items. You can also expand the case to give you 15 percent more capacity (you know, like when you’re bringing all your purchased goodies home). According to the reviews on Amazon, this bag is flight attendant approved because of its chic design and ease of use!

Coolife 20-inch carry on spinner trolley

I really LOVE the sleek design of the Coolife carry on luggage. It’s a great pick for the best carry on luggage with laptop compartment due to the front hardshell pocket where you can slip your device in for easy access (it’s built for up to 13.3-inch laptops). It’s a 20-inch suitcase that features double TSA locks (both the main and front compartment can be locked from a single pad).

Inside you’ll find a crossed fixing band and a net pockets so you can keep your essentials easy to access. There is also an adjustable three-step telescoping handle that features an ergonomic grip. Best of all, it comes with a two-year warranty, so you can travel with a bag that is in tip-top shape. Travellers love it because it’s lightweight, the wheels move smoothly, and the easy-access laptop compartment.

American Tourister Stratum XLT 21-Inch

If you’re looking for something a little more rugged and durable, American Tourister makes the Stratum XLT, a 21-inch case made with a simplistic yet tough ABS shell. It opens like a book, features a mesh divider and cross straps that can help with a little bit more organization. This case weighs 6.3 lbs and features an expansion for additional capacity that gives you up to 42L of packing capacity.

This suitcase comes highly recommended by those that describe themselves as notorious over-packers, one said that they managed to pack all of the clothes and shoes that they needed for a 10-day day summer trip. This bag even has a 10-year limited warranty against material or workmanship defects (though you’ll have to hit them up on the details for it) so you can travel with confidence.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Reverb 20″ hardside carryon

If you’re looking for the best carry on luggage for women, look no further than this Kenneth Cole Reaction Reverb 20-inch case—which I’m saying pretty much solely based on the adorable rose gold colouring and sleek overall build. The four-wheel spinners turn a smooth 360 degrees, and the case weighs 5.65 lbs on its own.

In the main compartment of this bag, you’ll find a zippered pocket for added organization, and garment restraint straps that help hold your clothes in place. There is also both top and side easy-grab handles, along with the retractable telescoping trolly handle that allows for simple maneuvering.

Best soft shell carry on luggage

Samsonite Ascella X softside expandable luggage with spinner wheels

The Samsonite Ascella X was made for those looking for the best carry on luggage for women, but want it to be softside. Whether you’re travelling somewhere near or far, this 21-inch spinner luggage can help make your packing experience better.

This suitcase weighs 7.1 lbs, which is a little heavier than some of the bags on our list, but it features a front pocket where you can store a few things you need to grab easily. Reviewers say this bag is great for those who travel for work because it’s easy to move around with!

Travelpro 19″ Maxlite 5 softside expandable spinner wheel luggage

If you’re looking for something small for a shorter trip (or as an add-on to your checked back) one of the best carry on luggage pieces out there for women might just be this Travelpro 19-inch Maxlite 5 bag. It comes in the neutral slate green, but there are eight other colours to choose from. It has 39 litres of volume and weighs 5.3 lbs.

Reviewers say that this is a very roomy bag with a flexible but sturdy exterior. So you can stuff this bad boy full without worrying too much about your bag (though I’d recommend packing a little smarter than that). They are lots of zippers and compartments in the bag, so you can organize your things and easily access what you need.

American Tourister 21″ Kix expandable softside luggage with spinner wheels

If you’re looking for a soft side piece that’s super cute and well-built, the American Tourister 4 Kix is a great option. This 21-inch softside bag weights 7.1 lbs, and the single spinner wheels turn 360 degrees for some easy rolling. This case is blessed with a large interior that has a specific blouse pocket door pannel so you can pack better, and there’s a 1.5-inch expansion that allows you to pack more.

Reviewers say that this bag fits them perfectly. They say the style and quality are perfect, and they highly recommend using it. There are also corner protectors to help hold up the case at critical contact points to help the bag last longer!

Amazon Basics 14″ underseat carry on

If you’re looking for a piece of luggage that’s a little more compact, Amazon Basics has this super cute 14-inch under seat carry on that might work just perfectly. It comes in 10 different colour and pattern combinations, featuring quilted and unquilted styles.

This suitcase fits most airline under-seat places but still has a spacious main compartment that can hold some cute summer rompers, an extra pair of heels, or whatever you need to keep close to you. There are plenty of interior pockets to help with organizing, so you always know where your things are.

Steve Madden 20″ carry on

If you’re looking for something a little more stylish, perhaps a designer carry on by Steve Madden might fit the bill? This bag is super cute (and there are five colours to choose from), but the price tag still rings in at around $100, which is a steal-of-a-deal. It features an ergonomic handle and a four-spinner wheel system that allows it to move smoothly around the aiport.

This bag is 20 inches and weighs 7.8 lbs. The wide wheel positioning provides better balance and resistance, which means you’ve got a little extra stability with it. Plus it’s made of a high-quality and safe polyester fabric. Talk about travelling in style!

Hybrid carry on suitcase

Amazon Basics 22-inch hybrid exterior carry on

If you’re looking for a hybrid design that has properties of both hardside and softside luggage, then this Amazon Basics bag is for you. It’s a little bit larger at 22 inches and weighs 6.42 lbs. The dual compartment has an expandable interior with padded pockets built specifically for your devices.

Reviewers say that they love this bag. It works for both domestic and overseas travel, and is lightweight and sturdy. You’ll be pleased to hear that even at its slightly larger size, one reviewer said they had no issues getting it on the plane and into the overhead bin!

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Looking for the best carry on luggage for women? We've got a collection of 11 bags we think you'll love for your next trip.

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