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- Away is a luggage brand popular for its simple yet eye-catching suitcases and accessories.
- Away suitcases also stand out because many include easily removable battery chargers.
- I've been using the Carry-On for three years and have found it to be a favorite suitcase.
- Right now, you can get the Carry-On for $157, down from $225, as part of the Away sale.
I had been using my old suitcase for nearly 15 years when I first tried the Away Carry-On. I was long overdue for a new carry-on, and in the end, I found a worthy replacement that I've now been using for three years.
Away, a direct-to-consumer startup led by retail mavens Steph Korey and Jen Rubio, makes the "it" suitcase that many travelers love and even more travelers want. It takes all of our most important concerns about moving our belongings from Point A to Point B into consideration: ease of transport, durability, organizing ability, security, and reliability.
In fact, I've found that Away has done the seemingly impossible and made packing and carrying a suitcase downright enjoyable.
Design and specs
The mere seven-pound Carry-On is a particularly good buy for travelers who embark on frequent, shorter trips and want a smart solution.
The Carry-On features a strong yet light outer shell, 360-degree rotating wheels, interior compartments designed to help you pack smarter, a built-in and removable battery charger, and more. At just under 22 inches, it will fit in almost any overhead bin. As an added plus, it comes with a 100-day trial period.
The exterior is made from a durable polycarbonate, and its minimalistic design with subtle horizontal lines gives it a sleek look. Inside, it has a liner that's easy to wipe down in case anything spills.
The Carry-On comes in numerous color options that range from black and olive green to pastel pink and plum. The brand also often offers limited-edition colors and prints that sell out quickly.
What it's like to use
You can very easily fit enough clothes for a weekend trip with Away's carry-on. While some reviewers say they've been able to pack entire week's worth of clothes into this carry-on, I'd say four to five days of clothes is attainable for most travelers.
In the zippered mesh compartment, I can pack two stuffed toiletry bags, one hair straightener, and two pairs of shoes (including, yes, chunky boots!). These are usually the problem items since they're strangely shaped and take up a lot of space.
On a practical level, the physical separation makes sense: shoes are dirty and toiletry bags carry the risk of accidental spills. On a mental organization level, I now know that all my accessories are in one place, my clothes are in another, and I don't waste time digging through the creative (read: nonsensical) arrangements that I usually resort to just to get everything to fit.
Meanwhile, the inner compartment, which is just as roomy, is designed for clothing. Dividing the two is a sturdy, lined layer for your electronics. I'm able to fit a 15-inch MacBook and my Kindle in this middle layer for safekeeping and easy access.
If you want to be even more organized, you can get packing cubes to store similar items together and make space out of thin air.
Tucked into a pocket at the bottom of the suitcase is a nylon laundry bag, which was a small, but thoughtful touch. It's as wide as the suitcase itself and keeps your dirty clothes appropriately separated from everything else. It compresses when you buckle down the layer above it.
The outside of the bag has a number of noteworthy features. The TSA-approved built-in combination lock, for one, actually keeps your belongings completely safe.
The two zippers slot into this combination lock, deterring potential thieves from using creative methods to get into your bag. The combination takes seconds to set and since the lock is part of your actual suitcase, there's no way you can lose it and waste money on buying a new one for every trip.
The included battery charger is easily removable and complies with airline regulations. Many airports now have outlets or dedicated charging stations in their terminals, but you can't always rely on them - they might all be taken or simply don't work. I love that I don't have to stress about finding an open outlet or even bother digging out my own portable charger. So long as the suitcase's battery is properly charged, it can charge anything that uses a USB cord. Just make sure to remember to remove it before boarding to comply with regulations.
Over the years, the exterior has developed some small cuffs from being tossed around in overhead compartments and on the ground, but overall, the suitcase still looks pretty good and hasn't suffered any durability issues.
What makes the Away Carry-on stand out
With their glossy hard shells and eye-catching color options, Away suitcases already look distinctive. You can make one truly your own by adding leather stickers. In the past, the brand has also offered custom handpainted monogramming, but it's unclear whether it will bring the option back.
Taken individually, features like a built-in battery or lined electronics compartment aren't necessarily new or revolutionary, but it's the combination of all the little things travelers care about and use the most that has made the suitcases stand out among the many we've tried.
Compared to those of other carry-ons I've tried, Away's handles feel a bit loose. After three years of use, mine have never broken, nor have they gotten looser, but they're definitely not as strong as sturdy as they could be. Additonally, while the wheels are nice and smooth, they're not quite as whisper-quiet as some others.
The bottom line
After traveling with the Carry-On for three years, I believe the hype surrounding Away's suitcases is completely deserved. It's hard not to be a fan of Away's smart design decisions and high-quality travel products. With a starting price of $225, it's also an excellent value since many suitcases of similar quality are far pricier. Plus, right now you can get an even better deal thanks to the 30% off Away sale.