When it comes to the perpetual dilemma of carry-on suitcase vs. backpack, it all depends on your personal preferences and travel needs. Although, we have to admit, we’re leaning towards the backpack option, not because we feel nostalgic about the good old schoolyard days, but because we’ve found it to be the more practical alternative of the two, especially on budget airlines where you’re more concerned with the weight of your luggage.
Most backpacks tend to be lighter than standard luggage (they’re often made of sturdy polyester) and smaller, too — usually fitting neatly under the seat in front of you. Plus, you can easily take your carry-on backpack from the airport to the beach and beyond, while using your hard-shell suitcase as your beach bag is perhaps not the most functional idea.
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And if you’re a fan of rolling your way through airports instead of having to speed-walk between terminals with 15 pounds of stuff on your back, we have some good news for you. Many of our best travel backpack picks come with built-in wheels and a double-locking handle so you can have a suitcase and a backpack all in one.
Tech-savvy travelers will also love the smart features some carry-on backpacks have, such as solar panels and USB ports.
Here we rounded up 20 durable and stylish options to take with you on your next flight.