Smart traveller: Choosing a carry-on case
Smart traveller: Choosing a carry-on case Logo

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1 Jun 2019 by Business Traveller Asia Pacific
Brought to you by TUMI
Tumi - Carry-on case

Carried or wheeled? Hard shell versus soft? Carry-on luggage comes in all shapes and sizes, but which one should you go for?

Carried or wheeled?

Opinions differ. If you carry your bag, long walks around the terminal can be a strain, but the advantage is you are more mobile and can fit the most into your allotted allowance since you don’t have to allow for wheels.

Two wheels VS four

You’ll fit more in a two-wheel than a four-wheel, and they don’t roll away if on a slope or in a train, but a four-wheel means nearly all of the weight is taken through the wheels and you can always pull it tilted on two wheels over rough ground or if you’re in a rush. Four-wheel carry-ons also allow you to wheel the bag alongside or in front of you – useful in narrow aircraft aisles.


Two arguments here. Spend a lot, and get something durable. Spend very little, and replace it as often as it breaks. The problem with cheap bags is they rarely break at home. The handle is far more likely to come off mid-trip as you’re dashing for a flight.


All bags will break at some point, but the higher-end brands often have very effective guarantees – up to lifetime in some cases (pun intended). Tumi offers a limited warranty of five- or two-years depending on the type of item purchased. Plus, during the first year, all damage – including normal wear and tear, that caused by airline handling, or other transit damage – is covered.

Hard shell VS soft

Generally, a hard-shell case is the heavier option but offers more protection for your belongings, suiting those with valuables or fragile possessions. A soft-shell case is a more flexible choice as the fabric gives way, catering to travellers who need to squeeze in that little bit more on the way home.

Bad back?

If you suffer from a back pain, a four-wheel case would be best, and probably not a hard shell since at some point you’ll have to lift it into an overhead locker. If you are tall, test the bag to ensure the telescopic handle is long enough and won’t mean the bag catches at your heels as you walk along.

Hand luggage allowances

Smart traveller: Choosing a carry-on case Logo
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