The Best Carry-On Luggage

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The Traveling Professor travels close to 100,000 air miles per year and meets hundreds of travelers to talk about their travel experiences.  One big topic of discussion is the best carry-on luggage options.

Here are The Professor’s Picks:

best carry-on luggage, the traveling professor, the three tomatoesREI Wheely Beast:   A 22″ soft carry-on bag with a telescoping handle gives the traveler a lot of options in terms of it being a simple, open-bag style with no dividers inside of it.  At a list price of $169 (I got mine for $129 with a special sale) it is durable and designed to fit overhead bins on larger planes.  Inside it has 2 mesh pockets with one pocket on the outside.  It has a larger document storage sleeve on the outside which makes it handy to store and access documents.   It easily stands up and eliminates those annoying times when bags fall all over the place. I bought this bag over a year ago and put it to the test.  I particularly like the top and side grab handles especially when getting on off those European trains.  The bag weighs 7 pounds and has a rated gear capacity of 2,624 cubic inches.  Check out their web site.


best carry-on bags, the traveling professor, the three tomatoeseBags:  Right off the bat, what I like about the eBags TLS Mother Lode Line of expandable bags is the variety of sizes, styles, and colors.  Unlike the REI Wheely Beast, it is soft on top but does have a hard casing on the back side, convenient when you need to store fragile items inside.   The 21″ version comes in comes in at 8 pounds, 11 ounces and stores 2,752 cubic inches of gear when expanded, 2,249 when not.  It has a lifetime warranty too.  Another major difference is the number of compartments the eBag has.  The REI bag has virtually none, where the eBag is much more organized and compartmentalized.  It retails for $189 and you can buy it from Amazon.

Which would I buy?  I like both bags.  I find when women prefer the eBag because of its strong compartmentalization and stylish look.  The REI bag is more like a duffel bag and is generally preferred by our male travelers.

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  • Stephen Solosky, The Traveling Professor. Here's my story - about 15 years ago I started traveling to Paris on my own. Since I am a meticulous note taker, I wrote down everything a traveler to Paris might want to know: hotels, attractions, restaurants, transportation, packing, hidden secrets, money saving ideas, travel tips and more. Soon afterwards, civic organizations and continuing education programs invited me to present programs on Paris travel. At those presentations I handed out my travel notes. They told me I should turn those notes into a book, so in 2009 I published "The Traveling Professor's Guide to Paris". It became a best-seller. Readers from all over the country asked me to take them to Paris and voila! - my tour business was born. They enjoyed my small group tours for adults to Paris so much they wanted more. I have since retired from being a professor in the State University of New York system and added tours to Italy, Spain, Peru & Machu Picchu. Visit The Professor

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