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Best Carry-On: EXZACT 20-Inch Carry-On at Amazon
"Durable and lightweight, this is the ideal bag for your next trip."
Best Hardshell: Wrangler Hardside Spinner Carry-On at Amazon
"Boasts a lightweight-yet-strong hardshell."
Most Durable: Travelers Club Chicago Expandable Spinner at Amazon
"You never have to worry about it getting ripped or torn."
Best Duffel: Samsonite Luggage Andante Wheeled Duffel at Amazon
"Features a compact, versatile design that’s perfect for long-haul travels."
Best Backpack: Eagle Creek Packable Daypack at Amazon
"The functional and stylish bag keeps your belongings safe and sound."
Best Tote: L.L. Bean Boat and Tote at L.L. Bean
"Big enough to hold a weekend's worth of clothes, yet still small enough as a carry-on."
Most Versatile: Travelers Club 32-Inch Rolling Duffel at Bed Bath & Beyond
"You can use it as a small duffel backpack or as a wheeled carry-on bag."
Best Lightweight: U.S. Traveler Rio Expandable Carry-On at Amazon
"This ultra-lightweight spinner meets carry-on restrictions for most airlines."
We've all seen it in the movies once—that one passenger, running late, whose luggage spills its contents out onto the airport floor. While it may seem like an over-exaggeration, there is a lesson to be learned. When you're traveling you want your luggage or bag to expertly hold all of your belongings and be durable enough to handle any situation. Now, you may be thinking in order to find one that's up to this challenge you need to spend a decent amount. Fortunately, you can find durable and compact luggage items on the market that won't leave a huge dent in your bank account.
Whether you're looking for a simple carry-on or a more heavy-duty suitcase, here are the best luggage items under $50.
Our Top Picks
Best Carry-On: EXZACT 20-Inch Carry-On
Durable and lightweight, EXZACT's 20-Inch Carry-On is the ideal bag for your next trip. It’s crafted from high-quality polycarbonate material, and thus will readily hold up to wear and tear—a crucial test for any suitcase. The carry-on also boasts a sturdy telescope handle and four multi-directional spinner wheels (they rotate a full 360 degrees) so you’re able to easily maneuver it through tight spaces in crowded airports and tiny aisles on airplanes. A spacious interior compartment features tie-down straps for keeping your clothes neat, plus it has a TSA lock to protect your belongings. The EXZACT Carry-On measures 21.6 x 15.7 x 8.6 inches and weighs just 6.6 pounds.
Best Hardshell: Wrangler Hardside Spinner Carry-On
Looking for a sturdy, heavy-duty piece of luggage at a super reasonable price? Wrangler's Hardside Spinner features spacious inner compartments, with an interior divider panel and a compression strap for securely storing items. The exterior of the 20-inch spinner boasts a lightweight-yet-strong hardshell with a textured finish that’s scuff-resistant. Made from hardy polycarbonate, the suitcase also has a telescoping handle system, a securely mounted short handle, and four 360-degree spinner wheels, all of which means you’ll be able to effortlessly tote it around any airport terminal.
Most Durable: Travelers Club Chicago Expandable Spinner
If you want to invest in a highly durable suitcase that’s half the cost of other bags of its caliber, go for the Travelers Club Chicago Expandable Spinner. Thanks to its sturdy ABS construction, you never have to worry about it getting ripped or torn. Considering the bag’s four double-spinner wheels and sleek 20 x 13 x 11-inch build, upright mobility is easy with the Travelers Club Chicago Spinner. You’ll have plenty of packing room, too: there’s a full-lined interior, garment divider, and a zippered accessory pocket. This bag comes in nine different eye-popping colors including navy, teal, purple, fuchsia, and rose gold, so it's both a functional and stylish luggage choice.
Best Duffel: Samsonite Luggage Andante Wheeled Duffel
Light and durable, the Samsonite Luggage Andante Wheeled Duffel features a compact, versatile design that’s perfect for long-haul travels. The duffel has a lightweight frame, rolling wheels, ultra-comfy carry handles, and a locking upright handle, all of which render mobility simple and effortless. The SoftSpin wheel system even has specialized shock suspension technology, so the bag glides easily on most surfaces. Thanks to its multiple organization pockets and large U-shaped opening, packing is a cinch and you’ll have easy access to all your belongings. The Samsonite Andante Wheeled Duffel comes in three colors—black/grey, black, and grey/lime—and weighs just 6.4 pounds. It measures 22 x 12 x 12.5 inches.
Best Backpack: Eagle Creek Packable Daypack
Convenience and security are what you get with Eagle Creek's Packable Daypack. The functional and stylish bag keeps your belongings safe and sound with the aid of two-way lockable zippers and two central lock points. You can’t beat this bag’s convenience, either: It has pack-in pockets that allow the bag to fold in on itself, so you can stash it virtually anywhere when not in use. Its breathable mesh shoulder straps are extremely comfortable and allow for all-day wear—they promote optimal airflow, so you don’t have to worry about staining your shirt with sweat marks, either. The Eagle Creek Packable Daypack comes in three eye-catching shades that include blue sea, black, and tan, and the bag’s dimensions are a roomy 11 x 17.5 x 4.75 inches.
Best Tote: L.L. Bean Boat and Tote
The L.L. Bean Boat and Tote is a classic bag that’s big enough to hold a weekend's worth of clothes, yet still small enough to use as a carry-on. Handcrafted in Maine and built to last, the beloved bag boasts a slim, compact design that’s deceivingly hardy. The handles are tested to hold up to 500 pounds, so you can pack virtually anything you may need. Built from a 24-ounce cotton canvas, the bag also has a reinforced flat canvas bottom which helps it withstand any rough handling at the airport or other potential wear-and-tear during your travels. The zip-top tote comes in four different sizes and color combos to best fit your preferences; you can also order it with a custom monogram.
Most Versatile: Travelers Club 32-Inch Rolling Duffel
Versatility is the name of the game with the Travelers Club 32-Inch Compactable Rolling Duffel. Since you can use it as a small duffel backpack or as a wheeled carry-on bag, it’s just as well-suited for urban travel as it is for wheeling through an airport. It features in-line blade wheels, a side-webbing handle, and a detachable, adjustable shoulder strap, all of which allow for swift, easy maneuverability. The bag’s main compartment is spacious and it can also fold into itself so you can stow it in your closet when not in use. The Travelers Club Duffel is crafted from durable, 1200-denier polyester (so you can rest assured it’ll last) and the bag comes with a two-year manufacturer's warranty.
Best Lightweight: U.S. Traveler Rio Expandable Carry-On
The U.S. Traveler Rio Expandable Carry-On is a great bargain—especially if you’re searching for something that isn’t super heavy-duty. The ultra-lightweight, 21-inch expandable spinner meets carry-on restrictions for most major airlines, and the matching tote bag is great for an underseat luggage option. The bag is made from durable polyester fabric and includes extra padding in the front panel, in addition to a self-locking handle system and four inline skate wheels for easy rolling. The popular suitcase expands to give you 25 percent more room to maximize packing capacity, and its interior is lined with a zip mesh pocket, tie-down straps, and two front pockets. This medium-sized bag measures 21 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches and is available in six different colors.
What to Look for in Luggage Items Under $50
Size: Whether you're traveling by plane or car, factor in the size of your luggage or bag. The bigger the piece, the more you'll hold but its weight will also increase. Airports have strict sizes and weights to abide by whether it be for a carry-on or checked bag, so it's important that your luggage will accommodate these rules. The same concept applies to your car, or if you're going to carry a bag on a day trip. You'll want to make sure the bag can fit in your car and that you can handle carrying it for an extended period of time if needed.
Durability: Whether you're buying a hard-side or soft-side luggage, you'll want to make sure it's made to last. Hard-side luggage is the best if you're most worried about tears, but if you're opting for soft-side luggage make sure to find a durable fabric like nylon or leather. Also inspect the zippers, handles, and wheels. None of them should stick when in use and should be easy to move around especially as you carry or roll them through the airport.
Movement: If you are buying a wheeled suitcase you'll have two options: two wheels or four wheels. Four wheels offer the best movement as they can swivel 360 degrees so you can wheel it in front of you, beside you, or behind you. This is especially great when you are maneuvering through crowds at an airport. However, luggage with two wheels is better if you need to move your suitcase across sidewalks and roads. Alternatively, if you're packing a bag with no wheels make sure the straps are comfortable so they won't irritate you as you carry them.
Features: Suitcases often come with a variety of features that make packing easier. You want to be able to store all your clothes, shoes, and accessories neatly and securely. Look for luggage items that come with pockets, dividers, and straps to secure everything in place. This will not only allow you to keep your things organized and separated—you don't want shoes on your clothes—but will prevent them from sliding around when you move.