Packing Lists for Travel

9 Away Travel Alternatives to Save Money & Still Look Good

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When it’s time to buy new luggage, get ready to be totally overwhelmed. There are so many choices for luggage out there – colors, sizes, styles, features… it’s almost like buying a new car! And it’s almost as important as buying a new car since if your luggage doesn’t hold up well or protect your belongings, you’re likely going to be really frustrated. Enter: Away Travel.

This company made waves with its gorgeous carry-on luggage endorsed by all the coolest folks on Instagram. Everyone wanted one – heck, I really wanted one! But I also didn’t want to spend $200+ for a suitcase, and past news hasn’t made the company look good either. That’s why I started shopping for Away Travel alternatives almost immediately after deciding to invest in new luggage.

Away Travel Alternatives Hero
Photo credit: Calpak

I’ve pulled together a list of the best alternatives to Away luggage I’ve found, keeping in mind a few factors:

  • Price that doesn’t break the bank
  • Ability to charge your phone
  • Stylish design aka Instagraminess

I’ve scoured the huge number of carry-on suitcases out there to find the best alternatives to Away Travel out there and put them together for you. In fact, I started this list a few months ago, when Mr. V and I decided to splurge on a new rolling suitcase. You’ll find the one we chose on this list, too. But let’s take a quick peek at the list and some of the factors that matter when choosing alternative luggage to Away.

Featured image courtesy of Calpak, @Calpak

Away Travel Alternatives Compared

1Genius Pack Aerial22″Y$$$$Here
2Un-carrier On by Samsara23″Y$$$$$Here
3Level8 Pro20″Y$$$$Here
4Made By Design Hardside22″N$Here
5COOLIFE (Small)20″N$Here
6Calpak Ambeur26″N$$$Here
7SWISSGEAR Energie23″N$$Here
8Samsonite Freeform21″N$$$Here
9DELSEY Paris Chatelet21″N$$$$$Here
  • $ = < $100
  • $$ = $100-150
  • $$$ = $150-200
  • $$$$ = $200-250
  • $$$$$ = $250+ aka more than Away

1. Genius Pack Aerial

The Genius Pack Aerial is widely cited by travel publications as one of the best alternatives to Away Travel luggage.

At a good price point, the 21.5″ carry-on comes in a range of neutral colors. The Supercharged version comes with a removable battery pack, if you’re digging this style.

2. The Un-carrier On by Samsara

If you’re looking for a showstopper and are willing to invest for an incredible piece of luggage, the Un-carrier On by Samsara is hands down your best bet.

Designed in collaboration with T-mobile, this outrageously magenta luggage will earn comments (I’ve received more than a few since I got mine a couple of months ago!).

My favorite part of this luggage is how large it is – the absolute max of carry-on size – plus the fact that it uses latches instead of zippers. It’s just so classy – and SO PINK.

(Samsara sells this design in other colors if you like the design but this doesn’t match your travel style.)

3. Level8 Pro with Laptop Pocket

Looking for a cool suitcase with that new laptop pocket feature you may have seen on Instagram? I found the perfect option – and have been road-testing it for the past few months to prove it’s up to snuff.

The Level8 Pro Carry-On with Laptop Pocket is the perfect Away Luggage Alternative with this handy feature. It fits perfectly in all the spaces a carry-on should go, and if you’re looking to keep it all super organized, their organizer packing cubes fit perfectly within.

4. Made By Design Hardside

If you’re looking for a super budget-friendly Away Travel alternative, you could do a lot worse than this incredible – and affordable – hard-side spinner carry-on from Target.

It’s part of their “Made by Design” line and people who aren’t willing to drop a few hundred dollars on a suitcase have raved about it.

It is – admittedly – less hardy and less design-centric as Away Travel’s luggage (or some of the other options on my list), but it does do the trick.

3. COOLIFE Medium

If you’re looking for a solid, affordable alternative to Away luggage, COOLIFE is a good option.

It comes in three sizes: 20″, 24″ (pictured), and 28″ as well as four colors: Caribbean Blue (pictured), Charcoal, Radiant Pink, and Teal. All for a less than $100 price tag!

Just in case you’re a bit worried that the low price tag means lower quality, COOLIFE also has a two-year warranty for their luggage.

4. Calpak Ambeur

Of all the Away alternatives on this list, Mr. V and I initially settled on the Ambeur medium from Calpak when it came time to pick our own luggage.

We loved the brushed metallic colors (and struggled to choose between Black and Silver) and the more reasonable price – they also have a Rose Gold, Gold, and White if you prefer a lighter color.

Calpak also offers a battery pack/luggage tag if you want an easy option for charging your phone on the go.

5. SWISSGEAR Energie

Need more sparkle in your life? Well-reputed luggage company SWISSGEAR has the answer with their Energie carry-on which comes in a bold Gold (pictured) as well as a few other colors.

Additionally, this suitcase comes with a USB port so you can charge your phone too.

6. Samsonite Freeform

Samsonite is one of the world’s most well-known luggage brands, so it’s no surprise that they entered the horizontal-striped hardside game when Away came in to snipe their market.

To be fair, their Freeform suitcase costs basically the same, but if you’re looking for an alternative to Away, it’s one to consider.

7. DELSEY Paris Chatelet

I simply adore the word Chatelet – it’s one of the few words I remember loving the sound of on my first trip to Paris in 2011. That’s part of what’s so charming about the DELSEY Paris Chatelet style: it’s very French in a vaguely Versailles opulent kind of way.

This suitcase is at the higher end of the price range for Away luggage alternatives, but comes in three colors and other sizes.

I hope this helps you choose a good Away luggage alternative; once you’ve chosen don’t forget to check out my packing lists to ensure you pack the right essentials! If I could splurge I would definitely have the astronaut suitcase… Which one do you like the most? Let me know in the comments!

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I was born on the East Coast and currently live in the Midwest – but my heart will always be out West. I lived for 15 years in Alaska, as well as four years each in California and Washington. I share travel resources and stories based on my personal experience and knowledge.


  • Julie

    I purchased the Genius Pack Aerial around a year ago and LOVE it. I’ve been packing light for years (when as a spouse of an airline employee, and always traveling on stand by). I like that the size is approved as carry on for both domestic and international flight travel. I find it easy to pack, lightweight, and the rolling system is great! I highly recommend it!!

  • Robin

    Hi Valerie,
    After hours of research and comparison, I recently bought the Samsonite. So far, the carry-on has been great for quick weekend trips. International trip coming up. We’ll see how the larger piece holds up when I check it in. 😉

    • Valerie

      Good luck, Robin! My newest one is getting beat up already thank to gate checking which is required basically ALWAYS to/from Cleveland.

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