I Swapped My Pricey Suitcase for This $84 Carry-On and It’s a Game Changer

published Apr 25, 2024
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Young female traveler walking with a yellow suitcase at the modern transport stop outdoors, back view. Concept of an urban transportation and travel
Credit: RossHelen/Shutterstock

It’s not always planned well in advance, but I travel fairly often during the year for concerts, conventions, and family visits. It’s especially true when the summer hits and I’ve got back-to-back getaways from my birthday in July through the end-of-year holiday season. As a seasoned product tester, one of my favorite things to do while on the go is try out travel gear to see what actually improves the experience. In the process, I’ve found some tried-and-true products that I now take on trips whenever possible. What’s even better is finding budget-friendly items that don’t hurt your wallet by immediately falling apart.

I’ve picked up my fair share of convenient travel finds from Amazon over the years, including a flight phone mount, anti-theft backpack, and more. When I learned about affordable travel brand BAGSMART, I had to check it out. While carefully perusing the luggage options from top to bottom, I kept coming back to the 20” Quilted Softside Expandable Travel Suitcase that had major glam appeal.

What is the BAGSMART Softside Expandable Travel Suitcase?

Also known as the Bonchemin Travel & Business Suitcase, this lightweight, durable, and spacious carry-on is a chic travel find that you can often score for under $100. Made with premium polyester, it has a quilted chevron front panel, gold zippers and accents, and 360-degree rotating spinner wheels. The suitcase is also equipped with a secure TSA-approved lock. Before you even open the main compartment of the carry-on, you’ll see that it has plenty of pockets on the outside. The front panel alone has two large pockets and there’s a smaller, arched right-side pocket that’s perfect for storing a water bottle or umbrella. Along with the extendable ergonomic pull handle, it also has a handle on the top and left side for convenient carrying. Including the wheels, the suitcase measures 21” x 13.5” x 9”.

The main compartment of this elegant softside expandable suitcase features a built-in zippered pouch and interior mesh pocket for storing accessories and small items. It also has two adjustable straps to keep your clothing from shifting around. If you find yourself needing just a little bit more space to fit your belongings into the carry-on, it fortunately expands 2 inches to increase its 43-liter capacity to 51 liters. All in all, it’s possible to fit up to a week’s worth of clothing inside. The suitcase is also scratch- and stain-resistant.

Credit: Britt Franklin

Why I Love the BAGSMART Softside Expandable Travel Suitcase

I brought this 20” carry-on along for a week-long trip to California with my family. After flying across the country from Louisiana, our first stop was Anaheim for a couple of days at Disney before driving down to a gorgeous Airbnb in San Diego for the rest of the trip. While I had a handful of choices to bring on the flight, the BAGSMART carry-on couldn’t have been a better pick. 

Since I was bringing gifts for my nieces, I didn’t want to overwhelm my checked bag with bulky jackets and sweatshirts, so I put them into the carry-on instead. The built-in compression straps are effective, but I highly recommend using packing cubes if you want to maximize the storage capacity of any luggage that you use. I still had plenty of room to spare even after loading my outerwear into the suitcase so I added a few more accessories just to be sure I wouldn’t go over the luggage weight limit at the airport.

Even when the suitcase was packed and expanded, it was still light enough to pull and carry. I noticed that it was easier to roll forward and backwards versus side-to-side, but it never stalled or got stuck. The carry-on easily fit into the overhead compartment on the plane, and when I had to check it on the way home due to changing flights after a delay, the suitcase made it to the baggage claim area unscathed. I’m always so worried that my checked luggage will get back to me totally scuffed and roughed up, but I was thrilled to see my little carry-on come down the conveyor belt looking just as good as new. I’ll definitely be using it again and again!

Buy: BAGSMART Quilted Travel Suitcase, $80.74 (normally $104.99)