Best Luggage for European Travel: Suitcases & Carry on

Best Luggage for Europe Travel

If you are on the hunt for the best luggage for European travel, then you have come to the right place. This guide takes you through everything you need to know when purchasing luggage for Europe travel.

Of course, the very best travel luggage for Europe needs to be both stylish and practical while fitting in everything you need for your trip.  You’ll also need to consider whether you prefer a suitcase or backpack as well as whether you’re wanting checked luggage or a carry-on.

This guide on the best luggage for Europe travel takes you through everything you need to consider when purchasing the perfect bag – including recommendations for the best carry on luggage for Europe too.  I’ll take you through the various features you need to consider when looking for the best luggage to travel Europe and then take a closer look at some great options currently on the market.

Whether you’re looking for the best luggage for travel to Europe to check-in or the best carry-on luggage for Europe, this guide will provide you everything you need to know to make the perfect choice for you.

This post may contain compensated links.  Please refer to my disclaimer here for more information. 

Our Pick for the Best Luggage for European: Samsonite Omni PC 

Don’t have time to read my entire European luggage guide? I just love Samsonite Omni PCas its the perfect size for carry on only luggage, or I can just as easily check it in.  It’s a quality suitcase with great features such as the four wheels, retractable handle and plenty of features inside the case to keep my belongings well organised and secure.

Click here to purchase the Samsonite Omni suitcase or keep reading below for my detailed review.

Comparison Chart for the Best Travel Luggage for Europe 

Check out the table below for a quick and easy comparison of the best luggage for travel in Europe reviewed in this guide.  For further information, keep reading the reviews below. 

IMAGEPRODUCTTYPESIZE (in)WEIGHT (lbs)OUR RATING 
1. Samsonite Omni PCHard Case22 x 15 x 9.56.84.3Check Price
2. Kenneth ColeHard Case29.5 x 20.5 x 11.759.64Check Price
3. Delsey Helium AeroHard Case25 x 10.25 x 15.258.44.1Check Price
4. Chester MinimaHard Case21.5 x 13.5 x 8.574.7Check Price
5. Travelpro Maxlite 5Soft Case31 x 21 x 138.54.3Check Price
6. Samsonite MidnightSoft Case25.5 x 18 x 9.584.2Check Price
7. London Frog KnightsbridgeSoft Case29 x 12 x 1984Check Price
8. Kelty Women’s Redwing 40 BackpackBackpack23 x 14 x 122.104.3Check Price
9. Osprey PorterBackpack23 x 15 x 133.44.6Check Price
10. eBags TLS Mother Lode WeekenderBackpack21.5 x 5.5 x 143.74.6Check Price

 

Things to Consider when Purchasing the Best Luggage for Europe travel 

We all have different preferences, so the best luggage for traveling Europe for me isn’t necessarily the best luggage for travelling Europe for you.  To ensure you purchase the perfect bags for your Europe trip, consider the following factors. 

Size

Firstly are you looking for a bag to check-in or a bag for your carry on?  And if you’re looking for a carry on bag do you intend for it to be your only bag?  These are the questions you need to ask yourself first.

Regardless of your answer, I’m a firm believer that your luggage should only be as big as you need it.  Smaller is always better.  Don’t buy the biggest bag you can find “just in case”, as you will only regret lugging it around with you.

If you are looking at purchasing European carry on luggage for your trip, you will need to check with your airline what their baggage restrictions are first.  While there are some general similarities, there are also some subtle differences, and you don’t want to be stuck with excess baggage fees due to a few centimetres or a kilo or two.

If your carry on bag is going to be your only luggage, you’re most likely going to want one of the biggest allowable carry on bags.  If however, you’re just after a carry on bag to complement your checked luggage, then I suggest a small bag or suitcase that is just big enough to accommodate what you need to take on board. 

In the reviews below are some of the best carryon luggage for Europe as well as the best lightweight luggage for Europe to check-in.   So whatever your preference no doubt there is something perfect for you!

Weight

With airlines being strict on the weight of both checked and carry on baggage; it is super important to choose the lightest luggage which still meets your requirements.  Some suitcases and bags can be unnecessarily heavy, eating into your precious baggage allowance.  While others are so light that they don’t offer any protection for your belongings inside.

When considering the weight of your bag, you will need to consider a few things.  If you prefer a hard-side case, you’re going to have to accept that your luggage will be a little heavier than it would be if it were a soft side case or backpack.  Of course, if you want a large suitcase, it’s also going to weigh a little more than what a smaller suitcase would.

Quality also comes into play when considering the weight of your luggage.  If a suitcase is large and cheap, its likely not offering your personal belongings much protection.  Whereas as a good quality, large light suitcase or backpack is generally going to be a bit pricey.

As you can see, it’s a bit of a balancing game and will really depend upon what is a priority to you.

In these best luggage travel Europe reviews I have included the weights of all the luggage in the table above. 

Suitcase or Backpack

Which is the best luggage to travel to Europe – a suitcase or a backpack?  Well, there are pros and cons for using either a suitcase or backpack.

A suitcase can be wheeled, and so in some respects, it is easier to transport. However, this is not always the case.  In Europe, you are likely from time to time going to need to carry your bag up and downstairs, across cobblestones and through crowded areas.  In these circumstances, a backpack is far easier to transport.

Suitcases often weigh more than a backpack which is not ideal when you are travelling only with carry on luggage.  If you are only travelling with cabin luggage, you don’t want to be using precious weight on your baggage.  In this case, I’d recommended a backpack.

Clothing and personal items are far easier to find and access from a suitcase.  Suitcases usually require a quick unzip to open, whereas backpacks require you to open various straps and compartments to find things.

So when it comes to the best luggage for Europe; think about the above before deciding on whether a suitcase or backpack is best for you.

Wheels

If you decide to go for one of the best travel suitcase for Europe options you will want to consider wheels.

When wheeling a bag around a busy airport, you want luggage that is easy to manoeuvre. Baggage that doesn’t smoothly go where you want it to will leave you frustrated and stressed before you even board your plane.

Suitcases these days come with either two or four wheels.  A two-wheel suitcase, require you to tilt it to wheel it, and it doesn’t easily go around corners or through narrow spaces.  Two-wheeled suitcases tend to fall over when left unaided and it’s impossible to pull more than one.

Four-wheel suitcases, are now becoming the standard and are far easier to manoeuvre around busy airports.  These cases can quickly move in any direction, including going around corners with ease.  A light push on the handle is all that is usually required to move the suitcase around the airport and doesn’t require you to hold any of the weight.  They are also far easier wheeling through a narrow plane aisle than two-wheeled suitcases.

Although two-wheel suitcases are usually easier than four-wheeled ones to pull behind you.  When you leave the airport, you will tend to want to pull your case rather than push it.  A two-wheel case tends to be able to handle cobblestones and uneven surfaces much better than other cases.

You can also get suitcases that come with eight wheels; these are referred to has double spinners.

Compartments

Suitcases usually have the one large main compartment with a few smaller pockets inside and in some cases one on the outside.  If you’re purchasing a suitcase, I’d also recommend one which is expandable.  An expandable suitcase is excellent as it provides you with a place to store your various purchases during your travels.  No need to buy an additional bag, you simply unzip the expandable compartment for more space.

Backpacks come with a range of different compartments and pockets.  If you’re travelling with your laptop you can get ones with built-in laptop sleeves, pockets on the side for water bottles, compartments on the straps for your phone etc. etc.

When it comes to compartments, a few are helpful to keep your items organised, but I don’t think there is a need to get a bag with too many as you’ll end up not remembering where you put everything.

Hard or Soft 

If you decide to go for a suitcase, you will need to consider whether a hard or soft cased one is better.

Softshell bags are more common and are much easier to squeeze into overhead compartments than hard shellbags.  While a hard-shell case will often provide better protection for your belongings, but it is likely to weigh more than a softshell case. 

If you prefer a hard shell suitcase; be sure to get a lightweight one, as you don’t want to use too many of those precious kilograms for your suitcase instead of your items. 

I’ve included all the weights of the cases in the table above.

Handles

Regardless of whether you choose a suitcase or a backpack, your luggage must have an easy to use handle. 

On suitcases, some handles can be difficult to use in that they don’t retract quickly which is not ideal when you are walking through a busy airport or trying to load your bag quickly on to a bus.  The best telescopic handles are tall enough to allow you to pull your luggage at a comfortable arm’s length while also contracting to mid-way. 

Backpack or suitcase be sure that your bag has top and side handles to make it easier when loading into the overhead compartments.

Straps 

If you purchase a backpack, you will need to ensure your pack is comfortable to carry.  Look for backpacks with a good strap system which will spread the load of the backpack across your back, with most of the weight resting on your hips via the hip belt.  The best backpacks have straps for the shoulders, hips and sternum with straps that are padded, adjustable and made from breathable fabric. 

Water-Resistant 

A water-resistant bag gives you extra protection when travelling in wet weather.  While water-resistant bags aren’t waterproof; they do provide you time to seek shelter or pull out a rain cover without having your personal belongings getting wet. 

The Best Luggage Travel Europe Reviews 2019

1. Samsonite Omni PC Hardside Spinner

If you’re looking for the best suitcase for Europe, then you can’t go past the Samsonite Omni Hardside suitcase.  This is an excellent suitcase, which is super lightweight and perfect for your European travels.

With an extremely scratch-resistant micro-diamond texture on the exterior of the case, this suitcase is sure to withstand all the usual wear and tear inflicted by harsh airport elements. Not only is this case super durable, but it also looks elegant and stylish too.

This bag is also great for keeping your things organised with a full zip interior, divider and cross-straps to ensure everything stays where it is supposed to. With the added expansion, all your belongings will fit comfortably even if you purchase souvenirs along the way.

Other features include a retractable handle, lightweight spinner wheels and a side-mounted TSA lock for extra security while travelling. All this, as well as the 360 spinner wheels, makes this a great and easy option if you’re after the best carry on bag for Europe.

The Samsonite Omni would be great for the light packers wanting just a carry on for their Europe adventures or for those looking for something to complement their checked luggage.   

Click here to check the price or for more information.

 

2. Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds

If you want your suitcase to stand out on the carousel at your European destination, then you got to get yourself one of these Kenneth Cole suitcases.  Coming in a range of super funky and bright colours, there will be no mistaking which suitcase is yours!

While the heaviest suitcase in these reviews, at 9.6 lbs it is still lightweight given it’s a large, hard-shell case.  Being hard shell it’s going to provide maximum protection for your belongings as well as being water resistance and easy to clean.  

Inside there’s plenty of space for all your things, plus there is a zippered divider to keep your items organised and compression straps to keep everything well secured.

With four wheels, this suitcase is easy to manoeuvre around the airport.  It also features a push-button telescopic handle which has two lock positions as well as a top and side grab handle making it easy to put in and out of taxis and public transport.

As you can see this suitcase has everything you need for your Europe trip.  Now the only tricky part is trying to decide which colour to get it in??  Oh, and it comes with a ten-year warranty too!

Click here to check the price or for more information.

 

3. Delsey Helium Aero

The Desley Luggage Helium Aero is a fantastic hard case bag which is TSA approved and a great choice if you’re looking for a carry on suitcase for your upcoming Europe getaway.

This Desley suitcase is a great size (a little bit bigger than the Samsonite one above) and is reasonably lightweight and durable. It is made from 100% polycarbonate, which is super resilient to cracking.  For the security-conscious travellers, there is a side-mounted TSA lock which is designed for airport personal to open your bag without damaging it.

You’ll love how easy this suitcase is to manoeuvre around the airport.  The double spinner wheels, as well as the two-position handle system, make getting around a breeze.  Other great features include the 2-inch expandable pocket perfect to store souvenirs you pick up along the way as well as the two extra-large fully lined pockets inside the case ideal for organising all your belongings.  There are two side handles perfect for carrying the case when required, such as lifting it into overhead bins or in and out of the car.

This is a great mid-range suitcase, available in 9 different colours and also comes with a ten-year warranty for peace of mind.

Click here to check the price or for more information.

 

4. Chester Minima Carry On Suitcase 

If you’re after a great rolling carry on suitcase to complement your checked luggage, consider this Minima suitcase by Chester.

A bit smaller than the Samsonite reviewed above and the smallest suitcase in these reviews, the Chester Minima is a great size case for everything you need on board your flight.  Being a hard-shell case, it’s water-resistant and will keep your items well protected. Perfect if you like to store all your electronics in your carryon bag.

This bag is lightweight so won’t eat into those precious carry on kilos.  Inside the bag are two main compartments which are separated by a zippered divider.  It also includes three interior pockets to store smaller items as well as a removable laundry bag for your dirty clothes.

This is a quality suitcase coming with four multi-direction wheels for easy manoeuvring around the airport.  It also has an aluminium telescope handle with two lock positions and top and side grab handles which makes it easy to put your case in the overhead compartments.

The Chester Minima is a high-quality bag coming with a 10-year warranty for your peace of mind.  It also comes in a range of great colours including black, pale pink and pastel blue.

Click here to check the price or for more information.

 

5. Travelpro Maxlite 5 Expandable Spinner

If you’re after a large suitcase for your upcoming trip to Europe, then consider the Travelpro Maxlite 5, the biggest suitcase in these reviews.  This suitcase has plenty of room for all your personal belongings yet is still lightweight at only 8.5 pounds.

Inside this suitcase, you will find a deep main compartment which provides plenty of room for all your bulky European gear.  There is a top full-length zippered compartment as well as compression straps to keep your things secure.  On the outside, the case has two external zippered compartments as well as a two-inch expandable compartment.

This suitcase is a breeze to wheel around the airport with its 4-wheel spinners rotating 360 degrees and the aluminium handle locks into two different positions to accommodate people of different heights.  The Maxlite 5 also features a water and stain-resistant coating.

Weighing in at just 8.5 pounds, this is an excellent choice for that want a large lightweight suitcase.  It comes in a range of great colours as well as a lifetime warranty for peace of mind.

Click here to check the price or for more information.

 

6. Samsonite Mightlight 2 Softside Spinner 25 

If you’re looking for a top-quality mid-size, lightweight suitcase, then you definitely should consider the Samsonite Mightlight 2 suitcase.

Inside this suitcase is one large deep main compartment with compression straps.  On the inside lid, you will find two smaller zippered pockets to help keep your things organised as well as a small side pocket in the main compartment.

The multi-directional spherical spinner wheels allow for easy mobility across all surfaces, and the ultra-lightweight nylon fabric with a water-resistant coating is excellent for easy travelling. As well as the telescopic handle it also features top and side grab handles to help lift the case in and out of taxis and off the carousel.   

At only 8 pounds, the Samsonite Mightlight is a great lightweight mid-size suitcase, perfect for your Europe trip.  

Click here to check the price or for more information.

 

7. London Frog Knightsbridge

Another excellent choice for those looking for a large, soft case is theKnightsbridge from London Frog.  This is a lightweight 29-inch expandable suitcase all packaged at a great price.

This suitcase includes a large deep, spacious compartment which has compression straps to keep everything secure.  On the inside lid is two shoe pockets and a zippered mesh pocket to keep your belongings well organised.  There are also two zippered pockets on the outside of the suitcase as well as the 2-inch expandable compartment.

The Knightsbridge suitcase features four spinner wheels and an ergonomic grip telescope handle for easy navigating.  There are also top, side and even bottom grab handles so you can quickly get this large bag off the carousel.

For anyone after a large suitcase for their Europe getaway, which isn’t going to blow the budget, the London Frog Knightsbridge is a great choice.  It even comes in a few different plaid designs which will help it stand out from all the other suitcases on the carousel. 

Click here to check the price or for more information.

 

8. Kelty Redwing Backpack

The Kelty Redwing Backpack has been designed especially for women and is an ideal choice for women looking for the best carry on for Europe.

This Kelty backpack has a women’s specific waistband, and the shoulder straps are contoured for comfort.  This backpack also includes upper and lower side pockets, which can be used to store long items such as hiking poles, great if you’re planning on some hiking in the European countryside.

The suspension system of the Kelty travel backpack is ridged, and light, and the straps and back panel are padded and meshed for cooling.  However, keep in mind that the shoulder straps are non-adjustable, only accommodating torso’s 14-18 ½ inches in length.

Versatile enough to take on a plane or into the outdoors, this medium-sized pack is a perfect choice if you are looking for a carry on pack or for those that plan on doing some long day hikes during their Europe adventures.

Click here to check the price or for more information.

 

9. Osprey Porter Backpack

Osprey is easily one of the best carry on luggage brands in the business, and the 46 litres Porter is a popular choice for those after a backpack to take as carry on for their upcoming trip.

You can fit a lot of stuff in this backpack, so to ensure it meets the airlines carry on requirements be sure not to overpack it.  With the use of the straightjacket compression straps and provided it’s not jam-packed, this is one of the biggest packs accepted as carry on luggage.  If you return with too much gear from your trip, it’s great to have the option to fill it to capacity and check it in.

This bag doesn’t have too many compartments, but it has all the space you’ll need whether you’re travelling for a few weeks to a few months.  The main compartment is large and easily fits a few large storage cubes.  The reinforced cord loops allow you to attach a day pack and the latest Porter bags have the added edition of a rear padded laptop compartment.

Other features of this backpack include stowaway shoulder straps and hip belt, front panel organisation pocket for easy access to small travel items and the padded top and side handles make it easy to carry when necessary.

This pack comes in a variety of colours including black, grey, teal and red as well as the option of a 30 or 65 litre. For extra peace of mind, Osprey will repair any damage or defect to your bag free of charge – no matter how long ago you purchased it! If they can’t fix it, they will replace it instead.

Click here to check the price or for more information.

 

10. eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender

The Mother Lode Weekender Convertible backpack is another great backpack for carry on.  This non-traditional backpack is more like a suitcase with shoulder straps, perfect for those who like a backpack but prefers the suitcase-style. 

This backpack can be carried over the shoulder using the larger shoulder strap, or on your back using the smaller shoulder straps. This pack also includes carry handles, several outside pockets including a laptop sleeve able to accommodate a laptop or tablet up to 19”, the only thing missing is water bottle pockets.

This eBags backpack is easy to use and opens like a traditional suitcase, into two halves.  The deeper half is separated into two compartments with straps to keep your clothes in place and a small zippered pocket at one end, while the other half has a zippered mesh cover. 

Whether you’re a light traveller and looking for a carry-on backpack or something to complement your checked luggage, the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender is a great choice.  It also comes in a range of cool colour such as red, aqua and grey.

Click here to check the price or for more information.

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