This $225 Suitcase Replaced A Man As My Go-To Travel Companion: A Review of AwayLuggage
I'm a terrible packer. I'm like the person in all of those memes that thinks I'll need a blowtorch and an old jar of banana peppers on my weekend trip to Sacramento (one time Subway ran out and I thought, “Never again.”).
When I was offered the opportunity to review The Carry-On from Away, I was excited, albeit nervous — after all, my packing abilities are far from top-notch. Could this suitcase be the solution?
Luckily, I had an upcoming trip to Chicago planned for New Year's. And as a native Californian, you know I was going to try to squeeze every sweater I own in into this carry-on. It was the perfect opportunity to test my new luggage.
I specifically chose the smallest suitcase size offered by Away to challenge myself to pack all my “necessities” into just a carry-on.
Spoiler alert: I loved this suitcase. I cannot imagine traveling without it – keep reading to find out why.
Away Suitcase Packaging
Opening my Away box was already going to be the highlight of my December, but I didn't expect the opening experience to be just as special as the bag itself (our office dachshund Pablo thought so too).
Receiving my Away suitcase reminded me of when I got my Warby Parker glasses in the mail: it's just done better.
The Away suitcase comes packaged snugly in a gorgeous box and high-quality dust bag, which can double as a second laundry bag! Away definitely thinks of everything when it comes to customer experience and tries to make every aspect luxurious.
When I unwrapped the suitcase, I think I actually squealed. It is honestly so beautiful and I was so excited to take it with me on my upcoming travels. I ordered mine in the color Navy.
Right away, I was shocked by how lightweight it was. This suitcase is nothing like any of my clunky, soft-cover suitcases that I've owned since Friends was on air.
Away Suitcase Features
I was already obsessed with Away before receiving my suitcase, so the impeccable design of the bag was no shock to me. For those who don't stalk the brand, Away is a hard-cover suitcase with an unbreakable (!) polycarbonate shell. The bag is a traveler's dream with the following features:
- Ejectable battery that charges your phone (airline approved, of course)
- TSA-approved combination lock
- 360° Hinomoto wheels
- Interior compression system
- Hidden laundry bag
Away Suitcase Size Options
For those of you wanting to create a personal fleetof Away luggage (no, seriously it's a thing), the bags come in four sizes:
- The Carry-On
- The Bigger Carry-On
- The Medium
- The Large
Away Suitcase Color Options
Goodbye black suitcases, hello cheerful colors. While black goes with everything, it means it's really easy to lose your luggage. Away suitcases come in the following colors:
I'm still kicking myself for not choosing that vibrant pink.
Away Suitcase Organization
One of my favorite features is the dual-sided design of the bag instead of the usual suitcase black hole. It allows you to compartmentalize your packing for optimal organization. I liked packing my clothes into the open side and then shoes and loose items into the mesh zip side, but you're able to pick what works best for you.
I also liked the detachable compression bag that separates the two halves of the suitcase. It's perfect for flat items like undergarments or important travel documents. However, I did notice that it takes up room when packing a fuller suitcase, so I had to take it out for optimal storage. I was impressed by what I was able to fit in my suitcase. Here's what I packed (not including the clothes I wore while traveling):
- Three sweaters
- Two long-sleeve tees
- Two blouses
- One pair of jeans
- One pair of leggings
- One sequin dress (I went for New Year's)
- Two pairs of shoes
- A small train case of makeup
- A makeup bag
- Enough undergarments for one week + two extra days for emergency
As an organizational queen™, I love using packing cubes. I really appreciated how the depth of the suitcase was perfect for my cubes! It helped me pack so easily and this might have been the best pack of my life. As you can see, I packed quite a bit of stuff (I held off on the banana peppers this time), and Away just fit it all.
Away Suitcase Roll-ability
I have never been more excited to not check a suitcase in my life? Is this normal?
After arriving at the airport, I didn't feel burdened walking around with my carry-on like I normally would. The bag is very lightweight and easy to maneuver. Now, I'm not sure what Hinomoto wheels are, but you need them in your life. These wheels are e v e r y t h i n g. It feels like my suitcase is being rolled by angels.
The Carry-On even excelled with a sleeping bag strapped to it, as I ran through a train station holding a hot coffee, no lid (don't ask).
Away Suitcase Bonus Features
Like I said before, Away thinks of everything. Even the little things.
Away Ejectable Portable Charger
I surprisingly used the portable charger for a decent leg of the trip – it was my go-to to bring to a bar. Chicago has a much later last call then I'm used to in LA, so I needed to bring a charger with me. I'm not sure it's what the brand intended it for, but I did do the Cupid Shuffle holding my Away portable charger in the air.
Away Hidden Laundry Bag
The second leg of my trip I stayed with friends, so I did end up doing laundry! Having a way to separate my dirty clothes from clean was a great feature. It even came in handy when I brought my clothes to-and-from the laundry machine.
Away TSA-Approved Lock
I appreciate the lock feature and know other people use it, but is there a purpose for carry-on luggage? I forgot to use it when I put the suitcase in the overhead compartment, but I did have fun playing with the lock before boarding. I've never had a suitcase with a lock before, so I'll have to get used to my items being actually protected.
If you've got the money to get something more than a $40 TJ Maxx suitcase, an Away suitcase is worth the splurge. Travel is already so hectic that the extra stress of having a crappy suitcase isn't worth it. For the record, Away suitcases are very affordable for the features and quality. Unlike other luggage brands, Away sells directly to the consumer, so there's no middle man increasing mark-ups.
Away suitcases are made to last, that's why they offer a limited lifelong warranty. Bonus: they also come with a 100-day trial to return the suitcase if you hate it (not likely). Here's why they do it:
“We want you to find the travel uniform that best fits the way you actually travel—and sometimes you can't know what fits best until you get out there. That's why everything we make comes with a 100-day trial. It works like this: Starting from the day you buy any piece from Away, you have the next 100 days to live with it, vibe with it, travel with it, Instagram it, put a sticker on it, whatever. If at any point in those first 100 days you decide it's just not for you, return it for a full refund—no questions asked.”
Instead of heading to a department store for a new piece of luggage, I'd highly recommend heading to Away's website or one of their brick-and-mortar locations if you're in the market for a new suitcase. I think I've got a travel companion for life.
If you plan on purchasing an Away suitcase yourself, be sure to check out our current Away promo codes before you do.