The best business cabin luggage 2018: travel in style and skip the baggage claim

Jet setting abroad or flying from one end of the UK to the other, we’ve got a selection of the best cabin luggage

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When it comes to finding the best carry on for business travel, we've done all the hard work for you.

It’s tricky to narrow down exactly what goes into making the best business travel carry-on, but after scoping out the market, we soon found that our favourites managed a middle ground between being practical enough to carry all the necessaries safely and securely, and looking smart enough to meet clients or colleagues on the other end.

If you’re travelling with devices, look for a suitcase with laptop compartment or even (at the higher end of the market, understandably) a built-in charger for ensuring you’re always powered up, even on unexpected layovers. 

If you’re likely to be making your way around on foot once you’ve landed, look for a convertible bag that goes from a pull-along to a backpack for easy carry. 

Also, make sure you find the best material for you; if you are a bit haphazard and clumsy, a hard plastic shell might be your best option to keep your luggage looking professional after continued use. Alternatively, if your carry-on bag will only see the inside of a plane, taxi and hotel room, opting for a fabric business suitcase could be a feasible option.

From Smart Luggage to smart-looking luggage, take a browse at our top picks.

1. Briggs and Riley Rolling Cabin Bag

This compact rolling laptop bag fits in everywhere

Best for: All-rounder
Size: H35.5 x W39.5 x D24 cm
Weight: 2.8 kg
Laptop pocket: Yes
Capacity: 27L
Reasons to buy
+Fits neatly under plane seats+Lifetime guarantee 
Reasons to avoid
-No shoulder strap option

This multi-patented cabin bag has scored our vote for best all-rounder with an impressive intersection between high-end quality and clever convenience. It’s small and structured enough to fit easily in overhead compartments or under aeroplane seats to keep all your bits to hand, and it holds up to a 15.6” laptop securely. It’ll also convert hard case devotees with its lightweight, durable and water-resistant nylon-polyester construction.

2. Samsonite Guard It Rolling Tote

With a large laptop compartment and special tablet pocket, this carry-on has devices covered

Best for: Keeping devices safe
Size: H46 x W36.5 x 22 cm
Weight: 2.5kg
Laptop pocket: Yes
Capacity: 24L
Reasons to buy
+Huge laptop compartment+Lockable zippers
Reasons to avoid
-Much shorter warranty than Briggs and Riley

For work travellers taking a laptop on the road, this is a superb buy. Its padded laptop compartment fits screens up to 17.3 inches, a deceptively big jump from the standard 15 inches, and comes with lockable zippers to stop opportunistic thieves. It also comes equipped with shoulder strap and telescopic handle for a choice of carrying or pulling. A great secure option for lugging devices, and a much more budget-friendly alternative to the Briggs and Riley Rolling Cabin Bag.

3. Ted Baker AMITHIA Metallic trim travel bag

Professional, practical, and drop-dead gorgeous

Best for: Style
Size: H36 x W56 x D31 cm
Weight: 2kg
Laptop pocket: No
Reasons to buy
+Looks amazing for business and pleasure+Converts from bag to rolling case
Reasons to avoid
-No laptop compartment

Ted Baker have ensured that this luxurious carry-on looks polished enough for a professional sojourn, while not looking too utilitarian for use in your downtime. The rose gold hardware, slim telescopic handle and luxe saffiano leather panels make this convertible carry-on-meets-rolling-suitcase look equally at home at a conference as on a romantic weekend, and its ability to be carried or rolled makes it terribly convenient for hopping on and off trains and planes, too. An ideal choice for any businesswoman who wants their business carry-on luggage to look professional without lacking style.

4. Bluesmart One Carry-On Luggage

Keep your devices juiced and your journey worry-free with this smart carry-on

Best for: Tech lovers
Size: H56 x L23 x W35.6 cm
Weight: 4kg
Laptop pocket: Yes
Capacity: 34L
Reasons to buy
+Digital-from phone lock+Integrated charger
Reasons to avoid

While all luggage is obviously important, business travel can often necessitate carting around valuables that you otherwise wouldn’t, which is where this ultra-secure smart case comes in. The TSA-approved digital lock lets you open or close your bag from your phone using Bluetooth, and even if it ends up in the hold and you’re out of range, it’ll lock automatically. It also has an integrated charger, so you can keep on top of work from your phone or tablet without worrying about running out of juice. A very smart travel companion.

5. Thule Crossover Carry-On

No paving? No problem. Just convert this travel bag into a backpack and away you go.

Best for: Backpack/roller
Size: H38.5 x W21 x D56 cm
Weight: 3.5kg
Laptop pocket: Yes
Capacity: 38L
Reasons to buy
+Changes from a rolling bag to a backpack+High-quality construction
Reasons to avoid
-Quite heavy

If you’re not sure what your next work trip is going to throw at you, this convertible backpack-meets-travel-bag is a great piece to have on your side. Reviewers say the quality is top-notch; and with sturdy seams, a water-resistant weave fabric, a grippy handle, rugged carry handles and adjustable shoulder straps, it's great for taking on adventurous holidays and work trips. Make no mistake though, it’s all business, with its padded laptop compartment (up to 15”), side compartment for glasses, and document pocket.

6. Exzact Hard Shell Cabin Luggage / Carry-on Bag (20”)

Fantastically easy to manoeuvre and light to lug

Best for: Four-wheeler
Size: H58 x W37 x D21 cm
Weight: 3kg
Laptop pocket: Yes
Capacity: 37L
Reasons to buy
+Really easy to move+Light to carry
Reasons to avoid
-Covering of front zip juts out

With 360 degree-swivel wheels and a super-lightweight construction, this four-wheeled case is incredibly easy to move around, making it a dream travel companion. The interior has handy zippered dividers and cross-straps to keep everything in its place, and the scratch-resistant polycarbonate case is durable enough to withstand knocks and keep your important cargo safe. The expandable front pocket is a surprising touch for a wheeled travel bag, and is perfect for stashing your laptop or tablet for working en-route.

7. MIER Gym Duffel Bag for Men and Women with Shoe Compartment

Whether travelling, working out, or visiting relatives, this bag is casual and capable

Best for: Budget
Size: H29 x W52 x D28 cm
Weight: 1kg
Laptop pocket: No
Capacity: 42L
Reasons to buy
+Casual, minimal design+Large capacity
Reasons to avoid
-No laptop compartment

This budget holdall holds the rare distinction of looking both smart and casual, making it a great all-rounder if you don’t want to invest into two different bits of luggage for work and play. Its simple shape conceals a handy shoe compartment, internal zipped pockets and a padded bottom, and it’s sturdy and spacious enough to carry everything you’ll need on a short trips. The only big omission is a laptop compartment, so if that’s an absolute necessity, consider another model. For its sheer range of uses though, it’s a winner. 

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