You’ve likely seen Away suitcases all over social media, or caught a glimpse of their sleek polycarbonate shells sitting in overhead bins on a plane. The $225 Away “Carry-On,” the company’s flagship suitcase, has become a status symbol for a certain type of Millennial jetsetter. But the travel brand has run into turbulence. CEO, Steph Korey stepped down from the startup this week after a report from The Verge revealed its toxic workplace environment.
If the entire Away saga has made you reconsider picking up one of its suitcases, you’re certainly not alone. Still, the Instagram hype isn’t masking an inferior product: all evidence points to the Carry-On being a decent, though pricey, suitcase. Wirecutter selected the Away as its pick for the best hard-sided carry-on suitcase.
But if you’re hunting for an alternative to Away’s luggage, rest assured there are plenty of options. One of Away’s big draws is that its suitcases can come equipped with an ejectable battery to charge your devices. If on-the-go charging is a priority, consider the $67 Smart USB Port Carry-On Spinner by U.S. Traveler or the $130 Fortis Pro USB Carry-On Spinner. Samsonite’s Silhouette 16 Hardside Spinner ($280) also comes with a USB port. Samsonite also has a range of hard-shell and softer carry-on suitcases that cost considerably less than Away’s offering.
Away’s offerings are pretty low-tech compared to many of the “smart luggage” brands already on offer. You can lock the $427 Bluesmart One remotely with your smartphone and charge devices with its two USB charging ports. The suitcase is also equipped with GPS and a cellular connection, allowing owners to track it with its companion app. The $1,495 Modobag may be an investment, but with retractable steering, it also doubles as its own mode of transportation. (It happens to be a lot of fun to drive.)
If style and Instagram cred is what you’re vying for, consider Paravel’s Aviator Carry-On. The $255 model may not feature a charger, but it comes with a roomy compression board that lets you fit in more clothes. It’s also made of recycled polycarbonate and includes vegan-leather details. The medium-size $180 Calpak Marble Collection has an eye-catching marble polycarbonate hard shell. And if you’re not dead set on a suitcase, consider an overnight bag, like the $233 OG 2 from Lo & Sons.
If you’re still on the fence about which suitcase to buy, here’s a quick chart comparing Away to some of our suggested alternatives:
|Away The Carry-On|
|Ejectable battery, polycarbonate shell , 9 colors, interior compression system, laundry bag, spinner wheels|
|Samsonite Sillouette 16 20′ Hardside Spinner|
|USB port, polycarbonate shell, 2 colors, spinner wheels, interior with built-in pockets|
|Fortis Pro-USB Carry-On Spinner|
|Interior compression strap, 5 colors, built-in packing cubes, USB port, spinner wheels, laundry bag, built-in USB port and external battery pocket|
|Travelpro Platinum Elite 21″ Expandable Carry-On Spinner|
|External USB port with dedicated powerbank pocket (not included), 5 colors, fold out suiter, interior tie-down system with accessory pockets|
|Paravel Aviator Carry-On|
|Recycled polycarbonate, 6 colors, spinner wheels, removable accessories pouch|
|2 USB charging ports, GPS & 3G location tracking, remote digital lock|