As someone who divides their time between New York and London, frequently shuffling between these two cities among others, I’d love to tell you that I’ve always had my baggage situation in order. The truth is, it hasn't always been so seamless for me. Between my laptop, gadgets, and the seemingly endless supply of snacks and entertainment for my daughter, I needed a solution that could contain my chaos. And if there’s a layover? Forget it. I had enough to juggle.
With that in mind, I researched the best luggage brands out there, and kicked off my travel test with PROPS and Away. On the surface, both brands look sleek and offer similar features, but I needed something that would elevate my travel game. Read on to find out which carry-on luggage got my trek in check.
If you want your luggage to do more than just hold your stuff… PROPS
What impressed me about PROPS is that it’s so much more than a suitcase. With its built-in leg system, I’m able to prop up my suitcase to create an instant desk surface for my laptop, or coffee table for meals and snacks. My daughter has used it as a coloring surface during layovers, which has granted me extra precious moments of peace. Moreover, it’s a guaranteed luggage rack, so I don’t have to bend over when I’m packing and unpacking my suitcase. This alone is a game changer because my husband hates when I throw my suitcase on the bed. And all for $399? I'm sold. Away offers a more traditional suitcase at a similar price point, so you won’t find anything like this with its carry-on.
If you want to access your packed luggage more easily… PROPS
Not only does PROPS give me an easier reach, but its interior design is what takes it to the next level. With the unique top-lid opening, I’m able to fit everything I need in one main compartment. This makes finding what I need so much easier. I also not-so-secretly love the way it makes me look like I have my own office desk terminal hack going on. I’ve gotten so many ogling eyes at the gate when other passengers see it in action… it makes me look and feel like a travel pro.
The Away Carry-On has two separate compartments on each shell side. I find that this doesn’t allow me to pack as much as I need to, and I always have to stop and check that I’m evenly distributing the weight between the sides, otherwise the case flops to the ground.
If you would like your luggage to have a built-in phone charger… Away
Away’s Carry-On doesn’t come with a power source by default, but for $20 more, you can add on an ejectable power source with 2 USB ports for on-the-go charging. Personally, I haven’t found this to be especially useful, as USB ports are generally found all around the airport and built into gate seating. I’ve also experienced hassles at security because TSA always asks me to remove the absurdly heavy power source from my luggage (and that’s with Pre-Check). I’ve found it more useful to just keep a phone charger handy in my purse, so it’s within reach even when my luggage is not.
The Overall Winner… PROPS
Having lived and traveled with both suitcases, there is no question in my mind that PROPS is one of the most functional and thoughtfully designed pieces of luggage I’ve ever toted along for the journey. While Away is by no means a bad option, I have found that PROPS is far and away worth the $399 investment.