Earlier this year, K and I were doing some traveling when my carry-on suitcase, a veteran of many business trips, died. Initially, I wanted to replace it with this gorgeous galaxy-print Tumi bag. But when that suitcase arrived, it suffered from one critical flaw, it couldn’t hold my hot rollers when full. Blast!
Then, I noticed that my blogger-friend and consummate road warrior, Hitha, uses the Away suitcase. Of course, I had seen the Away suitcase on dozens of blogs, but they were all sponsored posts. But if Hitha, a woman whose recently published book is called How to Pack, used the Away suitcase for her travel, I was willing to give it a shot.
After much thought, I decided to order The Bigger Carry-On ($245) and the Medium Bag ($275). They arrived in these cotton dust bags, which I thought was a nice touch. I chose these two cases because I needed a carry-on bag for my regular travel, and I wanted a larger bag for longer trips.
The Bigger Carry-On comes in at 22.7 x 14.7 x 9.6. So it is too large for international travel, but small enough for the majority of domestic carriers. The Medium Bag is a good size if you check luggage. And if you buy both, you pay $475 for the set, instead of $520. So if you’re intending to buy more than one, buy them at the same time.
The exterior is made of an “impenetrable shell” that “bends but doesn’t break.” I also like that both suitcases are fairly light, about the same weight as my cloth Samsonite.
The Away suitcases are divided into two compartments: a clothing compartment and a zippered shoe/toiletry compartment. There’s also a flat separator that functions as a place to store dirty clothes.
This is my first experience with a separated suitcase, and I absolutely love it. I adore being able to keep the shoes in a separate compartment. No more smashed purses, or dirt getting on my clean clothes, and no more smashed shoes. Awesome.
The Bigger Carry-On also contains a lithium-ion battery that feeds to an external USB port so you can charge your phone. This feature gets a lot of press, but it’s not one I will likely ever use. I’m not a heavy phone user, and I don’t want to have to remove the battery to go through TSA and reinstall it when I’m through security. But if this is a feature you’re into, other bloggers have said they really like it.
My only complaint about the suitcases is how easily they scuff. I expect some wear-and-tear to baggage when I travel, but I leaned the suitcase top against a wall and the entire edge was covered in paint. I bumped into the bag and knocked it down, and it scratched on the tile floor. So while the exterior may be durable when it comes to punctures, it bruises like a peach. To clean it up, I grabbed some Goo-Gone and that seemed to help, but it was an unexpected and unwanted level of damage.
Bottom Line: I love these suitcases. I love that I got two Away cases for the price of one Tumi. I found them to be incredibly functional and useful. They held quite a bit more than I thought they would. And several times over an 8-day trip that included two hotel changes, I was very happy that I bought them. So if you’re in the market for suitcases, I would definitely give the Away Suitcases a look.