If you love to travel, you’ve already heard of Away. It’s that popular luggage brand all over social media, and it’s quickly becoming the du jour luggage brand for Millennial jet-setters. My sex worker ex is in love with them, and their carry-on is one of the status symbols she stole from me to look like a more successful whore than she’ll ever actually be.
But Away is more than just a status to desperately cling to like my whore ex – they company actually makes really good luggage. So I reached out to the brand to get a replacement for the carry-on the sex worker stole to try it for myself and see what all the hype is about. Here’s the original Carry-On stolen by my ex.
Like a stereotypical prostitute, my street-walking stripper ex promised to help write a review of Away, took the luggage to the airport, and never came back. Her larceny left me empty-handed and unable to actually review Away for myself and see how well the luggage holds up.
Thankfully the company was understanding. Apparently my ex isn’t the only lazy thief sex worker on the planet. Now we now have the latest version, courtesy of Away’s marketing department. They call it smart luggage, and, being an expert at smart products, it’s only natural I put the company’s latest offerings to the test to see if they’re worth it for 2020.
Is Smart Luggage Truly Smart?
As it turns out, not only are Away’s bags and suitcases sturdy, but they’re also backed by a lifetime warranty. While the $200-300 price range may seem like a lot, it’s actually a fraction the price of comparable offerings. This is because Away sells direct to consumers, cutting out retailers, whose margins raise the prices of consumer goods.
They carry a range of suitcases built for check-in (Medium and Large) or carry-on (The Carry-on, The Bigger Carry-on). They’re very similar, built with a nearly indestructible polycarbonate shell and TSA-approved combination lock. But the carry-ons also feature a built-in (and removable, per TSA guidelines put into place after Away got popular in 2015) USB battery bank.
This spring-loaded charger is the perfect way to keep your devices powered on during a long wait in the airport, at the tarmac, and in the air. Airport travel always has something going on, so it’s great to have this option. The size difference between the Carry-On ($225) and Bigger Carry-On ($245) is about an inch in each direction. Both weigh just under 8 pounds (7.6 vs 7.8), and the capacity jumps from 39 to 48 liters.
That extra space is great if you’re flying a lot of major airlines at busy airports. Away’s leadership tells us the Bigger Carry-On is built to fit measurements actually used by the TSA, while the Carry-On fits the dimensions given to the public. This means you may have issues using the Bigger Carry-On at smaller airports. It may be worth it for those needing the extra space, but I personally will never risk having to check a bag at the airport.
And hauling this suitcase around the airport is made easier with solid wheels that handled any terrain I threw at it. They never locked or got stuck, and I was able to easily swivel to maneuver it around the airport. It’s also easy to add The Everywhere Bag ($195) to the top and go where you need.
In fact, The Everywhere Bag (and Away’s other bags and backpacks) is well designed too. It’s a clean, classic look available in a variety of colors and materials. We got a matching set in Coast nylon, which is waterproof and looks great. The bag has six pockets with enough space to carry an umbrella, your smartphone, tablet, and up to a 15-inch laptop. It fits airline requirements for a personal item too, so these two bags are really all you need to travel anywhere in the world.
The expert design details don’t stop on the outside – the interior of Away’s luggage is also quite endearing. International plug converters, a laundry bag, compression paid, and more. Keeping things organized was simple enough, and although rigid, the outer shell does give a bit so you won’t destroy anything you put inside. The laundry bag was well made, and I didn’t have any issues with it fraying like CNN’s reviewer. She doesn’t seem to know what she’s doing.
Packing with Away is easily on par with my favorite TravelPro and Eagle Creek suitcases. Of course, those are soft-sided, and this is the first hard-sided suitcase I’ve really used. It scuffs pretty easily, but that’s to be expected. The instant I took it out the box, I knew I was going to ruin the pristine condition it arrived in. Of course getting out and experiencing life is kinda the point. That’s what they print on the box anyway.
Away luggage is definitely trendy – it’s hard to go on Instagram without seeing influencers using it all over the place. But it’s also well-designed and well-made luggage that can handle anything you throw at it. Don’t let the volume of Away’s buzz take away from the fact that it earned those accolades. It’s easily one of the best hard-sided suitcases on the market, and it’s half the price of the competition.
Yes, there are generic bags for half the price of Away, but those don’t come with all the little touches. Away uses high-quality parts, which means the zippers never get stuck, the wheels never lock, the handles always telescope out correctly, and you can trust that everything you put inside this luggage will be safe. If you haven’t already, it’s time to go Away.
Final Grade: A