Go with a 22-inch-tall wheeled suitcase with a retractable handle. That is typically the largest bag allowed as a carry-on, so you’ll make it safely through security checkpoints. The following models can accommodate four days' worth of outfits, plus two pairs of shoes.
Tumi, $395With its removable fold-out "suiter" (essentially a no-frills garment bag) and its wrinkle-defying tie-down straps, this sleek piece of luggage is perfect for the frequent business traveler. What's more, the pleated front pocket can be stuffed with in-flight reading material (or dirty clothes). The bag comes with a stow-away cover that keeps the exterior spotless during storage and offers protection on the rough-and-tumble ride to your destination (what goes on beyond the conveyor belt, anyway?). And Tumi has a program that helps return your luggage to you if it gets lost.
Size: 22 by 14 by 11 inches. To buy: This product has been discontinued. To see similar items, visit tumi.com.
2 of 4Alison Gootee
Weekend Packing Solution
Victorinox, $200What is this bag's most obvious asset? The bubble-gum hue, of course, which helps it stand out amid the sea of black wheelies on the baggage carousel. Far less conspicuous (but just as helpful) are the two zippered mesh pockets inside the bag for stashing small items, like underwear and bathing suits. The smart, ergonomic handle resembles a gear shift and rotates 360 degrees, which makes it easy to weave the suitcase through human traffic.
Go with a 24- to 27-inch-tall wheeled suitcase with a retractable handle, which will be large enough to hold clothes for up to 10 days, along with four pairs of shoes. If you opt for an even bigger bag, you run the risk of exceeding the 50-pound weight limit on most domestic flights―and you'll have a heck of a time lifting it.
Eddie Bauer, $120Amazingly lightweight for its size (less than 12 pounds when empty), this suitcase is perfect for the active―not to mention organized―traveler. The body of the bag is divided into two main compartments, so you can separate dirty from clean (and therefore won't have to wash everything when you get home), and a ventilated waterproof pocket on the outside houses shoes or spillables. Straps along the exterior of the bag help condense the bulk and reduce stress on the zipper.
Mandarina Duck, $430Here's a smarter version of the classic black suitcase. Like that old standby, this has a large main compartment that's ready and able to hold anything you'd want to bring along―from a down ski jacket to a wheel of cheese for Grandma. It also comes with a suiter, zippered bags to hold small items, and three extra-roomy exterior pockets.