As a traveller who spends far too much time in transit, I occasionally obsess over various elements of the travel experience, like luggage, and how to make it not suck whilst also looking presentable.
I’ve tried lots, hated lots, broken many a contender – and eventually landed on the Away Carry On, which I absolutely swear by. It’s faithfully been with me for years, virtually untarnished despite the awful conditions (and airlines) I’ve subjected it to, but sometimes I just can’t quite fit everything into the rolling carry on itself.
Enter: the Away accessory backpacks and bags, my new obsession.
Earlier this year, my friend Ceci surprised me with the very generous gift of an Away “Everywhere Bag” to match my carry on. She knew I was pretty evangelical about the brand, and though I’d seen the accessory bag launched online, I must say, it was never on my radar.
Honestly, I thought it was expensive, which it is, and didn’t imagine it to actually be all that helpful, and I was wrong about one of those things. I already had a backpack I wielded on top of the carry on, and it wasn’t perfect but hey, it worked and it was like $20 bucks on Amazon.
Once in possession of this Away upgrade of course, I walked a very different walk.
The first thing that drew me in, is a specific slip on the bag, which seamlessly fits over the handles of the Away Carry On. It’s like a perfect glove, that slips on and off easily, but does everything you want like perfectly balancing and stabilising your accessory bag on top of your carry on. You can even tilt it sideways and there it sits, balanced and poised. The best way to actually see what I’m talking about is to watch the little video they have, buried in the product photos here. Click, watch and return.
As noted, I’ve long struggled with backpacks and other bags that I would place on top of my carry on, which would eventually fall off, but until this bag landed in my lap, forcing me to take the leap of faith – or rather, to try a new bag which was actually meant to work in harmony – I had no idea how much better it actually was. No more elephant balancing on a skateboard.
I’ve now taken this carry on duo on the road, hitting Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and the Americas and it’s hard to express how happy I am with the combo, other than to say that I really, really am. There are all sorts of handy compartments both hidden and not, which create places you can easily access, and others which would require someone to undo a few zips before they got to the good stuff.
I bought my own Away carry on, I liked it so much I bought one for Laura, and other than the generous gift from my friend Ceci (who doesn’t work at Away), I get nothing from Away here. With some of the bloggers these days, it’s nice to spell that out clearly. Basically, I’m now sold – and as proof, we just ordered a similar accessory bag for Laura, so that we can be even more tragically matching in airports around the world.
At the moment, Away has a very cool looking collection of these bags, including a limited edition Japanese leather camouflage version. Of course, camouflage is legitimately illegal in 11 countries, but there are plenty of non camouflage options as well, and honestly I won’t be setting foot in too many of the ones where it is illegal. Would you like me to say camouflage once more, for good measure?
This backpack design borrows a similar concept to the handle bag I use, where a perfect fold opens to slip the bag onto the handle of the carry on, allowing for seamless wheeling through the airport and wherever else life takes you. Being able to control your entire travel rig with one hand, while also multi tasking or just sipping coffee with the other is a very welcomed option.
Starting at $145, these things definitely aren’t cheap, but if you happen to use Away, or another 4 wheel spinner carry on, the seamless functionality of this bag just can’t be beat. Or maybe it can, but I haven’t seen it yet. In practical terms, this would count as your “small personal item” which every traveller is entitled to bring on board in addition to a full sized carry on.
By maximising the two, you really can fit a whole lot of sh*t, without needing to check a bag. When you think of at least $50 per checked bag round trip, $145 for a game changer to help get you out of checking a bag isn’t a bad lifetime price. I can only speak from personal experience, and I am hooked. Thankfully, my Away Travel small personal item is too…