Recommendations for a small rolling suitcase

A friend from my moms group recently sent me this email.

I need a small rolling suitcase, preferably soft-sided, for an upcoming trip. I’m hoping you have a good recommendation. The one I usually use doesn’t fit under all the seats now, but switching to this (with my purse tucked inside, I still check a big bag) has been a game changer for me. Not having to carry my bag on my shoulder is heavenly. And I would like it to be one with two rods coming up to the handle, bc sometimes DD likes to catch a ride on it and it makes it all a billion times easier. Thank you!!

I agree–changing to a rolling travel bag instead of a shoulder purse can be life-changing. Whether you’re on a business trip or with your family, carrying a heavy travel purse can cause shoulder and back pain which is no fun! (Not to mention it can cause hair breakage. Ask me how I know.)

For a long time I wondered why one-day trips felt so much harder than multi-day trips, aside from the lack of sleep. Then I realized how grumpy I got every time I had to pick up my gazillion-ton purse. Think about all of the things you keep in there! Computer, water bottle, office supplies, files, not to mention your travel gear. When I’ve got my carry-on with me, I stack my purse on it and never have to pick it up. Once I switched to a small rolling suitcase (or backpack, depending on circumstances) for one-day trips, rather than a purse, life got way easier.a black bag with wheels

Here are a few suggestions in a range of prices:

Eagle Creek Adventure Pop Top. The ultimate multi-tasker! This is my favorite bag for anything 4 days and under. The best thing is that it can be a full-size carryon, or compressed into a small rolling suitcase that fits under the seat in front of you. I can fit a packing cube stuffed with clothes, my toiletries, brush, and an extra pair of shoes with no problem in the small size. For one day trips I will put my laptop, etc, plus a smalla black bag with a metal container purse in there. Love it, and if you’ll use it all the time it’s worth every penny. $211 on Amazon

Travelon Wheeled Underseat Carry-on. I’ve gotten multiple recommendations from readers about this small rolling suitcase. It has plenty of pockets and compartments, an external water bottle holder, a trolley strap, and comes with a backup folding tote if needed. Plus it’s really cute, always a bonus. Comes in several colors, starting at $79.

Travelpro Maxlite 4 Rolling Tote. The bigger version of this small a blue suitcase with wheelsrolling suitcase is the most-clicked item on Road Warriorette. This version has plenty of interior and exterior pockets, a large zipper area, and lots of space for all of your necessities. This one also has that so-important trolley strap. Comes in several colors, starting at $63.

Readers, do you have a small rolling suitcase that you love?




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  1. The big advantage to the short small roller suitcases is that they will still fit in regional jet overhead bins most of the time. So less gate checking as well.
    I think the Travelpro is the best of the ones you show but there are many in this segment.

  2. I only look at ones that have 4 wheels, so I don’t have to carry it down the aisle. Just a turn sideways to keep rolling along. My most recent 2 are samsonites.

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