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When it comes to purchasing luggage, there are many factors that can impact your decision: design, price, unique product features — and of course, reviews.
However, in recent years two luggage brands have risen to the top and have taken over social media feeds with their iconic designs. You've likely already come across Away and Monos's durable and eye-catching luggage, whether through ads, influencer posts, or simply strolling through the airport.
For years I've been using the Monos Carry-On (from $275) as my go-to for domestic and international travel, but before my last vacation to Portugal, I decided to get Away's Carry-On (from $345) as an upgrade for my fiancé's old rolling suitcase.
I've now had a chance to put both of these popular carry-ons to the test, and am breaking down what you need to know if you're deciding between the two.
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Monos vs. Away: What you need to know
At first glance, Monos and Away seem pretty similar — especially since both brands offer their own take on premium luggage and travel essentials. Both offer an assortment of carry-on and checked luggage, plus accessories like backpacks and packing cubes.
The popular carry-on suitcases are both made with a durable polycarbonate hard shell, and feature interior compression panels, four 360° rolling wheels, and a TSA-approved combination lock. They each also come with a laundry bag that makes it easy to stay organized on the road.
However, there are some key differences between the two brands, namely that Monos is a Canadian company. Headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., the brand was founded in 2018, while Away was founded in 2015 and is based out of New York City.
Where Away wins
If you're looking to create an entire luggage wardrobe, here's where Away shines. Their line makes it easy to mix and match suitcases, packing cubes, toiletry cases, or tote bags, without worrying whether they will work together. They have all been thoughtfully designed to fit seamlessly together, making travel a breeze.
Away also offers their suitcases with an optional ejectable battery, which can be added on for an extra $30 CAD. The power bank can charge any phone up to four times, so you’ll always be able to check your maps, email, or Slack messages.
Where Away loses
While it could just be that I got lucky with a patterned suitcase, I found that the textured surface of the Away Carry-On was more prone to scuffing than the smooth Monos exterior. It was only used once and already has a few scrapes and scuffs, but it's mostly cosmetic since there doesn't appear to be any dents or structural integrity issues.
The suitcase is also pretty pricey, as it starts at $345 CAD. You should also expect to pay the full $375 CAD for the battery version of the suitcase, as lately it seems like the version without the charger included is completely sold out.
Where Monos wins
If you're looking for a premium suitcase that's slightly easier on the wallet, the Monos Carry-On wins hands down. The suitcase starts at $306 CAD but frequently goes on sale — right now you can score one for $275 CAD. I've also found that Monos has slightly more availability in terms of colour selection than Away does, so you won't have to settle on a suitcase shade you don't love.
Since every last gram counts when you're packing (nobody want to be slapped with an overweight luggage fee) Monos also beats out Away's Carry-On in terms of weight. It weighs in at 7 pounds, while the Away version comes to 7.5 pounds when you add on the battery pack.
Where Monos loses
Monos's product assortment isn't as vast as Away's, which means you may be left lacking if you're hoping to find an entire matching travel set from a large checked suitcase down to the smallest accessories.
Given that both suitcases have become instant successes with customers, it's hard to go wrong with either one.
When deciding between both carry-on options, you'll want to ask yourself: Do you care about a built-in battery pack? If not, you may be better off with Monos's Carry-On and saving yourself $100.
If the carry-on is just the first piece in your growing luggage collection, then I'd recommend going with Away's version instead. The brand's vast assortment of coordinating luggage and travel accessories will ensure that all your vacation essentials are on point.