Hello from Florence! It’s my last day here in this gorgeous city and tomorrow we head back to Rome! This week has been jam-packed full of travel, which only makes it suiting to talk about luggage in today’s blog post! My sister, Katherine, received Paravel luggage for Christmas, which I was super excited about since that allowed me to finally compare the brand to my Away luggage that I love so much! Keep reading as I compare these two carry ons: Away Luggage to Paravel Luggage!
***Update as of 12/28/2021*** After receiving many comments looking for me to take more of a stance on which is the better piece of luggage, I’ve gone back and reevaluated my Away Carry On to my sister’s Paravel Carry On. Please keep reading until the end for an in-depth review of both pieces of luggage and how they’ve stood up over the past 2 years. And of course, if you have specific questions that weren’t covered in this blog post, please just shoot me an email! Helen@lifeonphillipslane.com Thanks!!
Paravel and Away have now been around for a few years and are without a doubt each other’s direct competition. In my opinion they are two of the best brands making luxury luggage more affordable by getting rid of the middle man (that’s basically just a quick and dirty summary of the about pages on both these brands). While they’re not cheap (they’ll both cost you over $200), they are quality suitcases. And remember, you get what you pay for! I can confidently say that you can’t go wrong with either brand, but after 2 years I do have some detailed thoughts on which one is slightly better, and why.
This blog post specifically focuses on the “bigger carry-on” option that both Paravel and Away offer, but I’m sure that whatever I’m sharing here applies to all of their luggage.
Shop some of my travel essentials here…
STYLE I’ve owned the Away Bigger Carry-On for a couple of years now and it still looks brand new. Speaking of looks, the Away Bigger Carry-On and the Paravel Aviator Carry-On Plus are the exact same dimensions, but have noticeably different aesthetics. Away luggage is modern, sleek, and simple, while Paravel luggage has more character to it with leather detailing and its”timeless design.” In terms of which luggage is better here, it’s 100% personal preference. I prefer the look of my Away luggage slightly more than the Paravel, but that’s not to say I don’t love the look of Paravel’s suitcases.
***Worth noting: Paravel’s “leather” detailing is made from VEGAN leather, so don’t let that dissuade you.
POPULARITY If you’re the kind of person who prefers to have something that not everyone else has, then Paravel might be the better choice for you. When I walk through the airports (most recently (Nov 2021) I’ve flown through LGA, Atlanta, Birmingham, and Denver and saw a TON of Away Bigger Carry-Ons, while seeing very few Paravel Aviator Plus Carry-Ons. Perhaps that is because Paravel is a bit newer than Away? Either way, I wanted to mention this for those who prefer to stand out from the crowd. If you still want to go with Away Luggage, while still standing out I would opt for the white since that is the color I see least often. (We’ll talk about how easy it is to clean later.)
Side Note: Since I’m only writing about the luggage I have, this post focuses on the Away Bigger Carry-On and Paravel Aviator Carry-On Plus, but it’s good to know that both brands make slightly smaller versions of both these carry-ons. I would recommend sticking with these larger carry-ons though unless you do a lot of hopping around Europe on smaller flights. In that case, you won’t be able to fit the larger carry-on in the stow away space above your seat.
ON A MISSION Beyond the luggage, these brands both have similar, yet distinct missions. Away donates a portion of each sale to a non-profit called Peace Direct (although they don’t say how large or small that contribution is)… as for Paravel, their bags are made sustainably using recycled water bottles AND are carbon neutral. How cool! I would love for Away Luggage to start making their products using recycled materials and in a way that is carbon neutral. For me this is the biggest hit against my Away Luggage and in turn, one of the biggest selling points for Paravel.
WARRANTY This is perhaps the biggest difference between the two bags, and yes, it’s a big one. From the day you receive your Away Luggage, you have a 100 day trial to do whatever you want with it/to it and if for some reason by the end of those 100 days you don’t love it completely, you can return it no questions asked. If you fall in love with your luggage (as I did) after the 100 days and keep the suitcase, then you can travel with the piece of mind knowing that your Away luggage is protected for life. Away Luggage is covered by a Limited Lifetime Warranty (full details on that here).
As for Paravel, they offer free return shipping within 30 days of delivery. The bag however must be in new, unused condition. So, that’s totally not the same as the Away 100 Day Trial. Additionally, Paravel offers a limited 5-year warranty on its luggage, which again, is a lot different than Away’s lifetime warranty. Full details on Paravel’s warranty here.
INSIDE Now we’re going inside both of these suitcases to compare the two! I have to say, both have very similar components, so again, this might come down to style preference. Looking at the suitcases side-by-side in real life, Paravel’s interior does seem to be slightly better quality than my Away’s interior. Here’s what my sister has to say about the inside of her Paravel luggage…
As for my Away Luggage, the only real difference is that mine also comes with a laundry bag that is zipped into a tiny pocket inside the suitcase. I LOVE having this and that might sound silly, but sometimes you forget to pack a plastic bag to put your laundry in. And if you’re focused on being sustainable, then having this reusable laundry bag that you can easily throw in the wash between trips is the best way to go! (Of course you can just as easily order a reusable laundry bag on Amazon and zip it into an interior pocket of your Paravel carry-on).
WHEELS/HANDLES/DURABILITY Now that I’ve broken down some of the most important things to consider, it’s time to look at the nitty-gritty and I’m not going to sugar coat it! Please note that I’ve come to these conclusions after comparing both bags in person after 2 years of regular use. These are of course my opinions, so others might disagree, but I’ve done the best I can to be unbiased in these evaluations.
Paravel’s wheels seem like they’re higher quality than Away’s wheels. Additionally, they seem to have a little smoother of a roll. Again, this isn’t to say Away’s wheels are bad, but we’re comparing two AMAZING options here and I think Paravel take the lead a little in this category.
Paravel’s handle is definitely sturdier and that’s probably because it’s composed of aircraft grade aluminum. When you roll both bags empty you won’t notice a difference, but stuff about 15-20lbs of clothes and shoes into your carry-on and you’ll definitely notice a difference, especially when you’re running through an airport trying to make your connection.
Paravel’s exterior shell seems to be better equipped to avoid scuffs and dents. With that said, I’m not sure how you would go about cleaning a scuff off of the vegan leather detailing on your bag. As for Away’s exterior- it definitely scuffs easily and of course that’s amplified with a white piece of luggage. I’ve never minded the scuff marks though because it’s so easy to clean with a Magic Eraser. It would really bother me though if I owned Paravel’s carry-on and the vegan leather part got scuffed up and I wasn’t able to fix it.
PRO TIPS If you’re leaning towards the Away Carry-On, I strongly suggest you get the option without the battery pack. When I purchased my Away Luggage the TSA laws regarding carry-ons with battery packs were much different then they are now, and honestly, it’s a hassle every time I travel. Long story short, you can’t board a plane with your battery in the battery pack. So, what’s the point, right? Each time you get on a plane you have to prove that you don’t have the battery in the pack to the gate attendant. Instead, I’d suggest you just buy a portable battery on Amazon. This one is my favorite (click here).
My 2nd pro tip is to try out packing cubes. I recently bought some cute ones that were around $20 and I’m really liking them! People seem to either love or hate packing cubes, which is why I’d suggesting buying an inexpensive set before investing in quality ones (like the ones Paravel and Away sell).
Yes! 100% yes! Coming from someone who used to own cheap Walmart luggage (and it would always break at the most inopportune times while traveling), it isn’t worth it in the end. You might think you’re saving money buying a $40 suitcase, but then you have to buy another one when that one breaks, and another one when that second one breaks… and you get the point… The approx. $250 that you’ll spend on either of these carry-ons to me is having the peace of mind that I can rely on my travel companion (my suitcase!) to get my belongings to and from my destination safely.
And that’s what it really all comes down to, right? Because who wants to be the one running to make a connecting flight with only 8 minutes before the boarding door closes and their carry-on’s handle breaks and now they have to cross two terminals with a broken bag. OR that time you’re boarding a shuttle bus outside the Boston airport and the zipper on your bag breaks and now you’re scrambling to hold it closed so your clothes don’t fall into a puddle of muck. That girl was me. And now that will never be me again now that I’ve got my Away Luggage.