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.
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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.
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Does the Away Bigger Carry On fit in the overhead compartment? Have you ever been asked to check it because it does not fit in the luggage sizing guide at the boarding gate?
The Away Bigger Carry-On will fit in all overhead bins apart from small hopper flights (ex. super small planes with approx. 20-30 seats between some European countries, or small planes that fly out of super small airports in the US). I’ve never had a problem putting it overhead on a normal sized plane. As for the small planes in the US, they don’t make you check the bag like you regularly would, they instead “check it plane side” I’m not sure how often you fly and if you’re familiar with this or not, but you give them the bag right as you board the plane and you get your bag right as you get off the plane (so it’s not the same as a regular checked bag). In the instances of the small planes I’ve flown on in the US, a smaller carry-on wouldn’t fit overhead either because the space is so limited. The only bags that fit overhead are backpacks or tote bags.
I hope I didn’t confuse you, if you have any other questions feel free to email me!
What is the better of the two brands of luggage and why? Which one is more durable? Which one is lighter? Which one has wheels that roll better? Which one has a handle that telescopes with ease? It seems you didn’t commit to either brand. The warranty is not really a factor as most do not make it easy to get your money back. I want a suitcase that wears well in the airport – light, rolls easily, and is sturdy. I want one that fits in the overhead or that will endure the trials and tribulations of checked luggage. So – what is the final net outcome on these two brands?
Hi Robin, I think I’ve done a pretty good job laying out all the pros and cons to each bag in the blog post. I’d suggest you perhaps take a second look again to make sure you’ve taken in all the information. I own the Away Luggage and love it so I think you’d love yours too!
Agreed. This article was not helpful in making a decision between the two.
Hi Erica, I’m sorry you didn’t find this article helpful in making a decision. Ultimately I want readers like you to make the decision that you feel is best for you and your lifestyle. For me, the right decision was 100% the Away Bigger Carry-On and I will 100% recommend it to anyone. If that helps you make your decision, please let me know!
Now that your sister has had the Paravel for a year what are her thoughts on it? Would she recommend it? Has she had issues with it? Does she wish she had yours instead?
Hi Peter, my sister loves her Paravel and it looks brand new even a year later. She did check the bag once and it didn’t get scuffed up at all. Not even a scratch! Maybe the baggage handlers were gentle that day, or maybe Paravel is really the best???
Is your Away luggage the pink version or is this a white version that they no longer make? It’s so cute! Also, are both of the suitcases in your review the same size? For some reason the green one looks smaller in the first photo.
Hi Kate! My Away is the white limited edition Gray Malin version. I’m sorry!! As for the sizing, yes they’re both the exact same size!
Really would have loved to have seen a Pros/Cons list for each brand, the only thing I really took from this article is that there is no Trial for Paravel luggage.
Hi Scott! thank you for your feedback! I’ve gone in and updated the post since you’ve read it. It now has some specific pros and cons of each piece. Please let me know if you have any other questions!
This post said a whole lot of nothing. There wasn’t even much comparing between the two.
Thanks Autumn for your honest thoughts. I’d love to hear if you find the blog post more helpful now that I’ve updated it. Thanks!!
You didn’t make any comments on the durability or useability (as other commenters mentioned) – seems you just want to push the Away brand. Not super helpful.
Thanks Jack for your honest feedback. I’ve gone in and updated the blog post with some more insight that speaks directly to your durability questions. Please let me know what you think now. Thank you!
Agreeing with Robin and Erica on this one. I hope you can take the feedback you’ve received from multiple people. This article’s sections are basically “Style, Mission, Warranty, Value”. Nothing in the article on their wheels, comfort, any details of the handle, durability, or even which one you prefer.
Thanks John! Since you read this post I did make some updates based on your feedback. I’d love to hear your thoughts now and if you found it more helpful! Thank you!
This was very helpful! I was torn between the two brands and this blog finally steered me towards my decision. Thanks!
Thank you for your kind words, Annie! Which one did you decide to go with?!
I think this is a fairly useful post and I’m a little shocked at how rude folks can be. Helen is clearly a nice and decent person – maybe try her example and, uh, be nice?
That aside, thank you for the information. I’m leaning towards a Paravel for my daughters even though we own away bags because they are made from plastic bottles. (Awesome.) I’m nervous about having buyers remorse, but it sounds like your sis loves her, so I’m going with that.
First off, thank you for your kind words, I really appreciate them! I recently (as of 6 months ago) purchased my own Paravel carry-on and no buyers remorse here. I love it and use it when I travel alongside my Away suitcase. I love how you rarely see Paravel luggage when traveling, versus it seems like everyone has the Away luggage now.
Thank you for this!! I will be traveling on a couple smaller planes in Europe. Any chance they will take it plane side instead of below if I get the plus size? Bc that will screw me if I have to take time to get luggage before next leg of flying.
That’s a great question and I believe to be on the safe side you’d have to go with the smaller of the two carry-on options. I haven’t flown between European countries before though, so I can’t speak to it personally. Sorry and safe travels!
Hi Helen, I absolutely enjoyed your post. I was thrilled to find more information about these two brands because they are the exact two I have been trying to compare and decide between. You definitely helped me by giving me more information and comparisons. I was taken aback by others critical comments and am impressed by your ability to stay positive and diplomatic in your replies. Keep up the good work. There are people out there that do appreciate the work you put in to writing this!
Thank you so much Dylan! I really appreciate your kind words and hope you LOVE whichever bag it is that you chose!!
It’s funny that you posted an update that you reevaluated your post and would give a more definitive answer as to which was better….still not seeing the answer?
I thought you did a great job comparing the two and I appreciate the follow-up after 2 years which really is helpful to see how the products durability stands up!
Thank you so much, Catherine!
I have a paravel and it comes with a laundry bag. I bought mine in January 2021. Maybe at the time you bought yours it didn’t come with one but just letting you know in case you update it. Also why does the away look much bigger in the picture even though they are the exact same size ?
Thank you so much Brianne for letting me know! I just got my own Paravel and it did come with the laundry bag, thanks again!!