Away Vs. Paravel: Which Suitcase Is Best?

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I’ve been a longtime fan of Away Travel’s medium size suitcase. It’s been my go-to suitcase for years, and is, at this point, well-used. I’m such a fan that I had stopped even looking at other suitcase brands — I was done. Lately, however, we’ve been getting more and more questions about suitcases because there are now a ton of brands making chic hardside suitcases, all very similar to Away.

So. In this video, I’m comparing my well-used Away suitcase (in size medium) to Paravel’s Aviator Grand suitcase (one size only, but similar).  

A Hardside Suitcase Comparison: Away ‘The Medium’ Vs. Paravel ‘Aviator Grand’ Checked Luggage

There’s a price difference (Away’s medium suitcase is $325, Paravel is $425), a slight size difference, and Paravel boasts some sustainability claims, as well as a seriously beautiful package inside & out.

So…which one do I recommend?

Well.

You might be surprised. 🙂

Products featured in the video:

Away Suitcase, Medium, $325 (in white)

Paravel, Aviator Grand, Checked Luggage, $425

Away garment bag, Medium/Large, $85

Away packing cubes, set of 6 (in ‘coast’), $65

Paravel packing cubes, set of 4 (in ‘safari green’), $65


What I Look For In A Suitcase

Just as a little background, when I’m looking for suitcases for air travel, there are a few things I’ve determined to be non-negotiable: 

1. It needs to be a hard-side suitcase. Soft suitcases or — worse — duffels(!!) leave too much up to the Airline Baggage Gods. Squished shoes and bags, broken toiletries…no thanks. It’s gotta be hardsided.

2. The suitcase has to be big enough to fit everything I need for two-three weeks…but lightweight enough so I’m not in danger of going over airline weight limits. The size suitcase that I tend to be the most happy with is around 26″ X 18.5″ X 11″.

3. When the suitcase is opened, I’m looking for an internal design where each side of the suitcase is completely secured — zippered panel, compression panel, something. That way, if I ever need to open up my suitcase in the airport, my belongings aren’t exploding out everywhere.

My Away suitcase was one of the first suitcases on the market to meet all of my requirements: it’s a perfect size, it’s lightweight, and it has a compression panel and a zippered side panel. Additionally, I’ve been really impressed with their customer service, too. When a corner of my Away suitcase got cracked during travel, they replaced it immediately (overnighting the new one so I would have it in time for my next trip). 

That said, Paravel suitcases also meet my requirements. They have the most gorgeous interiors I’ve ever seen, and they make some sustainability claims. The shell is recycled polycarbonate, the zippers are recycled, the lining is made from 15 recycled plastic bottles*, the leather details are recycled vegan leather, and the telescopic handle is made from recycled, aircraft-grade aluminum.

*Side note: when plastic bottles get recycled into more plastic bottles….this loop is continuous, and works. But when fashion (or suitcase companies) remove plastic bottles from this working system and put them into a suitcase…the plastic can no longer be recycled. And recycled plastic is actually cheaper than virgin plastic, so I’m not totally convinced this isn’t some form of greenwashing. That said, this is a super-complicated issue, and Paravel is certainly making other moves in this area that are laudable. I just couldn’t let the plastic bottle thing go without pointing it out. Here’s an article that explains this issue well.

Anyway, if any of you guys own one of these suitcases, I’d love to know what you think. Or if there’s another other suitcases you’d like me to review (I’ve been hearing more & more about Monos), let me know!

Happy adventures…

xo,
S

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