Carry on Bags

Find the RIGHT carry-on luggage

Your carry on bags hold your most valued and essential possessions. How to find durable and easy-to-identify bags in which to carry your best stuff.

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Practical, funky, durable, carry on luggage. Make yours unique and avoid mix-ups at the luggage cart and in busy terminals.

Find a carry on bag that says ME ME ME!

Although dimensions of the bag are pretty strictly regulated, there are lots of things you can do to make sure your bag is easy to spot and uniquely yours.

Bright colors, patterns or distinct visual features make your bag not only easy to identify at a glance, but less likely to be targeted by thieves.

Just as important as having your carry-on stand out on a luggage cart or cargo compartment, is the overall size of the bag. Accepted dimensions differ from airline to airline and are determined by the size of under seat and overhead compartments, multiplied by the number of passengers.

assorted carry-on bags

Allowable Dimensions

Dimensions are expressed in either a linear format (eg. 52 linear inches) or by measurement (eg. 22 X 16 X 9). However they're stated, the measurements will depend upon your airline.

To calculate the linear inches, simply add the 3 values (22+16+9 = 47 linear inches)

If the measurements are stated as (22 X 16 X 9), ensure that your carry on bags do not exceed any one of those measurements.

However, if the measurements are stated in linear inches, (eg. 52 linear inches) as long as the depth + width + height = 52 inches or less, the bag is acceptable.

Good and Inexpensive Carry On Bags

Oversized Tosca Satchel Handbag

Make the most of your personal bag with this spacious handbag that'll keep your essentials under the seat and handy.

This stylish tote comes in a variety of vibrant colors as well as subdued earth tones and is inexpensive enough to buy more than one. The bag zips closed and has two open and one zippered pocket in it's interior to keep you organized.

Measuring 18 X 12 X 8 inches it's roomy enough to carry all of your immediate needs as well as a laptop, book and techy devices.

Rolling Duffel - Lots of Patterns & Colors

Here's a snazzy little rolling duffel at a great price and in over 20 different looks.

For you and the kids, these inexpensive, funky, wheeled duffels come in enough styles that everyone in the family can have a different pattern or color.

Camo for the boys and hearts for the girls and tons of other patterns and colors.

Sized perfectly for cabin stowage with a roomy center area, this bag has four handy pockets on the outside to hold easy-to-access items.

Everyone gets their own bag for their own stuff.

Two Perfectly Sized Carry on Pieces

For great value, expandable size and beautiful colors, the US Traveler Rio Two Piece Expandable Carry-On Luggage Set is well loved by Amazon customers. It's an eye popping and practical set, for those who travel infrequently.

A super price for this little duo, and the quality is up there, but it's not a $200 bag and it's not built like a $200 bag either.

European Sized Carry on Bags

European airlines have the smallest allowable sizes and they're more rigid about size discrepancies to the point of measuring bags they suspect don't conform to their guidelines.

If your travels will take you to Europe, select a bag that adheres to their size allowance standards to ensure a hassle free transition from one country to another.

A 21 X 14 X 8 inch like the London Fog Luggage Chelsea Lites 21 Inch 360 Expandable Upright is the right size for European travel and just different enough to make it easy to recognize. The plus with this bag is the 8" depth which is the standard on British airways and other major European airlines. Most other carry-ons are 9" or 10" deep.

Remember that this bag is expandable but in it's expanded form will no longer comply with size guidelines as a carry-on.

Kipling - There's a Monkey on Your Bag

I LOVE the Kipling bags and their 9.5" X 22" X 14" (45.5 linear inches) Kipling Darcey Carry-On is well within the parameters of most airlines (except many European carriers) and is available in a beautiful array of solid colors and patterns.

A Kipling duffel was my first "good" bag and I've loved their products ever since. I still use the very first one that I bought (in 2002) at Soper's Hole in the British Virgin Islands while we were on a sailing charter.

Their signature gorilla and hefty zippers have turned Kipling into an icon.


Our easy tips for packing light offer techniques for carry-on-only traveling that make sure you have all you need, and nothing more.

Wear your carry on items with clever clothing that keeps all of your must-haves close at hand.

Conveniently located and appropriately sized pockets allow you to transport a whole carry-on's worth of stuff while maintaining a well dressed look and a sleek profile.

A growing segment of the "savvy traveler" population never checks a bag.

Along with your boarding pass and passport, your carry on should hold the things you want access to during the flight such as a book, ear buds, music, pen, magazine, journal, snack and sweater.

If I'm traveling from one climate to another, my carry on holds a change of clothes suitable for the new climate. Additonally it contains a laptop, swimsuit, pareo, sleepwear and a bag of toiletries.

A plastic zipper bag holds all liquid toiletries in tiny bottles (3oz. or less).

Check out our page that details carry on luggage restrictions to see travel information and carry on specifications for your airline.

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