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Essential Carry-On Bags for Airplanes and Cruises: Backpacks, Wheeled Bags, Duffels, Totes, and More

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Carry-on bags are a convenient and popular option for air travel and cruises, as they allow you to keep your belongings with you and avoid checked baggage fees. However, it's important to be aware of the different types of carry-on bags and the restrictions that airlines and cruise lines have in place. SKIP TO TRIPLIST RECOMMENDATIONS.

  • Backpacks are a popular choice for travellers because they can hold all your essentials and leave your hands free. Look for backpacks that are specifically designed for travel and may have features like a built-in laptop compartment or a luggage strap for attaching to a rolling suitcase.

  • Wheeled carry-on bags are another popular choice for air travel as they allow you to easily roll your bag through the airport without having to carry it. Make sure to look for bags with sturdy wheels and a telescoping handle for easy manoeuvrability.

  • Duffel bags are a good option if you're looking for a lightweight and flexible bag that can easily fit in overhead compartments. They're also great for carrying sports equipment or other bulky items.

  • Tote bags are a stylish and practical option for carrying small personal items. They're often made from durable materials like canvas or leather and may have multiple pockets for organization.

  • Garment bags are designed to hold suits, dresses, and other formalwear without getting wrinkled. They're a good option if you're traveling for business or attending a special event.

It's important to note that airlines and cruise lines may have specific size and weight restrictions for carry-on bags. Most airlines and cruise lines have a maximum size limit for carry-on bags of 22 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches (56 cm x 36 cm x 23 cm), including wheels and handles. The weight limit can vary but is typically between 15-25 pounds (7-11 kg).

Additionally, most airlines and cruise lines allow passengers to bring one carry-on bag and one personal item, such as a purse, briefcase, or small backpack. However, some airlines may charge a fee for additional bags or have different rules for international flights.

There are also certain items that are not allowed in carry-on bags, such as liquids in containers larger than 3.4 ounces (100 ml), sharp objects, firearms, and flammable materials. These items must be packed in checked luggage or left at home.

Before you travel, it's important to check with your specific airline or cruise line for their carry-on bag restrictions, as these rules can vary depending on the carrier and destination. Failure to comply with these restrictions may result in additional charges, your bag being checked or even confiscated, causing delays and inconvenience during your trip.

Remember, there are often two types of carry-on bag. A cabin bag and a large cabin bag. The main difference between a cabin bag and a large cabin bag is their size and capacity. A cabin bag is usually a smaller size bag that meets the airline's size restrictions for carry-on luggage. These bags are designed to fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you.

On the other hand, a large cabin bag is slightly bigger than a regular cabin bag and may exceed the size limit for some airlines' carry-on luggage. It offers more space and storage capacity, which makes it ideal for longer trips or if you need to carry more items. However, it's important to check with your airline's specific size restrictions to ensure that your large cabin bag will be allowed on board. Essentially, a cabin bag is a smaller bag that is designed to fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat, while a large cabin bag is a slightly bigger bag that offers more space and storage capacity but may exceed the size limit for some airlines' carry-on luggage.

Knowing the different types of carry-on bags and the restrictions that airlines and cruise lines have in place can help you choose the right bag for your trip and avoid any issues at the airport or onboard. By planning ahead and packing smart, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free travel experience.


Coming in an array of different colour options, the Cabin Max Travel Backpack is a popular choice among travellers due to its spacious design and versatile features. With a capacity of 44 litres, this backpack is designed to fit perfectly as carry-on luggage for most airlines, making it a convenient option for frequent flyers. The backpack comes with multiple compartments and pockets, allowing for organized packing and easy access to your belongings. The comfortable padded shoulder straps and back panel provide added comfort during extended travel. Overall, customers appreciate the backpack's durability, ample storage, and lightweight design. Reviewers have noted that it is perfect for short trips, city breaks, or as a day bag. The backpack has received positive feedback for its quality, value for money, and functionality.

SIZE: 114" x 91.4" x 7.9"

SIZE: 45 x 36 x 20 cm


The Flight Knight Lightweight 4 Wheel ABS Hard Case Suitcase is a small cabin bag that is specifically designed to be taken on board most airplanes for free as hand luggage. The suitcase measures 45 x 36 x 20 cm (including handle and wheels) which is the maximum approved size for many airlines such as EasyJet and comfortably fits under the seat in front of you, avoiding airline charges. It is compatible with over 100 airlines operating in the UK and around the globe, including Ryanair, British Airways, Jet2, Air France, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Delta and Turkish Airlines. The rugged anti-scratch water-resistant hard outer shell of the suitcase is made from strong and durable ABS to withstand the rigours of modern transport and airline handling, protecting your contents during your travels. The cabin size comes with a 3-digit combination barrel padlock to lock the zips together for added security. The suitcase features an adjustable push button 3-step telescoping handle system that offers effortless movement during travel. The fully lined interior and the multi-use organisational pockets make packing clothes easy. The suitcase features a 4-wheel design for full 360-degree manoeuvrability tested extensively on different surfaces and conditions to ensure endurance and strength. The Flight Knight Cabin Hard-Shell Suitcase is available in a variety of colours and size combinations so that you can make the perfect purchase for your next trip by plane, train, vessel, coach, or car. The iconic design is drop-tested, scratch and water-resistant, and includes a telescopic handle and additional reinforced handle. Flight Knight offers a 5-year warranty replacement service covering all manufacturing defects.

SIZE: 114" x 91.4" x 7.9"

SIZE: 45 x 36 x 20 cm


The Rustic Town Leather Duffel Bags for Men is a high-quality, sturdy, and stylish option for individuals looking for a travel bag. Handcrafted by skilled Indian artisans, this bag is made from buffalo hide, ensuring durability and longevity. The bag features break-resistant YKK zippers, brass fittings, and a thick, premium cloth lining, making it perfect for all your adventures. The bag also has ample room to fit all your travel essentials, including a laptop, with multiple zippered pockets and spacious compartments. The bag's dimensions are 20” x 9” x 11.5”, making it ideal for use as an airplane under-seat carry-on bag. The bag is available in two beautiful colours, Mullberry and Brown.

In addition to its superior quality and design, the bag is also a socially responsible choice. Rustic Town is connected with several organisations in India that work to bring employment to artisans and keep traditional skills alive. Thus, by purchasing this product, you are not only getting a top-of-the-line travel bag but also contributing to humanity.

One reviewer praised the bag's quality and workmanship, calling it "fabulous" and "extremely well-made." Another reviewer mentioned that the bag was smaller than expected, but the product's overall value for money and quality made up for it. Another reviewer commented that the bag was heavy, but its excellent quality and craftsmanship made it worth the investment.

Overall, if you are in the market for a high-quality, stylish, and socially responsible travel bag, the Rustic Town Leather Duffel Bag for Men is an excellent choice.

SIZE: 20" x 9" x 11.5"

SIZE: 50.8 cm x 22.9 cm x 29.2 cm


While we were supposed to pick just one, these two options are both so good that it's impossible to choose just one. Read on to discover what makes these bags stand out and why they're both must-have tote bags for any stylish and practical traveller or commuter.

The ANTLER Chelsea Overnight Bag is a 20L travel tote with multiple carrying options and pockets for organization. It is made of water-resistant nylon and comes in a range of contemporary colours to suit both men and women. The main compartment is spacious and includes multiple slip pockets, a small zipped pocket, and a slip pocket for a laptop or tablet up to 13". The bag can be used for a variety of purposes, including as a gym bag, sports duffle, or hospital bag. It is also perfect for day trips, weekend getaways, and air travel, as it can be used as carry-on luggage. The bag comes with a 2-year international warranty.

SIZE: 16.3" x 10.2" x 7.1"

SIZE: 41.5 cm x 26 cm x 18 cm

The NUBILY Women Handbag Laptop Tote Bag is a high-quality and well-organized laptop bag designed for women. It is made of premium water-repellent soft PU leather and polyester lining, ensuring the safety of your belongings. The tote bag is 16.9" L x 5.5" W x 12.2" H in size, and it has a large capacity for most laptops, including 15 inches, 14 inches, and smaller sizes of tablets. The bag also has a removable double adjustable handle and shoulder strap (9.8''-12.9'') for comfortable carrying. The simple solid colours make this bag a classically understated piece that will easily pair with any wardrobe. The bag is ideal for daily use, casual use, and professional use, making it suitable for school, work, and travel. The package you receive may have a little bit of smell due to the manufacturing process and natural smell of new leather, but it will disappear after the bag is placed in a ventilated place for a few days.

SIZE: 16.9" x 5.5" x 12.2"

SIZE: 43 cm x 14 cm x 31 cm


HUGH BUTLER Suit Carrier is a modern travel garment bag that is perfect for business trips and weekend getaways. Made from high-quality waterproof nylon and metal, this folding wardrobe with shoe pockets offers excellent storage efficiency, luxury durability, and wrinkle-free vertical packing. It features a suit compartment that prevents wrinkles and interior hooks to hang your bag in your hotel room for easy access. The multiple inner pockets can hold accessories like socks and underwear, and the additional compartments can hold shoes and business supplies. This navy blue with brown leather handles suit carrier is lightweight, accepted by most airlines as hand luggage, and can hold up to two suits. It is also a perfect gift idea for anyone looking for something special, practical, and stylish. The HUGH BUTLER Suit Carrier has users praising its design, durability, and storage capacity.

SIZE: 21.7" x 18.1" x 2.8"

SIZE: 55 cm x 46 cm x 7.1 cm


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