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10 Best Carry-On Luggage Options for Travel

10 Best Carry-On Luggage Options for Travel

When it comes to packing for a weekend break, it’s no secret that travelling with carry-on luggage (instead of – not as well as – a big suitcase that goes in the hold) has loads of advantages.

It’s usually cheaper to travel with just a carry-on as many airlines charge a hefty fee for checked bags. It saves time at your destination because you don’t have to wait at the carousel, and it makes getting around a lot less painful.

But finding carry-on luggage that fits within airlines’ often restrictive rules, that’s good quality, and doesn’t cost a fortune, can be an overwhelming task!

So to help you out, I’ve compiled the 10 best carry-on luggage options, which all fit in airline cabins, and into which you’ll be able to fit everything you need for a weekend city break.

Need help packing? Here are some practical tips from a packing expert.

Before I dive right into my favourite carry-on luggage options though, let’s talk quickly about airline restrictions, shall we?

If you’re travelling within Europe, your biggest struggle will be size, rather than weight. Although some airlines do have weight restrictions on their hand luggage, it’s rare that they enforce it, as they’re more interested in the dimensions of your baggage. So if you have a particularly heavy case just pull it along like you’re not struggling at all and you should be fine – just make sure you can lift it into the overhead lockers yourself and it’s unlikely anyone will notice.

What size carry-on case can I take?

When I originally wrote this article I listed all the hand luggage sizes for most major airlines and it was all fairly simple.

Fast-forward a few years and carry-on luggage is a minefield! 

I recommend checking what size luggage you’re allowed to take directly with the airline you’re flying with.

Budget airlines in the UK also make things even more complicated because many of them allow a small ‘free’ bag which must fit under the seat in front of you. And then you have to pay an additional fee for your carry-on suitcase. So there are two pieces of carry-on luggage to think about!

So do your research and make sure you have the right sized bag.

Here are some of the best carry on luggage options for 2022!

10 Best Carry-On Luggage Options

1. The Travel Hack Pro Cabin Case

Best for: Style and ease

The Travel Hack Suitcase - 10 Best Carry-On Luggage Options for Travel

For years, I struggled to find a carry-on suitcase that was perfect for me. There were some that came close, but there were always features I wished they’d had, or design flaws that seemed obvious to me. So…I designed my very own cabin case, with a luggage company called Cabin Max!

It’s everything I look for in a case: it fits within most airlines’ size restrictions, it’s pretty (I’m obsessed with that rose gold), it has a laptop sleeve, and it also has a handy top compartment where I can stash my handbag (for airlines like EasyJet who aggressively enforce their one bag policy) or for easy access to all that stuff you have to remove from your case when going through security!

I’ve written about it in more detail here, but basically, it’s no secret that The Travel Hack suitcase is my very favourite carry-on luggage option!

Measurements: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm
Weight: 2kg
Capacity: 44 litres
Price: £49.95
Features: Padded laptop slot, handbag compartment, plenty of pockets.

Here’s a video I made showing you around the new and improved Travel Hack Pro Cabin Case!

2. Level 8 Aluminium Carry on

Best for: Simplicity, style and a hard shell

This gorgeous aluminium case has style and quality written all over it. It feels beautiful and the four spinner wheels make it a dream to push. It comes with double TSA locks and it a lifetime warranty so you know this is a tough little case.This case is too big for Ryanair but fits for many other airlines. It is also heavier than the other cases on this list but if you’re OK with that then it’s worth it for how beautiful it is!

Measurements: 50cm x 44cm x 26cm

Weight: 7.5kg
Capacity: 35 litres
Price: £224.10
Features: Scratch-resistant hard shell, 360 degree rotating wheels, TSA combination lock.

3. IT Luggage World’s Lightest Cabin Suitcase

Best for: Lightweight

IT Luggage World's Lightest Cabin Suitcase - 10 Best Carry-On Luggage Options for Travel

They’re not kidding when they call this luggage the world’s lightest – most carry-on suitcases come in at around the 2-2.5kg mark, but this one’s just 1.6kg, meaning that if you do have weight restrictions on the airline you’re travelling with, this suitcase by IT Luggage is a great option for you.

As well as being lightweight, the case is practical, with three zip-closure pockets on the outside for storing things like toiletries, or whatever you want easy access to once you’re on the flight, plus silent wheels and packing straps inside. The price is light on your wallet, too!

Measurements: 55cm x 35cm x 20cm
Weight: 1.6kg
Capacity: 38 litres
Price: £49.95
Features: Packing straps, front pockets, silent wheels.

4. Tripp Raspberry Holiday Cabin Suitcase

Best for: Fun colour

Tripp Raspberry Holiday Cabin Suitcase - 10 Best Carry-On Luggage Options for Travel

I’ll admit it was the cheery, bright colour that initially drew me to this carry-on luggage option by Tripp, but it’s a great suitcase that’s just as practical as it is cute.

The first thing to note is that this suitcase comes with a five year guarantee, which means it should last many a trip to come. It’s got a hard shell, four wheels for easy manoeuvrability, a combination lock and a mesh divider inside so the two sides are completely separate.

Measurements: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm
Weight: 2.7kg
Capacity: 37 litres
Price: £42
Features: Combination TSA lock, packing straps, mesh divider.

5. Cabin Max Metz Backpack

Best for: Practical, spacious backpack

Cabin Max Metz Backpack- 10 Best Carry-On Luggage Options for Travel

OK, let’s talk about backpacks! The best carry-on luggage options aren’t always suitcases – travelling with a backpack has some really great advantages over the traditional case.

Low-cost airlines like Ryanair will often take your suitcase from you at the gate (for no extra charge), but they tend to ignore backpacks and let you take them on with you. There’s no guarantee, of course, but I think it’s worth the risk if you really don’t want to part with your gear. Plus, they’re lighter than suitcases, and easier to carry around.

I often use a backpack like this when I’m travelling with my kids because it’s leaves my hands free and means I can pull my own suitcase and carry their cabin baggage too.

This one by Cabin Max has a 4.5 star rating with a whopping 3,400+ reviews, so it’s safe to say it’s a brilliant choice. Plus, it comes in over 25 different colour options and it’s a budget friendly hand luggage option at just £29.99.

Measurements: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm
Weight: 0.7kg
Capacity: 44 litres
Price: £39.99 (currently reduced to £29.99)
Features: Quick-access front pocket, compression straps, 3 year guarantee.

6. The Travel Hack Backpack

Best for: Stylish backpack + ‘free’ bag on all airlines

You’re not meant to have favourites but The Travel Hack Backpack is my favourite in The Travel Hack Luggage range.

This beautiful backpack is both stylish and functional and I’ve used this as my everyday bag every single day since it was released.

It features a:

  • Padded laptop compartment (which doubles up as a safe but easily accessible pocket at the back
  • Comfortable straps and nicely ventilated back
  • Easy to access top pocket for purse/phone/keys etc
  • Huge main compartment with mesh pockets
  • Fully opens like a suitcase so easy to pack
  • Slim front pocket that’s great for documents
  • Large water bottle holder on side
  • Additional side pocket big enough for a smaller bottle

Measurements: 40cm x 20cm x 25cm
Weight: 0.6kg
Capacity: 20L
Price: £35
Features: Padded laptop pocket, 3D packing pockets, handy pockets for organisation, bottle holder.

7. The Travel Hack Tote

Best for: style, organisation + ‘free’ bag for most airlines

If you like your cabin bag to stay nicely organised then this is the bag for you. The Travel Hack tote has so many handy pockets you’ll have a special place for everything in your hand luggage. The large main pocket is filled with dividers and pockets. It even has a pocket for your hair straighteners in there! There’s a sleeve and safe pocket on the rear which you can use to loop it over your suitcase so it sits nicely on your bigger case.

At the front there are two large hidden pockets which are perfect for documents and those everyday items you’re constantly reaching for.

Measurements: 45 cm x 36cm x 20cm
Weight: 0.8kg
Capacity: 30 litres
Price: £39.95 
Features: lots of organisation pockets, hair straighteners pocket

8. Aerolite Holdall

Best for: Budget

Aerolite Holdall - 10 Best Carry-On Luggage Options for Travel

If you’re not travelling with a laptop or delicate camera equipment, sometimes a backpack can feel restrictive – all those compartments can make it difficult to pack things like shoes or bulky clothes.

Holdalls and duffel bags are a great solution for fitting as much as possible into a small space, as there’s nothing holding you back from squeezing more in (although if you do like compartments, packing cubes can be handy here). Plus, much like backpacks, the low-cost airlines tend to let you take these on board more often than a traditional suitcase.

This holdall is fairly basic, but it comes with a 2 year guarantee, has a removable shoulder strap, and is only £11.99, making it the most affordable carry-on luggage option on this list.

Measurements: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm
Weight: 0.65kg
Capacity: 44 litres
Price: £6.99
Features: Top carry handle, detachable and adjustable shoulder strap, 2 year guarantee

9. Karabar Berwyn Leather Style Holdall

Best for: Stylish holdall

Karabar Berwyn Leather Style Holdall - 10 Best Carry-On Luggage Options for Travel

If you like the idea of a holdall, but want something that looks a bit more business-like, this leather look holdall by Karabar is perfect for you.

It’s smart enough to take to a business meeting without looking like you’ve just come from the gym, it comes with a strap that means it can be attached to a suitcase, and it’s got a zippered front pocket for easy access to your passport. It has fantastic reviews, and the price is great for something that’s so durable.

Personally, I find holdalls a little difficult to travel with because I often overpack and they end up so heavy I struggle to carry them. But if you’re a light packer then this is a lovely option!

Measurements: 55cm x 40cm x 20cm
Weight: 0.8kg
Capacity: 44 litre
Price: £24.99
Features: Adjustable/removable shoulder strap, durable material, fully lined compartment.

10. Tripp Putty Express Large Holdall

Best for: Budget and style

Tripp Putty Express Large Holdall - 10 Best Carry-On Luggage Options for Travel

This is the only carry-on luggage option I’ve included that’s slightly over the Ryanair carry-on dimensions (by 2cm). It complies with all of the other airlines I’ve mentioned though, and honestly, in my experience, if you can squish your bag into those measuring cages (which you can with a duffel), they don’t question it. Still. Be warned, it is 2cm over.

This bag looks really sleek and professional, but also has a bit more structure than the classic holdall. Plus, it’s made by reputable luggage brand Tripp, which means it comes with that all-important five year guarantee.

Measurements: 50cm x 34cm x 22cm
Weight: 0.9kg
Capacity: 28 litres
Price: £20 (Currently reduced to £13)
Features: 5 year guarantee, smart sleeve, interior pockets.

Do you have a favourite carry-on luggage option?

Read more: Can I take a suitcase backpacking?

The Best Travel Backpacks for Women - Top Ladies Rucksack List

Saturday 6th of October 2018

[…] you’re looking for carry-on luggage that is both functional and stylish, the The Travel Hack Pro Cabin Case by Cabin Max is the way to […]


Thursday 6th of September 2018

Love that this list includes lots of budget-friendly options that won't break the bank. I do have one question though. I love the Travel Hack suitcase you designed and very nearly bought it a few months ago until I saw the reviews, many of which were quite negative about the quality. I'd love to buy your suitcase to support you and's pretty (hehe) but I don't want to buy something that is going to break in a few weeks like some of the reviews said. Do you know if the problems around quality were addressed?