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    31 Suitcases, Duffels, Backpacks, And Other Bags That Reviewers Used To Carry On Only

    After all, who wants to kick off their European summer dragging an enormous roller bag on cobblestone streets and up quaint sets of stairs. No one.

    1. waterproof travel backpack with allllll sorts of things that you could possibly want in a travel backpack, including a "wet bag" so you can take a last-minute dip in the hotel rooftop pool and then put your wet swimsuit in the backpack before heading to the airport. 

    Reviewer carrying white backpack with front pocket and water bottle side sleeve in an airport
    Reviewer holding a green version of the backpack open to reveal all the inner pockets

    Promising review: "I recently took a cross-country flight with my three kids. I really didn't want to worry about checked bags getting lost, so maximizing our carry-ons was a priority. This backpack fits an unfathomable amount of stuff! Lots of zippers and compartments for everything from shoes to laptops/iPads, easy access compartments for cell phones and boarding passes, I fit tons of neatly folded clothes. The best part was that fully loaded it easily slid under the seat." Kindle Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $33.29+ (available in two sizes and 40 styles). 

    2. A genius personal item suitcase with *removable wheels* to help you fit all sorts of Draconian personal-item and carry-on restrictions. Ahem, Frontier. 

    a reviewer photo of the suitcase showing the built-in locking mechanism
    a top-down view of the open suitcase filled with clothes

    Take OFF luggage is a small biz.

    Promising review: "I refuse to pay the outrageous cost of checking a bag or carry-on. Once you take the wheels off this fits perfectly into the sizing thing for Frontier so I don't have to pay anything. Fits quite a bit of stuff in it as well. So far I've used it on a foujr-day trip to California and a three-day trip to Las Vegas. We are going on a 10-day trip to Puerto Rico soon on Frontier and again, I don't want to pay for bags so made sure to book a place with washer/dryer otherwise this would probably be too small for 10 days." —S. Denzel

    Get it from Amazon for $119.99+ (available in four colors, and also in a larger size) 

    3. A 22-inch/63-liter convertible backpack-to-rolling suitcase will give you all sorts of versatility, especially if you've loaded up your bag but don't wanna tip off the airline gate agents that you're hauling a VERY heavy load.  

    Convertible bag instructions showing steps to change it into a backpack, carry-on luggage, or duffel bag

    And! It comes with three packing cubes. 

    Promising review: "I have been looking for a bag like this for two years. I wanted to have the ability to pack as much as I could for my often weekend conferences or week-long trips with carry-on only. I wanted the handle to be high enough to slip on a backpack and also be able to pack the backpack full of clothes or use it for day trips. I was not expecting it to be stable when full, thinking since it had only back wheels, it would just fall over. It stays up when packed full. I love the charging area holder inside the small backpack. The laptop area holds my MacBook Pro, my notebook, and my book. I the front pocket. I use it for my cords, and the inside mesh pocket is great for valuables. The main compartment backpack can be packed really fully And you can tighten to reduce strain on the zippers with the clip buckles. FINALLY. My favorite is the length of the handle, I’m 5'10" and the handle goes all up to my belt buckle when I stand next to it. Very easy to grab and maneuver. All in all, I love this bad and will tell everyone about it." —Zack Sperow

    Get it from Amazon for $146.99 (also available in gray).

    4. A super roomy duffel bag that's durable enough to toss around from home to car trunk to bus to wherever. It's water-resistant and can hook onto a rolling stuitcase. And if you take a last-min dip into the lake at that picturesque lake house your pal's aunt owns? Np. You can put your wet swimsuit in one of the separating compartments. 

    the pastel pink duffel bag with white logo tag
    Model wearing the duffel in various ways and strapping to a suitcase

    It's water-resistant and has an adjustable long strap.

    Promising review: "This bag is AMAZING! If you are trying to maximize your carry-on game by not checking luggage, I believe this is the largest 'personal item' available. This has a zippered pocket for wet items making it the perfect pool bag. I was impressed with the interior pockets, the ability to slide this bag onto my carry-on roller luggage with ease etc. This was PERFECT for traveling with a young child. I packed for me and our 3-year-old in my carry-on AND this item, and I was able to avoid checking anything. Love the color! Quality is excellent. Buy the bag!" —Courtney

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99+ (available in a variety of colors).

    5. A weekender bag with tons of bells and whistles you'd normally pay much more for — reviewers compare it to the viral Beis weekender. Since we started writing about this bag I've seen so many fellow airplane passengers boarding with this as a personal item. And not ONCE have I seen them have trouble with a gate agent regarding sizing. 

    The bag in green on top of a suitcase
    The bag inside the personal item box of spirit airlines

    It comes in two sizes: one sized for a personal item, and one for a carry-on.

    Promising review: "BUY NOW! BEST TRAVEL BAG! BEIS [swap]! This bag is great! Literally don’t hesitate on buying it!! I have traveled on Frontier, Spirit, Jet Blue, all no problem fit inside the bag measuring size perfectly! BEST PART I traveled a lot this summer, to Mexico, Nicaragua, and Jamaica, all for 5–6 days, all my stuff fit in perfectly!! I had three JEANS, two SHORTS, seven TOP, five bathing suits, two sandals, one pair of flip-flops and three makeup bags, plus a charger on the side pockets! If you want to travel on a budget this bag is your best friend. Plus the bag is super sturdy and great material with strong zippers." —Franyeska Pravia

    Get it from Amazon for $35.99+ (available in two sizes and 44 colors).

    6. A 14-inch and 20-inch carry-on set you can use together or separately on a flight with stringent bag policies. (Or even use the 20-inch yourself and then give your kid the 14-inch). Gotta love having options!

    Woman in a white textured outfit with a belt, holding an orange suitcase and matching handbag. She's outdoors, near a building

    Somago is a small biz specializing in luggage. 

    Promising review: "Bought this after committing to traveling only with a carry-on. I didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a carry-on, but I also didn’t want to go too low and the product faulty. I found this to be a happy medium. It survived the streets of Greece, hills, rough and uneven terrain, ferries, stairs, and plane rides. The wheels offer a smooth ride. I stuffed it to the max with 24 lbs worth of clothing (for reference). I did use packing cubes on one side, though. Zipper handled it well, and the case held its shape. Overall, a great buy and highly recommend." —SR

    Get them from Amazon for $89.99+ (available in seven colors).

    7. A colorful hard-side roller suitcase that lots of reviewers say is super sturdy and will easily fit in planes' overhead bins. (Psst, if you're looking for a similar vibe to the pricier Away, this could be it.) 

    Person standing with green carry-on luggage, wearing ripped jeans and ankle boots

    Promising review: "Bought this with the 35L Open Story Backpack, and they couldn’t have been a better pair for a better value! Used them both as carry-on and personal item for a week vacation on an island!" —Anonymous

    Get it from Target for $89.99 (available in seven colors).

    8. And the coordinating 35L backpack you could feasibly use as your *only* item for a trip. Lots of reviewers did! It opens up like a rolling suitcase for easy access. 

    Open suitcase with clothes and items, suggesting packing for a trip. Ideal for travel prep articles
    An open light blue and gray backpack with compartments showing books and pens, suitable for shopping

    Promising review: Took this as my sole bag for two weeks in Europe and it held out amazing. Fits neatly under the seat in front of me in my flight and holds a ridiculous amount of stuff. Very sturdy zippers and seams. A little uncomfortably on the shoulders when loaded heavy but manageable.” —Lg

    Get it from Target for $49.99 (available in four colors). 

    9. A Samsonite wheeled carry-on bag small enough to qualify as a personal item on super strict airlines. It can fit underneath an airplane seat! You can avoid checking a bag, glide through security, *and* don't have to hurt your shoulder by carrying a duffel bag that'd also fit strict bag measurement policies. Take that, Spirit Airlines. (This'll pay for itself after a few trips.)

    reviewer's pic of suitcase open so you can see a large mesh pocket and large compartment
    the carryon in a Spirit Airlines personal item sizing station showing that it fits the requirements

    Now you won't even have to pull your suitcase outta the overhead!

    Promising review: "Great piece of luggage. I've been trying to 'one bag' with only a backpack that fits under the seat as a personal item on US domestic flights, but on occasion, I'll need to 'two bag' (still not checking any bags) with one personal item and one overhead. This Samsonite under seat carry-on can actually fit under the seat as well, but if I need a carry-on, I like having an easy time storing in / retrieving from the overhead bin next to those obnoxious or first-time-flyer idiots who bring a massively oversized carry-on (and how did they get past the flight attendants and the gate check'?) trying to cram their bag into the bin. It also fits into the older planes with tiny overhead compartments like the CRJ900. Definitely recommend." —Anonymous Reader

    Get it from Amazon for $101.50.

    10. A Beis backpack that zips open like a suitcase without *looking* like one of those backpacks that do that. I used this and a space vac bag to pack ALL my belongings for my Iceland trip instead of paying $100 to check a bag. (That's how the discount airlines get you!) 

    open backpack stuffed full of things for a long weekend.
    stacks of some clothes packed in the backpack
    Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

    I snagged this backpack after hearing my colleague Chelsea Stuart sing its praises. I had a trusty (now discontinued) InCase backpack I used as a personal item and served me well on dozens of trips for about five years. But I wanted a bag that opens up like a suitcase for easier packing. Since buying, I've taken it on countless weekends and international trips. Including, like I said up there ^, to Iceland with just this and a space vac bag full of clothes.

    Inside, you'll find a mesh zippered pocket and a plastic pocket perfect for your toiletries. I can fit enough wet toilet toiletries in the second pocket as I'd be allowed to carry on for a plane. In the mesh pocket I put other necessities like cotton swabs, medicine, eyeglasses, etc. The main compartment is deceptively deep so you can easily roll clothes and Lego-fit them in together without using packing cubes. In fact, I fit all of the stuff in the second picture in that section (a romper, PJs, a bikini, sunscreen, five pairs of undies, a pair of jean shorts, nap dress, three pairs of socks, two pairs of sandals, two T-shirts, a slip skirt, sleep mask, curling iron, mini flat iron, makeup bag, and tote bag). AND it has stretchy X-straps to keep it all secure like you'd see in a roller suitcase so when I unzip it, everything stays put. But before I forget, there's a separate cushioned laptop pocket close to the backpack straps that I found works well for books or a Kindle if your travel leaves you laptop-less. 

    I love that this backpack has DEEP side pockets so your umbrella or water bottle won't fall out. In fact, I stuck a flashlight and an umbrella in one side pocket. (You could always use a flashlight.) Plus! It has a generously sized pocket on the front of the backpack with easy access for sunglasses, snacks, writing pens...all sorts of those little extras you need to access quickly. To top it all off, the backpack straps and top handle are STURDY. I felt totally secure toting it around and slinging it into overhead storage compartments on the trains. I love the look and construction of it with faux leather and sturdy black canvas, and the trolley passthrough to easily fit on my roller suitcase I'm about to drag through a bunch of airports. At nearly $80, this isn't the cheapest backpack option but if you're a frequent traveler, you'll get so much mileage on it and seriously save on some baggage fees, making it well worth the cost. This backpack and I are going places, for sure. And if something ever happens to it — though I highly doubt it because it's SO sturdy — I'll 100% buy another. I'm obsessed!

    Get it from Beis Travel for $88 (available in eight colors). 

    11. Plus a Beis carry-on roller suitcase with tons of bells and whistles, including a TSA lock, 360-degree wheels, a cushioned trolley handle, side-carry handle with a weight detector, AND a retractable attachable bag strap. I own this and have basically darted through airports totally smooth to get to my boarding gate.  

    Person packing a suitcase with clothes, binoculars, and hiking boots for a trip
    Person in patterned shirt, vest, and trousers with luggage, standing against rocks. Style inspiration for travel attire
    Beis Travel

    Like I already said, I own this and have been using it for about six months after I broke a wheel on a Samsonite suitcase that, tbh, I totally treated like it was a rental car. I most recently took it on a 10-day trip to Paris, Bologna, and Milan, which entailed me flying three times. I was able to fit all my stuff (with extra room!) in this and my beloved Beis backpack, using the trolley pass for my backpack over the top handle for this suitcase for super easy airport navigation. The wheels are the smoothest of any suitcase I've ever used, and I'm able to glide around the airport around slow walkers, families taking up way too much room, and people who've apparently never been to an airport before. This suitcase also comes with two opaque bags that are great for dirty laundry, and the zip-closed side has a clear pocket where I like to stash my Apple AirTag so I can quickly check that, yep, it's in my suitcase. The straps on the other side makes it easy to pack in stuff without haveing to expand the zipper to allow for more room. (On my most recent trip I packed TWO midi-length coats in addition to the one I wore on the plane.) Even though I travel about every chance I get (these days I'm on a plane nearly every month), I think I'm going to be able to get a very long stretch use out of this beaut!

    Get it from Beis Travel for $218 (available in 10 colors).

    12. compact wheeled carry-on bag small enough to qualify as a personal item on those budget airlines that float to the top of Google Flights results bc of their "personal-item-only" budget ticket prices. This'll really stick it to 'em! 

    Now you won't even have to pull your suitcase outta the overhead!

    Promising review: "I bought my bag September 2022 for Hawaii. Airlines loose so much luggage, I wanted to only bring one bag. I bring five pairs of shoes and two outfits a day. Always travel with two large suitcases AND a carry-on. Did not think I could do it. I got eight days of clothing in this bag, airline-approved size toiletries, my medications, my camera, AND my travel CPAP machine in this bag. I only took one pair of shoes, which were the ones I was wearing. Incredible!! Going back to Hawaii this October and am taking my bag again. I can not believe I got everything I needed in this bag. LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!!" —J. P. Delano

    Get it from Amazon for $50.88+ (available in four colors).