Types of Travel Luggage and Bags | What To Pack (2023)

What is a Carry-On Bag?

Types of Travel Luggage and Bags | What To Pack (1)

A carry-on bag is built to fit inside the overhead compartment on an airplane, hence the name—it’s the luggage you carry on the plane—though, in reality you’ll probably be rolling it on, bumping a few armrests along the way. (Your “carry-on” bag is not to be confused with your “personal item,” a smaller item like a backpack or purse, which should be small enough to slide under the seat in front of you.) While carry-on bag guidelines vary slightly by airline, 22 by 9 by 14 inches is about standard, and those measurements include handles and wheels. Of course, carry-ons are just as handy on the ground for road trips or train travel, because they also fit well in the train’s overhead area and in car trunks. Hard cases tend to be more durable, but if you’re an over-packer or souvenir junkie, the soft-side varieties with exterior pockets give a bit more leeway for just one more snow globe.

Our Pick: Travelpro Platinum Elite 22” Expandable Carry-On Rollaboard,$254.99 at eBags

RELATED:The Best Carry-On Luggage

What is Spinner Luggage?

Types of Travel Luggage and Bags | What To Pack (2)

If you’ve ever tried to change direction quickly while dragging two-wheeled luggage behind you, you’ll understand the beauty of a spinner. Spinner luggage has four wheels, which all turn 360 degrees, meaning the luggage can glide at your side nearly weightlessness as you whizz around tight corners and sprint toward your gate (or the nearest airport Cinnabon). But there are some caveats to this gravity-free bliss: Spinners tend to be less durable on rough terrain and more prone to damage than their more locked-in two-wheeled counterparts, so expect to shell out more money for a sturdy version. Also, the wheels tend to add weight and stick out, so you’ll lose a little interior packing space since wheels are included in baggage dimensions. Spinners come in both carry-on and checked sizes, with soft and hard shell options.

Our Pick: Fortis Pro Traveler Hardside Spinner Carry-On, $219.99 at eBags


What’s a Travel Pack?

Types of Travel Luggage and Bags | What To Pack (3)

The darling of backpackers everywhere, a travel pack is basically what you’d get if a hiker’s backpack and a suitcase had a baby. Travel packs tend to be lightweight and durable with an ergonomic design (think metal frames and hip-belts), and a slew of practical details geared toward comfort and access while traveling. While travel packs are usually bulkier than the typical hiker’s backpacks, they can also be easier to pack with lots of front-loading styles. Some even offer detachable day packs, essentially a mini breakaway backpack for excursions. Plus, their straps tuck in so they don’t get caught in airline conveyor belts. The top-rated options tend to come from high-end outdoor manufacturers.

Our Pick: Osprey Packs Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack, from $158.36 at Amazon

What is a Weekender Bag?

Types of Travel Luggage and Bags | What To Pack (4)

A weekender bag is designed to hold just enough items for a weekend trip (though heavy packers might be tempted to call it an “overnighter”). Size-wise, weekenders tend to lie in the sweet spot between a tote and a duffel bag. They’re usually oblong with two handles and sometimes a crossbody strap. Because they’re wheel-less, they’re not ideal if you’re packing heavy, but they’re great for weaving through crowded terminals or for throwing in the trunk of a car. Practicality sometimes plays second fiddle to style—with a slew of leather, canvas, and monogrammed options from upmarket retailers like J.Crew, Madewell, and Kate Spade. And even if they weigh on our shoulder, we can’t help but love a weekender for being for a sophisticated statement piece.

Our Pick: Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe Canvas Weekender, $128 at Lo & Sons

What is a Duffel Bag?

Types of Travel Luggage and Bags | What To Pack (5)

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Duffel bags are soft-sided cylindrical bags that run the gamut from handsome weekender-sized pieces in canvas and leather to sturdy camping gear options made from durable nylon. While most have two handles and a crossbody strap, there are also a slew of rolling varieties—a shoulder-saving option for over-packers. The main benefit of a duffel is that it has a wide opening that offers one roomy compartment. This makes it ideal for packing larger items, like sleeping bags, camping gear, helmets, or odd-shaped sporting equipment. And while many a meticulous traveler has carefully folded clothes into a duffel, they’re also a favorite of “throw-and-go” packers.

Our Pick: North Face Base Camp Duffel, $180.90 at Amazon

What is a Satchel?

Types of Travel Luggage and Bags | What To Pack (6)

A grandfather to the messenger bag and a brother to the briefcase, the quintessential satchel is a structured bag made of leather, with a history as old English school bags. (Picture the square, flap-buckled leather bags seen in prep schools.) That said, the satchel’s parameters are flexible to the point of being stretchy. A variety of backpacks, purses, and messenger bags can all be considered satchels. Though sometimes sold as weekenders, they do tend to be smaller, and are more likely to be used for work, a day trip, or as an airline’s “personal item” than for a weekend trip. As with the weekender, satchels tend to be fashionable and sophisticated, with loads of luxe models available.

Our Pick: Madewell’s The Prague Satchel, $198 at Madewell

What is a Dopp Kit?

Types of Travel Luggage and Bags | What To Pack (7)

A Dopp kit is essentially a structured toiletry bag, traditionally made of leather. Originally, they were issued to soldiers in both World Wars, and they still have a bit of a “military man” look about them, especially when they’re paired with shaving gear. While they’re classically marketed toward men, women can make use of them, too, and often find their ridged sides do a great job of protecting bottles or makeup compacts. Modern varieties tend to be dapper, simple, and moderately sized with an easy zippered closure. Those who prefer more frills or space should consider going with a standard toiletry bag instead.

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Our Pick: Chapter Travel Kit from Hershel Supply, $29.99 at Amazon

What is a Messenger Bag?

Types of Travel Luggage and Bags | What To Pack (8)

A messenger bag is a soft-sided crossbody bag with a flap closure, traditionally used by, well, messengers. They’re especially popular in urban areas, and wholeheartedly embraced by many commuters and cyclists. (Bike messengers are evangelical about their favorite brands.) They’re ideal for work or everyday use. Men in particular seem to be big messenger bag boosters as they offer up a more casual alternative to the briefcase, yet they’re still a bit more business-appropriate than a backpack. Many of them fit standard laptops, too, perfect for the digital workforce that’s always carting their office with them to the local coffee shop. There’s a huge range of options, from durable canvas or nylon varieties to sophisticated pieces in worn leather.

Our Pick: Moleskine Nomad Messenger Bag, $99.95 at Urban Outfitters

What is a Garment Bag?

Types of Travel Luggage and Bags | What To Pack (9)

Going somewhere fancy? A garment bag is designed to keep your finest clothes dust- and wrinkle-free, and often features an attached hanger so your upscale outfits can go directly in a hotel closet without being unloaded from its carry case. While most garment bags are marketed toward men going on business trips in two-piece suits, last we heard, women also attend business meetings and want to avoid busting out the hotel iron. The most basic garment bags are simple sheaths, much like the type you get gratis with a suit or expensive coat, but some double as luggage, featuring space for multiple ensembles and extra pouches and pockets for all of your essentials.

Our Pick: Zegur Suit Carry-On Garment Bag, $47.95 at Amazon

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What is a Wheeled Backpack?

Types of Travel Luggage and Bags | What To Pack (10)

You already know the short answer: It’s a backpack with wheels. (Duh.) But there’s a longer answer—it’s a rolling backpack that can be anything from a kid’s school bag on wheels to luggage you can lift up and cart around on your back, even in carry-on and checked sizes. They can make great alternatives to traditional luggage for those traveling on extended trips or to a variety of destinations—over a variety of terrain. (Those spinner wheels won’t serve you on a rocky riverbed.) The most popular options are related to travel packs, and well-liked among backpackers. It’s usually worth the price to choose a quality wheeled backpack that’s ergonomic, lightweight, and durable. As with travel packs, outdoor companies tend to sell the sturdiest options.

Our Pick: Osprey Sojourn Wheeled Luggage, $340 at Amazon

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What kind of bag do I need for travel? ›

Table Of Content
1. BackpackFor Adventurous Camping
2. Wheeled BackpackFor a Relaxing City Trip
3. Travel TotesFor a Super Cool Look
4. Duffel BagsFor a Weekend Getaway
5. Rolling LuggageFor a Rugged Road Trip
10 more rows
Jan 13, 2022

What is the 5 4 3 2 1 packing method? ›

Do the clothing countdown: If you need a mantra to help streamline your wardrobe, use the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rule for a weeklong trip: Limit yourself to no more than five sets of socks and underwear, four tops, three bottoms, two pairs of shoes and one hat. The list should be adjusted to suit your needs.

What size luggage do I need for a 7 day trip? ›

25" - 27" Checked Luggage

These sizes are the most popular size of luggage to check. They are ideal for trips of 5 to 7 days, or longer, depending on how you pack. They have a large capacity for multiple outfits, shoes, and toiletries.

What is the best size bag for travel? ›

A 30-40L backpack is perfect for travel.

Keep reading to learn why and how this size can save you money. Pack everything you need without checking a bag.

How many bags should you take on a plane? ›

Most airlines will allow you to check one bag and have one carry-on bag. There is normally a maximum weight limit of 50 pounds per checked bag as well as a size restriction. The most common maximum size bag allowed is 62 linear (total) inches. A common size bag for checking through is: 27" x 21" x 14".

What is better hard or soft luggage? ›

Softer suitcases can absorb water and are more susceptible to stains, but they can be cleaned too. If you're traveling through rain or snow, for example, a hard-shell bag will provide better protection for what's inside. A hard-shell bag can be easier to maneuver across gravel or cobblestones too.

What type of suitcase is best? ›

Often considered the most durable type of luggage, a hard shell suitcase has a rigid exterior that is usually made from moulded polypropylene, polycarbonate or ABS plastic, with some using aluminium. They're less flexible than soft-sided suitcases, making them a better option for protecting delicate items.

What are the three types of baggage? ›

You're usually allowed to take 3 types of baggage: checked baggage, cabin baggage, and a personal item. Checked baggage is transported in the cargo hold, while your cabin baggage and personal item stay with you in the cabin.

What is the 1 to 6 rule packing? ›

One general guideline is to pack one hat, two pairs of shoes, three bottoms, four tops (short or long-sleeve or outer layer), five pairs of socks, six pairs of underwear.

What is the rule of 3 travel packing? ›

Each passenger may carry liquids, gels and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces or100 milliliters. Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels and aerosols.

Which packing method is best? ›

The Best Ways to Pack Your Clothes
  • Think Big, Then Edit.
  • Pack Wrinkle-Resistant Fabrics.
  • Roll and Fold Items.
  • Arrange Clothing Thoughtfully.
  • Cover the Pile With a Dry-Cleaning Bag.
  • Place Clothes You'll Need First at the Top.
  • Follow the Rule of Three.
  • Have Your Shoes Do Some Work.
Mar 22, 2023

Is it better to roll or fold clothes in a suitcase? ›

Rolling your clothes in your suitcase will generally save space. This is because it squeezes air from between folds and means the most of available space is used. If done correctly, rolling can also ensure less wrinkles in your clothes.

What is the max bag size for TSA? ›

Carry-on bags must weigh less than 35 pounds and must not exceed 10 inches deep, 16 inches wide and 24 inches high. Bags must fit in the overhead bins. Checked bags must be no longer than 62 linear inches (length + width + depth) and must weigh under 40 pounds.

What size bag do you need for airport security? ›

Only two items of hand baggage may be taken through security control, and they must be no larger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (22in x 18in x 10in). Items larger than this must be checked in as hold luggage – you can check your bag size using the gauges at check-in. Handbags and laptop bags count as a piece of hand baggage.

Can I bring a duffel bag and a backpack as a carry-on? ›

The answer is yes. You can use a duffel bag as a carry-on item. However, you should ensure that the duffel bag's size and weight meet the airline's specific restrictions on carry-on luggage. You should also consider the bag's shape, as some airlines have limitations that may affect your duffel bag's usability.

Can you bring more than one Ziploc bag on a plane? ›

The TSA liquids rule is also called the 3-1-1 rule, since you're allowed to bring: 3.4-ounce container. 1 quart-sized Ziploc bag. 1 bag per passenger.

What is not allowed in a carry-on? ›

Liquid or gel food items larger than 3.4 oz are not allowed in carry-on bags and should be placed in your checked bags if possible. TSA officers may instruct travelers to separate items from carry-on bags such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine.

How much cash can you bring on a plane? ›

You can fly with any amount of cash. No law prohibits you from bringing any amount of money on a flight. Likewise, TSA has no rules that limit how much money you can bring through security. In other words, TSA has no cash limit per person.

What type of luggage last longer? ›

The most durable, but also the heaviest, is aluminum. Hard-shell luggage often features a 50/50-split opening, allowing you to pack two sides equally and stabilize the contents with an interior strap or a middle divider.

Should I put my name and address on my luggage? ›

For safety reasons, you should not include your home address on your luggage tag. For the most part, this information is unnecessary since the airline will contact you via phone or email to reunite you with any lost bags.

How do I choose a suitcase? ›

7 things to consider when buying a suitcase
  1. Look at the material. There are two main options: soft-sided and hard-sided luggage. ...
  2. Count those wheels. ...
  3. Check how much it weighs. ...
  4. Think about the handle you need. ...
  5. How does it look inside? ...
  6. Does it have pockets? ...
  7. What extras does it come with?
Jun 15, 2019

Which wheels are better on a suitcase? ›

Polyurethane wheels are the highest quality luggage wheels currently on the market. They are ultra-durable and provide the smoothest and most silent roll.

Is a hardside suitcase better? ›

Because softshell luggage has more give, a hard shell suitcase can be better at protecting fragile contents, assuming you cushion it well inside. On the other hand, that rigid exterior makes hardshell bags unable to be compressed to squeeze into tight spaces like softsided bags are more apt to allow.

What items are not allowed in checked luggage? ›

Items that are not allowed in checked luggage
  • Aerosols (in most cases) ...
  • Any device containing lithium metal or lithium-ion batteries. ...
  • Bug spray. ...
  • Christmas crackers. ...
  • Compressed gases. ...
  • Corrosive or oxidizing chemicals. ...
  • Cremated remains. ...
  • Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacons.
Jul 26, 2022

What items are not allowed in hand luggage on a plane? ›

Security Information
  • The following items that are banned for carriage on person/hand baggage on board flights operating from civil airports in India; and Indian Registered aircrafts from foreign airports : ...
  • Sharp Objects.
  • Sporting Goods.
  • Guns and Firearms.
  • Tools.
  • Martial Arts / Self Defense Items.
  • Explosive Materials.

Where do you put your luggage on a plane? ›

“Most passengers know their large carry-on items go in the overhead bin wheels first. Jackets and coats go on top of the bag. Smaller bags go under the seat.” Wheels first makes it easier for passengers to grab the bag when leaving, making getting off the plane faster, which is something everyone wants.

What is the golden rule of packing? ›

This may seem an ambitiously small suitcase, but the golden rule of packing is to always take half the clothes you were planning to bring (and twice the money).

What is the 1 2 3 4 5 6 packing rule? ›

Pack less clothing than you think you'll need.

For shorter trips, we're big fans of the 1-2-3-4-5-6 Rule for packing: 1 hat, 2 pairs of shoes, 3 pairs of pants or skirts, 4 shirts, 5 pairs of socks and 6 sets of underwear. It works for long trips, too, as long as you can do laundry once a week.

How do you plan a packing list? ›

General moving and packing tips
  1. Start with items you won't need right away. ...
  2. Pack similar items together. ...
  3. Keep essentials packed separately for quick access. ...
  4. Label each box by its contents and room. ...
  5. Color code boxes by each room. ...
  6. Allow yourself plenty of time to pack. ...
  7. Load furniture, appliances and larger items first.

How not to overpack for a trip? ›

How to Avoid Overpacking for a Trip
  1. Make a Checklist. A checklist is the best place to start. ...
  2. Pick the Right Suitcase. Choose a modestly-sized suitcase. ...
  3. Mix and Match. This is the fun part. ...
  4. Roll Them Up! ...
  5. Keep the Accessories Small. ...
  6. Shoes, Shoes, Shoes. ...
  7. Only Take Half. ...
  8. Use a Luggage Scale.

How many personal items can I travel with? ›

Maximizing space for your essentials without exceeding airline weight limits and luggage size is key when traveling via air. Most major airlines in the United States such as American Airlines, Southwest and Delta, allow you to bring one personal item for free, on top of your carry-on bag.

Can I bring three bags as a carry-on? ›

Airline rules allow for one carry on bag and one personal item, unless you're flying on a basic economy fare. But we've all seen people selfishly putting two bags in the overhead bin or carrying on more luggage than could possibly be allowed. You don't want to be like them.

Should I roll my jeans in suitcase? ›

Generally, suit pants and other formal pants that are made of 100% cotton and non-stretchy fabrics that get creases easily should be folded, not rolled. Folding usually prevents these types of trousers from getting even more wrinkled. Tip #3 - Iron any jeans before packing them in your suitcase.

Is plastic or fabric suitcase better? ›

Less protection for the items inside, a hard suitcase will absorb the impact from bumps and knocks, a soft suitcase won't so much. Fabric is more prone to wear and tear than plastic, for example fraying, pulling or ripping, in many instances it won't compromise the function of the bag but in some instances it might.

How many outfits should I pack for a 7 day trip? ›

Do the clothing countdown: If you need a mantra to help streamline your wardrobe, use the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rule for a weeklong trip: Limit yourself to no more than five sets of socks and underwear, four tops, three bottoms, two pairs of shoes and one hat. The list should be adjusted to suit your needs.

How many outfits do I need for a 10 day trip? ›

FAQs. How many clothes are required for a 10-day trip? Follow the 5-4-3-2-1 packing trick, where you pack five tops, four bottoms, three dresses, three pairs of shoes, two swimsuits, two bags, and one of each of a few miscellaneous accessories.

How much clothing can I wear on a plane? ›

While there is no official 'dress code' you want to make sure that you appear presentable while keeping comfy, there's no need to overdress, a pair of jeans and a t-shirt is enough.

Should shoes go on top or bottom of suitcase? ›

Place shoes heel to toe with soles facing outward, like in a shoe box, place them in shoe bags for protection, and line them up in the zippered compartment side of your luggage – starting at the bottom. If your shoes don't fill up the whole compartment, pack clothes in between to keep everything in place.

How many pairs of shoes do you travel with? ›

Most frequent travelers swear by the “3 pairs of shoes” rule, which is to pack two pairs of functional and comfortable shoes and one pair that's a little more formal and dressier. Some travelers would say you can make do with just two pairs for the entire trip.

What kind of bag for TSA? ›

Each item must be 3.4 ounces or less and must be able to fit inside a one-quart size clear zip-top bag. The limit is one bag per person. Typically, travelers put their toiletries in the bag such as shampoo, hair products, make-up and toothpaste.

Does a backpack count as a handbag when traveling? ›

The short answer: Yes, a backpack is generally considered a personal item if it fits under the seat in front of you. Most airlines offer a few examples of things that fit into the “personal item” category, such as a purse, laptop bag, or a briefcase, but they don't usually include “backpack” on those lists.

How many Ziploc bags can you bring through TSA? ›

Each passenger may carry liquids, gels and aerosols in travel-size containers that are 3.4 ounces or100 milliliters. Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels and aerosols.

Is it better to use packing cubes or compression bags? ›

Packing cubes help travelers organize their backpack or suitcase, keep clothes neat and unwrinkled, and prevent small items from getting lost. But they don't shrink down the size of your clothing much. Compression bags work best for fitting more stuff into your backpack or duffle bag.

Do you have to put liquids in a Ziploc bag in checked luggage? ›

We recommend packing all liquids, gels, and aerosols that are over 3.4 oz or 100 ml in your checked baggage, even if they are in a secure, tamper-evident bag.

Where do you put your money when going through airport security? ›

Ultimately, TSA uses the money to maintain and improve security operations. Travel Tip: To keep from leaving your money behind at the checkpoint, place it in a zip top plastic bag, pouch or favorite fanny-pack and store in your carry-on bag for X-ray screening.

Do you need to take out chargers for airport security? ›

The answer is No! You don't have to remove the chargers if they're in your carry-on or luggage. You can keep the chargers in your carry-on as well as hand luggage.

Does a crossbody bag count as a carry-on? ›

Backpacks, totes, and crossbody bags are typically considered personal items too. The key to remember is it must be able to fit underneath the seat in front of you. A carry-on is a type of hand luggage that you bring into the plane cabin with you and is larger than a personal item.

Can I bring 2 backpacks on a plane? ›

Make sure one of your bags qualifies as a carry on and the other as a personal item. Then you can travel with two bags and zero worries.

Can I take 2 bags as hand luggage? ›

A: It depends on the airline you are flying with. Most airlines allow passengers to bring one personal item and one carry-on bag. However, some airlines, such as Southwest and Delta, permit passengers to bring a second carry-on bag that is smaller in size and can be stored in the overhead bin.


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