Carry on luggage for your next city escape, weekend break or family trip

Off on your next adventure? Travel in style with these cabin size suitcases and bags.

Carry on luggage

by Lily Anderson |

"We're all going on a summer holiday, no more working for a week or two" - we all know that holidays take a lot of work and preparation. If you've found yourself in a bit of a pickle and your suitcase has broken before your big break, there's no need to panic, as we've found the best carry on luggage.

Related: Lord of the Rings fans can now book a stay in a Hobbit-themed house

Whether you're looking for a cheap suitcase, baggage with next-day delivery or a good suitcase alternative, here at What's The Best, we've got you covered for trips abroad and in the UK.

What carry on luggage is allowed on a flight?

Have you booked a holiday outside of the UK? If you're catching a flight, you'll need to check your airline's guidelines around the carry-on luggage size guide. To give you an idea of what is allowed on a flight, we looked to the most used airline in the UK back in 2019 - easyJet.

easyJet flights cabin baggage allowance:

According to, all customers can bring on board:

• One small cabin bag

• Maximum size 45 x 36 x 20 cm (including any handles or wheels)

• Bag must fit under the seat in front of you

Customers who have booked an Up front or Extra legroom seat can also bring on board:

• One additional large cabin bag

• Maximum size 56 x 45 x 25 cm (including any handles or wheels)

• Bag must fit in the overhead locker

Read easyJet's full guide around cabin bags and hold luggage.

The best carry on luggage 2021

Amazon Basics Hardside Luggage

Best budget carry on luggage
Amazon Basics Hardside Luggage

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This suitcase may be basic by name, but it's certainly not basic by nature. The hardwearing cabin suitcase is exactly what you need for your next trip. With its three internal pockets, you're able to pack smaller items like your passport, toiletries and universal plug adaptors easily. Plus, the spinner wheels means you can move it around effortlessly, even if it's for a weekend away visiting relatives.

Review: "Great quality basic suitcase for shorter trips. Easy to manoeuvre and lightweight. Perfect size for discount airline carry-on limits."

Read our full and detailed guide on the best suitcases that make travelling easier.

Aerolite Lightweight 55cm Hard Shell Cabin Luggage

Best hard shell carry on luggage
Aerolite Lightweight 55cm Hard Shell Cabin Luggage

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Designed to make travelling less of a pain, the Aerolite suitcase is tailor-made to be accepted by all airlines in the UK, Europe and North America. There's no need to worry about the safety of your belongings, as the strong ABS plastic hard shell is made to withstand all your travel adventures, and the four spinner wheels with 360-degree rotation will allow you to manoeuvre the case comfortably.

Review: "This fits all the major airlines hand luggage restrictions and has plenty of space inside. The case weighs next to nothing, can be dragged on two wheels or pushed on four just as easily and is pretty sturdy with the rigid outer. Very impressed with this suitcase and I travel lots with work so go through a fair few suitcases."

Read our full and detailed guide to lightweight suitcases for your next travel adventure.

Fred Perry Classic Barrel Bag in Navy

Best barrel bag for carry on luggage
Fred Perry classic barrel bag in navy

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Instead of picking carry on luggage that sole purpose is for holidays, buy a barrel bag. It's versatile and can be taken on days out, overnight stays and even to the gym. The designer label isn't the only thing we love about it - the detachable shoulder straps tick our boxes for comfort too.

Review: "Got it for my boyfriend for Christmas! Came in just like the picture, great material! Love it!"

Cabin Max Backpack

Best backpack for carry on luggage
Cabin Max Backpack

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Just like the barrel bag, a backpack is an incredible alternative to a suitcase. Not only can this be used as a day bag on your holidays, but it also has lots of compartments for you to store essentials, like extra underwear and socks.

Review: "This bag is quite possibly the answer to all questions related to carry-on bags and airlines. So far, I have taken this on long haul and short-haul flights without any issues. The amount is things you can pack in is only really limited by your packing skills.

"The width of the straps spread the load well and assist in reducing stress on your shoulders, I was able to carry well over the carry-on weight, and it looked like I was carrying a normal backpack.

"I would recommend this bag for travel, even just for long car journeys, it’s that good."

Galli Cabin Suitcase

Best carry on luggage for design
Galli Cabin Suitcase

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Wheel off into the sunset with this gorgeous suitcase from MADE. You don't have to be jetting off to a luxury location abroad to make the most of this baggage either. Whether you're heading to Cornwall with your family or going for a romantic weekend in York, this suitcase will have you packed and ready to go. Featuring a lightweight shell, interior dividers and integrated TSA lock, it gets a big thumbs up from us.

Review: "I brought one of these cases in Green/Bronze and also Black/Rose Gold for my partner and they look amazing. Inside and outside! Really luxury and impressive. We flew with Ryanair and the dimensions were within their cabin case measurement tolerances too. Highly recommend!"

"I love the colour coordination with the brass/rose gold touches. The wheels, the zips (inside and out) even the shaft of the telescopic handle! Amazing!

MiniMax Childrens/Kids Luggage

Best carry on luggage for children
MiniMax Childrens/Kids Luggage

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Are you taking your children on their first family holiday? Kids will love carting around their new matching suitcases, which will save any arguments breaking out between siblings. The best thing about this pair is that they're available in different colours and easily stored under a bed. Amazing!

Review: "These cases were great for my kids to take to the airport. Big pocket in the front that they could fit their tablet and headphones, and the main bag is a good size too. Great that they can pull it or use it as a backpack. The front straps that advertise space for a teddy, we used it for their travel pillow, tucked in nicely and easily accessible.

"Although once we got to board the plane, they classed them as a trolley case and as there was no overhead storage left, they took them into the hold, so we had to empty their things for the flight into our bags to take on the plane. Defeating the object of taking them. When boarding as last passengers, put them on as backpacks and not trolley cases, maybe they could have kept them under their seats. Will use them on our next trip again. Very happy with purchase!"

Briggs & Riley Baseline International Carry-On Expandable Wide Body 2-wheel Upright Cabin Suitcase

Best carry on luggage with lifetime guarantee
Briggs & Riley Baseline International Carry-On Expandable Wide Body 2-wheel Upright Cabin Suitcase

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This cabin suitcase is by far the most expensive carry on luggage on this list, but for good reason. As well as featuring four double swivel wheels for effortless 360-degree navigation, a built-in tri-fold garment folder and a large outside pocket, it has a lifetime guarantee.

Review: "This is not the lightest of its kind but it feels secure. The case is roomy and it expands cleverly. It is a stable, well-balanced case."

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Lily Anderson is a Senior Commercial Content Writer at Bauer Media, where she reviews products for titles like Heat, Closer, What’s the Best, Yours and Mother&Baby.

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