What’s The Best Lightweight Cabin Luggage?

When traveling within Europe, we do our best to travel with lightweight cabin luggage only.  This allows us to use some of the low-cost flights we find using Skyscanner, which typically charge extra for any checked bags.  Most airlines allow you one carry on item and one personal item.  Of course those sizes can vary slightly depending on the airline.  After our 1 year of nomadic travel and homeschool, we are pretty much experts at packing lightly.

So What Is The Best Lightweight Cabin Luggage For You? We share our thoughts on the top reviewed carry on luggage and suitcases - read more on WagonersAbroad.com

We can easily use a carry on bag only for a few weeks of travel.  We have found we wear the same things over and over, as well as packing items for mix and match.  We also find it useful when we book an apartment rather than a hotel, as they often have facilities to wash our clothes.  We usually can find great deals on holiday rentals via TripAdvisor as well as other searching sites.

Carry On Bag Size

There are a few factors to look at when shopping for the best carry on luggage and for this size does matter.  We typically use Ryanair as our gauge, as they are a common carrier around Europe.  Please check with your most commonly used airline for their specifications.

Here is what Ryanair allows for their carry on luggage:

  • 1 carry on bag measuring no more than 55 x 40 x 20 cm
    (21.6 x 15.7 x 7.9 inches) –  weighing no more than 10 kg (22 lbs)
  • 1 small personal bag measuring no more than 35 x 20 x 20 cm
    (13.8 x 7.9 x 7.9 inches)

Notice they not only specify the luggage size, but also the weight.  You will want to consider how much your suitcase weighs empty, so you can determine how many belongings you can bring.  It is great to have a fancy suitcase, but if it is heavy empty, you aren’t getting much value.

In the table below we have compiled a matrix of information based on some of the best carry on luggage available.  These tend to have some of the best luggage reviews and reasonable prices too.

Of course prices vary depending where you make your purchase, but you can find some great luggage sale prices if you do some hunting.  We have created a general guide for the prices based on the $ symbol.

Pricing for the lightweight cabin luggage in the Matrix
$ = under $50, $$ = $50 – $100,  $$$ = $100 +

ItemSize Cost Weight *****
eBags eTech 3.0 Weekender Convertible9 x 21 x 14 inches$$3.9 lbs 4.9
Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 Softside 21 Inch Spinner8.5 x 23 x 15 inches$$$? lbs 4.4
Samsonite Luggage Fiero HS Spinner 2016.5 x 13.75 x 9 inches$$7 lbs 4.4
https://amzn.to/2AWqxdH9.75x 19 x 13 inches$$8 lbs 4.2
Travelpro Maxlite3 Expandable Spinner (21")21 x 9 x 14 inches$$$7.8 lbs 4.5
Travelpro Luggage Maxlite3 22 Inch Expandable Rollaboard22 x 9 x 14 inches$$6.3 lbs 4.1
Rockland 2 Piece Luggage Set13 x 7,5 x 19 inches$7 lbs 4.3
US Traveler Rio Two Piece Expandable Carry-On Luggage Set21 x 13 x 7.5 inches$6.6 lbs 4.2
Samsonite Luggage 22 Inch Andante Wheeled Duffel12 x 22 x 12.5 inches$7 lbs 4.1

If you’ll notice a couple of these are actually luggage sets, which will provide you with 2 different luggage sizes to use.  You may find that to be a better value for money when making your luggage purchase.

What lightweight luggage do we use?

We personally own the Samsonite Wheeled Duffel and it has been wonderful.  It is very lightweight luggage bag to begin with and allows for a little expansion, if you really want to pack things in there.  Keep in mind it is a duffel, so packing fragile things isn’t such a great idea.  Lars has used this as his main suitcase for well over a year and it has held up well.  He has traveled to 14 countries with it, so you can see it has received some mileage.  This lightweight luggage is ideal for the kids to manage too!  We also have a few inexpensive non-brand name carry on bags.

When we were traveling in Southeast Asia and moving from place to place for a year, we did have more than just carry on luggage.  The kids used carry on bags in addition to a small backpack for their computers.  Us adults each had one full-sized backpack as well as a small day pack for our electronics.  We preferred to have our hands free and allowed the kids to have a wheeled bag for ease.  This was best for all forms of transportation via trains, planes, ferries, buses and more.  Of course in the photo above Gma Bev, just had one large suitcase!

Koh Chang Ferry taking cover from the rain awaiting the ferry - luggage

If you are looking for some new luggage think about only using carry on luggage.  Sometimes that just won’t fit the bill and it is best to also check a piece of luggage for long-haul flights or international travel.  We will soon provide a shopping guide for a standard suitcase as well.

If you would like to view more options or read detailed reviews of the best carry on luggage deals, check them out on Amazon and look for free shipping!

What carry on luggage do you use?  What do you think about it?

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