The Best Personal-Item Carry-On Bags For Flying
There's nothing like going on a quick weekend trip to explore other cities or taking the time to visit friends and family you haven't seen in a while. However, the costs of flying are skyrocketing, suitcases are getting lost, and airlines are charging a pretty penny for carry-on luggage and checked bags. The hunt for cheap flights and convenient travel is an ongoing challenge. One way to keep travel costs as low as possible: utilizing the personal-item carry-on bag. The personal-item bag is a must when you fly a no-frills airline such as Frontier or Spirit Airlines or buy a basic economy seat for domestic travel, since it's the only bag you can bring that's free of extra costs. These functional bags also make long-haul flights easier with convenient access to all your necessities.
What Qualifies as a Personal-Item Bag?
A personal-item bag can be a functional backpack, a stylish tote bag, a spacious diaper bag, a laptop or work bag, or anything small enough to fit underneath the seat in front of you. Each airline has different qualifications on sizes and proportions, so we've listed a few common ones below:
- United: 9" depth x 10" width x 17" height
- Allegiant: 7" depth x 15" width x 16" height
- Spirit: 8" depth x 14" width x 18" height
- Delta: 9" depth x 13" width x 17" height
- Southwest: 8.5" depth x 13.5" width x 18.5" height
- JetBlue: 8" depth x 13" width x 17" height
- Frontier: 8" depth x 18" width x 14" height
A quality personal-item bag has enough room for all your travel essentials and necessities while being compact enough to fit the airline guidelines. Going on a quick weekend getaway? Your go-to personal-item bag should fit all your vacation must haves, including a few outfits, an extra pair of shoes, makeup, skin care, and toiletries, necessary chargers and cords, and maybe even a flat iron and a reusable water bottle. There are several stylish and quality personal-item bags on the market that take all this into consideration, so you can travel smarter. Ahead, we curated the best personal-item carry-on bags for flying, including tried and tested picks from our editors like the Béis Mini Weekender Bag.
Ready to hit "buy" on a new one for yourself? Ahead, a selection of the best personal carry-on bags for flying.
The Best Personal-Item Carry-On Bag
Béis The Mini Weekender ($98)
The Béis The Mini Weekender is the smaller version of the bestselling Weekender Bag, which is also an editor favorite. It can be used as an everyday tote, but it's also perfect for overnight trips or as a personal item on flights. "It is ideal for any traveler, whether you're a frequent flyer or someone who goes on the occasional vacation. . . . The bag fits the right amount of clothing and necessities for a three-day trip, including a few extra outfits if you pack smart," our editor says.
It has a padded, built-in laptop sleeve; a bottom compartment for shoes, hair tools, and toiletries; and a trolley pass-through sleeve. Plus, the inside has a large zip pocket and two small slip pockets. Our editor points out, "another clever feature is the expandable, clamshell-like zip-top opening of the top compartment. The bag opens up quite wide, so you can easily see and access your stuff and take out your electronics . . . for security." It has a top handle and a padded longer strap. It comes in eight colors, including beige, black, navy, gray, and pink. Read our in-depth review of the Beis Mini Weekender Bag.
Dimensions: 16" height x 16" width x 8" depth
Best Eco-Friendly Personal-Item Carry-On Bag
Paravel Weekender Bag ($295)
The Paravel Weekender Bag is an editor-backed pick, with her stating that "even though the bag itself appears compact, it actually has a ton of space inside. I can fit electronics, multiple cosmetic bags, and any other extras I want readily available with plenty of space to spare." It can fit around two days worth of clothes (three if you're smart about packing), toiletries, and a 15-inch laptop. Paravel's Weekender Bag has a wide shoulder strap that lets you carry it with ease and a trolley sleeve that lets you carry it on top of your rolling luggage. It has a secure zip-top closure and several slip and zippered pockets on the inside.
The eco-friendly weekender is made out of 60 percent recycled materials, including recycled vegan leather. Plus, it's made with an ecocraft canvas that is spill proof and durable. You can personalize it with a monogram, and it comes in two colors. Read our in-depth review of the Paravel Weekender Bag.
Dimensions: 15" height x 15" width x 8" depth
Best Stylish Personal-Item Carry-On Bag With Wheels
If you're in the market for something durable, sleek, and glam, Calpak's Ambeur Mini Carry-On Luggage is designed to fit underneath most airplane seats. Don't believe us? We put it to the test in this Calpak Ambeur Mini Carry-On Luggage review. One of our editors says, "it's quite literally a mini version of a carry-on bag; it has all the convenience of a stylish and functional suitcase, just sliced in half. . . . Although it may look small, it can fit a good amount of stuff for a three or four-day weekend."
The best part of this bag is that it's equipped with 360-degree spinner wheels and a collapsable luggage handle, so you can get through security and to your gate without having to carry the actual weight of your bag. This mini carry-on bag is a dream for organization; it opens upright and has a divider with multiple pockets. It comes in gold, rose gold, silver, and black.
Dimensions: 14" height x 16" width x 9" depth
Best Durable Personal-Item Carry-On Bag
If you want something sleek, modern, and durable, you can't go wrong with Lululemon's Go Getter Padded Weekender Bag. It's designed for those always on the go, whether it's catching red-eye flights or going on an excursion. It's made from a thick, water-repellent fabric that can handle all the scuffs and mishaps of traveling.
There are exterior pockets, perfect for your phone, wallet, and passport, plus a separate document sleeve for important papers. This bag also has a padded laptop pocket on the outside, so you can easily access it when in security or while waiting at the gate. It also has plenty of interior pockets to keep your things organized and secure. Don't want to carry it? The back of this bag has a hidden trolley strap that will help it sit securely on a carry-on suitcase.
Dimensions: 13.8" height x 21.3" width x 9.5" depth
Best Leather Personal-Item Carry-On Bag
Cuyana Leather Weekender ($548)
Cuyana's Leather Weekender is perfect for those who need to keep things compartmentalized. It's equipped with three compartments, including two external zip compartments that can fit up to a 16-inch laptop. The main compartment has two large slip pockets that are great for storing shoes, hair tools, and other necessities. The bag even has a trolley sleeve, so you can easily secure it to your carry-on bag. Carry this in your hand, over your shoulder, or as a crossbody with its adjustable removable strap. It comes in a neutral brown shade and black.
Looking for something smaller? You can get the Overnight Bag, which is the same silhouette with a 5.5-inch depth, a 19-inch width, and a 13-inch height.
Besides its functionalities, this gorgeous weekender bag is crafted from Italian leather, making it a stylish and investment-worthy piece that screams quiet luxury. You can also get this in a durable recycled plastic material for $298-$348.
Dimensions: 14.5" height x 22.5" width x 7" depth
Best Personal-Item Carry-On Bag For Easy Access
Away's The Medium Everywhere Bag is a water-resistant, durable, sleek option that's perfect for fitting a few outfits, toiletries, and your tech. It has a 15-inch laptop pocket, several interior and exterior pockets to help you stay organized, and a useful trolley sleeve. It has an easy-access clamshell opening and a detachable shoulder strap as well. It comes in five colors, and you even can personalize it.
Dimensions: 11" height x 18" width x 7" depth
You can also consider getting the The Large Everywhere Bag ($245) if you need more space; however, its dimensions may exceed some airline's requirements. The larger option has a 9.4-inch depth, 20.9-inch width, and 11.8-inch height.
Best Personal-Item Carry-On Backpack For Organization
The Open Story Signature Traveler Backpack from Target looks and acts like a backpack from the outside, but functions like a suitcase internally. It has a zip-open, flat-lay design that opens up like a carry-on, so you can pack everything neatly. The backpack has three mesh compartments for organizing you clothes, a laptop compartment that's padded, and plenty of additional pockets to store all your other necessities. This is perfect for anyone who wants more balanced support for their back and shoulders, rather than relying on a crossbody or top handle design. It also has a useful trolley strap that doubles as an external pocket when not in use. It's made with a durable, water-resistant fabric as well.
Dimensions: 21" height x 14" width x 8.75" depth.
Best Expandable Personal-Item Carry-On Bag
Dagne Dover's 365 Medium Landon Neoprene Carryall Duffle Bag is soft and durable, perfect for squishing under a seat. It may look compact at first, but it has an expandable design that can fit several outfits, slim shoes and hair tools, and more. It comes with plenty of accessories and compartments that will keep your travel essentials organized, like a laptop sleeve, a shoe/laundry bag, and a removable mesh pouch for your chargers and cords. There's even an easy-access pocket perfect for your phone, passport, or boarding pass. Plus, it has a crossbody strap, top handles, and two side pockets that are perfect for water bottles and shoes. It comes in five colors.
Dimensions: 10.5" height x 17" width x 8.5" depth
Best Hardshell Personal-Item Carry-On Bag With Wheels
The Calpak Hue Mini Carry-On Luggage doesn't compromise on style or functionality. This personal-item carry-on bag has a polycarbonate hard-shell exterior that can withstand scuffs and bumps. The cool thing with this bag is that it opens upright, so you'll be able to easily see and access everything in your bag. It has an interior divider with pockets and compression straps to keep your overpacked bag organized. It has a TSA-accepted lock, a collapsable luggage handle, and four 360-degree spinner wheels for a smooth, upright roll. Choose between a three colors. And, yes, this small rolling bag fits beneath most airline seats.
Dimensions: 14" height x 16" width x 8.5" depth
Best Affordable Personal-Item Carry-On Bag
The Narwey Foldable Travel Duffel Bag is a foldable and affordable travel option that comes in a ton of different colors and prints. It has two top-handle carrying straps, a detachable shoulder strap, a trolley sleeve, and an external zipper pocket. The bag is made from a thick waterproof material that can hold its shape. Plus, it's a bestseller on Amazon.
Dimensions: 13" height x 18" width x 6.3" depth
Best Affordable Personal-Item Carry-On Bag With Wheels
The TPRC 15-Inch Smart Under Seat Carry-On Luggage is perfect for the traveler on the go. For starters, unlike most weekender bags and duffles, this one has wheels. This bag has a USB port that lets you attach a power bank to it, so you can charge your phone and laptop in-flight or at the gate. It's spacious on the inside with plenty of pockets and sections to stay organized. You can carry this with its top handle, wear it like a backpack, or roll it. This under-seat carry-on comes in a few other colors, like navy blue and purple.
Dimensions: 15" height x 14" wide x 8.5" depth
Best Affordable Personal-Item Carry-On Bag For Organization
Bolosta Canvas Weekender Bag ($39, originally $45)
The Bolosta Canvas Weekender Bag is a stylish, easy-to-carry weekender bag that comes with its own shoe compartment. It is made from a durable canvas fabric with faux-leather accents and comes equipped with six pockets and one main compartment. Plus, you get two additional toiletry bags to keep things organized. It can fit up to two to four days' worth of essentials. The affordable weekender bag comes in eight colors as well.
Dimensions: 13" height x 19" width x 9.5" depth
Best Affordable Personal-Item Carry-On Bag Travel Backpack
Lubardy Travel Backpack ($32, originally $50)
If you're looking for a durable backpack you can use for weekend trips, the Lubardy Travel Backpack is a great option and comes with three packing cubes. It has a spacious main compartment that can fit a few outfits and a pair of shoes. Plus, it comes with a laptop compartment, a wet pocket for toiletries and laundry, and a side pocket for a water bottle or an umbrella. The zippers are sturdy and reinforced, so you can keep squishing items in without the bag exploding. The waterproof and durable backpack comes in four colors.
Dimensions: 20" height x 13" width x 8"depth
Best Eco-Friendly Personal-Item Carry-On Bag Tote
Paravel Medium Cabana Tote ($175)
Embrace vacation mode with this stylish and fun Paravel Medium Cabana Tote. It's made out of 60 percent recycled materials, including recycled vegan leather. The bag is made with an ecocraft canvas that's spill-proof and quite durable. It has several slip and zippered pockets on the inside for plenty of organization. It has a secure zip-top closure, top handles, and an adjustable crossbody strap. It has a sturdy base that will keep it upright, so you can easily access your must haves. Plus, you can personalize it with a monogram, and it comes in four colors.
If you need something bigger, the larger cabana tote ($130, originally $180) is more roomy, with a 23.75-inch length, 14.5-inch width, and 7.5-inch depth.
Dimensions: 12" height x 18" width x 7.5" depth