Best cabin bag for holidays and overnight stays

Discover the best carry on bags to take with you into the plane cabin.

Best cabin bag: a woman packing a cabin bag for a holiday

by Rosie Floyd |
Updated on

Lightweight yet surprisingly roomy, the best cabin bags can be used for a variety of travelling needs from city breaks in Europe to long-haul winter holidays in the sun. Whether you've got a generous baggage allowance that gives you an extra suitcase to take onboard with you, you're heading to your destination with hand luggage only, or even if you're travelling by train or car for an overnight stay for business or pleasure. They're the best suitcase for smaller trips where you don't need to take as many clothes and toiletries with you.

If you're wondering what is a cabin bag, simply put, it's a piece of luggage that can be taken into the cabin with you if you're travelling by plane and placed into one of the overhead storage bins, rather than going into the hold of the aircraft. There are many different types of cabin bags that you can get, which is why you may hear them referred to as carry-on bags, cabin baggage or hand luggage. If you pack them strategically, utilising all the space inside and any packing cubes you may have, you should be able to pack enough outfits inside for a long weekend, plus shoes and any cosmetics and personal care items you may need.

Best cabin bag at a glance:

• Best cabin bag overall: Antler Clifton Expandable Cabin Bag – view on Antler
• Best Ryanair cabin bag: DK Luggage 20” Cabin Bag – view on Amazon UK
• Best EasyJet cabin bag: American Tourister Novastream 4 Wheel Exp Cabin Suitcase – view on Luggage Superstore

What is the best type of bag for cabin luggage will of course depend on your needs and duration of travel, but it will also depend on the rules set out by your chosen airline or tour operator. We've got some of the dimensions for cabin baggage for some of the UK's most popular airlines in our FAQs section, but you should always check with your operator before you fly. You can opt for hard or soft shell cases with wheels for you to glide through the airport, a backpack or rucksack for you to carry on your back with everything you need for your trip, or a shoulder bag that has just what you need for your flight inside.

Of course, you don't have to be flying to make use of a cabin bag. The best cabin bags can be used when you're travelling in the UK, too. They're a great size for city breaks, overnight stays with friends and family or if you're staying away from home for work. Whatever you're travelling for, we've searched the web for the best cabin bags, carry-on cases and hand luggage for you to pack all of your essentials inside. The majority of the bags in our list have either been tried and tested by our in-house Yours shopping experts or come highly rated, with plenty of real-life customer reviews online for you to see.

Best cabin bag for your travels

Best cabin bag overall

Light but sturdy, the Antler Clifton Expandable Cabin Bag is perfect for a long weekend in the UK and overseas. It's easy to manoeuvre with its 360-degree rotating wheels and the handle is designed for comfort as it has a twist-grip design. Inside, it has handy compartments and zip-up storage pockets to help organise your belongings and if you need a little bit more room, you can make the case deeper by unzipping the expandable section.

Our review: "I've used the Clifton Expandable Cabin Bag for a couple of trips away now and I'm so impressed by how much stuff you can fit inside it. As someone who can never seem to pack light, I always pack more clothes and shoes than I need for the duration of any stay away from home, but I was able to pack four outfit options, all my toiletries, a bulging make-up bag and towel, and still felt like I could get more things inside. I like how many storage pockets it has inside so I could keep important things like phone chargers and travel documents separate from the rest of my things."


  • Can be extended to fit more inside
  • Many compartments inside


  • If you don't pack the case evenly, it does have a tendency to drift on its own when it's very full

Best small cabin bag

Built with 70 per cent recycled polycarbonate, the Herschel Supply Co. Heritage Hardshell 50cm 4-Wheel Cabin Bag is impact-resistant so it's tough enough to tackle all of your journeys. It has a split design inside with luggage straps on one side and a zipped mesh pocket on the other so you can put some kind of order to your packing. It's also set on Hinomoto wheels that spin 360° and roll silently.

Our review: "This suitcase is the perfect weekend away companion as it fits perfectly on a train or on a plane as carry-on luggage. The size and shape allow you to easily pack everything you need without worrying about running out of storage. The durable hard shell makes travel super easy and worry-free and it helps that the suitcase is in a cute pink colour making it more ideal and a pleasure to carry around. Complete with eight wheels and a secure lock, this case has everything you need to make travelling stress-free. The only flaw I found is that the side of the case isn't equipped with a second handle which can make it tricky to manoeuvre on a busy train. Overall, this suitcase is a dream to use, especially on mini breaks and shorter journeys. "


  • Hardwearing outer shell
  • Retractable multi-stage locking trolley handle


  • Doesn't have a handle on the side compared to other cases

Best cabin bag for movability

If you're looking for a case that wows with both style and practicality, consider the Rock Luggage Allure Carry-On 8-Wheel Suitcase. We particularly love the rose pink colour of this one, but it's available in blue and charcoal colourways, too. You won't have any trouble moving about the airport with this case as it has eight wheels to gently glide alongside you and there are packing straps inside to keep your clothes held in place as you move to your destination.

Our review: "Having a suitcase that looks good is just as important to me as having one that can fit lots of things inside, that's why I like this Rock Luggage one. The textured look of the hardshell exterior as well as the rose pink colour was what drew me to this hand luggage bag to begin with. Now that I've tried it out, I love it even more. The fact that it has eight wheels means that it stays stable and moves with ease, no matter how much you've overpacked."


  • Moves smoothly due to it having eight wheels
  • Looks good


  • Could have smaller zip compartments rather than one big one inside

Best cabin bag for fitting more in

Made with a durable polycarbonate hard shell so you can be sure your items will be safe, the Original Carry-On from Away is designed to fit in the overhead compartment of most major airlines. The 360° spinner wheels have it gliding across floors and its interior compression system means you can fit in as much of your possessions as possible - handy when you're going carry-on online.

Our review: "I'm a huge fan of Away products so had to add the Original Carry-On to my collection. There's so much to love about this gorgeous little case from the hidden laundry bag to the TSA-approved combination lock. There are a good range of colours to choose from and I really like how smart it looks and how easy it is to keep clean."


  • 360° wheels
  • Durable shell
  • Comes with a hideaway laundry bag
  • Interior compression system


  • May be too big for certain airlines

Best duffle-style cabin bag

You have the option of using this Teagan US Small Cabin Wheeled Duffle as a wheeled suitcase or a shoulder bag for more practicality. If you've packed light, carry it on your shoulder and if it's feeling heavy, you can wheel it along at your leisure. It comes in an array of eye-catching prints and colours, so if you do have to check it in, you'll definitely be able to spot which one is yours at baggage reclaim.

Customer review: "Absolutely loved this bag. I had spent hours searching online for a bag that ticked all my boxes and this was certainly it. Loads of room. Two main zipped area plus a inside net zipped compartment too which was a surprise. Ultimately I chose because it had wheels and a shoulder strap. A really good buy, good quality, stylish and still got a proper monkey 🐒 Definitely recommend."


  • Roomy inside
  • Made using a lightweight recycled polyester


  • If you fill it to its full capacity, the depth might be too big for some airlines

Best Ryanair cabin bag

Designed to fit well within the maximum dimensions for hand luggage on many major airlines including Ryanair, it's no wonder that this DK Luggage 20” Cabin Bag is a number one best seller on Amazon. Available in five different colours, it features four double spinner wheels that offer 360° manoeuvrability and top and side handles to help you pick up your luggage comfortably to put it in the overhead storage bins.

Customer review: "Just what I wanted for a short holiday break, very happy with the case in general"


  • Under the maximum luggage size for many airlines
  • Hard shell exterior for durability


  • Some reviewers have had issues with the handle retracting

Best strong cabin luggage

This Tripp Slate Holiday 7 Cabin 4 Wheel Suitcase is super strong and tough with its polypropylene exterior, a material that is widely used for car bumpers due to the nature of its high strength qualities. However, that doesn't mean it's not lightweight too, making it a great candidate for your holiday carry on bag. It comes with a mesh divider and packing straps to separate both sides of the case.


  • Made using strong material
  • Come with an integrated TSA lock like some of the other cases on our list


  • Carry handle looks a little thin

Best EasyJet cabin bag

With dimensions of 55 x 40 x 20cm (or 23cm if you need to extend it), the American Tourister Novastream 4 Wheel Exp Cabin Suitcase is the right size cabin case to use if you're jetting off with EasyJet this summer, as well as British Airways and Jet2. Made from a super strong Polycarbonate material with a matte finish, its design is lightweight and durable yet stylish looking, too. As well as having plenty of room for your clothes and toiletries, this case also includes a power bank pocket so you can charge your phone wherever you are.


  • Can be expanded to fit more inside
  • Power bank pocket


  • No customer reviews

Lightest cabin bag

If you'd prefer your cabin bag to have a soft shell, we'd recommend the it Luggage The Lite Duo-Tone Cabin Bag. Weighing in at just 2.32kg, it's the lightest carry-on suitcase on our list so you'll be able to put more of your own belongings inside before hitting the weight limit for your chosen airline. It's got two zippered front pockets for easy access and organiser pockets inside, too so you can put more important items in easy-to-reach places.


  • Lightweight
  • Fashionable two-tone design


  • Front storage pockets are only really practical for travel documents

Best cabin bag for sustainability

Kind Bag has been on our radar for quite some time. From their extensive, recycled range, we recommend the Weekender Bag in Caramel for its innovation and adaptability for all travellers. Made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles, this special bag comes complete with zipped compartments for safety, a trolly sleeve a hands-free walk through the airport and a detachable strap, too. However you like to travel, this cabin bag-approved pick is a must.

Our review: "I decided to buy a Kind Bag Weekender for myself. And - I was thoroughly impressed. To say the least, it made my travel experience much more carefree than I ever hoped or expected. The trolley sleeve was the saving grace, allowing an easy manoeuvre through the terminals - no missed flights! Much like the TARDIS, it's more spacious than it looks, with trusty zip compartments and a comfy detachable strap that helps with supporting my shoulder. When looking for things I need, sustainability is always a priority for me. And - eco-friendly Kind Bag delivers in every aspect. I still can't believe that this bag has been made from recycled plastic bottles. It's must be some cabin bag magic..."


  • Innovative design for all journeys
  • Made from recycled materials


  • Material is not fabric - may not be for all

Best hand luggage bag for under the seat

Another option from it Luggage is this Black & Rose Gold Divinity Quilted Holdall. While it's not as big as other bags on our list, you'll still be able to fit plenty of travel essentials inside plus a change of clothes, so it's ideal as an under-the-seat hand luggage bag or as a bag for any overnight trips. It includes a detachable and adjustable shoulder strap as well as padded carry handles for flexibility of wear. The quilted design and colours give this bag a luxe touch.

Customer review: "What a great bag it looks good too... loads of room and really sturdy and it can fits loads has a great front part as well to allow for toiletries etc would not travel without it and can be attached to your case highly recommended and at £30 fantastic value"


  • Stylish
  • Easy to wear and carry


  • Not the biggest bag on our list

Best rucksack cabin bag

Looking for a cabin bag that you can carry on your back? Check out this Travelpack from Eastpak. As well as having two main compartments with zip-fastening pockets to put your clothes and personal care items in, it also comes with a built-in sleeve that you can use to protect your laptop, tablet or e-reader when you're on the move. It also features carry handles and adjustable padded shoulder straps.

Customer review: "This bag is great as a cabin suitcase, weekend bag or short-term bag. I combine it with compression bags for my clothes, 3 pairs of shoes, a toilet bag, magazines, and I am on my way for a week! I recommended it to several friends who quickly adopted it like me! 30-year warranty... What more could you ask for?..."


  • Two ways to carry, either on back or shoulders
  • Large packing capacity


  • Looks slightly bulky

Our verdict: which is the best-buy cabin bag?

In our opinion, the Antler Clifton Expandable Cabin Bag is the best cabin bag on our list if you’re looking for a sturdy, hard-wearing case that has plenty of storage inside. We love that you have the option to expand the depth by 3cm if you’re packing for longer trips or anything that is particularly bulky, such as a towel. It’s a good quality case that comes with a lifetime warranty so it’ll see you through many trips to come.

However, the Clifton Cabin Bag may be slightly too big if you’re travelling on one of the more budget airlines. Ryanair has the smallest maximum cabin bag size out of all the airlines (as you’ll see in our FAQs below), so if you’re looking for a bag that will cover the majority of airline cabin bag restrictions, the DK Luggage 20” Cabin Bag is also a great choice.


Where to buy the best cabin bags?

If none of our top picks has taken your fancy, we've rounded up some of our favourite retailers that stock many different brands of cabin baggage so you can browse for the one that is right for you.

Very cabin suitcases and carry-on luggage
John Lewis cabin suitcases
Matalan cabin cases
Argos cabin luggage and suitcases
Luggage Superstore cabin luggage

What can I pack in a hand luggage bag?

Wondering what to pack in your hand luggage bag? We've put together a list of all the things you may want to bring with you onboard with you, to help make the packing process that bit smoother.

• Passport, documentation and money
• Valuables such as jewellery
• Clothing and underwear for the duration of your trip
• Any medication you might need (making sure you have supporting documentation from a relevant medical professional if it's more than 100ml worth)
• Phone, laptop or tablet
• Travel pillow
• Phone and electronics chargers
• Entertainment, such as books and magazines to read

You'll also want to pack your toiletries and make-up, such as toothpaste, suncream, foundation etc., but remember, any liquids you pack must be under 100ml in volume to be cleared by security. As all liquids need to be scanned, you will have to take them out of your travel toiletry bag inside your hand luggage and place them into one of the clear bags provided by the airport. You can always pick up your toiletries from one of the shops in departures after you've passed security if you want to bring more than what will fit inside the airport bags.

UK airline cabin bag sizes:

All airlines have different rules when it comes to whether you can bring a cabin bag onto the plane with you, how much it can weigh and what the maximum size your bag can be. We've rounded up carry-on bag information for some of the most popular airlines to travel within the UK, but we would always recommend checking with your airline or tour operator for the most up-to-date information in relation to your fare before you travel.

Ryanair carry-on bag size

If you're wondering what is Ryanair's cabin bag size, it all depends on what options you chose when you booked your flight. On Ryanair's website, they state that each passenger can take one small item of carry-on baggage up to 40 x 20 x 25cm. However, if you've paid extra for a Priority & 2 Cabin Bags fare, you can take a small carry-on as well as a larger cabin bag that weighs up to 10kg with maximum dimensions of 55 x 40 x 20cm.

EasyJet carry-on bag size

Just like Ryanair, what EasyJet cabin bag size is, depends on what type of fare you have chosen. Everyone can bring a small cabin bag that has a maximum size of 45 x 36 x 20cm (including any handles and wheels) according to EasyJet's cabin bag policy. It can weigh up to 15kg, but it needs to be kept under the seat in front of you. If you've booked to have a large cabin bag onboard, this can be up to 56 x 45 x 25 cm, including any handles and wheels, and can be popped in the overhead storage bins. However, if they run out of room onboard, your bag will need to be checked into the hold.

Jet2 carry-on bag size

Jet2 allow you to carry onboard one piece of hand luggage free of charge, as long as it weighs no more than 10kg and is no larger than 56 x 45 x 25cm, including any wheels and handles.

TUI Airways carry-on bag size

If you're travelling with TUI Airways, you can also take one piece of hand luggage onboard with you, providing it doesn't exceed the measurements of 55 x 40 x 20cm, and weighs no more than 10kg.

British Airways carry-on bag size

When flying with British Airways, hand baggage must have a maximum size of 56 x 45 x 25cm and you can also take a small personal handbag onboard, too, with dimensions of up to 40 x 30 x 15cm.

Virgin Atlantic carry-on bag size

All tickets with Virgin Atlantic.){href=' =Hand%20baggage%20is%20included%20as,x%2014%20x%2022%20inches).' target='_blank' rel='noreferrer noopener sponsored nofollow'} include hand baggage and the size of your bag can be a maximum of 56 x 36 x 23cm.

Rosie Floyd is a Pets, Homes and Garden Product Writer for Yours, specialising in home appliances, décor and furnishings, as well as all things dogs. After completing her Journalism & Media degree from Coventry University back in 2015, she started her career writing about must-visit holiday destinations, moving on to creating content around outdoor living and garden buildings, before joining the team at Bauer.

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