Taking advantage of super cheap flights is one of the best ways to travel more often. Who wouldn’t rather be sitting on a beach or exploring some exotic destination than spending an average weekend at home.
America’s cheapest airlines offer incredibly affordable flights, but, they also charge for all the extras. Most of us are used to traveling with a small carry-on bag and a handbag/backpack, but now, even carry on luggage is charged for. So how do you avoid spending extra dollars on unnecessary baggage costs?
If your bag is under 16 x 14 x 12 (handles and wheels included) it is considered a “personal item” and you don’t pay any extra fees to take it on board. (Note: Baggage dimensions are subject to change, so be sure to check your booking details to ensure the airline you are flying with allows your bag size. Spirit Airlines for example, has a very small allowance.)
These dimensions ensure your bag is able to fit in the under-seat storage space.
If you are a light traveler, happy to fly with a only a few basics, our bag selection will avoid you having to spend additional baggage fees, as well as avoid the hassle of check-in counters.
Samsonite 16 x 13 x 8
The Samsonite is a wheeled carry-on bag with all the extras that make traveling effortless.
It meets the allowed “personal item“ luggage dimensions of 16 x 14 x 12 inches, thus fits perfectly in the under-seat storage. It is made of a durable 900D, Poly/nylon blend and has 2 wheels that make it easy to pull behind you when using the retractable handle.
The convenient packing compartments make it easy to organize your clothes. There is also a separate “wetpack” compartment to pack your toiletries in, this is super handy in case of breakage or leaking. The side pocket is the perfect spot to store your passport and tickets for easy access.
It comes in 3 colors, black, purple and pink. This is a timeless piece of luggage, ideal if you are looking for a classic bag for overnight or weekend trips, something that will last you for years to come and has the additional backing of the Samsonite 10 year warranty.
- Dimensions: 16 x 13 x 7.5 inches
- Weight: 7.2 pounds
Delsey 15 x 14 x 9
The sylish, yet simple quilted Delsey bag is just over a pound lighter than the Samsonite, a big plus if you plan on squeezing in that extra outfit. It is made with 1800 denier polyester which makes it durable and easy to clean. It comes in 3 colors, black, navy blue and teal and the inner panels are beautifully lined to add that extra special finish.
The Delsey is slightly more square in shape than the Samsonite, but packing space remains roughly the same and it still fits comfortably in the under-seat storage space.
As with the Samsonite, it has wheels and an extendable handle to allow you to roll it around. It also has handy pocket divisions to keep everything neat and in place, including a separate pocket for toiletries and one for your tickets and passport.
- Dimensions: 14.5 x 14 x 9 inches
- Weight: 5.9 pounds
World Traveler 16 x 11 x 9
If you are looking for an affordable statement piece or travel accessory, the World Traveler carry bags come in a wide selection of bright and colorful prints, 48 to be exact. The bags are FAA carry-on approved. The bag itself is also super light, allowing you to pack in a little extra weight.
They are made with 600D Polyester and have two sturdy handles and a detachable shoulder strap. To clean, you simply wipe it down with a damp cloth.
It has one large compartment, two convenient front zipper pockets and 2 side pockets. It makes an excellent travel bag or gym bag and is a great buy if you are looking for something an affordable travel bag with flare.
- Dimensions: 16 x 11 x 9 inches
- Weight: 1.7 pounds
Overnight 14 x 11 x 6
This benefit of choosing this cute little tote bag over our first two wheeled bag is weight, as well as a huge saving on your budget. At a fraction of the price and a quarter of the weight, these are the perfect grab and go bags.
The design options, of which there are 3, are timeless classics. They include a quilted black design, a black and white striped design, and a black and white polka dot design. It is soft enough to fold away, yet rigid enough when filled that it won’t fall over.
The clever design of this little bag makes it extremely versatile. It has a back sleeve that allows you to slide it over the extended handle of a wheeled carry-on bag. It also has a tablet sleeve and several other pockets for you to organize your things.
- Dimensions: 14 x 11 x 6 inches
- Weight: 1.2 pounds
Cities 16 x 10 x 8
The Cities 16″ was designed specifically as an approved “personal item” size for several airlines, including American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Jetblue Airways, Frontier Airlines, Virgin America and Sun Country.
It has a zip pocket on the front of the bag to help sort extra items like passports, tickets and toiletries. The main compartment closes with a sturdy zipper which can be locked with a padlock that is conveniently included. It has a carry handle and an adjustable shoulder strap making it easy to carry.
This is a simple and functional bag, ideal for short business trips and for those who prefer clean simplicity over flashy colors.
- Dimensions: 16 x 10 x 8 inches
- Weight: 1.1 pounds
Which 16 x 14 x 12 Travel Bag is Best?
This all depends on how regularly you travel, and what your budget is. If you are a regular traveler, you can’t top the quality, convenience and longevity of our two wheeled bags. Although they are more pricey than the carry bags, the Samsonite and the Delsey are classic pieces that will last for years. If you don’t mind swinging a bag over your shoulder for the occasional trip, the carry bags are great to throw in a change of clothes or two and head off for a quick overnight or weekend trip.
Best for Quality
Topping the list once again is the Samsonite and the Delsey for thier quality design and sturdy construction.
On the more affordable side of the spectrum are the tote bags. Yes, you do have to carry them in your hand or over your shoulder, but with the limited packing space of the 16 x 14 x 12 dimensions (roughly 2 shoe boxes of space) they should not be very heavy. At a fraction of the price, the World Traveler, the Travel Weekender and the Cities 16 inch carry-on will do the job perfectly.
The Samsonite and the Delsey quilted wheeled bags say stylish, travel. The World Traveler and the Travel Weekender have a cute playfulness to them and suit someone who wants to add a little personal flair. On the more functional side of the spectrum is the Cities 16 inch carry-on. It is definitely the most conservative of all the bag options above. If you’re looking for something affordable and basic to take on a work trip… or a spy mission, this bag will draw no unnecessary attention.