Luggage: Trying Something New

Samsonite spinner underseat bag. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Travel Tip: Make The Most Of Your “Personal Item.”

Usually when we travel I bring one International carry-on sized spinner suitcase, and a large-ish Personal Item bag that will still fit under the seat. For the last few trips, I’ve used the Lo & Sons “O.G.” bag and have been quite pleased with it. It fits my laptop and tech accessories, toiletries, and a few “comfort” items for the flight.

Above: spinner bag that fits under the seat.

But for our upcoming trip, I’ve decided to bring my DSLR camera, an extra lens, and perhaps even a travel tripod. And those will be too bulky to fit into my current bag scenario. So I’m going to give this “underseater” spinner bag a try. It seems large enough to carry what I normally include in my Personal Item bag, plus the camera gear. And it will piggyback onto my current spinner bag so I’ll only need one hand to manage both through the airport. Or I can roll it separately if need be, and not have the shlep the extra weight on my shoulders.

Briggs & Riley spinner carry on

A few of you have asked about my regular carry-on bag. I’ve used this Briggs & Riley spinner for the last few years. I’ve never had any issues with fitting it in the overhead bin, though I’ve heard that some people have. (My only issue is that sometimes the overhead bins are a little too high for me to reach.) The capacity is pretty amazing for a bag this size. It’s not expandable, though the newer versions of this style are.

 

lightweight spinner luggage

While I prefer to travel light and only with as much luggage as I can manage myself, I’m not a carry-on purist. It’s really about what works best for you and the type of travel you’re doing. When I’ve needed to pack more than a carry-on will handle (as with our ski trip in February), I’ve found this medium-sized suitcase gives me just enough extra room without being unmanageable.

What type of Personal Item bag do you use for travel?

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63 Comments

  1. vtaloni
    March 27, 2018 / 3:52 am

    The personal item is such a dilemma for me and I’m always changing it up and searching for the perfect solution. For about 3 years, I used the Lipault Original Plume 19″ Weekender Bag (I think on your recommendation, Susan). And by the way, it’s on sale for half-price on their site right now! It holds a ton and I love all the pockets. But, a couple of times when I was forced to check my carry-on bag, the Lipault was a bear to handle by itself. On my most recent trip, my personal item was the Lipault Lady Plume tote. I knew I would have to check my regular bag due to a shoulder injury, so I needed something light that I could carry on my “good shoulder” if necessary and this fit the bill. I’m always looking at the under the seat rolling bags so will be very anxious to hear how this works. That said, I’ve heard some airlines simply will not allow two rolling bags to be brought on board.

  2. March 27, 2018 / 4:18 am

    In 2015, for an 18 day trip to Italy, I purchased a Lipault 19″ spinner on your recommendation, Susan. I remember that you referred to this bag as “the clown car” of travel luggage — and you are absolutely correct. I’m always amazed at how much I can cram into the bag! AND it has been a dependable carry-on for both domestic and international flights via several major airlines. AND it is lightweight. AND it fits easily in the overhead bins.

    Your travel advice (wardrobes, locations, accessorizing, etc. etc.) is always helpful!! Thanks for your great research AND your generosity in sharing the info that you put together so informatively. 🙂

  3. Marie Fritz
    March 27, 2018 / 4:20 am

    This is great advice! I too, have injuries in both shoulders and have a really hard time with luggage and getting things into the overhead bins. I like to travel very light and recent trips included Vietnam, Cambodia and Croatia where you simply can’t do spinner luggage because of the roads. Also, an upcoming trip to Ireland has me in a quandary because of the very small car we are renting and 4 people with luggage! I bought an eBags Motherlode Junior backpack that I have been using as a carryon. I can fit a full two weeks of stuff and can still carry it plus have extra room. I want to buy a Lo & Sons bag as my personal item for future trips. Some countries do enforce the ONE personal item rule and you need to be sure your purse fits into your carryon or you will need to check it. Love your blog, Susan!

    • Lyn
      March 27, 2018 / 7:43 am

      Another vote for the eBags Motherlode Junior backpack! I went to France for 10 days with this as my only bag. No additional personal item. My purse and raincoat were both packed in it and the whole thing weighed 16 lbs. The only two problems with this backpack: (1) it weighs more empty than I would like, and (2) it has so much room that you could easily shove more into it than you could comfortably carry. I took a lot of trains, and this was a great way to travel.

      At some point in every European trip, I have had to carry all of my luggage up a long flight of stairs.

      • Jane2
        March 27, 2018 / 10:20 am

        I’ve never heard of this bag, but based on these two recommendations, I’m going to scope it out.

    • Susan Harper
      March 27, 2018 / 9:40 am

      And another vote for the Motherlode and Motherlode Junior. I love them and they got me through a 2 week trip to Greece and Italy.

  4. Caroline
    March 27, 2018 / 4:24 am

    Susan, I think that the battery contained in the Samsonite Underseat Spinner that you linked to could cause problems going through security. At least that was what I was told when I considered this bag recently while conducting my own search for a rolling spinning underseat bag. It might be worth looking into…

    • LJ Taylor
      March 28, 2018 / 4:23 am

      I have this Samsonite Underseat Spinner, and I like it very, very much. It doesn’t come with a battery — you would have to add it yourself, and I didn’t add one since it had nothing to do with why I bought the bag; I just wanted a spinner that fit under the seat. It’s very lightweight, fits a lot and is very well organized. I’m quite happy with it. It’s not the sturdiest bag — I wouldn’t throw it in cargo — but it will work as a carry-on for many trips, and fits under the seat or the smallest of overheads easily. And for the price, it’s been a great buy for my many long-weekend trips.

      • April 2, 2018 / 11:15 am

        You can carry on a battery, but you can’t travel with it in a checked back.

  5. March 27, 2018 / 4:27 am

    I was going to be a purist with a small bag on today’s trip, but winter clothes are just too bulky. And besides, I like to shop in NYC and it doesn’t cost me anything to check a bag. I think I need a new spinner. My current small bag from Eagle Creek is pear-shaped and not quite enough. Of course, New York is also full of luggage shops!

    • Susan B
      Author
      March 27, 2018 / 6:38 am

      Good to know, thanks!!

    • Gloria Falco
      March 27, 2018 / 7:25 pm

      Thank you for posting it. I love my Away smart luggage, but may need to be removing the battery.

  6. McKristie
    March 27, 2018 / 4:56 am

    Back back for personal item. But I travel for work 50 weeks out of the year and add personal travel to that. Two laptops, tablet etc. The batteries on smart bags just have to be removed if checked (valet checked or regular checked) and you can carry on two rolling bags as long as one fits under the seat and you stow it there. I wouldn’t mess w smart bags due to that but I carry an external charger that holds 4 phone charges (maybe more) and two tablet.

  7. March 27, 2018 / 5:04 am

    If your trip entails taking a taxi to a hotel with an elevator and staying put during your trip the under-seat spinner would work well. Indeed I borrowed my sisters under-seat spinner and loved rolling it around the airport. However when I tried getting on and off trains, buses, the metro or climbing stairs it was useless because I had to separate it from my small suitcase and carry two bags up and down the steps without a free hand to hold rails. I searched endlessly to find an under seat spinner with a shoulder strap to solve this huge problem to no avail. My final solution, which worked surprisingly well was a rolling backpack, which could be worn on my back or over a shoulder when it wasn’t possible to piggyback it on my suitcase. (Of course my passport, credit cards and other valuables were in a security pouch.)

    • Chris
      March 27, 2018 / 2:34 pm

      When I travelled for ework, my personal item was a rolling backpack which held laptop, work itemsn and all of the stuff needed during my journey. I wore a small crossbody purse to keep my cash, ID, credit card, and phone closeby and secure but always made sure it could slip into the backpack for boarding.

  8. cathiwalker2015
    March 27, 2018 / 5:14 am

    I’ve used a large shoulder bag plus a spinner carry on. We always check our main luggage. I’m new to international travel…next time (December!) I want to travel lighter (so I may ditch the carry on case), but I know I’ll be coming back with cases of German Christmas market goodies. I’ve never seen Lipault but have just had a look and I like their range. I need a smaller shoulder bag for day to day overseas and theirs may fit the bill. How big a handbag do you take? I need one that will fit camera, water bottle and umbrella. My first one was too small, my next one was too large….

  9. Julie
    March 27, 2018 / 5:28 am

    For my smaller personal bag I use a day backpack. It does’t have the excess padding that the regular ones do. My meds, ipad, accessories, small purse and a few incidentals go it it. It scrunchs up so it can squeeze under any size seat. My 19 inch PacSafe has been great until we went to Australia. They only permit 7 kg which is just over 15 lbs. That was a shock. We had 5 flights within the country. The international travel to and from wasn’t an issue. I’m at the 8 kg mark.

  10. Margie in Toronto
    March 27, 2018 / 6:03 am

    I know that I am the odd man out here but to me a 19″ case is not a carry on bag – especially not when it’s combined with another Personal Item – plus I’m assuming a purse of some sort?
    My 19″ is the largest case I own and that gets checked. A tote bag (and not a huge one) is my carry on, along with a cross body purse. The tote goes in the overhead and my purse goes under the seat. My tote bag is smaller than these cases and it would be difficult to get it under the seat on most flights – and then where does my purse go?
    If I put my 19″ in the overhead, along with my coat of some sort, then where does my seat mates carry on go? The bins need to accommodate at least two people and frankly I am getting a bit fed up with people hauling everything onboard and then taking up more than their fair share of the bins. I get boarded first because I walk with a cane and more than once I’ve had to defend the second half of the overhead bin for my travelling companion’s use when someone else fills theirs and then decides to appropriate even more space. Sorry but I don’t think it’s right.
    I’m all for travelling light and have spent weeks in Europe with just the 19″ case and the small tote bag but, in my opinion the definition of carry on luggage needs to be reviewed. And on many European airlines you would have to check your carry on and even your personal item and only take your purse onboard. On many of these airlines your purse must fit inside your personal item case if you want to take both onboard.
    I understand that losing your luggage is terribly frustrating – but in the bigger scheme of things – how often does it happen? And this is why I take a change of clothes and some nightwear in my tote – just in case. Again, when you land in Europe you’re already battling jet lag and you probably won’t get into your hotel room right away either – so take a deep breath – pick it up from the carousel and don’t be so frantic to hit the ground running. Check your luggage at the hotel, get some breakfast, and just have a walk around to get your bearings on that first day. 20 minutes at the luggage carousel isn’t really going to make that much of a difference in your day.
    I don’t mean to pick on anyone here in particular but this craze of “carry on” has become a personal pet peeve of mine in the past few years as I have seen it abused so many times. I am in the camp of those who want the airlines to start cracking down and enforcing their own rules. You can all still pack light – just check that suitcase because that’s what it is – a suitcase not a carry on. Sorry, I will take a deep breath now.
    Anyone agree with me? 🙂

    • Helene G.
      March 27, 2018 / 6:15 am

      According to me, of course, your comment is very easy to understand, Margie in Toronto.
      And not only because you’re obliged to walk with a cane.
      Your personal organization is really clever, I will remember it also.
      Anyway (if I correctly understood Suzan, American and English are not my mother tongue), the idea is to set the bag she speaks about under the seat.
      So that it doesn’t take too much place.

    • March 27, 2018 / 6:16 am

      Yes! I just skimmed your comment…but I do think the carry one thing can get taken to an extreme. First of all, I cannot possibly lift any carry on I take to the overhead bin! I have tried. I am in great shape, lift weights, etc etc. But no way can I do it….so that kind of cancels out any carry on. Period. I love checking my bag. Good riddance! And then I have lately taken to using a backpack (oh, horrors I used to think!) but it works well. Or, I have taken a small wheeled bag that I actually bought for business trade shows. Works nicely. Only problem is two wheelies on escalators , but I manage. Anyway, I am with you!

      • Pamela
        March 28, 2018 / 6:15 am

        Most airports have lifts as well as escalators. You just have to find them. I walk with a cane and can’t manage my in-flight spinner bag on escalators so I just ask where the lift is and take that. In every case I’ve found one because people in wheelchairs need it – they can’t take escalators – so airports do provide alternatives (unless the airport is really tiny and basic – in which case most are one level anyway). Once travelled on an Air France flight where every check-in bag was charged (this occurs only on certain routes – other routes you can check in one suitcase as part of your normal fare) – so people brought an extraordinary amount of luggage on board. Across the aisle there was a man sitting with two small children and he’d wedged a full suitcase in the leg area. It was OK for his children as they were so small. He sat with his legs out in the passage way and the end of his bag as well. Have never seen this before. Normally we travel Business Class when flying long haul and they usually connect up with a domestic flight where we get business as well. So much easier and so much space. But this flight was one class, Economy only. I take the normal hardshell Samsonite spinner on board (very light – and not a smart bag as lots of planes and the lounges too these days offer charging facilities for laptops or mobile phones), a large crossbody bag plus a medium Longchamp nylon pliage. The pliage sits on top of my spinner. The large spinner suitcases we check in. Have no problem with waiting 20 minutes or so for the bags to appear on the carousel, as it’s nothing after having travelled 24 hours plus. best wishes, Pamela

    • Susan B
      Author
      March 27, 2018 / 6:35 am

      I absolutely hear what you’re saying and that’s why I will also sometimes check my carry-on bag. I think airlines are partly to blame for “carry-on” getting out of hand when they started going crazy with checked bag fees.

    • Ann
      March 27, 2018 / 8:16 am

      Bravo Margie!

    • JB
      March 27, 2018 / 9:56 am

      I absolutely agree with you Margie.

    • Linda
      March 27, 2018 / 11:28 am

      Absolutely agree with you, Margie.

    • Angela
      March 27, 2018 / 12:38 pm

      Totally agree. Here in New Zealand we have very rigid restrictions on size and weight for carry on luggage. Have seen some very bewildered overseas travellers told, in no uncertain terms, that they have to check in excess items. We always take one days worth of clothing in carry on, just in case, and are prepared to shop if the worst happens and luggage is delayed or lost. Have also learned that not all clothing is a once only wear before washing, something that I couldn’t comprehend before we started travelling several times a year.

    • Ariss
      March 28, 2018 / 11:08 am

      Agreed. Having a heavy bag fall on you once you open the overhead bin isn’t fun either. I am genuinely afraid of those large heavy bags people try to force into a space not meant for it. Just check your bag, people.

    • EmilyD
      March 29, 2018 / 7:25 pm

      Margie, TOTALLY!!!!!! I would high-five you if I could — this makes me crazy. Last time I flew, I checked both ways and discovered that since nobody checks on domestic flights anymore, there were practically no bags on the carousel, so I really didn’t even have to wait. Checking is the new carry-on!

    • Lisa
      June 19, 2018 / 6:06 am

      I have to travel for work, and when doing so, I end up spending a lot of time entertaining myself in the airport. For this reason I always check my spinner, even if I am traveling with the 19″ one. I really do not want to cart around a spinner, and my laptop backpack (that I will need to go to and from the office with daily) for the 2 hours or so I am in the airport, and during layovers. I find it refreshing to check my bag, and only deal with my backpack, and a very small cross body.
      Both of these fit under the seat, and i do not have to worry about overhead space, which I can’t reach or lift a full 19 inch bag into anyway. I simply pack a change of clothes, and pj’s, and don’t worry, I have only had a luggage issue once, and it was luckily on my way home, and the bags arrived on our porch overnight from the airport.

  11. Helene G.
    March 27, 2018 / 6:03 am

    Another very useful post : I already saw these sorts of bags in airports, but I hadn’t ideas of how to use them.
    Thank you very much, Susan.
    And congratulations for your blog I read daily with so much pleasure !

  12. Patricia
    March 27, 2018 / 6:42 am

    Just an FYI…I have found that the underseat area for aisle seats (on Delta, anyway) is very small and won’t accommodate much of a structured carry on. So, I usually bring a small backpack that I can squeeze into the space.

    Another FYI…it’s my understanding (from hearing a flight attendant scold a passenger) that the overhead bins are NOT “reserved” for the seats beneath them. That said, I agree with Margie that too many people bring on much more carry on luggage than is allowed, and it irritates me that airline personnel don’t put a stop to it.

    • Susan B
      Author
      March 27, 2018 / 6:45 am

      I’ve been on several flights now where the airline staff have gone through while we’re lined up to board and sized-checked carry-on luggage. They’ve also “yellow tagged” the smaller piece as “must be placed under seat.” I’m happy to see that they’re addressing this.

    • March 27, 2018 / 10:59 am

      In fact, we’ve had seats without corresponding overhead bins or, sometimes, without under-the-seat space — the seats where there are two instead of three seats, for example. We always travel with carry-on luggage, always careful to stay within the allowance, and we’re considerate about bag and coat placement. I’ve checked bags on occasion and I’m always prepared to surrender mine to the hold if that’s deemed necessary. But I disagree that waiting for a bag is only a minor inconvenience — I’ve waited over an hour at some carousels, really tough after a nine-hour flight crossing nine time zones. And the risk of luggage loss is larger than Margie suggests, although perhaps it’s greater when travelling Economy, as we do. My daughter’s family’s luggage was lost for the duration of our week together in Italy several years ago — not easy when traveling with a toddler. And they didn’t get it back for over a month once back home, and that after much effort.
      I absolutely agree that those who abuse the carry-on privileges should be checked, but I hope resentment agains the airlines and the egregious practice of a few thoughtless passengers doesn’t get directed at me and my carry-on.

      • Pamela
        April 2, 2018 / 4:31 am

        If our flights to Europe were only nine hours we’d be overjoyed!!! To get from where I live in Oz to Paris I have to take a flight of around 50 minutes to the overseas departure airport, then an 8 hour flight (could be longer depending on prevailing winds), land in Singapore for refuelling and everyone has to disembark and wait. Reboard for another 12 hours, land at Heathrow. Proceed through transit and possibly to another terminal and then take another flight of about an hour or maybe a bit more to Paris or Nice. We’re no longer young but we do this every year because we love travelling in Europe, though not the flights to get there and back. But we go prepared and as I told our young grand-daughters who said they loved travel too but they didn’t like the long long flights, “we just have to be strong and do our best. There’s no point in complaining, we’re lucky to be able to visit these countries and we can take it, we’re tough”. That’s now how they think. They don’t complain anymore. And they loved Paris and France – it also gave them the opportunity to practise their French and they did well. They each have the in-flight light, hard shell spinner bags we bought for them and happily wheel their own through airports and on and off planes. We believe in training them young. They’re such good travellers. Best wishes, Pamela

  13. Eileen
    March 27, 2018 / 7:07 am

    Thank you for the wonderful travel information, I am looking forward to my trip to Paris in a few weeks, and the advice is so helpful. Any favorite raincoats/ rainwear? Thanks!

    • Susan B
      Author
      March 27, 2018 / 7:09 am

      You’re very welcome! I’ll be posting some travel outerwear suggestions next week.

  14. Stephanie J
    March 27, 2018 / 7:40 am

    We carry on our luggage everywhere except in Europe and Asia where we are typically over the weight limit. I recently bought one of the under seat spinners and haven’t had any issues taking it on the plane with me or with it fitting under the seat in front of me. I like having it under the seat in front of me as that way I can reach anything I might need. If I take a purse, I take a very small one that I tuck inside the under seat spinner. Usually I just use my small camera bag as a purse as it will fit my camera, phone and some cash and an emergency credit card. I really like the under seat spinner. I leave it mostly empty so I can bring home souvenirs, but I do put my laptop, tablet and liquids in it so that if I don’t have TSA pre, I have easy access to everything I need to put through security. It’s great that it has the wheels as sometimes on the trip home it can be heavier than what I want to carry over my shoulder, which is what I used to do. I put my larger bag in the over head bin, my under seat spinner under the seat in front of me, and in the winter I use my coat as a pillow/blanket. It’s really not that hard to be considerate of others and my method suits my needs perfectly as well. Thank you for your blog, Susan. It is one of my favorites!

  15. SusanG
    March 27, 2018 / 8:01 am

    I’m going to buy Travelon’s Underseat Carry On.
    https://www.travelonbags.com/wheeled-underseat-carry-on-with-back-up-bag

    I’ve been using their messenger bag for recent trips and love it. It’s light-weight, roomy and has loads of anti-theft features. Also, it’s moderately priced; if something happens to it (lost, damaged), I’m not out a small fortune.

  16. Ellen
    March 27, 2018 / 8:17 am

    If your bag is in the seat in front of you, then where are your feet? I am 5’3″, not that tall, but we always fly coach, and while we will upgrade to economy plus when its offered, especially for long trips, that doesn;t always happen. Last years flight home from France was in an elderly AirFrance plane (code shared with Delta) and my woindow seat, with a curved side wall, would not have contained a rigid bag. For a long flight, I want every cubic inch of foot room I can find. I check my carryon sized bag (21″), and carry a much smaller personal item than you describe, with soft sides that can squash off to the side of the foot space

    • Susan B
      Author
      March 27, 2018 / 8:27 am

      It shouldn’t be an issue for this trip on our long-haul, as we’re flying Business. On our shorter connecting flight we’ll be in a regular cabin and I can test the legroom issue. It’s only because of the camera equipment that I thought a bag with a frame was prudent.

    • Darling Lily
      March 27, 2018 / 10:21 am

      I am 5′ 10, and my legs are 40 inches long. I always travel with an under-seat bag. In July I flew nonstop (coach, Air New Zealand) from LA to London, and yes, it was a bit crowded, but still worth it.

      Admittedly, when it comes to legroom, I am used to being cramped in most spaces, but I found the bathroom situations in Europe far more difficult to cope with than the flight. With the exception of The Pelham in London, I don’t think there was a hotel on the entire trip (England, France and The Netherlands) that I did not have to sit sideways on the commode, due to them being so close to the walls.

      • Vicki
        March 27, 2018 / 12:28 pm

        Thank you so much Darling Lily! None of my shorter friends has ever understood my ridiculous bathroom contortions in Europe and I stopped mentioning it after awkward responses. It is hilarious, no? I have no problem reaching the overhead bins, though, so I guess we are all compromising. Thank you Susan for the awesome blog! I am due to replace a bag and appreciate these, like all, of your recommendations.

        • Darling Lily
          March 27, 2018 / 2:46 pm

          Contortions is a good way to put it, Vicki! Whatever it takes to stop ones knees from scraping the walls!

      • Ellen
        March 28, 2018 / 7:08 am

        I had to laugh at this. I am just 5’3″, and I have found that many European bathrooms are too tall for me. Not the commode, but sometimes the bathtub has been so high that I needed a hand to get in, and on a couple of occasions the sink has been high enough that I had trouble leaning over the sink far enough to brush my teeth. And then there was the Lithuanian bathtub with a totally curved bottom where your feet had to be aligned one in front of the other…I fell in that one.

  17. Lily Mac
    March 27, 2018 / 11:31 am

    What has worked for me as a personal carry-on is the MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote – weighs nothing empty, holds a ton (including my purse and tablet and more) and scrunches up to fit into awkward spaces. I took mine on a 2-week trip to Germany last year and when my traveling companion saw how well it worked, bought one for herself. The MZ Wallace bags also wear very well and there are occasional sales with terrific markdowns. https://www.mzwallace.com/shop/products/3761473/ice-and-harbor-colorblock-oxford-medium-metro-tote/15231.html

  18. March 27, 2018 / 11:42 am

    I always check my luggage on overseas trips. And when I get where I’m going, I usually stay there until I fly somewhere else. And the I check my luggage again.

    Saves all this hassle! 🙂

  19. sueinspain
    March 27, 2018 / 1:06 pm

    If we’re going for more than a week, especially in winter when we need heavier clothes, we usually check in our luggage. When I travel on my own to see my family in London, it’s usually no more than a week, so I travel hand luggage only. Some airlines are quite clear that you have to be able to lift your own bag to put it in the overhead locker. Fine, except that I’m short – so I usually say “I hope it’s ok for me to stand on this seat, as I can’t reach it otherwise!”

  20. Nicole
    March 27, 2018 / 1:52 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one with an issue lifting my carry-on into the overhead bin. I actually practice lifting it before I leave the house! Stems from a very uppity (male!) flight attendant who, when I looked over to him and asked for his assistance, responded with, “Maybe you should check it if you can’t lift it” and turned to his colleagues like a snotty 12-year old girl. Fortunately that was the only time, but of course it left its mark. I had one instance where a big, burly, kind guy grabbed my bag before I got my hands around the handle and said, “Here, let me do that.” Chivalry is not dead! I like to be self-sufficient when I travel, and maneuvering luggage takes some strategies. I have a similar small bag with wheels that fits under the seat. It’s a little tight but it works. Found it at Burlington Coat Factory years ago. It’s a foot rest if I need it, too.

  21. Pat
    March 27, 2018 / 2:08 pm

    I highly recommend the BAG BUNGEE, which can be ordered from Amazon for something between $10 and $20. It easily attaches to a suitcase handle (roll-aboard or large). You can then set a tote bag or briefcase or backpack, or whatever, on top and strap it in place with the BAG BUNGEE. You can run through the airport if necessary, and the top bag will not fall off of the bottom bag. I never travel without mine. Very easy to use. When I get on the plane, I remove the top bag, leave the Bungee attached to handle of bottom bag, and tuck the hanging part of Bungee into the top little zipper pocket at top of case. Solves many a problem.

    • Pat
      March 27, 2018 / 2:24 pm

      Addendum: I use the Travelon Bag Bungee. It is strong and reliable. I’ve had mine for several years. Helps me to travel with only roll-aboard and tote bag. I don’t know if other brands are as good or not.

  22. Suz
    March 27, 2018 / 5:06 pm

    I use a small Lipault wheeled piece (19″ x 13″ x 6″) fits easily above – with a lipault laptop back pack (17″ x 11″ x 5″’) that fits easily under seat. (my small purse inside the backpack)
    So far that has worked well for a 6 week UK trip and a 7 week Australia trip. As another commenter mentioned the in country Australia flights are very strict with carryon weight restrictions so I always checked the wheeled one there.
    I keep my coat, sweater with me so as not to take up more than my fair share of space. I totally agree with MARGIE IN TORONTO that some travellers are really bringing excessive items/sizes onto the plane cabin.
    Even if I have to check my bag, I like the idea of a smaller suitcase so I can be independent when walking, or on the trains.
    I often bring my small eagle creek folding duffle type bag so I can check the Lipault on the return flight and bring home “gifts”……..

    Here’s a link that may be helpful (near end so scroll through for the list of airlines allowable carry on dimensions)
    https://travel-made-simple.com/carry-on-size-chart/

    Thank you for another thoughtful travel post – love those (haha as well as all your other posts).
    Suz from Vancouver

  23. citizen spot
    March 27, 2018 / 5:44 pm

    I would recommend taking a small size nylon stuff sack/ditty bag 6″x6″ or so to fill with rocks,sand or whatever and use as a weight to hang from the hook on the bottom of the center shaft of your tripod in case of windy conditions. the little bag weighs nothing, and you can fill it with whatever you may have on hand to create a stabilizing weight to your tripod. Have a fun trip!

    • Susan B
      Author
      March 27, 2018 / 6:05 pm

      Hey, that’s a good idea! I have just the thing.

  24. Marilyn Tait
    March 27, 2018 / 5:51 pm

    I agree with Margie in Toronto. The airlines in North America need to enforce the rules for carry on items as they do in Europe. On our flight today the size and number of carry-ones was crazy. I travel with a small carry-on which fits under the seat and check my larger bag. Marilyn, also from Toronto.

  25. Nicole K
    March 27, 2018 / 7:52 pm

    Another vote from MZ Wallace bags here. I have a couple of theirs and love them. Stylish, high quality and durable.

  26. Lisa Higgins
    March 27, 2018 / 11:36 pm

    Susan: I really love all of your great travel posts!!! I am going to Italy and France in May, and trying to decide on a backpack for my personal item. The Lipault Leather Plume Elegance looks wonderful, but what are your thoughts on how secure it would be given the abundance of pick pocketers and slash and grabs I keep hearing about? Thank you so much for all of the fantastic advice!!! Lisa

  27. Lisa B
    March 28, 2018 / 7:51 am

    I’ve had really good luck with the Rimowa Salsa Deluxe carry on. It has side pockets to fit travel documents and anything else you my need to board but not need until landing. I bought a red one to distinguish it from all the black suitcases crowding an overhead bin. I like the hard shell case with the compression sleeves. It opens book style so if it’s a short trip I can fit my husband’s clothing on one side and mine on the other. At your recommendation I purchased the OMG bag. OG just seemed too large to manage. I always pack a clean set of clothing in there for longer trips because…..Airlines! I

  28. Claire
    March 28, 2018 / 6:41 pm

    The airlines have brought on the space crunch themselves by charging so much for check baggage and $0 for carry on. So far I have seen little enforcement. I wish more airlines did gate check like Alaska does/used to. I travel with the same Briggs and Riley carryon as Susan, which I like a lot, although I’m still confused about what to put in those two flat interior pockets. For years I’ve traveled with a backpack with padded computer sleeve as a personal item that I can slip my crossbody purse into. But now that seems too heavy to lug around. I’d like to look for something that would be lighter. I also have a cpap machine that is in it’s own travel bag and slips over the handle of the carry on. A cpap machine doesn’t count as a personal item because it’s a medical device. (If the travel versions weren’t so expensive I’ve buy one of those.) When I travel internationally I always check the carry on bag and that seemed like a good system until a trip to NZ last year when our bags went missing for 3 days. We found the bags ourselves (!!???!) because the airline seemed to think the bar code meant nothing. Even that couldn’t hurt a wonderful trip though!

    • Susan B
      Author
      March 28, 2018 / 6:57 pm

      I put socks, sleepwear and underwear in the flat pockets.

  29. Claire
    March 28, 2018 / 7:21 pm

    That’s what I’ve been doing. In my old Travelpro I used the packing squares system. I’m still learning the B&R. I love the spinner and I like that it’s short and squat.

  30. Julie
    March 31, 2018 / 7:02 pm

    If people would follow size rules, be polite and place their items properly in the overhead, carry-on wouldn’t be a problem. So many people are doing it because of all the fees.

    In NZ & Australia, even with a return flight on Air Canada, bags were marked as ok for carry-on or that they must be put under seat. Great idea.

    Since travel packing is so popular, can I suggest one on just our interior components.

  31. April 2, 2018 / 11:22 am

    Susan, I have this bag https://www.ebags.com/product/delsey/quilted-rolling-overnighter/256557?productid=10250435 and have loved traveling with it. Slightly smaller than the Samsonite (shorter) and has fit under nearly all seats (I had an issue with one that had a “post/support” coming down in the middle of the space.) It’s so, so nice to pull a little back on wheels instead of shlepping it in a shoulder bag/backpack. Added bonus: I love resting my feet on it during the flight (a little footrest!) and was missing it on my most recent trip.

    It’s not a spinner, but I don’t mind that – it makes it a bit more compact. One comment about the height of the bag: when I place it on top of one of our suitcases, I cannot comfortably get my hand in the other bag’s handle to pull them. That shouldn’t happen with a 19″ carry on size, but be sure to check that out before you travel. I’ll be interested to hear what you think about traveling in a “new” way!

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