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Traveler luggage choices

The high cost of aviation fuel has driven many airlines to charge extra for baggage. This means that the traveler often has a decision to make about what luggage to use on any given trip that involves not only time, money but aesthetics. These examples match luggage size to the type and duration and cost of travel.

Carry on luggage for short term or business trips

Short term travelers of only two to three days choose luggage suited for quick escapes from the load and unload of airplane time by picking travel luggage that fits inside the overhead storage compartment. Travelers are usually limited to one item and one bag, like a purse. Options that meet those criteria include:

24x24x8” computer bag which will hold a computer, changes of underwear, extra shirts, and electronic components like a camera, extra batteries, surge protector, internet cord. Many travelers use a bag with rollers since this bag take up to 20 pounds of weight.

Suit protector—a leather bag surrounding a hanger that will comfortable hold several suits and shirts and underwear in pockets.

Up to 36”x6” backpack or purse, with room for important documents, telephone, tablet, book, camera, binoculars, water bottle, medical supplies and other cosmetics.

Luggage for eco-travel or third world country travel or one week of travel

In addition to the carry-on bag, many travelers choose an additional checked bag, sometimes using a stackable rolling system where the carry-on rolls or stacks on a checkable bag that also rolls.

The ecotraveler or traveler to a third world country often has limitations imposed by the airlines that they fly internal to the country, often stated in terms of the weight of the luggage. A usual restriction is twenty pounds or (9.1 kg) of weight on small airplanes and sometimes they ask to have this bag in a crushable container to fit into tight places. Options for these bags include:

22x18x10” stackable wheeled bag which will hold three pairs of slacks, or five shorts, seven shirts, and underwear, swimsuit and cosmetics.

36x24x12” duffle that can sit on top of a portable roller, carryon bag or with arm straps or a 36x24x12” backpack.

Luggage choices for trips longer than one week

For every week longer than one week, the luggage size can increase up to fifty pounds total for an additional week or two of clothing. Any larger baggage may be subject to extra airline charges. Choices for these can be:

30x20x12” stackable wheeled bag for 35-50 lbs or 48x24x12” backpack.

48x24x12” soft side duffel (good for camping or storage in a car trunk) often used with a carryon and dirty clothing bag with several days traded from the larger bag to the smaller bag in and out.

All these options should consider also having a large empty dirty laundry bag. Many hotels offer the use of laundry facilities. Many countries have a local laundry facility that will wash and fold clothing.

Luggage choice options based on destination

When selecting luggage, travelers should consider their destination, including these:

Travelers to golf resorts may choose to transport their golf clubs—usually involving an extra fifty dollar charge in each direction for the extra bag. Renting golf clubs for one round costs $50, so a traveler would have to play more than three rounds for this to be cost effective and they would have to have a means of porting them, i.e. a car rental.

Train travelers will often be in charge of loading and unloading their own bags onto the train. They should limit their bag to the weight they can lift, use a bag with rollers, and limit their baggage to one bag or two stackable bags.

Cruise ship travelers often have a mixed set of clothing requirements including formal dinner clothing, beach outfits and might consider combinations that include a large duffel and suit protector. They often have help loading and unloading their luggage.

Eco-travelers should use baggage that can take the wear and tear of dirt floors and drops while they are being carried. They should consider luggage treated with waterproofing and insect repellant. They should consider bags that have plastic liners for wet gear like swimsuits and dirty equipment like hiking boots.

Travelers who shop should use a larger bag, carry a shopping bag, duffel or backpack inside and or consider an expandable luggage bag. If shoppers buy items for shipping, they should shop several months in advance of the planned use, i.e. shipping can take from one to six months depending on location.


Many luggage departments and stores offer a guide that allows travelers to check luggage will fit in overhead compartments of most airlines.