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Size Matters: Luggage Size Guide from ROAM Luggage

What makes some luggage welcome in an airplane cabin while others are relegated to the checked baggage compartment? To put it simply, size matters.


But while the size of your bag is the starting point for whether it will be allowed as a carry-on, other factors come into play, like the bag's weight and contents. It can be confusing to figure out what kind of suitcase to take on a plane - there are strong arguments for traveling light with only a carry-on bag and equally valid points for checking a case and walking into a plane sans luggage.

Your travel experts at ROAM Luggage are here to help. We've broken down the different sizes of luggage according to what most airlines allow both in the cabin and as checked luggage. And we've thrown in a little savvy traveler advice for deciding whether to carry on or check it.



Small but Mighty

The basic measurements most airlines adhere to for carry-on luggage are restrictive: 9 inches x 14 inches by 22 inches (22 centimeters x 35 centimeters x 56 centimeters). Your carry-on luggage must fit either in an overhead bin or under the seat in front of you, so the limitations are understandable. If you can travel light - one or two changes of clothing and basic toiletry necessities and medications - a lightweight, sturdy wheeled carry-on could be perfect for avoiding checked baggage fees and a long wait at the baggage carousel. Some economy airlines and tickets use even smaller allowances, though, so always inquire in advance to make sure your luggage fits.



Middle of the Road

If you're traveling for more than a week or with a companion or child, you might want a little more space for your stuff. On a domestic flight that allows you an additional personal item like a laptop bag or purse, you could manage with a slightly larger carry-on case that gives you a couple additional inches of interior space. If that's not enough or if you need to take liquids that exceed TSA's 3-1-1 rule, consider checking a medium-sized suitcase. Some airlines will check one bag without additional fees, though you should look into that ahead of time. Handing your luggage over to the airline is one way to free yourself from the worry and effort of lugging a heavy bag through the airport.



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Big and Beautiful

The most important thing to consider when deciding whether to check or carry on your luggage is what you need to bring with you. While weapons and ammunition are never allowed on airplanes for obvious reasons, many large or bulky items are allowed in checked luggage. Medical equipment is often allowed but with specific caveats, so check with TSA's guidelines and call if you have questions. Your heavier items and larger suitcases are better off being checked in - not only to adhere to the rules but also to make the flight more enjoyable for you and everyone else. And a sturdy, hard-shell wheeled case customized to your color and design choices will be a lot easier to spot on the baggage carousel amid a sea of identical black bags.



Final Thoughts

The decision of whether to check or carry on is a personal one, so review your needs and the length of your trip, then choose a suitcase that makes sense. With a little planning and a customized case from ROAM Luggage, you'll be roaming in style.