We’ve pulled out the tape measure and compared the carry-on allowances from 22 of the most-used airlines in the UK, from Aer Lingus to Wizz Air. After careful calculations, we found that any bag that’s 55x35x20cm or smaller should be allowed in every cabin, whether you’re city-breaking in Lisbon, skiing in Canada or winter-sunning in Jamaica
Volume: 31 litre
Price: Around £35
We love… This one is pure practicality. It might no longer live up to its name, with a few other bags slightly lighter, but for functionality at a reasonable price, it takes top prize. The IT has four internal pockets and two external ones so it’s a dream for neat freaks. It also comes with a generous 10-year guarantee.
Need to know: It’s the anorak of the cabin case – it’s no looker but it’s so practical that you won’t care. And at least you have a choice of colours – basic black of this snazzy floral design, which would be easier to spot on the luggage carousel.
Volume: 35 litres
Price: Around £109
We love… This little gem fills those minimum cabin dimensions to the last centimetre. And for those who like to be able to spin their case, it also comes in a four-wheeled version, which costs an extra tenner. It’s light but tough – the outer is made from a super-durable polyester that will withstand being cracked into pavements and lobbed into the loft. It also has an inbuilt TSA-approved lock and a zip compartment inside the lid to help section off your clothes.
Need to know: It’s the most expensive on our list, but it should withstand the test of time – you’re paying for top-quality materials. Best for: Frequent travellers – this bag can handle everything from bumpy sidewalks in New York to sandy pavements in Ibiza.
Volume: 28.5 litre
Price: From around £85
We love… This one looks stylish (in a skater-kid-meets-fintech-entreprenuer kind of way) and the tough canvas comes in 10 colours. The lid has a zipper compartment and the soft material means you can cram a bit extra in and then squash it down when storing.
Need to know: It has the smallest capacity of our selection. It’s also an investment, although the whopping 30-year warranty somewhat justifies the price.
Best for: Grown-up backpackers who like the squishy ruggedness of canvas, but want the functionality of a wheeled bag. It’ll fit right in at trendy budget [hotels](https://www.skyscanner.net/hotels in Berlin https://www.skyscanner.net/transport/flights/uk/berl?adults=1&children=0&adultsv2=1&childrenv2=&infants=0&cabinclass=economy&rtn=1&preferdirects=true&outboundaltsenabled=false&inboundaltsenabled=false).
Volume: 44 litre
Price: Around £27
We love… For those who prefer to carry rather than roll, this is a brilliantly affordable option. It’s made from a durable, showerproof polyester, has comfy padded shoulder straps, lots of handy pockets and it zips right down so you can access all of your stuff easily. It’s fun too, coming in an endless array of colours.
Need to know: We’ve cheated a bit because this bag is 5cm wider than the smallest airline allowance – Flybe – although it falls within the Ryanair requirements. Saying that, the compression straps mean it can be adjusted to fit, so if you’re flying with Flybe, make sure you don’t fill it to the brim and it’ll still fit the bill.
Best for: Grab and go types – you won’t have to faff about with handles or worry about damaging the wheels as you pound the cobbled pavements in [Venice](https://www.skyscanner.net/transport/flights/uk/veni?adults=1&children=0&adultsv2=1&childrenv2=&infants=0&cabinclass=economy&rtn=1&preferdirects=true&outboundaltsenabled=false&inboundaltsenabled=false or hike in the Swiss Alps https://www.skyscanner.net/transport/flights/uk/ch?adults=1&children=0&adultsv2=1&childrenv2=&infants=0&cabinclass=economy&rtn=1&preferdirects=true&outboundaltsenabled=false&inboundaltsenabled=false).
Volume: 30 litres
Price: Around £16
We love… The price! You’d struggle to buy a beach bag for £16, never mind a working wheelie case. This simple black bag is ultra-light and also folds completely flat, making storage a cinch.
Need to know: IKEA’s minimalist approach means that, although there’s plenty of room inside, there are no compartments or pockets for organising your things. The basic design won’t win you any style points at the luggage carousel and the thin material means it’s not as robust as the other bags, but at this price, you can afford to replace it regularly.
Published December 2017. Prices and airline cabin dimensions correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability. While information was correct at the time of publication, we’d recommend that you check the details with the airline or your travel agent before booking.