Pick the right cabin luggage for your airport transit: A complete guide for your next travel purchase | Travel

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By Mahtab Ahmad


Find yourself travelling more frequently of late? Has the hassle of packing made you wonder what you are doing wrong? Let’s explore how to find the right type of luggage to ensure we are comfortable during our transit periods.

Transit luggage can be the best way to make your travel smoother than it is. Find out in-depth about the different types.(Pexels)
Transit luggage can be the best way to make your travel smoother than it is. Find out in-depth about the different types.(Pexels)

The most important piece of luggage to own during flights is your transit or cabin baggage. While the check-in suitcase, no matter what type and style, ultimately gets checked in and is not your responsibility there on, the cabin luggage is what truly ensures your comfort and how you experience the whole journey till you reach your destination.

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With the availability of multiple types of cabin luggage, it gets hard to know which one works best for you. We’re here to help with insights on multiple types of luggage like backpacks, cabin suitcases, duffle bags and more. We’ve also curated a list of the top picks from Amazon to help you buy that perfect cabin luggage without any need to do the research yourself.

Checked baggage vs cabin baggage

Checked baggage is stored in the aeroplane’s cargo hold and requires check-in before the flight. Cabin baggage, or carry-on luggage, is kept with passengers in the cabin, typically stowed in overhead compartments or under seats.

What is cabin luggage?

Cabin luggage refers to small bags or suitcases that passengers can carry onto an aeroplane. They fit in overhead compartments or under seats, typically weighing 7-10 kilograms.

Now that we know what cabin luggage is; let’s dive into the details of the different types of cabin luggage/transit luggage that we can explore and use.

The different types of cabin luggage we will be discussing in this article are

  • Cabin trolley bag
  • Cabin luggage trolley bag with external laptop compartment
  • Travel backpack
  • Duffle bag
  • Messenger bag

Cabin trolley bag

A cabin trolley bag is essentially a small-sized suitcase. According to most airlines, carry-on luggage can only be 22 inches in length. This may seem small, but it’s actually the perfect size to fit everything you might need for a trip, making them perfect for anyone who has extra baggage and wants to be able to carry more luggage with them. There are multiple restrictions on check-in baggage numbers and weight allowance. A few extra kilos of luggage can easily be moved to your cabin suitcases and carried with you.

What to keep in mind while using a cabin trolley bag

Ensure you follow the guidelines on what can be carried and what cannot.

What is the perfect use for a cabin trolley bag?

These suitcases are perfect for vacations. The smaller suitcase is ideal for storing all your footwear and accessories like sunglasses, purses, watches and other things that you might feel are more valuable than your clothes. It’s also suitable for items you do not want to send off in your checked-in luggage.

Top 3 picks for cabin trolley bags currently available on Amazon:

1. American Tourister Liftoff 55 Cms

2. Skybags Stroke Cabin Abs Hardshell Luggage (55 Cm)

3. Safari Thorium Neo 8 Wheels 55 Cm

Cabin luggage trolley bag with external laptop compartment

We now know what a cabin trolley bag is, many brands now have specific designs with a zipped compartment on the outside that can hold your laptops, tablets, phones, and even a book or two if needed. These are perfect for ensuring you can deviate the weight from your shoulders to a smooth, movable suitcase that travels alongside you at the airport.

What to keep in mind while using a cabin luggage trolley bag with an external laptop compartment?

The laptop compartment is sleek, so do not try to fit bulky items into it. Ensure you follow the guidelines on what can be carried and what cannot.

What is the perfect use for a cabin luggage trolley bag with an external laptop compartment?

These suitcases are perfect for people who work on the go. If you cannot stay without your laptop then these trolley bags are a great pick as they keep your tech safe and tucked in and also your shoulder stress-free from all the weight of additional things like a charger and mouse. The laptop compartments are usually sleek but spacious enough to hold laptops, their accessories, a book or file if needed and also a tablet or Kindle as well. This is the perfect place to keep all your tech to ensure you can find them in one spot during security check zones as well.

Top 3 picks for cabin luggage trolley bag with an external laptop compartment currently available on Amazon:

1. American Tourister Hardside Expandable Carry-On Luggage

2. THE ASSEMBLY Hard-Sided Polycarbonate Cabin Luggage

3. MOKOBARA The Cabin Pro Luggage

Travel backpacks

Backpacks are a great way to go completely hands-free while you travel. Today brands are focusing on design and utility and backpacks come with such customised pockets and compartments that they make storage even more enjoyable as an experience. From dedicated laptop compartments to easy ways to store your portable chargers, the facilities and possibilities are numerous.

What to keep in mind while using a travel backpack?

These bags will add a strain to your back but will help you go hands-free completely. Ensure you follow the guidelines on what can be carried and what cannot.

What is the perfect use for a travel backpack?

If you are travelling with a backpack, you will have your hands free to be able to game on your phones, carry your books and coffee or even hold your toddler’s hand. This makes the commute easier and much more comfortable, as you do not have to worry about leaving anything behind while using your hands to carry your luggage.

Top 3 picks for travel backpacks currently available on Amazon:

1. FUR JADEN 40L Weekender Travel Laptop Backpack

2. Wesley Spartan Unisex Travel Hiking Laptop Bag

3. Safari Seek 32 Ltrs Overnighter Travel Laptop Backpack

Duffle bags

Duffle bags are large, cylindrical bags made of cloth, leather, or synthetic material, often used for travel. These bags are spacious and perfect when you want to carry things that you might need to access during transit. They are not tedious to open like suitcases, nor are they difficult to reorganise like backpacks. They come in attractive designs, and fabric, and some even have wheels at the bottom so you can pull them along instead of having to carry the weight.

What to keep in mind while using a duffle bag?

These bags are a great way to carry many items that you might need to access. Ensure you follow the guidelines on what can be carried and what cannot.

What is the perfect use for a duffle bag?

Duffle bags are great when you are travelling with kids and toddlers as you can easily unzip and access all the things you need. They are spacious so can carry smaller bags, organisers, blankets and other things you might need. Duffle bags also make great options to carry all your shoes and sports equipment while travelling.

Top 3 picks for duffle bags currently available on Amazon:

1. Fur Jaden Brown Textured Leatherette Duffle Bag

2. Skybags Cardiff Polyester 55 Cms Travel Duffle Bag

3. Lavie Sport Lino Wheel Duffel Bag

Messenger bags

A messenger bag is a type of bag with a long strap, worn across the body or over the shoulder. It’s often used for carrying books, laptops, and other essentials, making it popular for students, professionals, and travellers. The design allows easy access to content while on the go.

What to keep in mind while using a messenger bag?

These bags are perfect for people who have limited things to carry and want a sleek option that is stylish and smart to use instead of a bulky bag that needs to be towed along. Ensure you follow the guidelines on what can be carried and what cannot.

What is the perfect use for a messenger bag?

Messenger bags are perfect for students, solo travellers with limited luggage and even people on short trips who want to keep a few essentials and a sleek laptop in a stylish bag they can carry across their body without any hassle. These are less bulky than backpacks and perfect for having a hands-free experience.

Top 3 picks for messenger bags currently available on Amazon:

1. AirCase Office Unisex Adult Men’s Laptop Bag

2. HAMMONDS FLYCATCHER Genuine Leather Laptop Bag

3. Amazon Basics Messenger Laptop Bag

Some frequently asked questions for you to consider:

What is the importance of cabin luggage?

Cabin luggage is important because it allows passengers to keep essential items close at hand during the flight, provides quicker access upon arrival since there’s no need to wait at baggage claim, and reduces the risk of lost or delayed baggage.

What do I keep in mind while selecting cabin luggage?

  • Size and Weight: Ensure it complies with airline regulations for dimensions and weight.
  • Durability: Choose sturdy materials to withstand handling and frequent use.
  • Compartments: Look for multiple compartments for organized storage of items.
  • Mobility: Opt for smooth-rolling wheels and a comfortable handle for easy transport.
  • Security: Consider bags with reliable locks or zippers to keep belongings safe.

A comparison table of various types of travel luggage bags

Features Cabin Trolley Bag Cabin Trolley Bag with External Laptop Compartment Travel Backpack Duffle Bag Messenger Bag
Description Small-sized suitcase Small-sized suitcase with external laptop compartment Hands-free backpack Large, cylindrical bag for travel Crossbody bag for essentials
Ideal For Vacations, extra luggage Business travellers needing easy laptop access Hands-free travel Travelling with kids, sports equipment Minimalist travellers, short trips
Weight Light-weight Light-weight Varies Medium to Heavy Light-weight
Compartments Limited compartments External laptop compartment, limited additional pockets Multiple compartments Spacious main compartment, some with additional pockets Multiple compartments, often with laptop sleeve
Mobility Wheels, pull handle Wheels, pull handle Shoulder straps, some with wheels Some with wheels Crossbody strap
Convenience Easy to manoeuvre through airports Convenient laptop access, easy manoeuvrability Hands-free, easy access Easy access to items, easy to carry Easy access to essentials
Usage Ideal for storing footwear, accessories Ideal for tech-savvy travellers Great for going hands-free Accessible during transit Perfect for limited items

To find the right bag, understand your current needs, and evolve your choices according to them. Happy and safe travels!

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At Hindustan Times, we help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and products. Hindustan Times has an affiliate partnership, so we may get a part of the revenue when you make a purchase. We shall not be liable for any claim under applicable laws, including but not limited to the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, with respect to the products. The products listed in this article are in no particular order of priority.



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