If you’re traveling Europe and looking for ideas on the best carry-on suitcases, read on to find out what the travel experts recommend.
The Best Carry-on Suitcases for Traveling Europe
This backpack made traveling so much easier!
~ Chelsey Washington, Owner and Operator of Payton Jade Productions
After spending the last year traveling to many cities in Europe, I was fortunate to stumble across the Burton Canyon Backpack. With the strict carry-on baggage requirements of Europe’s budget airlines, this pack made traveling so much easier, especially on weekend trips and trips less than four days in length.
It easily fits under the seat or overhead, and there are so many compartments that I sometimes forgot how much I could fit in there! Conveniently, it holds odd-shaped objects like umbrellas, curling irons, and straighteners in the oblong side pockets.
This was the perfect pack on my frequent travels on easyJet and Ryanair to Amsterdam, Rome, Nice, Venice, Bastia, and Dublin.
Allowed me to organize!
~ Alison Krawczyk, PR Specialist of Overit.com
I recommend the Adidas Hickory backpack. The multiple zippered sections allowed me to organize tops vs. bottoms, or clothes vs. beauty products. It also expanded outward for when I needed extra space to fit new purchases.
Also, there is a small compartment at the top of the backpack that I could easily reach without having to take the bag off my back. This is where I would store my ID/passport and my phone for easy access getting on and off the plane.
A classic pack with detachable day pack.
~ Chelsea Jones, President + CEO of Ciel Bleu Footwear
When I travelled Europe for 2 months, I used a classic pack with a detachable day pack from Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), called the MEC Adventurer Daypack. It’s $45, comes in a few colors, holds a lot despite its size, and fits in the overhead compartments on Ryanair.
I used the detachable daypack on the front as a cross body purse, and then used a money pouch for my passport and cards.
Briggs & Riley
Fits in any overhead bin.
~ Lisa Lubin, Travel & Food Writer of LLworldtour
I love this case! The Torq Carry-On is small enough to fit in any overhead bin, its spinner wheels allow you to easily roll around without tipping over, and it has a nifty, lockable front pocket for your laptop or tablet.
The polycarbonate shell is super strong and has a lifetime warranty. Mine is red, which adds a bit of fun and fashion to my frequent travels.
Roncato Uno SL
It’s the backbone of all Roncato products!
~ Joanne Levine, Public Relations of Lekas & Levine
The innovative Roncato concept was designed and created in Italy. This trolley combines light and elastic polycarbonate with secure polypropylene locks. This UNO SL is the first suitcase in polycarbonate, which, instead of a regular zip, has a closing system with a TSA combination lock. It’s equipped with three service handles, four swivel wheels for easy movement, and a retractable towing system with a push button. Talk about convenient!
The internal divider is equipped with accessories and can be removed to be washed separately or replaced.
Comfortable, with great pockets and compartments.
~ Jackie Laulainen, Travel Blogger of TheBudgetMindedTraveler.com
I was able to pack ALL of my belongings into this backpack (including my purse), because Ryanair allows only one carry-on, not a carry-on plus a personal item. Not only is it comfortable, with great pockets and compartments, but it also fits perfectly into the Ryanair overhead bin and didn’t even get a second look from the crew when I was boarding.
This is very important, because they pulled others out of line and made them check bags at the gate which can cost up to 60 Euros (no thank you)!
Rigid Trolley Case
You can really pack it and you don’t need to carry it.
~ Kelly Hadous, CEO and Founder of Win The Room
The best suitcase to have when traveling Europe is a rigid trolley case, ideally with four castors. The trolley should also be divided into two compartments (not just one big compartment). Let’s roll!
When you just have one carry-on luggage, you don’t have to worry about the weight. This is why a trolley case is the best: you can really pack it and you don’t need to carry it!
It allowed me to squeeze!
I would recommend using a backpack. I used a backpack by Jansport when traveling Europe. My Jansport backpack was ideal for this trip because it allowed me to pack toiletries and several outfits and pairs of shoes in the two compartments.
Unlike the hardtop luggage that I use on trips with other airlines, the soft material of my Jansport bag allowed me to squeeze it into the luggage tester since the flight did not allow checked bags.
This is my go-to bag for any carry-on piece.
~ Allison Fleece, Founder & Adventurer of WHOA travel
The SakRoots luggage is amazing!
Working in the travel industry, durability in luggage is very important but having items that are fashionable AND durable is the best of both worlds. The SakRoots bags are durable, very affordable, trendy, have great patterns, are airline approved in the US and internationally, and a percentage of each bag goes to a specific charity to benefit different causes.
These are my go-to bags for any carry-on piece!
I’ve traveled carry-on only with it many times!
This bag is technically over the limit but I’ve traveled carry-on only with it many times. Since it’s a backpack that’s pretty slim, no carrier has ever asked me to weigh it or measure it for size.
I’d highly recommend Delsey!
I’ve also done carry-on only with the Delsey For Lite, but it doesn’t look like they sell it anymore. I’d highly recommend Delsey though, the bags are such great quality and last a really long time. I’ve checked my For Lite a few times and even though it’s a light silver color, it still looks great. They have excellent sales during the holiday season.
I carried the Osprey Fairpoint on Ryanair with no trouble!
I used the small detachable backpack as my hand luggage that went at my feet. The larger bag fit fine into the Ryanair sizing bins.
It was hassle free. Rick Steves bags are fantastic!
We’ve used the Rick Steves rolling carry-on for our past three long term (carry-on only) trips to and within Europe.
Rick Steves bags are fantastic. Cobble stones are no problem! I stuffed my bag to the gills (it’s expandable) and it fit within the European budget airlines’ dimensions.
However, the bottom of my husband’s rolling Rick Steves carry-on fractured into dozens of pieces on our recent trip to Peru. It wasn’t checked, but it was loaded in a lot of buses during our travels. We think they must have tossed one of those 50-pound monstrosities on top of it. But still, I don’t think it should have broken that easily.
We have had the convertible RS bags for years and love them.
We still use these for car trips. Our small Rick Steves roller backpack has survived many trips to Europe as checked baggage. His convertible backpack works great when you need to avoid wheels.
I use a Lite Gear convertible backpack and love it!
This bag only weighs two pounds! I’ve been in Europe for thee weeks and it has gone on Lufthansa super economy (8kg max carry-on weight) and Vueling (Iberia’s economy carrier, 10kg max carry-on weight). It’s squishable and easily fits in the overhead compartment. Plus, you can tuck all the straps away and use TSA approved locks on the compartments if you’re checking it.
Perfect size and weight for a week’s worth of clothing.
I’ve taken the Lipault 21″ two-wheel rolling carry-on bag on three big trips with me. I had to check it once because of tour, not plane, restrictions. It’s held up pretty well. The plastic part of the retracting handle cracked last year, but I fixed it with electrical tape and it made it through this year’s trip with flying colors. It’s very lightweight and fits easily in overhead bins.
It works great!
The investment is absolutely worth it.
I am happy with my Samsonite spinner! If you are the kind of person who only has a few pieces of luggage and then uses it for years, this investment is absolutely worth it.
The Lipault is great. I’d recommend it.
I have the 22-inch 4-wheeled Lipault spinner and it’s great!
It’s not super popular, but I love my Kelty Lorraine backpack.
It’s quite compact, but I can fit two slim packing cubes plus a cosmetics bag, electronics, and a pair of flats or small sneakers inside. Plus, it’s cut specifically for a woman’s body.
I like the quilting! What a great bag.
For more ideas on travel luggage, please read the following:
- Suitcase recommendations: 20 Travel Experts Reveal Top Luggage Brands
- Rolling Duffle Bags: The Best Alternative to Wheeled Backpacks
- Suitcase 101: Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing the Right Travel Luggage
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