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With such a diverse range of bags out there, choosing the best personal item bag for travel can seem overwhelming.
The personal item bag needs to be big enough to fit in all your in-flight requirements, but small enough to be able to fit under the seat. In addition to that, it needs to look good!
Well, don’t panic, help is here! In this post, I do all the thinking for you, helping you to choose the right personal item bag just in time for your next trip.
Why should you get a personal item bag for travel?
Lots of reasons!
Here are a few of the most important:
A personal item bag is more convenient than a larger carry-on
A standard carry-on bag that remains in the overhead compartment during your flight, can be difficult to get to.
First, if you are not sat in the aisle seating, you need to access the aisle and interrupt your neighbor. Standing in the aisle of what could be a bumpy journey, you need to locate your bag, open it without interfering with other passengers, or aisle traffic, and maybe end up with something hitting you on the head.
Don’t forget that access to your overhead compartment is not permitted near the start, or the end of a flight, or when experiencing turbulence.
Also, if you are not one of the first set of passengers to board the plane, your overhead compartment could be quite far away from you.
It’s much easier to get your items, as many times as you like, from the bag that is simply under the seat, right in front of you!
A personal item bag can double as something else you’ll need during your trip.
During a flight, the storage of “personal items” is permitted under the seat in front of you. So, as long as your bag fits under the seat, it’s classed as a personal item hence the term “personal item bag”.
This includes purses, shoulder bags, briefcases, laptop cases, and small backpacks, or duffel bags – all of these are personal items.
These are all things that contain items that you may need during the course of your flight. Choose a personal item that matches your individual travel needs, and you’ll get way more use out of it.
How to choose a Personal Item Bag for travel?
There are a few factors you should take into account when picking the best personal item bag for you.
Many airlines have size restrictions and might charge fees for items that need to be checked in at the last minute. Therefore, size should be your number one consideration.
But, there are other factors that need to be taken into account, such as shape, or style, as well as aesthetics, security, and design.
Below, I consider these, to help you pick your personal item bag.
Research the airline and find out what their regulations are. Your bag must be small enough to meet their restrictions. Usually, budget airlines have the tightest restrictions. So, if you fly these airlines often, ensure your personal item meets their regulations.
However, if you are more of a domestic flight traveler in the U.S.A, or use larger international airlines, you can opt for something roomier.
Shape is a factor that’s easy to exclude when making your choice.
I recommend that you pick a soft and supple bag. In the event that you are sat in a seat where legroom is lacking, you will be able to shove your bag under the seat in front, without having to negotiate with a hard-sided bag that can’t bend accordingly in those tight spots.
So, forget about those hard-sided mini-suitcases and go for something flexible, like a backpack or duffel bag – these items can be compressed easily, if necessary.
One more consideration should be day-to-day use during your travels and not just during your flight.
If traveling light, there is no need to take two bags on your journey. Pick something that can be used in-flight and whilst you’re roaming around in your chosen destination.
My preference for this would be the backpack. It doubles up nicely as my “out-and-about” bag.
Also, if you are going to use your bag for both purposes, select a bag that has some security features, such as lockable zippers and slash-proof material.
This will make it a very effective bag in the air, and on the ground. If backpacks are not for you, then opt for a large carry on purse, or something like that.
Alternatively, you could buy an under-seat wheeled bag, or larger duffel bag if you are packing light, and want to use just the one bag.
Best Personal Item bags for Travel
Buy on Amazon
The shape of this bag and the striped fabric give it a stylish look, yet it’s great for everyday use. It works for all kinds of activities, from going on picnics, or beach trips, to taking it to the gym or office.
While small enough to fit under a plane seat, the Weekender is large enough to hold a lot of stuff. Actually, it can fit in everything you’d need for a standard weekend away – so it could be the only bag you need for your whole trip.
However, if you did take another suitcase with you, the outer pocket of this bag slides nicely over the handle of a roller bag.
It is equipped with interior and exterior pockets, comes with handles, and a detachable shoulder strap.
You can read more about this product, including real user reviews, over on Amazon.
Buy on Amazon
This professional and stylish silky black bag is perfect for business travel, or when you just want that sleek look.
With handy interior and exterior pockets, the nylon fabric is water-repellent, and it feels durable.
The detachable shoulder strap is fully adjustable. If you prefer, the handles can be worn over the shoulder.
There is a lot of space, so you may not even need to use additional luggage, although this would depend on the length of your trip.
Again, if also using a roller suitcase, the outer pocket on the Weekender will slide easily over the handle.
Want to get one for yourself? Click over to Amazon for more info!
Buy on Amazon
In the luggage world, Samsonite is one of the most well-respected names, so you can be assured that you’re getting a durable, high-quality, high-performance bag.
Inside are flaps with zippered mesh and plastic pockets, which is essentially a toiletry bag. On the sides, there are plastic-lined pockets which are great for carrying liquids or other potentially messy items.
Once again, if you are also traveling with a larger wheeled suitcase, this Underseater has a flap on the back that slides over the handle for when you want to roll them along together.
Want to know more? Check out more info about it over on Amazon!
When picking a bag that meets your personal needs, think about what type of bag you generally like to carry.
Do you like wearing backpacks and the even weight distribution they afford? Would you prefer a rolling bag, so that you don’t have to carry anything at all? Maybe, you would prefer the dressier look of the shoulder bag or perhaps the more casual look of a duffel?
How much do you want to carry in your bag? Are you hoping to use the bag throughout your trip, and during your normal day-to-day?
Every personal item bag will have advantages and disadvantages. Choose one that is the best fit for your requirements, and you’ll be well on your way to having a hassle-free flight, and stress-free trip.