Understanding Suitcase Sizes

Understanding Suitcase Sizes

Understanding Suitcase Sizes

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Embarking on a journey, whether it's a quick business trip or a month-long holiday, begins long before you step foot on a plane. One critical aspect of trip planning, often overlooked, is selecting the right suitcase. But with a multitude of options in the market, how do you know which one is right for your trip?

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the labyrinth of suitcase sizes, unravelling the process of choosing the perfect luggage for your needs. From understanding general suitcase sizes to grasping the distinctions between hand and checked luggage, this article will answer all of your queries, so you can ensure you travel with the perfect suitcase for your adventure.

Whether you're a seasoned globetrotter or a first-time traveller, a solo adventurer or a family holiday planner, this guide is designed to equip you with the knowledge you need to make the right suitcase choice.

General Suitcase Sizes

The world of suitcases is diverse, with a vast array of sizes available to accommodate various travel needs. Typically, suitcase sizes are categorised into three main groups: carry-on, medium, and large.

A standard carry on suitcase size usually measures around 54cm x 35cm x 20cm, including handles and wheels. This size is perfect for short trips, or for travellers who prefer to pack light and avoid checking in luggage.

For those planning a week-long trip, a medium size suitcase, which measures roughly 69cm x 50cm x 27cm, may be more suitable. This provides ample room for clothing, toiletries, and perhaps a few souvenirs without being overly bulky.

Lastly, for extended travels or trips requiring more substantial packing, large suitcase sizes are the way to go. These often measure around 79cm x 58cm x 31cm, providing plenty of space for your travel necessities.

Suitcase Size

Height/Width/Depth (cm)

Standard Cabin Case


Medium Suitcase


Large Suitcase


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Measuring Your Suitcase

To ensure your suitcase meets the size regulations of popular airlines, it's crucial to measure it correctly. Here is a simple step-by-step guide:

  • Stand your suitcase upright.

  • Using a tape measure, calculate the height from the top of the handle (when it's retracted) to the ground- this gives you the suitcase's height.

  • Next, measure the width- this is done across the suitcase's broadest point.

  • Finally, measure the depth- this is calculated from the back of the suitcase to the front, inclusive of any parts that stick out, like wheels or handles.

Remember, suitcase measurements include all protruding parts, not just the main body of the suitcase. This is a common mistake that can lead to oversized luggage.

What is Hand Luggage?

Hand luggage, also known as a travel cabin bag, refers to the bags that travellers are permitted to take into the aircraft cabin with them. This is the luggage you keep close to you, often stowed in overhead compartments or under the seat in front of you during flight.

The contents of hand luggage vary greatly depending on the traveller. However, common items often include valuables, fragile objects, electronics, travel documents, medications, and items needed during the flight, like snacks, books, or a change of clothes.

Best Sizes for hand luggage

While the best size for hand luggage can vary depending on the airline, most carriers agree that a suitcase measuring around 54cm x 35cm x 20cm is ideal. This size offers a balance between providing adequate packing space and ensuring the suitcase can fit comfortably in the overhead compartment or under the aeroplane seat.

The advantage of this size is that it allows you to pack enough items for short trips or weekends away, negating the need for checked luggage. It's also perfect for keeping your travel essentials and valuable items close to you during the flight.

Hand Luggage - Size & Weight Requirements

While the specific regulations can vary among airlines, most adhere to similar size and weight requirements for hand luggage. A typical guideline is a maximum size of 54cm x 35cm x 20cm and a weight limit of around 10kg.

However, some budget airlines may have stricter regulations, while premium airlines or first and business class tickets may offer more generous allowances. It's always best to check the specific hand luggage requirements of your airline before you pack to avoid any check-in issues or additional charges.

What is Checked Luggage?

While hand luggage travels with you in the cabin, checked luggage takes a different route. Checked luggage is the term for any luggage that is checked-in at the airport's ticket counter or self-service kiosk, given a tracking tag, and then placed in the aircraft's cargo hold for the flight.

Checked luggage found in a range of great travel suitcase sets are often larger and heavier than hand luggage, making it the ideal option for longer trips or for travellers who need more packing space. Items that you don't need during the flight, like most of your clothing, larger toiletries, or bulky items, usually go here.

Best Size for Checked Luggage

When it comes to checked luggage, the size you opt for will depend on the nature and duration of your trip, as well as your personal packing habits. For most travellers, a suitcase size falling between the medium and large categories (69cm-79cm) is the sweet spot for checked luggage. Many suitcases like the lugg suitcase sets offer travel cases and accessories perfect for almost every airline, so you can rest assured on your journey.

These sizes provide ample packing space, are easy to manoeuvre, and meet the size regulations of most airlines for checked luggage. Whether you're packing for a two-week vacation or need to take additional items with you, these suitcase sizes are versatile and practical.

Checked Luggage - Size & Weight Requirements

Airlines have guidelines on the size and weight of checked luggage to ensure safe and efficient loading onto the aircraft. The standard suitcase size for airlines' checked baggage typically includes a weight limit between 22-25kg.

Exceeding these limits can result in additional charges, and in some cases, the airline might even refuse to accept the bag. As with hand luggage, it's essential to check your airline's specific requirements before packing your checked luggage.

Types of Holidays & Suitcases to Take

Choosing the right suitcase depends greatly on the nature of your holiday. Let's explore a few common types of holidays and discuss the ideal suitcase size for each:

City Breaks
Urban getaways are all about mobility and flexibility. The hustle and bustle of a city demands luggage that's light and easy to navigate through crowded streets, busy public transport, and quaint hotel rooms. In this case, a carry-on suitcase is your best companion. It provides sufficient room for a few changes of clothes, essential toiletries, and maybe an extra pair of shoes. You'll also avoid waiting at the baggage carousel and can start exploring right away!

Family Holidays
When travelling with family, especially with kids, packing needs multiply. You're packing for multiple people, and for every eventuality - clothing, toiletries, snacks, games, and the 'just-in-case' items. A combination of medium and large suitcases is ideal. This provides the necessary room while allowing for separation of items for easy access.

Beach Holidays
If your holiday involves lots of sand and sea, you may need to pack more items such as beachwear, towels, sunblock, beach toys, and perhaps snorkelling equipment. A large suitcase will be better equipped to handle these bulkier items while leaving room for your regular clothing and toiletries.

Couples Weekend
A romantic weekend getaway doesn't require an extensive wardrobe or numerous extras. A medium suitcase should provide ample room for two people's clothing, toiletries, and a couple of special outfits for romantic dinners or outings. It's compact enough for easy travel but spacious enough for the necessities.

other factors to consider

While the type and length of your holiday are significant determinants of your suitcase size, there are other considerations to factor into your decision:

Destination Climate
The climate of your destination will influence the type and quantity of clothes you pack. Cold weather destinations require bulkier clothing like coats and boots, which take up more suitcase space. Therefore, you might need a larger suitcase size.

Planned Activities
If your trip includes specific activities like hiking, scuba diving, or attending a formal event, you'll need to pack specific gear or clothing. These specialised items can require more space.

Personal Packing Habits
Are you a minimalist packer who takes only what you need, or do you like to have options for every occasion? Your packing style will greatly affect the size of the suitcase you need.

Shopping Plans
If you plan to shop during your trip, ensure you have enough space in your suitcase for the return trip. You may want to consider taking a larger suitcase or an extra foldable bag.

Special Items
Travelling with kids can often mean packing familiar snacks, favourite toys, or essential equipment. Similarly, you might have personal items you prefer to bring from home rather than rely on hotel provisions. These items will need to be factored into your packing space.

Choosing the right suitcase size requires thoughtful consideration of various factors. However, once you have a clear understanding of your needs, making the right choice can greatly enhance your travel experience, reducing stress and adding convenience. Remember, the right suitcase is more than just a container for your belongings - it's an essential tool that supports the success of your journey.

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What is the Most Popular Suitcase Size?
The most popular suitcase size is typically the carry-on size, which measures around 54cm x 35cm x 20cm. This popularity stems from the suitcase's versatility and convenience, as this size can comfortably fit essential clothing and items for short trips and is also perfect for supplemental packing for longer vacations. Most importantly, it adheres to the size restrictions of many airlines for cabin baggage, eliminating the need to check in luggage and wait at baggage claim, speeding up your travel process.

What are the Three Sizes of Luggage?
Suitcases are generally categorised into three sizes: carry-on, medium, and large. Carry-on suitcases usually measure around 54cm x 35cm x 20cm and are perfect for short trips or as cabin luggage for longer vacations. Medium suitcases, approximately 69cm x 50cm x 27cm, provide more packing space and are suitable for trips lasting up to a week. Large suitcases, about 79cm x 58cm x 31cm, offer the most packing space and are ideal for longer stays or trips where more items need to be packed.

What is the Largest Size Suitcase You Can Take on A Plane?
The largest suitcase size you can take on a plane as checked luggage is typically 79cm x 58cm x 31cm. This size is based on the most common airline restrictions to ensure safe and efficient loading of luggage onto the aircraft. However, this size can vary between airlines, so it's always best to check with your specific carrier before packing.

What Size Suitcase Do I Need?
The size of the suitcase you need depends on several factors, including your trip duration, the destination's climate, the activities you plan to engage in, and your personal packing habits. As a general rule, a carry-on is suitable for short trips, a medium suitcase is ideal for up to a week, and a large suitcase is preferable for longer stays or trips that require special gear or wardrobe.

What Size Suitcase Do I Need for 7 Days?
For a week-long trip, a medium suitcase should generally suffice. It provides enough space to pack a week's worth of clothing, a few pairs of shoes, and necessary toiletries. However, this can vary based on personal packing habits, the nature of the trip, and the climate of your destination.

What is the Biggest Suitcase Size?
While suitcases can technically be made very large, the largest practical suitcase size for airline travel typically falls under the "large" category, with linear dimensions not exceeding about 79cm x 58cm x 31cm. This size provides ample packing space while still meeting most airlines' size regulations for checked luggage.