The 7 Best Personal Item Bags
Well-designed luggage makes packing and traveling a breeze, but it can be a challenge to find the best personal item bags that fit perfectly under the seat in front of you. The best one for you depends on your personal packing style, so these picks range from a versatile tote bag that can double as a day purse to a backpack with enough capacity for one reviewer's 12-day trip to a duffle bag that can fold down when not in use.
How big can a personal item bag be?
According to the TSA, "size dimensions of carry-on baggage allowed in the cabin of the aircraft vary by airline." Some carriers have set dimensions. Both American Airlines and Spirit specify 18 by 14 by 8 inches, according to SmarterTravel. Other airlines don’t specify personal item dimensions but give guidance. For example, Delta notes, "Purse, briefcase, camera bag or diaper bag. [...] or 1 item of a similar or smaller size to those listed above." And because carriers can change their restrictions at any time, it’s always good to check with the airline before traveling.
Other useful features to consider include laptop sleeves and pockets for storing your boarding pass or passport. You may want to get a bag with security features, like hidden anti-theft pockets and slash guards. To pack everything you’re traveling with inside your personal item bag, a daypack with plenty of space is a good option.
Whether you're heading out of town for a weekend trip or planning a weeks-long adventure, these are the best personal item bags approved by your fellow travelers on Amazon.
1. The Best Overall
This AmazonBasics Underseat Luggage offers compact style that fits smoothly under most seats in front of you, as well as in most overhead compartments. Equipped with a telescoping push-button handle and inline wheels, this bag makes maneuvering through the airport a breeze. The dimensions are 13 by 13 by 9 inches, but there's still plenty of room inside the main compartment for clothing, shoes, and toiletries. With a handy front organizer, this bag also provides easy access to your boarding pass, books, magazines, or tablet.
It also boasts a 4.5-star rating and great reviews from fans on Amazon, like this one: "This holds more than you think. You can use it for an overnight trip for clothes, toiletries, an extra pair of shoes, a Kindle and some snacks! It fit under the seat perfectly in a Boeing 757 Economy Plus Seat.”
2. The Best Budget Pick
At 16 by 10 by 8 inches, this 5 Cities luggage can be taken on American Airlines, Delta, Southwest, United, JetBlue, Spirit, and more. The bag offers flexibility, with an adjustable shoulder strap and top-carry handles, and a back strap that can slide over the handle of your rolling carry-on so you can tote your luggage with ease. For added security, the bag features a dual zip design and comes with a mini padlock.
Amazon fans love how much they can pack into this bag. One traveler wrote: "Held up great and met the strict size requirements. I was able to get in 2 pairs of jeans, 3 thick long sleeve shirts, 2 t-shirts, 5 pairs of socks, 5 pairs of boxer briefs, one pair of gym shorts, and a bunch of sweets to take home." And at less than $20, it's a great deal.
3. The Best Personal Item Backpack
With lots of thoughtful features, this Matein Travel Backpack is a great choice for your trip. It's made of water-resistant, durable polyester fabric and measures 18 by 12 by 7.8 inches. Adjustable, breathable shoulder straps and a back strap that attaches to your rolling luggage offer flexible portability. There's plenty of room for your personal items inside the main compartment, while a separate compartment stores laptops up to 17 inches. The front compartment is ideal for storing small items, and mesh pockets on both sides can hold water bottles or umbrellas. To keep your valuables safe, there's a hidden anti-theft pocket on the back.
This handy backpack has a stellar 4.7-star rating and great reviews on Amazon. "This little backpack got me through 12 days of traveling Europe! I used a few space saver bags as well, but was able to bring 4 pairs of pants, 7 shirts, and 1 dress, then wore a few things twice. It held up really well throughout, and fit dimensions for WOW, Vueling, and EasyJet," one reviewer wrote.
4. An Affordable Daypack That Fits Everything & Packs Down Small
If you want to pack absolutely everything for your trip in one bag, this Venture Pal Daypack is a good pick. This 35-liter bag is made from water-resistant nylon and includes a double-layer bottom piece to help carry heavy items securely. It includes adjustable, breathable mesh shoulder straps and a chest strap. In addition to the roomy main compartment, the bag features two front zipper pockets for smaller items, an internal zippered pocket, and two open-mesh side pockets for quick access to a water bottle or umbrella. It's available in both solid colors and patterns if you want your bag to be distinct. When not in use, the bag folds up into a compact size for easy storage.
This daypack has a 4.4-star rating from Amazon reviewers, who love its roomy size. "I just got back from a plane trip and this bag was a great personal item. I carried a slew of electronics including a large portable battery pack, several USB cables, an 8in Kindle fire tablet, a Nintendo switch, a Kindle e-reader, and Bose QC 35 headphones," wrote one traveler, "This bag fit all of this perfectly and even had room for a jacket, some snacks and a bottle of water. [...] It fit perfectly in front of my seat with room to spare." However, when unfolded, the bag is up to 20 by 13 by 7.5 inches, which is 2 inches taller than the 18 by 14 by 8 inches personal item bag dimensions specified by some airlines, so it may not fit under every seat when fully packed.
5. The Best Personal Item Tote
This chic travel tote has a removable shoulder strap and lots of space inside for personal items and a laptop. There's also a back sleeve that fits over the handle of your rolling suitcase. At 16 by 12 by 8 inches, this cute tote can be a carry-on for most airlines and can also double as a day bag during your trip.
Thanks to its roomy interior, one Amazon reviewer was able to fit a lot in this bag for a long-haul flight. "I had a 12-hour flight and needed to bring a LOT of stuff on the plane. In this bag I put a change of clothes, pajamas, earphones, Stephen King's latest 700+ page book, my MacBook, my mini iPad, three charging cords, Clorox wipes, my medication, my airline pillow, a large shawl (that I use for a blanket) and a toiletry kit,” one fan noted.
6. A Foldable Travel Duffel Bag
This water-resistant durable nylon travel duffel bag can be folded into a compact size when not in use. When unfolded, the dimensions for the 20-liter bag are 16 by 12 by 6 inches, so it should fit under most airline seats. It also features a water-resistant shoe compartment, padded handles, a luggage strap, and an adjustable shoulder strap. It's available in multiple colors as well.
"I cannot say enough good things about this bag. I needed a bag that fit the personal measurements for Spirit and this did it. I wasn’t even questioned if the bag fit which is a first for me," wrote one happy fan. It also comes in 30, 40, and 50 liter sizes, though those may be larger than the personal item dimensions for some carriers.
7. The Best Anti-Theft Personal Bag
This water-resistant nylon Pacsafe bag with extra safety features like slash guards, an RFID-safe blocking pocket, security hooks, and a smart zipper offers peace of mind for travelers. Additional features include a padded compartment for laptops up to 13 inches, two expandable side pockets, passport and phone pockets, a mesh pocket, and four card slots. Adjustable, padded shoulder straps and a top carry handle offer flexible portability. At 15 by 10.2 by 6.3 inches, it's a great under-the-seat bag.
One traveler commented on this bag: "This bag has been the best investment I have ever made. I love it so much that I want to get one in all the other colors!”
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