The 10 Best Carry-Ons To Take on Ryanair and Other Budget Airlines

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The Best Carry-On Luggage for Ryanair Non-Premium Passengers and Spirit Airlines:

Ryanair and Spirit Airlines are notoriously strict about their carry-on policies. If you’re flying on Ryanair’s cheapest tickets — which are it’s non-premium fares—you are limited to one small carry-on bag. Yes, you read that correctly. We’re talking one bag that’s about the same dimensions as a regular backpack. While that’s a tough amount of space to work with, it can be done. Spirit Airlines is the most restrictive U.S. airline when it comes to carry-on baggage allowances. At the time of writing, Spirit only allowed about eight liters of space more than Ryanair. With that in mind, the same bags in this section should be considered your go-to when traveling on Spirit as well. We’ve picked a few great carry-on bags that can help you maximize space, plus one must-have accessory if you’re planning on traveling out of a no-fee-sized backpack.

1. Sea-to-Summit Compression Bags

Yellow and green options of the 1. Sea-to-Summit Compression Bags

If you’re going to pack for any trip on Ryanair’s non-premium tickets or on Spirit Airlines, you will absolutely need to maximize your packing space. With that in mind, grab Sea-to-Summit’s easy-to-use compression bags, which come in an array of space-saving sizes. Unlike vacuum-style compression bags, these roll shut and buckle closed, compressing soft items (like clothing) down to a third of their original size.

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2. Thule Accent Backpack, 20L

Two views of the 20L Thule Accent Backpack

Thule makes great, hardy gear for travelers and commuters on the go. This roomy bag has a spacious main compartment that’s perfect for your compression bags, as well as a laptop pocket, side pockets for water bottles, and smaller pockets for odds and ends (eliminating the need for bulky toiletry bags or dopp kits).

3. Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack

Two views of the Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack

If you’re after a more lightweight backpack option, the roughly 1.3 pound Osprey Daypack should be your pick. Again, it has a generously sized main compartment and is made from flexible material, making it ideal to use with compression bags or packing cubes. It also has handy side sleeves for water bottles to avoid purchasing water in-air, keeping you hydrated on the cheap.

4. Herschel Supply Co. Thompson Backpack

Two views of the Herschel Supply Co. Thompson Backpack in light grey

With its rolltop-inspired design, the Herschel Thompson Backpack gives you a ton of main compartment space and a buckle enclosure that will help you maximize your packing. Compression bags will come in handy here to keep that main compartment organized. The backpack comes in an array of neutral colors, making it a great bag for city exploring when you’re back on the ground.

RELATED: The Essential Carry-On Bag Packing List

5. Fjallraven Kanken Classic Pack

Two views of the Fjallraven Kanken Classic Pack in yellow

The iconic Fjallraven Kanken backpack is a perfect choice for those who prefer a more hipster-ready look. It comes in dozens of colors, too, so you can pick the one that best suits you. It’s tiny, yes, but if you’re only gone for a day or two (and pack sparingly), you’ll do ok. You’ll also look cute carrying this around any city as a daypack!

Carry-On Luggage for easyJet, Southwest and Other Budget Airlines

Other budget airlines are a bit less restrictive—including Southwest, easyJet, and JetBlue, though you should always check rules about carry-on baggage, as they vary from airline to airline. While most budget airlines will allow you one reasonably sized piece of cabin luggage, you will be subject to often stringent weight requirements, so make sure you’re not overpacking. The below options range from larger backpack style carry-on bags to more traditional hard-shell suitcases. However, always check the requirements for your specific budget carrier, as certain airlines are more restrictive than others.

1. Cabin Max Oxford Carry On Luggage – Backpack

Two views of the Cabin Max Oxford Carry On Luggage – Backpack

The brand Cabin Max is dedicated to creating bags that fit the carry-on size restrictions of budget airlines around the world, so it’s a great idea to head to it for your budget-flight luggage needs. We’re partial to the Oxford backpack, which is the exact size that Southwest permits as a carry-on. It opens like a suitcase, making packing and unpacking a breeze. Is its rectangular shape a little awkward? Sure. But it maximizes space extremely well.

RELATED: How to Choose the Perfect Luggage for Your Next Trip

2. The Away Carry-On

Two views of the The Away Carry-On in black on a tan backdrop

If you’re after the most-popular carry-on that will fit on budget airlines like Southwest, JetBlue, and easyJet, then the Away Carry-on is your ultimate must-have. It’s on the pricey side, but comes with bells and whistles ranging from ejectable battery packs to its own compression packing system and a TSA-approved lock.

3. AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Suitcase

AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Suitcase standing upright (left) and the AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Suitcase laying open with clothes inside (right)

Looking for a cheaper hard-shell alternative to the wildly popular Away Carry-On? Check out this AmazonBasics Hardside spinner suitcase. It’s small enough to take on most budget airlines, like Southwest, and sleek enough to slide gracefully into the upscale hotel you booked with all the money you saved on your flight.


Two views of the Filson RIPSTOP NYLON PULLMAN Duffle

Form and fashion combine in this durable duffel that’s built to last. The Filson bag will hold up for years, and is water resistant (which isn’t always the case with some duffels and weekender bags). With handles, a crossbody strap, shoulder straps, and a three-sided zipper closure, this is a multifunctional pick that can handle anything that your trip throws at it.

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5. CALDERA™ Convertible International Carry-On

Two views of the CALDERA™ Convertible International Carry-On
Eagle Creek

Weighing just over 6 lbs and featuring a zip-off daypack, this tiny two-wheeled suitcase will take care of your storage needs throughout your entire trip. In addition to its retractable handle, it has a carry handle on the side and shoulder straps on the back, should you choose to carry it like a briefcase or a backpack. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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