Think you’ve got your packing routine down-pat? I’m sure you do but there’s a piece of luggage that you might not be using and should consider: The underseater bag. This kind of bag, specifically designed to fit neatly under the seat in front of you, will help to make your travels easier and more organized. Plus, with all your valuable safely stowed at your feet, you can keep a closer eye on them. RELATED: In-Flight Theft is Real – Here’s How to Prevent it and Protect Your Stuff

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I’ve been an advocate of traveling with carry-on only for almost exactly 16 years. I remember when I converted from an overpacker to a streamlined, carry-on only traveler. I was living in Toronto at the time and my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I were taking a 16-day trip from Los Angeles to Hawaii to Australia and then back to LA for a wedding. Obviously, I was going to overpack for this long and exciting trip! That is, until my boyfriend called me and said something along the lines of, “Hey, you know how you like to pack a lot? Don’t. We’ll be traveling on some small planes in Australia and we don’t want to have heavy, oversized luggage weighing the plane down.”

TRAVEL HACK: How to Save Money With a Secret Third Carry-On

Welp. Pretty hard to argue with that. I wasn’t sure how I was going to pack for this trip in just a carry-on suitcase but it was a mission I accepted … and succeeded at! And I never looked back (until I had kids and now it’s a circus but that’s another story.)

Traveling with carry-on only has so many benefits:

1. It’s just so much easier
A small, carry-on suitcase is so much easier to manage and it’s liberating to cruise through an airport with all your stuff with you in an easy-to-roll bag.

2. No baggage fees
Cha-ching! Traveling with carry-on only means not paying the airlines EVEN. MORE. MONEY.

3. The airline can’t lose your bag
Lost luggage numbers went through the roof over the summer due to a confluence of events, namely unprecedented demand for travel met with unprecedented labor shortages. That’s why experts recommended popping an Apple AirTag or Samsung SmartTag into your checked bags to track them. But with carry-on only, none of this is your problem.

4. No wasting time at the baggage carousel
Whether you’ve just arrived in a new destination or have just landed back home, waiting for your bag at the baggage carousel is annoying and time-consuming. And that’s if your bag even makes it out …

5. It’s easier (and cheaper) to get around
If you have a small, manageable bag, getting around is so much easier and can be much cheaper, too. It’s easier to hop on shuttles and buses or even just walk.

Check out this underseater bag packing video:

@billiefayepinionRyanAir Small Bag / Under seat bag 🙄🙃♬ original sound – OTP Control

These days, airlines are nickel and diming customers at every turn and baggage fees turn into way more than small change for the big carriers. You can take a closer look at how much money baggage fees net airlines here but, spoiler alert: In 2018, American Airlines alone raked in $1.2 billion (yes, that’s billion with a B) in baggage fees.

RELATED: What Do Flight Attendants Notice When You Board a Plane? Here’s What They’re Looking For

Most airlines will still let you board the aircraft with two pieces of luggage (one suitcase and one personal item) free of charge but to make the most of those two pieces, you’ll want to invest in a smart underseater bag that can fit easily but still hold a ton of stuff so you’ll have everything you need right at your fingertips, I mean … feet. The advantage of an underseater bag is that it’s made specifically for this purpose. It should slide neatly into place so you don’t have to push and shove your bag into place, its contents spilling out. It’s a much more organized option. Most underseater bags have a strap on the back so they can attach to your rolling suitcase.

TIP: Be sure to check your airline’s website to confirm the allowable dimensions of carry-on luggage.

Here are 5 underseater bags to consider for your next trip:


1 Amazon Basics Underseat Carry-On Rolling Travel Luggage Bag with Wheels

Buy here


2 Samsonite Underseat Carry-On Spinner with USB Port

Buy here


3 Travelpro Maxlite 5 Lightweight Underseat Carry-on Travel Tote Bag

Buy here


4 Rockland Melrose Upright Wheeled Underseater Carry-On Luggage

Buy here


5 American Tourister Expandable Softside Underseater

Buy here

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16 Comments On "Why It’s Time to Start Traveling with a Good Piece of Underseater Luggage"
  1. Patrick D.|

    Where do my feet go ?

  2. Linda|

    Many so-called wheeled underseat bags won’t fit under the aisle seat but will fit under the middle or window seat. The underneath framework of the aisle seat is narrower. If the bag is heavy and the passenger can’t lift it into the overhead compartment without help it defeats the purpose of being able to travel independently. Unfortunately you can’t confirm the width until you are on the plane planning to sit in an aisle seat.

  3. Johnny Dutton|

    Don’t you have any that are not like regular carry ons?

  4. Christine Allen|

    I travel with a carryon suitcase and a very heavy canvas bag I got from a vip concert, my other half modified it so I can slide it over the suitcase handle. In it I can put anything I need for the airplane, including my crossbody purse. When I get to my destination I can repack my suitcase with everything from the personal into the carryon including folding up the canvas bag and then all I have to roll around is the suitcase and my purse.
    If I want to buy anything while on a trip my rule is if it won’t fit then I won’t buy. I just finished a 3 week trip to Europe and btw if you get a few of those fridge magnets as gifts then be prepared as they can flag the security scanner as I just found out, lol. They laughed about it when after 3 people looking they all realized what it was that was causing the issue but then that is why I get to the airport early.

  5. Nancy S.|

    My husband has been doing this for years…he has one exactly like the Amazon Basic you show found at Walmart for around $20 and can fit everything in it for a long weekend!

  6. Bev|

    Also you can’t pack your large bottles in the bag. So it is good as a second bag

  7. Maeve Hollow|

    Domestic travel in Australia only allows,
    7kg. You can have 1 or 2 bags. However they must NOT exceed 7kg total.

  8. Justine|

    It seems like a good idea in theory, but of late, airlines are forcing people to “check” their carry-ons at the gate or at planeside, and then losing them, too. Feels like travelers can’t win, no matter how much they try to prepare.

  9. Odell Stevenson|

    I have the American Tourist luggage but it’s been replaced with the new Take Off luggage. They are lightweight and have removable wheels. It definitely carries more.

  10. K. Millard|

    Why is a carry-on now called un “underseater” ?
    Did I miss a memo ( I am in Europe for a few months having sent my clothes ahead) or is the place for a carry on still ideally above the seats and my large , large purse under the seat in front of me. That worked just fine yesterday as I travelled from Budapest to Paris on a cheap airline.

  11. Ron S|

    I asked this question to a Frontier Airlines employee, as carry on bags are charged a fee, If you put the bag in the overhead compartment, it is considered carryon. If it fits under the seat, it is not technically carry on.

  12. Dee|

    Under seat luggage only fits under the middle seats.

  13. Candacerain|

    I’m glad you’re emphasizing on it being a weekend because as someone coming back OCONUS an “underseater” is inefficient.

  14. Marilyn Davison|

    I just travelled business class from Boston to Nice Swiss Air 330!and my dog in regulation carrier wouldn’t fit under the slanted under seat area ahead of me in window seat so I spent 6 hours curled up with feet and legs and purse on seat as there was no place to put my feet other than on soft sided pet carrier and squish my dog. I was not happy or comfortable.

  15. M.L. van Tinteren|

    I find most of the Airlines terrorizing their passengers with all those baggage rules and extra fees! It starts right away whil booking your flight:
    1. Charge the choice of seating, threatening to be put in a middle seat.
    If you don’t select a seat, you can only check in 24hrs hours ahead of the flight, when most of us are already very busy preparing for the trip.
    2. Charges for ANY food/drinks, of which the quality is disputation
    3. At the gate when boarding, there is hardly any logic, by only let the priority bookings (possible when you PAID) board first, not bothering families with small Kids.
    3. Very often they take your Carry on away to be put with tkhe checked bags.
    Most people had put stuff in it, that they need on the plane, medication book, or just be prepared having a set of xtra clothes, in case your checked bag doesn’t make it..
    4. Perhaps there are no charges in place yet, therefore there are no pillows or blankets available anymore, not even on long haul flights!!!

    Why has a bus ride become more pleasant than a flight???
    These are the bitter comments of a truly Frequent Flyer..

  16. Metri Travel|

    Wow, Nice posts
    it was very useful

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