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    What Size Suitcase Do I Need?


    Travelling is an exciting time – getting out of the ordinary and discovering new places, cities and delicious treats is something we all look forward to. While the anticipation of going on your trip may be overwhelmingly exciting, the packing process is a key step in ensuring you have a stress-free holiday, allowing you to enjoy the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of your destination.


    Whether you’re heading away for an overnight stay or a longer international trip, having the right size suitcase is an essential part of travelling confidently with as little stress as possible (although that’s not always possible). In this article, we’re sharing our tips on how to choose the right size suitcase, the different types of luggage and how to measure your bags so you can get away on your trip hassle-free.



    Why Is It Important to Choose the Right Size Suitcase?

    There are many factors to travelling seamlessly and having the right sized suitcase is one of them. It’s important to choose the right luggage when travelling, as it can really make or break your experience while away. Your destination, airline and general mobility should be at the forefront of your mind when looking for a suitcase, as this will dictate how easy it is to get where you want to go.


    Item care and safety

    The bigger the suitcase, the more space, so it must be better, right? Not entirely. Choose the size of your suitcase based on where you’re going and for how long, not based purely on the space inside. For example, you might be going away for three nights, so a carry-on or medium-sized suitcase will be enough so you can pack everything you need while preventing your items from being thrown around because of too much room.


    Weight and size restrictions

    With there being so many different airlines with baggage weights and limits, it’s important to choose the right bag for the airline specifically, as some will require a particular weight limit to others and may even have specific measurement requirements for carry-on etc.


    International vs domestic requirements

    There is also a range of differences between what is required for a domestic flight versus what is required for an international flight. In Australia, most domestic flights allow two carry-on items and one checked bag (if you’ve paid for it as part of your ticket). Checked bags in Australia can be a maximum of 23kg. On the other hand, international flight weight limits vary, but typically all your checked baggage can be a maximum of 30kg.


    With international airlines, there may be a fee charged for extra carry-on or specific dimensions for checked baggage, so make sure to complete your research before heading overseas. For international hand luggage, generally, it’s best to opt for a smaller carry-on that has dimensions under 22 x 14 x 9 inches (55 x 35 x 22 cm).


    What are the Different Types of Suitcases?

    Suitcases come in a range of sizes and dimensions, ranging between brands.


    Carry-on bags

    Carry-on luggage are the bags that come with you on the plane. These bags are small enough that they don’t need to be checked but have enough room to carry all the essentials, like overnight clothing and a small number of toiletries.


    Types of carry-on luggage include:


    These types of bags can range in size, with the dimensions ranging anywhere from 35(H) x 46(W) x 22(D) cm for a carry bag to 50(H) x 36(W) x 23(D) cm for a carry-on suitcase. There is also a slight difference in size between domestic and international carry-on luggage, so make sure to choose your hand luggage based on your destination.


    Checked luggage


    Checked luggage are the bags designed to go underneath the plane when travelling, so they can be much bigger and will allow for more room to bring extra clothing, toiletries and a little extra space for holiday shopping.


    Checked luggage usually includes:


    A hard or soft shell suitcase is usually the preferred option, as they are much easier to transport. Medium to large suitcases can range anywhere from 69(H) x 46(W) x 28(D) cm to 80(H) x 51(W) x 34(D) cm for a large-sized suitcase.


    Wheeled duffle bags are great for transport by car, train or boat as their softer exterior makes them a very versatile, flexible option. They also have a very large open packing space, which makes them a popular choice when carting ski gear or sporting equipment.


    How to Measure A Suitcase?

    As we discussed before, each airline will have its own restrictions on how big a checked bag and carry-on can be, so it’s important to measure your own bag before you get to the airport and realise you have to pay a fee for a bag that’s too big or too heavy.

    There are two measurements that you need to be aware of when planning your trip:



    The dimension of your suitcase includes the width (W), height (H) and depth (D). To measure the dimensions of your suitcase, it works best if you place the measuring tape against a wall. Keep in mind that some soft suitcases will expand once full, so make sure to pack your bag completely before measuring to ensure an accurate number.


    Linear inches

    When an airline talks about needing a certain number of linear inches, this refers to the total sum of the height, width and depth in inches. This is usually only used for checked luggage, as most airlines will require your checked bag to be under 61 linear inches. So to get the sum of linear inches, you:

    • Measure the height, width and depth of your bag.
    • Convert the dimensions from cm to inches.
    • Once converted, add the height + width + depth together to find the linear inches.


    What Size Suitcase Do I Need Quiz

    If you’re still not sure what size suitcase you need, we’ve put together a handy quiz so you can nail your choice.


    • Are you travelling domestic or international?
    • a. Domestic.
    • b. International.


    • How long will you be travelling?
    • a. Less than a week.
    • b. Two weeks.
    • c. More than two weeks.


    Quiz Results


    Domestic Flights for Trips Less Than A Week:

    If you answered 1 = A and 2 = A

    • A small carry-on suitcase or a medium-sized suitcase will be sufficient
    • You may also want to bring a small bag for hand luggage (like a crossbody bag or small backpack) to carry any extra essentials


    Domestic Flights and Trips for Two Weeks or More:

    If you answered 1 = A and 2 = B or C

    • Opt for a medium or large-sized suitcase
    • If you have the ability to wash clothes during your trip and therefore don’t need to take as many outfits, choose a smaller suitcase
    • If you can’t wash clothes, you’ll need a larger suitcase for the extra outfits
    • A small bag for hand luggage (like a crossbody bag or small backpack) will be enough to carry any extra essentials.


    International Flights for Trips Less Than A Week:

    If you answered 1 = B and 2 = A

    • You can either opt for a carry-on suitcase and a large backpack OR a medium sized-suitcase and a regular-sized backpack
    • A backpack, or larger tote or shoulder bag is a better choice for hand luggage when travelling internationally, as you will need to carry important documents, devices, chargers and more on the flight with you


    International Flights and Trips for Two Weeks or More:

    If you answered 1 = B and 2 = B or C

    • Look for a large-sized suitcase and a large backpack when travelling internationally for two weeks or more
    • Bring a large backpack that has heaps of storage for important documents, devices, and charges
    • You can opt to take both a large suitcase and a carry-on suitcase with you, however, this will require a more hands-on approach when moving from the airport to where you’re staying

    Whether travelling overseas for a long holiday or domestically to visit family, knowing how to choose the right sized suitcase will save you time and effort when packing and moving from place to place. Discover our vast selection of travel luggage and essentials online from Strandbags so you can be prepared for your next trip now.