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How to save hundreds with a Ryanair approved cabin bag in 2022

Anyone who travels even occasionally in Europe will sooner or later have wondered what a Ryanair approved cabin bag is? For many travellers, Ryanair is the beloved means of transport to their dream holiday, but often also the best direct link between secondary cities that traditional airlines would require stopovers and additional costs.

Whilst it is true that you can find flights for less than €10, Ryanair is also famous for very rigid policies, such as the last one concerning Ryanair cabin bag size, which can catch you unprepared and make you spend a lot of money.

The hardest thing? Their rules change often and are becoming more complex. In this article, you will have all the info regarding Ryanair baggage sizes, differences, and related costs. After that, a list of the best Ryanair cabin bags.

Ryanair’s carry on dimensions are different from most other European low-cost airlines, so in order to not be caught off guard, you will find a list of the best cabin bags suitable for Ryanair. The good thing is that the bags that are suitable as hand luggage for Ryanair are suitable for 99.9% of the other low-cost airlines.

Why so much focus on a Ryanair approved cabin bag? Because with careful packing even a family of 4 can travel with the free Ryanair cabin baggage allowance and save hundreds of £/€ … yes we tried it and we will talk about it later.

This post may contain affiliate links. I may receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this page, at no cost to you.

CABIN BAG SIZES FOR RYANAIR

The latest changes in Ryanair’s bag policy were not well received by consumers, especially as they came soon after the previous changes which were much less restrictive. There are currently four baggage options to consider when you plan your trip.

Two of them authorise you to bring your baggage into the cabin and the other two are for putting your baggage in the hold. Let’s have a look:

RYANAIR BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE 2022 – ON BOARD OPTIONS:

  1. WITHOUT PRIORITY (FREE OF CHARGE FOR EVERYBODY): 1 CARRY-ON BAG, a small personal bag no bigger than 20x25x40 cm (8x10x16 inches)

  2. WITH PRIORITY: (STARTING FROM £/€6): 1 CARRY-ON BAG : a bag no bigger than 20x40x55 cm (8x16x21 inches) including handles and wheels, and no heavier than 10 kg. Plus the free Ryanair personal item (size 20x25x40 cm / 8x10x16 inches) from point 1.
    They call this option priority because you can join the priority queue if you decide to go for this option.

RYANAIR BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE 2022 – CHECK-IN OPTIONS

  1. CHECK-IN BAG – Starting from £/€ 12.99: a bag no bigger than 20x40x55 cm (8x16x21 inches) including handles and wheels, and no heavier than 10kg

  2. CHECK-IN BAG – Starting from €/£ 20.99 to €/£ 59.99: a bag no bigger than 81x119x119cm and no heavier than 20 Kg (bag pooling is allowed, but a single bag can’t be heavier than 32 kg)


It is clear that if you do not plan your baggage well, you risk turning your flight from cheap and cheerful to expensive and miserable!
Let’s have a look at the first two options which allow us to bring the baggage on board.

RYANAIR SMALL CABIN BAG FREE OF CHARGE

Ryanair small-bag-size
Ryanair approved cabin bag (to carry on board free of charge)

FROM RYANAIR’S BAG POLICY WEBPAGE

All passenger fare types include a small personal bag, which must fit under the seat in front of you.

A bag that is no bigger than 20x25x40cm max (8x10x16 inches max) is the only baggage item you can carry for free on any Ryanair flight (as per 2021).

The only exceptions are:

  • Parents flying with a baby (8 days to 23 months) can carry an extra baby bag up to 5kg (dimensions: 45x35x20cms) plus some baby equipment like a travel cot or a travel stroller.
  • People that need to bring medical equipment can contact the special assistance team but should be able to bring on board some common items.

It is really important to be familiar with this rule because if you exceed this bag size, Ryanair could refuse your boarding or ask you to pay €/£50 at the boarding desk and put your bag on hold (I witnessed this many times).

The Ryanair personal item size 20x25x40cm could seem really little but I can assure you that if you pack well you can fit a lot in. At least there is no weight limit for this bag. We actually managed a week-long trip just using bags that fall into this category (more later). Consider that if you have a soft bag that is slightly larger than the Ryanair approved cabin bag size, you can probably use it as long you don’t over-pack it and so are able to squeeze it a bit to fit their measuring trolley.

You could also be interested in “The reality of travelling with twins and how to make it possible”!

COMPARISON CHART: THE BEST FREE OF CHARGE RYANAIR SMALL CABIN BAG (20x25x40 CM)

The chart below shows the best models you can buy: some of these options are great for those who fly Ryanair occasionally and prefer to spend as little as possible (like the Aerolite duffle bag), as they’re maybe not going to use it often. Others are light enough and offer great features that could be useful on any trip (like the Cabin Max backpack).

In this list I selected only products that are maximising baggage size for Ryanair, you don’t want to lose even a few cm! The last two options are actually a little bigger than the Ryanair approved cabin bag dimension, but I included them as they are soft bags that, if not overpacked, can be squeezed. I added them to show a flexible option to use also on airlines with less restrictions.

MODEL DIMENSIONPRICE
BEST OVERALL BACKPACK
AEROLITE
BACKPACK

20x25x40 cm
18L
1KG (2.2lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
BEST OVERALL TO ORGANISE THE SPACE
CABIN ZERO20x29.5x39 cm
28L
600Gr (1.3 lb)
CHECK THE PRICE ON CABIN ZERO
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TOP CHOICE FOR PRICE
5 CITIES CABIN BAG20x25x40 cm
20L
450Gr (1lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
SECOND BEST OPTION FOR PRICE
AEROLITE DUFFLE BAG20x25x40 cm
20L
450gr (1lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
BEST SUITCASE FOR PRICE
TRAVEL READY20x25x40 cm
19L
1.1Kg (2.4lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
MOST VERSATILE BACKPACK
CABIN MAX (3 OPTION)20x25x40 cm
20L
500gr (1.1lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
GREAT VALUE FOR MONEY BACKPACK
LARGE TRAVEL BACKPACK17x31x42cm
(6.7 x 12.2 x 16.5 inches)
1Kg (2.2 Lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
PERFECT FOR THE YOUNG ONES
LEGO BRICK15x25x40 cm
20L
450gr (1 lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
CHEAPEST EXPANDABLE BACKPACK
ACENT15x31x45 cm
20L to 35L
1.2Kg (2.7 lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON

APPROVED – Best overall backpack

AEROLITE BACKPACK 18L

20x25x40 cm
(8x10x16 inches)
18L
1Kg (2.2 lb)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

This is a really clever and well designed backpack at a great price.

The structure is soft so you can maximise the space. You can carry it as a backpack, as a shoulder bag (removable strap included), or with one of the 2 padded handles.

WARNING: In the US market they seem to still sell the previous version that is 3cm (1 inch) bigger than the max dimension on the longest side. This shouldn’t be a concern as it is a soft bag.

PROS

  • Main compartment opens fully in suitcase style
  • Practical straps to keep clothes and shoes in place, and a waterproof pocket for toiletries.
  • Two other zipped spaces, one perfect for a small tablet, and a front one for smaller possessions.
  • A small RFID compartment is a clever feature at the back.
  • There is a power bank pocket with a built-in USB port, and a side water bottle holder.
  • Backpack straps can be zipped inside the back when not in use.
  • Back sleeve to fit over trolley handles

CONS

  • Compartments are good to organise items but they also reduce available space.

BEST OVERALL TO ORGANISE THE SPACE

CABIN ZERO CLASSIC 28L

20×29.5×39 cm
(8×11.6×15.3 inches)
600Gr (1.3 lb)
28L

This is probably the best Ryanair cabin bag if you only want to bring the free personal bag on board.

It is not at the top of the list only because on one side, it is a few cm larger than the Ryanair personal item size.

We have two of these backpacks and they are brilliant! They are superlight and the front opens entirely like a suitcase. These are for me the two key features to look for.

The compartment is not divided inside. As I’m always packing with cubes I found that having one big space is the best way to maximize the content. This is the perfect backpack for Ryanair!

They deliver worldwide. In many countries, Cabin Zero deliver for free if you spend more than a certain amount

PROS

  • One main compartment to maximise space available
  • Only 600 gr
  • Compression straps, padded shoulder straps, and zipped pocket outside.
  • Sleeve pocket inside for laptop or tablet.
  • Tracking tag
  • Top and side handle to move it around easily
  • Available in many different colours

CONS

  • No back sleeve to fit on top of trolley handles
Generic Banner

APPROVED – Top choice for price

5 CITIES CABIN BAG

20x25x40 cm
20L
450Gr (1lb)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

Perfect, simple no fuss bag. It respects Ryanair free bag size and it has an amazing price.

One main compartment is best if you organise it with packing cubes, but the shape lends itself also to easy loose packing, especially in winter with bigger clothes.

The main compartment can be locked and at the back, there is a sleeve to fix it on top of a suitcase in case you also travel with a bigger piece of luggage. If you need 2, they also have a great multibuy offer!

PROS

  • Great quality
  • 2 year guarantee
  • Front zip for docoumets
  • Sleeve to fit over trolley handles
  • lockable compartment.

CONS

  • No space for tech items
  • It could be uncomfortable to carry for a long period of time, choose a backpack if you think you will pack heavy items.

APPROVED –Second bestchoice for price

AEROLITE DUFFLE BAG 19L

20x25x40 cm
(8x10x16 inches)
19L
500gr (1.1 lb)

AEROLITE DUFFLE BAG 20L

20x25x40 cm
(8x10x16 inches)
20L
450gr (1 lb)

Aerolite did a great job on adapting their bags to the latest dimensions for Ryanair hand luggage. They produce 2 similar, basic, no fuss, but great bags that fit the policy (in some countries only one model is available).
Perfect if you travel with Ryanair occasionally and don’t want to spend much on a bag.

These bags don’t have anything inside to keep your clothes and items organised, the best option is to use them with packing cubes.

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

PROS

  • One main compartment maximises the space, and a front zipped pocket.
  • The most recent model (red in the picture) opens from the top making access easier.
  • Back sleeve to fit over trolley handles

CONS

  • In the older model (black in the picture) the zip stops halfway on the side not allowing suitcase-style opening, making it more difficult to organise the items inside.
  • No dedicated space for tech items.
  • It could be uncomfortable to carry for a long period of time, choose a backpack if you think you will pack heavy items.

RELATED: If you travel with a baby or a toddler check this article to find the best bags for moms to make your travel a breeze. If you are more a backpack person this other article is for you.

APPROVED – Best suitcase for price

TRAVEL READY
2-WHEEL MINI SUITCASE

20x25x40 cm
(8x10x16 inches)
19L
1.1Kg (2.4 lb)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

This is one of the few wheeled trolleys that fit Ryanair’s cabin baggage size. It has been launched on the market recently, but everybody is already raving about it. It isn’t a top choice on this list because it is not yet widely available, but hopefully they will expand their reach soon.

It is basic and cheap, fitting perfectly with the Ryanair concept, but does the job.

It has a soft structure that allows you to collapse it and store it away easily.

PROS

  • Easy to carry and light.
  • Collapsible and easy to store.
  • One main compartment maximises the use of available space, plus 2 flat pockets on the front and one on the back.
  • The handle stretches up to 95cm.
  • Removable shoulder strap.

CONS

  • No padding to protect tech items inside.
  • No back sleeve to fit on top of trolley handles.

APPROVED – Most versatile backpacks

CABIN MAX BACKPACKS

CABIN MAX UNDER SEAT BACKPACK

20x25x40 cm
(8x10x16 inches)
20L
500gr (1.1 Llb)

RYANAIR
APPROVED
CABIN BAG

The Cabin Max brand took the Ryanair topic really seriously and produced several backpacks that are in the bag size for the Ryanair limit.
They are all really light 500g to 600g for 20L capacity. They are a good option, and once you arrive at your destination you can unpack and use them as a daily bag during activities/ excursions.
They all offer 3 years guarantee.

They differ little in style and functionality:

  • CABIN MAX UNDERSEAT BACKPACK is the first more feminine backpack they do.
    It is stylish but still offers some of the greatest features of the rest of the line.
    It has a suitcase-style opening at the front and a padded sleeve at the back for laptops up to 13″. On the inside front there are two big meshed pockets and one smaller zipped pocket is at the top for wallet, documents and more small items.
    On the side there is also a really useful, big bottle pocket!
  • CABIN MAX METZ is available in really nice colours and patterns. Most of the space is dedicated to the main compartment. The front zipped area is good for a tablet and for holding documents and small items organised in the different sleeves.
  • CABIN MAX MANHATTAN has a full front opening like suitcase style. The slim front panel has a mesh zipped panel. There is a padded area at the back for a small laptop/tablet and the backpack strap can be stored away. It comes with a removable strap to carry it also on the shoulders. and a sleeve to fix it over a bigger luggage.

PROS

  • Different price levels
  • Really light backpacks 500g to 600g
  • Suitcase style opening
  • Manhattan has a back sleeve to fit over trolley handles
  • 3 years guarantee

CONS

  • Cabin max Metz doesn’t have a dedicated space for laptop.

Great value for money backpack

LARGE TRAVEL BACKPACK

17x31x42cm
(6.7 x 12.2 x 16.5 inches)
1Kg (2.2 Lb)

This backpack brings a bit of fresh air to this list with some pastel colours alongside the traditional black or navy. The dimensions are almost perfect for the Ryanair policy.

It has a large main compartment that opens in a suitcase-style. there are two padded spaces for laptops (up to 14′) and tablets at the front and at the back.
Inside the main compartment, there are several sleeves and pockets to help organise the space. on the outside there are another 2 zipped pockets on the front and useful extra space to keep shoes or dirty clothes separated.

WARNING: This bag is a few cm/inches larger on two sides compared to Ryanair hand luggage size. This shouldn’t concern you much as it is a soft bag so if you don’t fill it completely you won’t have an issue fitting it in the Ryanair bag checker.

PROS

  • Great price
  • Lots of pockets to organise the space
  • Trolley sleeve at the back
  • Handy bottle pocket on the side
  • Integrated space for battery pack

CONS

  • A little bigger than Ryanair policy limit.

APPROVED – Perfect for the young one

LEGO BRICK BACKPACK

15x25x40 cm
(6x10x16 inches)
450gr. (1 Llb)
20L

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

This backpack is well within the Ryanair bag sizes limit. It doesn’t have all the features that other bags have, but it is cool backpack and would be perfect for kids. They can bring their stuff and still board without paying the bag fee.

Cheapest expandable backpack

EXPANDABLE BACKPACK

15x31x45 cm
(6×12.4×18 inches)
20L to 35L
1.2Kg (2.7 Llb)

This a really versatile backpack. You can use it on Ryanair without expanding it. Then when flying on other airlines you can take advantage of the almost 10cm extra (15L extra clothes or souvenirs to pack with you).

What makes it particularly great is the possibility to open it like a suitcase, so it is really easy to organise your stuff inside.

WARNING: This bag is few cm/inches larger on two sides compared to Ryanair hand luggage size. This shouldn’t concern you much as it is a soft bag so if you don’t fill it completely you will not have an issue fitting it in the Ryanair bag checker.

PROS

  • Extra 15L available when expanded.
  • Lie flat opening for the bigger compartment.
  • Front compartment with multiple slip pockets, plus three zipped spaces for documents and small things
  • USB charging port
  • Padded back compartment for tech
  • Back sleeve to fit over trolley handles

CONS

  • A little bigger than Ryanair policy limit.
  • Compartments are good to organise items but they also reduce available space.

Flying with a baby or a toddler? You could be interested in some tips and advice to make your next flight with a baby a breeze.

RYANAIR PRIORITY CABIN BAG (20x40x55cm)

Ryanair priority bag
Ryanair priority bag

In this section, we are going to have a bit more choice. Ryanair cabin luggage size 2022 limits are tight but there are many more options available on the market.

If you want to bring anything on board that is bigger than the Ryanair personal item size, you will have to pay. In case you already know that you are going to need a small carry-on bag I recommend you buy at the time of booking the “Priority and 2 cabin bags” option. Choosing to add a priority bag at the moment of buying the ticket usually starts from €6. If you add it later it will cost you at least double.

The two most important things to consider when looking at the size of hand luggage on Ryanair:

  • Max dimension: 20x40x55 cm (8x16x22 inches). This dimension is usually the equivalent of a 40L bag. This starts to be a decent size bag and you will be able to choose your favourite type: trolley, backpack, or duffle bag and all their hybrid variations.
  • Max weight: 10Kg Here is where you need to pay a bit of attention because it is really easy to pack more than 10kg in a 20x40x55 cm bag, and yes I’ve seen Ryanair weighing bags. The first step to maximise the space available is to choose the lightest bag possible, which means you will be able to pack more.

Also here, I picked only bags that maximise Ryanair dimensions for hand luggage.

COMPARISON CHART: BEST PRIORITY CABIN BAG (20x40x55cm)

MODEL DIMENSIONPRICE
BEST OVERALL EXPANDABLE HARDSHELL
AMERICAN TOURISTER20x40x55 cm
35 L to 41 L
2.6 kg (5.7lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
BEST PRICE FOR SOFTSHELL
5 CITIES CABIN TROLLEY
19X35X54 cm
25L
1.4kg (3 lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
TOP CHOICE FOR HYBRID BACKPACK
CABIN MAX20x40x55 cm
1.7/2.8 kg.
44L
(3.7/6.1 lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY HARD SHELL
AEROLITE HARD SHELL20x40x55 cm
2.75 kg (6.5lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
BEST FOR SPACE ORGANISING
CABIN MAX CABIN BAG20x40x55 cm
45 L
2.7 kg (6.4lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
TOP CHOICE FOR BUSINESS TRIP
MANDARINA DUCK TANK CASE
20X40X55 cm
37L
3.2kg (7.1 lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
GREAT VALUE FOR MONEY FOR BUSINESS TRIP
TRAVELITE20x40x55 cm
35 L to 41 L
3.4 kg (7.5lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
BEST ECO-FRIENDLY LUGGAGE
SAMSONITE ZIPROLL20x40x55 cm
40.5 L
2.8 kg (6.1lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
BEST PRICE FOR EXPANDABLE BACKPACK
AMAZON BASIC21x40x55 cm
25L to 35L
1.6 kg (3.5lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON
TOP CHOICE FOR A VINTAGE LOOK
WITZMAN19X33X53 CM
35L
1.4 KG (3lb)
CHECK THE PRICE IN AMAZON

APPROVED – Best overall expandable hardshell

AMERICAN TOURISTER SOUNDBOX

20x40x55 cm
8x16x22 Inches
35L to 41L
2.6kg (5.7lb)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

This is an amazing suitcase at a good price with great features, one of the best carry on luggage for Ryanair. We have had one of these for 4 years now and it still looks new.

It is light and easy to carry, but robust. The fact that it has a hard shell but is expandable makes it a perfect choice. Take advantage of more room when flying on other airlines but still comply with Ryanair baggage size.

All of this with an eye-catching design too!

PROS

  • Hardshell but expandable (+6L.)
  • Light
  • TSA lock
  • Double wheels

CONS

  • No internal padded areas for tech

APPROVED – Best for space organising

CABIN MAX CABIN BAG

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

This cabin bag has an original feature. It has a main compartment you can access from the front of the bag and another smaller one at the top, plus a padded pocket on the back for a small laptop and a side bottle holder.

At first sight, the main compartment seems too small, but the top compartment is actually really handy. You can keep your liquids bag there to be faster and avoid unpacking while going through security, or bulky items such as your camera, that usually don’t fit in the front pockets.

Inside there are clothes straps and two zipped pockets.

Cabin Max even offers 3 years manufacturer’s warranty.

PROS

  • Hard-shell but expandable (+10L.)
  • Light
  • Internal zipped divider and clothes straps
  • 4 multi-directional wheels

CONS

  • No internal padded areas for tech

APPROVED – Top choice for business trip

MANDARINA DUCK TANK CASE WITH LAPTOP POCKET

20X40X55 cm
(8x16x20 inches)
25L
3.2kg (7.1 lb)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

This trolley is not only extremely resistant, with attention to detail and aesthetically stylish, but was also developed taking into consideration the modern requests of travellers and airlines.

The front pocket is recessed flush, allowing a clean line that does not exceed 20 cm. It offers space for a laptop plus organised pockets for phones, documents, and more. It can be opened completely or only on three sides to facilitate access to laptops and documents while on the go.
The spacious interior is divided with a mesh panel to keep everything in order.

It is the only suitcase I found that manages to have the external laptop pocket and still keep the depth of 20cm., impressive!

PROS

  • TSA lock
  • Internal zipped divider and clothes straps
  • Front opening organised with different sleeves
  • 4 multi-directional wheels
  • recessed front pocket design maximises internal space

CONS

  • Front pocket not lockable

APPROVED – Top choice for business trip

TRAVELITE CITY S 55 WITH LAPTOP POCKET

20x40x55 cm
8x16x22 Inches
40 L to 50 L
3.4kg (7.5 lb)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

This is the perfect bag to use for a business trip or if your laptop doesn’t fit in the second personal bag. The front pocket makes it really easy to access your tech without opening the full bag.

There are not many hard shell suitcases with this feature that can fit into the Ryanair approved cabin bag category. Many of them are just 3 or 4cm too deep and being hardshell it’s becoming too risky as you can’t squeeze them to reduce the size if Ryanair want to check it.

Being a hard shell suitcase your tech are also protected from bumps. Perfect bag especially for those who don’t often carry a second bag.

PROS

  • Practical front opening for up to 17.3″ laptop
  • Reinforced corners
  • TSA lock
  • Internal zipped divider and clothes straps
  • Front opening organised with different sleeves
  • 4 multi-directional wheels

CONS

  • The front pocket reduces capacity in the main compartment
  • The front pocket doesn’t lock with the TSA lock.

APPROVED – Best ecofriendly luggage

SAMSONITE ZIPROLL

Ziproll backpack
20x40x55 cm
8x16x22 Inches
50 L

1.4 kg ( 3 lb)
Ziproll trolley
20x40x55 cm
8x16x22 Inches
40.5 L

2.8 kg (6.1 lb)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

There is a reason why, after 110 years, Samsonite is still one of the top luggage companies, they know how to make good bags! However they recently stretched a step further making sustainability one of their focus areas from the resources they use to their manufacturing chain.

The Ziproll line is only one of the many they started to produce using Recyclex, a fabric 100% made using recycled PET plastic bottles.

Most importantly it is not just ecofriendly, it is also functional and with a really cool design.

The Ziproll backpack and the Ziproll trolley in the picture are both the right cabin size luggage for Ryanair. There is another model worth considering that is a hybrid version of these two (a trolley that can also be used as a backpack), making it really versatile. However it is 3cm deeper than a Ryanair approved cabin bag so you will need to avoid over packing (if they want to measure it you can squeeze it a bit)

PROS

  • Both models: roll top closure to easily access much more than just laptop and documents.
  • Both models: open flat, they have clothes part and both sides close with a zipped panel
  • Both models: Tablet compartment suitable for 10.5″
  • Both models: Handle at the top and on both sides
  • Backpack: really light
  • Trolley: 4 multi-directional wheels

CONS

  • Both models: No TSA lock

APPROVED – Cheapest Softshell

5 CITIES CABIN TROLLEY BACKPACK

19X35X54 cm
(7.5×13.8×21 inches)
25L
1.4kg (3 lb)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

If you travel with Ryanair only occasionally then this trolley could be the ideal solution.

One of the cheapest on the market, and although the quality is not comparable to other trolleys on the list, it is still well made and offers interesting details.

The main compartment is not divided, but spacious. On the outside, there are two practical zipped areas and on the back there are shoulder straps to carry it as a backpack (which can be zipped away).

A small detail: when used as a backpack the wheels can be covered by folding a small back pocket on the bottom.

PROS

  • 2 Front pockets
  • Back straps to use it as a backpack
  • Wheel cover integrated

CONS

  • No resting front foot (when full it is difficult to keep it standing)
  • No TSA lock
  • No internal divider or clothes straps

Best value for money hard shell

AEROLITE HARD SHELL CARRY ON

20 x 40 x 55cm
(8 x 16 x 20 inches)
40L
2.75Kg

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

This bag offers great value for money. It is a rigid suitcase that perfectly respects Ryanair priority baggage allowance 2022.

It is basic but sturdy. The space available is divided into two areas. One area is closed with a zip and the other with clothes straps. It has only 2 wheels but they are big enough to roll easily on different terrain.

The wheels are integrated into the body of the bag to maximize the 55cm available

This is a great product that does the job and will last for a long time.

PROS

  • Great price
  • 5 years guarantee
  • Clothes strap and 2 zipped sleeves

CONS

  • No internal padded areas for tech
  • Only 2 wheels

APPROVED – Best price for backpack

AMAZON EXPANDABLE BACKPACK

21x40x55 cm
8.25x16x22 Inches
25L TO 35L
1.6kg (3.5lb
)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

This is another great product from the Amazon basic range. It maximises the dimensions for the limits available and it is really light. On top of that it also expands a little, giving room for even more.

It has a main compartment that opens flat with straps to hold clothes in place. There is a padded back sleeve for a laptop and a front pocket for small items/documents.

It also comes with a shoulder strap for when you want a change.

Overall a great value for money product. It could be a great solution for those who want a bag to travel with, but also to use as a daily bag when they are at their destination.

PROS

  • Expandable (extra 10L)
  • Padded sleeve for laptop
  • Side compression straps are also useful to hold a jumper when around
  • 2 handles, on the top and on the side

CONS

  • No TSA lock
  • No side bottle holder

APPROVED – Top choice for hybrid backpack

CABIN MAX GREENWICH

GREENWICH

20x40x55 cm
(8x16x22 inches)
1.7/2.8 KG. (3.7/6.1 lb)
44L

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

If you are looking for a hybrid bag you will find plenty of choice here.

These three bags have all been designed to the maximum Ryanair cabin size dimensions and they all contain a huge 44L.

GREENWICH: is a great bag with lots of space in the main compartment that is also organised with clothes-holding straps. This is an extremely versatile bag as it has a telescopic handle to enable use as a 2-wheel trolley, but also has pack-away backpack straps to free your hands in case you are also carrying a bigger bag or pushing a pram! No padded area for laptop or tablet.

PROS

  • Pack away backpack straps (so they are not in the way or getting dirty when you pull it as a trolley)
  • Wheel cover
  • Light
  • Suitcase style opening

CONS

  • No internal padded areas for tech
  • No TSA lock

APPROVED – Top choice for a vintage look

VINTAGE BACKPACK/ DUFFLE BAG

19x33x53 cm
7.5x13x21 INCHES
35 L
1,4 KG (3lb)

RYANAIR APPROVED
CABIN BAG

This is a perfect solution for those looking for something a little different with a more vintage look, but with some of the essential features that modern bags should have. It is a bit smaller than the hand luggage size on Ryanair, but it still holds 35L.

It is made from a robust canvas material with a front panel in artificial leather. This bag can age gracefully with a little wear and tear giving it that lived in look.

It can be carried as a backpack or with a shoulder strap (duffle style). It doesn’t open like a suitcase, so you will be better off organising your items with packing cubes, but it has lots of sleeves and pockets to keep smaller items within easy reach.

PROS

  • 2 front pockets, one with tablet sleeve
  • Light
  • Side bottle holder
  • Internal laptop sleeve up to 16 inch
  • Compression straps on the side, also useful to hold a jumper or jacket while around.
  • Handles on the top, side, and front
  • Removable shoulder straps and pack-away backpack straps.

CONS

  • No internal padded areas for tech
  • No TSA lock or lockable zip
  • Front pocket is not easy to open
  • Main compartment opening should be bigger

Do you need some tips to build your family trip itinerary? Check out this Step by step guide!

FINAL THOUGHTS ON RYANAIR APPROVED CABIN BAG CHOICE

How are you going to save money? An example…

Being unaware of the policy could easily cost a couple, each arriving at the gate with a bag bigger than the Ryanair approved cabin bag, £/€ 100 (£/€ 50 each) plus another £/€ 48 minimum on the return journey to check in the bags (£/€ 23.99 each). £148 in total when with the right bag that could be, if not free, at least minimised to £/€ 24.

The price to add luggage changes based on the itinerary and dates. Lets make a real example with a route I am very familiar with: London-Rome. At the moment I have a one way ticket in my account from Rome to London for 4 people (2 adults and 2 kids) that cost €109.36.

This ticket only includes a personal bag each. A few years ago I would have brought 2 check in luggage for the 4 of us. Today that would cost me ~€90 (€ 44.99 each bag), that is almost as much as the ticket itself! Instead, we will have 4 personal bags (free of charge) and if needed, a few days before boarding I will pay €20 for a priority cabin bag, Net saving € 70!

Is the free personal bag the only luggage you are going to carry with you?

  • If yes, then you can choose the bag that really best suits your style. The mini trolleys, even if basic, are in general a good option, but remember that space in the outside pockets is limited to smaller items. Most of the time when you need something you will need to fully open the trolley. If you go for the backpack you have more choice in terms of models and you can pick the one with the right features for you.

Are you going to pay to bring onboard a bigger cabin bag?

  • In this case choose two bags that complement each other. A backpack as a personal bag and a wheeled trolley are a perfect combination, especially if the backpack has a back sleeve to fit it over a trolley handle.
  • If you have kids and you are going around with a stroller, it could be useful to consider a duffle bag to attach to the stroller and a backpack as a bigger carry on bag. Even when you have something super easy to maneuver around like our Joolz Geo, it’s always better to have your hands free!
  • If you often bring your laptop with you then consider a bag that has a dedicated, easily accessible space for it. Make sure you also check the size of the dedicated space, as some trolleys seem to have reduced the size of their front pockets.`
  • If you fly often with different airlines, it could be useful to choose a bag that is expandable. Ryanair hand luggage sizes are the most restrictive between all the low cost airlines.

Hard-shell or soft-shell?

Hard-shell have improved a lot in the recent years, there are now expandable models and even models with laptop space. They are great to better protect your contents and perfect if you also travel a lot with traditional airlines and occasionally check in your bag.

The soft bags on the other hand are more flexible with many different features to organise and keep on hand small items. They are also a little more forgiving if you have over packed and need to fit in airline bag checkers.

4 wheels or 2 wheels?

Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. Bags with 4 wheels move really swiftly around you, but you always need to be careful when you stop, unless you bought one of the newest models with brakes they will keep moving if you stop on a slope. The wheels are also usually more exposed and they could damage more easily with cheaper models. Bags with 2 wheels have the advantage of usually having more capacity as the wheels are partially recessed into the bag structure.

RELATED: Best tablets for 2 year olds

Our experience

We have several pieces of luggage so we are lucky to be able to choose which is more convenient based on the airlines we fly with or the trip we do.

Some models, or their updated version, made it onto the list like the Aerolite duffle bag, the American Tourister sound box, the Samsonite, and the Delsey hard-shell (The Delsey bag at the moment doesn’t seem available so I’ve removed it from the list).

Ryanair personal item (size 20x25x40)

As a personal bag (free on board), nowadays, we use backpacks. The small duffle bag has been parked in favor of a more organised backpack. On one of our latest trips (9/10 days) we managed with just one free personal bag each. We packed minimally, and we washed what we needed halfway through the trip. It seems that every time Ryanair change/reduces/makes more restrictive their luggage policy, we manage to shrink our luggage, and since the boys were little we have been perfecting our essential packing list.

I tend to overpack, but I need to be honest Ryanair never stopped me at the gate. We have 3 other backpacks (plus the small ones for the kids), apart from the Cabin Zero that is already in the list. They are not on the list as they are slightly over the hand luggage size for Ryanair. Between them, there is another of my absolute favorite: the Tripped backpack, (you could see it in the picture above) this is an unstructured backpack, really light and foldable.

I use packing cubes so it becomes just a shell around them, and when we arrive at our destination I can use it to go around. This backpack is also a perfect gift for a friend who is passionate about travel, after you use it once you will not want to leave it behind.

Ryanair priority bags

The Samsonite soft bag (old model) has been with me for more than 10 years and it is still my preferred choice for any kind of trip, it shows wear and tear but the wheels, structure, and zip are still working perfectly!

The American Tourister hard-shell is my favorite for the look and the flexibility you get from the expansion.

The Delsey hard-shell we own is a bigger model so we use it less frequently now, but I love the super strong double zip that makes it easy to close even when over-packed.

Another bag we love is the Eminent hard shell. We bought it when Ryanair was letting you bring 1 piece of hand luggage onboard for free, but it was a smaller size. Eminent makes super strong and easy-to-maneuver suitcases (also in the right size 20x40x55 cm). It isn’t on the list only because it is not easy to find everywhere.

I hope this guide will help you to save money next time you fly Ryanair or any other low-cost airlines, let me know in the comments if you found the best Ryanair cabin bag for you!

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