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Carry-On Bags That'll Actually Fit

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    Illustrated by Sydney Haas.

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    Prepping for a weekend getaway or long-anticipated vacation is a series of checklists. Boarding pass? Check. Quart-sized bag with all your 3.4-ounce liquids? Check. In-flight podcast entertainment? Check. But before you head to the airport, the crippling panic sets in: Is your carry-on the right size?

    As a standard, most airlines will allow a carry-on that's 45 linear inches in combined length, width, and height. What varies is how each individual carrier breaks down those dimensions: At American Airlines, United, JetBlue, and U.S. Airways, any luggage you bring with you onboard should be 22 inches long by 14 wide and 9 tall, max. Delta offers those approximate measurements as a guideline, but doesn't specify dimensions for its 45-inch cap. An International Air Transport Association (IATA) initiative trims those numbers even further, identifying 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches as the sweet spot for carry-ons. Numbers are everything.

    As if you didn't spend enough time obsessing over prices and dates and other numerals during the trip-planning process, now you need to pore over inches and centimeters to decide whether or not your weekender will make the cut. We know the struggle — and more than anything, understand how frustrating the search for a go-anywhere travel bag can be. So we did the obsessing for you. Ahead, we round up backpacks, duffels, and other gear that's within these tight numeric margins, so you can shrug off your worries at the airport terminal.


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  2. Illustrated by Sydney Haas.

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