Luggages come in many forms and sizes. Some of them being denoted as

  • S (small): height ~53 cm (~21 inch)
  • M (medium): height ~63 cm (~25 inch)
  • L (large): height ~73 cm (~28 inch)

The length and th depth are proportional, I won't write them, but when talking about the luggages here I am referring the standard forms and sizes that would come to your mind.

On the other hand there are luggages which are big (in form of duffel) with 120+ liter size.

Being recently employed in a job that requires frequent traveling (traveling days usually ranging between 5 - 14 days), and having a limited budget initially, what should be the "starter pack" size for the luggage I want to buy?

Edit: Adding more context

Obviously for any newcomer in the business world a quality carry-on is a must have. At the moment I am satisfying this need with Eastpak Gooff. It is not a trolley but it is huge and fits all of the airline carry-or requirements.

The next option for me to either buy a 140+ liter duffel or a 25 inch trolley. My reasoning is as follows:

  • The duffel: I will certainly need it at some point. And I can use it both for long (multi-week) and short (at most two week) travels, simply putting less clothes in it.
  • The 25 inch trolley: It is not a carry-on, but good for at most 2 week travels.

Given limited budget a the 2 options above what is the right choice in terms of multi-functionality?

  • 4
    There isn't really a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The size of your luggage will depend on how much you need to bring. That will depend on things like the clothes you need to carry, length of your trips, whether you'll be doing laundry, season and climate, and whether you'll need to carry any special equipment. Personally, I'd buy (if you own no luggage whatsoever) a carry-on sized bag, which I'd use whenever possible, and a larger bag (probably ~25-26 inch expandable, but I don't take a lot of clothes and don't spend too much time in the cold) for long trips. YMMV Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 21:10

2 Answers 2


For business travel, the right answer is a good carry-on bag. You do not want to check in luggage when travelling for business: you'll need to wait for it at airports, and because there's always a risk of your bag being delayed, you'll need to drag along a second bag with the essentials anyway.

A carry-on bag is plenty even for trips of several weeks if you learn how to pack it well. Sizewise, you'll want to pick something that is well within airline limits: 55x40x20 cm is the "standard" limit but not all airlines follow this. You'll also want a soft, not hard bag. Personally, I'm partial to Antler's bags for reasonable quality at a reasonable price, but your mileage may vary.

  • 3
    I think it's hard to generalize that every business traveler only needs a carry-on bag. Certainly, I prefer to avoid checking luggage where possible, but there are a number of reasons why a carry-on might be impractical for a two week business trip. If you're expected to wear a variety of outfits and shoes for different occasions, a carry-on may be impractical. Same for work in very cold weather. A carry on with two weeks of socks and underwear plus toiletries doesn't leave much room; whether the OP needs more fashion options at work isn't something we can judge. Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 1:51
  • @ZachLipton You don't carry two weeks' worth of clothes, you carry a week's worth and wash/dry-clean them. Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 2:03

The people who I know travel the most swear that they always exclusively use a carry-on bag. See this question for the most common size limits for carry-ons. While I completely understand the main advantages of using only a carry-on, I rarely manage to fit my desired items in such a bag alone. I do always put valuables and absolute necessities into a carry-on which I recommend to everyone as well.

While I have way too many types of suitcases and travel bags, the one I use the most is a 26" hard-cover suitcase which is considered medium size. It can easily fit up to two weeks of clothing which is sufficient for any length of trip since longer ones require doing laundry. I live and sometimes travel to very cold places and I would say that a single jacket and boots sometimes are large enough to fill an entire carry-on bag!

Some of my suitcases are 31" models which is too big. Even if filled with the lightest items such as clothing, those suitcases end up above 50lbs/25kg at which point most airlines charge extra. So the space ends up never entirely used.

With a hard-side suitcase, nothing inside has ever been damaged, although I have had the suitcase itself dented and sometimes wheels ripped off. There are two-wheeled models where the wheels are recessed and those have yet to be broken off since they provide little area to be twisted off.

The other issue I have with only using a carry-on is the liquid limit. Even with a small set of cosmetic such as deodorant, toothpaste, sunscreen, shaving cream, aftershave, sanitizer, it is easy to end up over the limit. Add a few additional items such as lotion, lib balm, lens cleaning fluid, repellent, etc and you can see how it is difficult to carry all that within the rules. I also use a razor which is not allowed to be in carry-on. Sure, you can buy this at your destination but do you really want to do that every place you go? A tube of shaving gel can last almost a year, so buying it often would be wasteful.

  • No need to pack the jacket, you can bring it on board. Most airlines are also OK with an additional carry-on bag for a suit. Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 2:09
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    @jpatokal - Of course not, you can wear it too. Going from cold to cold is OK but going between climates is just uncomfortable or simply cumbersome. I'd rather pack it, if I don't need it.
    – Itai
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 2:45

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