Is International Carry On Smaller Than Domestic?

Learning the rules is the first step in traveling lightly. Choosing the appropriate carry-on luggage is the next step. Want to know if international carry-on is smaller than domestic? We've researched this topic thoroughly to help you prepare for any international or domestic travel.

International carry-on frequently has a smaller capacity than domestic. This is due to the fact that overseas planes generally enforce such regulations more strictly and allow for smaller carry-on luggage than domestic flights.

Learn the guidelines in this article, including what counts as domestic and international carry-on and some ideal luggage for international travel. We will also share with you some typical carry-on sizes by region and globally since the guidelines aren't the same. 

Young man pulling suitcase in modern airport terminal, Is International Carry On Smaller Than Domestic?

What Size Carry-On Is Allowed?  


What Are The Carry On Luggage Sizes By Airline - Woman with luggage stands at almost empty check-in counters at the airport terminal


The Standard carry-on size for domestic flights within the United States (U.S.) is 22" × 14" × 9". However, anyone who frequently travels short-haul commuter flights might warn you that this size frequently won't fit into the overhead compartment, so ends up being checked at the gate instead.

Carry-on luggage size requirements measured at airport terminal gate.

The flights that qualify as domestic are flights leaving the U.S. with international destinations as well as departing from abroad with a U.S. destination typically use the U.S. standard for carry-on luggage size.


International - Hand luggage measurement using measuring tape.

The usual carry-on size is smaller outside of the U.S. In this case, the rule of thumb is around 21", not the 22" and higher carry-on size. 

There are always exceptions to the rule, therefore it is a good idea to examine the websites of all the carriers you intend to use while traveling to find out what their policies are. 

Consider changing the normal domestic carry-on bag in your set with an international carry-on size bag if you frequently travel outside the U.S. or are wanting to buy a bag for someone who does.

What Are The Carry On Luggage Sizes By Airline?

Cabin crew lift luggage bag in airplane . Airline transportation and tourism concept.

For you to see the carry-on differences between domestic (America) which is within the U.S. and international flights, some of the size restrictions for carry-on luggage are listed below per region and airline:




Middle East

What Are Restrictions On Carry-On Luggage Packing?

The stewardess helps the passengers to put their luggage in the cabin of the plane

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) imposes the same rules on domestic and foreign travelers' carry-on luggage when it comes to packing. According to the 3-1-1 rule, toiletries must be packaged in containers that hold three ounces or less.

With a few exceptions, each passenger is only allowed one bag, and bottles must all be packed into one quart-sized bag. This 3-1-1 rule was put into place in the wake of an attempt to detonate a liquid explosive bomb in any international airport.

Check with the U.S. before returning from abroad to find out if they are prohibited from bringing in snacks like fruits, veggies, and canned or dry meats.

Regardless of how safe or pest-free it may appear to be, every fruit or vegetable must be disclosed to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer.

What Are Some Ideal Carry-on Luggage For International Travel?

Close up of legs of young man going into the airport with suitcase

You should get a suitcase that is 21” or less in height to ensure that it will be accepted by all transport services. It's wise to research luggage size requirements when traveling with smaller, regional airlines outside of the United States, which each has the authority to set its own rules.

Below are the ideal carry-on bags to purchase you may purchase if you plan to travel internationally:

1. Travelpro Maxlite 5 - 19"

It has such a sleek appearance, and because of its superb design and utility, you can go through the airport with ease and style. This option is incredibly light with only 5.5 lb. The shell is durable enough to endure impact while maintaining its stylish appearance. 

The wheels are smooth, the handle is adjustable, and the grip is comfortable and ergonomic. There are many lovely colors available for the Maxlite 5 as well! Also, there are 21" models for international travel but 19" is a safer bet.

Click here to see this Travelpro Maxlite 5 carry-on luggage on Amazon.

2. Travelpro Maxlite Air - 21"

This luggage is not only gorgeous, but it also performs amazingly well. The hardshell weighs only 6.3 lb, is extremely robust, and is flexible enough to absorb impacts. 

It can expand up to 2" to provide them with a little extra storage for their travel back home, and the inside compartments are really big.

For maximum maneuverability, it has eight reliable spinner wheels, a handle that extends to 42.5", and TSA locks for security. It also has a great sense of style and comes in many lovely colors.

Click here to see this Travelpro Maxlite Air carry-on luggage on Amazon.

3. DELSEY Paris Helium Aero - 19"

This is a lovely alternative for a nearly ideal international carry-on luggage size that works well for European airlines as well as other foreign destinations.

It won't weigh you down and provides a smooth ride due to the spinner wheels and 8 lb weight. Also, it has a simple TSA locking system and expands up to 2" for additional packing space.

Click here to see this DELSEY Paris Helium Aero carry-on luggage on Amazon.

You could utilize the 21" DELSEY Chatelet for travel to other destinations. This version has a brake to prevent your bag from sliding, whereas the other version does not. Both are excellent choices!

4. Samsonite Omni PC - 20"

This is only 6.8 lb, making travel simple. The 20" size fits in the overhead bin of the majority of international planes. The polycarbonate shell will undoubtedly withstand the rigors of travel and the 360° wheel spinners are simple to control.

Your belongings are safe with TSA side-mounted locks, and customers adore the overall quality! The Omni is available in many shades, including some vibrant, exciting choices.

Click here to see this Samsonite Omni PC carry-on luggage on Amazon.

5. Samsonite Winfield 2 - 20"

This is another popular choice for both local and international travel. It is relatively light at just over 6.5 lb and durable. When you open it, nothing will fall out because the inside partition zips up, and the outer TSA locks keep everything safe.

Click here to see this Samsonite Winfield 2 carry-on luggage on Amazon.

6. Briggs & Riley Baseline Spinners - 21"

The luggage is praised for both its performance and quality. With a sturdy fiberglass frame, spinning wheels, an adjustable handle, corner guards, and the ability to extend, there's no doubt that this item can withstand anything. 

It contains a power section for charging on the go, a TSA zipper lock, and an excellent inside organization. It is also relatively light weighing 8.8 lb.

Click here to see this Briggs & Riley Baseline Spinners carry-on luggage on Amazon.

7. Steve Madden Designer - 20"

This stylish, 7.8 lb luggage is small enough to fit in the tiniest overhead bins. Although it might not come to mind right away, designer luggage is a really practical and well-liked option.

It is excellent for both domestic and international travel due to its small size. High-quality, incredibly durable fabric is used to make this luggage. Additionally, it has a broad wheelbase to prevent tipping over, which is a regular soft-side user complaint.

Click here to see this Steve Madden Designer carry-on luggage on Amazon.

8. Kenneth Cole Reaction - 20"

This carry-on luggage is incredibly fashionable! The polyester-twill exterior has a gorgeous appearance and is quite durable. With excellent interior organization, you can fit everything you need perfectly, and at only 6.4 lb, it won't make you feel too heavy. 

Additionally, the eight multidirectional spinning wheels provide the smoothest rides possible such that the weight is actually barely noticeable. 

Click here to see this Kenneth Cole Reaction carry-on luggage on Amazon.


It's essential to check the carry-on luggage size regulation with your specific airline to make sure your selected travel companion will be suitable for your journey as each airline is unique and each suitcase has slightly different dimensions.

If you intend to travel internationally and only want to possess one piece of luggage. A carry-on bag with a maximum size of 21" × 14" × 8" will be acceptable to many airlines worldwide. Bon voyage!

For more related topics, check out below.

Does Security Check Carry-On Bags?

What Happens If Your Carry On Is Overweight?