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Carry-on — Can be various bags in various shapes and sizes, all of which are intended to be carried onto an airplane and measure small enough to fit under the seat or in the overhead bin. The maximum size carry-on bag for most airlines is 45 linear inches (the total of the height, width and depth of the bag). Anything larger should be checked.

Compartments (wetpacks, shoes and toiletries pockets) — Look for sealable compartments, like wetpacks, shoe bags and toiletries pockets, to keep wet or dirty items separate from your clean clothes.

Cosmetic case or vanity — Small case with a mirror and compartments to hold cosmetics. It usually has a spill-resistant interior. Composed of hard or soft sides. Often an "essentials bag" can double as a cosmetic case.

Denier — Measures the thickness of the fiber in a fabric, and indicates the material's durability.

Expandability — Certain luggage offers a zippered compartment that contains several inches of additional fabric, so it expands in an instant.

Fully lined interiors — An extra layer of protection for your clothes from outside elements.

Garment bag

Garment bag — Soft vertical bag with interior bar and hangers for garments and outside pockets for other apparel. Can be folded in half or thirds, lengthwise and fastened.

Hide-away locking handle — Retractable handles work with in-line skate wheels to help roll your luggage if it's too heavy for you to carry.

In-line skate wheels — Small, often side-mounted wheels that give your luggage mobility.

Integrated ID tag — ID tag sewn directly onto your luggage rather than hanging off the handle. It offers more reliability, so your luggage returns to you in case its misplaced.

Lightweight frames — Metal luggage frames that are treated to be tough, but light, so they're easier to maneuver.

Overnight bag

Overnight bag — Traditionally a small rectangular suitcase, it's now any piece of luggage large enough to carry apparel and necessities for an overnight stay. A "shoulder tote" is typically just the right size!

Packing capacity — Interior space in your luggage that allows for packing. Some luggage looks big, but has obstructions (like the frame and retractable handle pipes) that don't allow as much space.

Ribbed corner guards — Keep the fabric extra protected in the area where it's bumped the most.


Suiter — Today, this term usually refers to a built-in compartment in another bag, such as an upright, that holds two to four suits. It has hangers and suit-folding frames.

Upright — Also known as the pullman. A standard large suitcase-style case, this rectangular piece of luggage generally measures 24" to 27" wide with interior compartments. It may be hard or soft and feature wheels for easy movement and a telescoping handle on the opposite end for pulling the case behind you.