Person walking by in front of a brick wall carrying a yellow JanSport backpack.

The Best Carry-on Backpacks for International Travel

Melissa Badamo Sep 06, 2023

There’s so much out there in the world to see. Whether you’re traveling overseas with family and friends or embarking on a solo trip, preparing to fly away from home for a few weeks or months may feel daunting at first.

To travel hassle-free, you’re going to want a lightweight, comfortable, and reliable carry-on bag that checks off all the TSA guidelines. While all airlines may have slightly different guidelines, you’re generally allowed to bring one carry-on and one personal item. It’s also a good idea to check your airline’s specific weight and size requirements.

To help you pack and prepare, we’ve got you covered with some of the best carry-on backpacks for international travel.


The Ultimate Carry-All Backpack

The king of travel backpacks, the Driver 8 Backpack does it all. Weighing only 2 kg, this full-size, versatile backpack features wheels and a durable handle, so you can maneuver the airport with ease and lighten the load off your back as you wait on the TSA line. With its tuck-away shoulder straps and padded back panel for maximum comfort, you totally have the option to toss it over your shoulders like a traditional backpack, too—get you a backpack that can do both.

As for space, the Driver 8 contains two main roomy compartments, a mesh water bottle pocket for ultimate stretch, and a front pocket to easily access the small travel essentials like lip balm, a phone charger, and, of course, your passport. For maximum comfort, throw in a neck pillow and sleep mask to stay well-rested, especially if you have a long flight ahead. This way, you’ll arrive at your destination with maximum energy to make unforgettable memories.

Of course you can’t leave home without your electronics, so thankfully the Driver 8 also has a 15-inch padded laptop sleeve. Now you won’t have to worry about your laptop getting damaged as you board the plane.

Oh, and it’s available in all kinds of cool colors and patterns, too. We recommend choosing a bright, unique swatch, like Russet Red or Space Dust, so you can easily locate your bag in case it ever gets lost in the airport.


The Backpack For Every Overseas Adventure

At 1.3 kg, the Odyssey Backpack is another light yet roomy option that’ll fit all your travel needs. Available in a classic black color, this efficient bag features three main compartments, an outer organizational pocket, and dual mesh water bottle pockets to stay hydrated during your adventure. Just remember to keep your reusable water bottles empty (TSA’s “3-1-1 liquids rule” only allows liquids less than 3.4 ounces), and refill once you pass through the checkpoint.

With a 15-inch padded laptop sleeve and a plush lined tablet pocket, the Odyssey Backpack is also working overtime to keep your electronics safe and sound.

In addition to its regular shoulder straps, this pack has a bonus sternum strap that buckles across your chest, as well as a tuck-away hip belt, giving you that extra support for when you’re standing in the airport for quite a bit. You’ll need loads of energy for when you land and begin your travel adventure, so the last thing you’ll want is a heavy load on your back, especially if you’re planning a hiking trip abroad. Not to mention, the extra straps keep your bag super safe and secure at all times.


The Best Crossbody Bag For Travel

If you’re looking for a more compact bag, consider the Pro Crossbody your newest travel buddy. At a lightweight 0.26 kg, its main compartment contains organizational pouches, allowing quick access to your phone, wallet, passport, etc. It's perfect for when you want to stay hands-free but don’t necessarily want to carry a full-sized backpack to your seat.

Not only is the Crossbody great for boarding the plane, but it also comes in handy once you finally land and start sight-seeing. This way, you can make the most out of your travel without getting weighed down.

The Pro Crossbody is available in three neutral colors and features a sleek square design with a handsome diamond pattern. It’s also part of the Pro Pack System, so it attaches right onto the Pro Pack backpack if you’re looking for some extra storage.


The Best Mini Backpack For Travel

Weighing only 0.2 kg, the Half Pint Mini Backpack is ideal for international travel. Don’t let its small size fool you—this pack has a roomy compartment for all your personal items and accessories. In addition to the small essentials like your phone and passport, we recommend packing headphones and a book to keep you occupied in the sky. Audiobooks and e-books are great alternatives, because you can have an endless digital library right at your fingertips.

This backpack is also available in a bunch of cute colors and patterns. If you’re vacationing somewhere tropical, bright colors like Pale Banana or Mood Map, or floral patterns like Dark Flora, could not be more perfect.

Flying overseas and seeing the world is an incredible experience. Whether you’re planning a hiking trip and need something big and durable like the Odyssey Backpack, or you prefer something small yet functional like the Half Pint Mini Backpack, there’s something for everyone’s travel needs.