Budget Travel Bags Are Blowing Up on TikTok – But Are They Worth It?

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With 85% of Americans planning to travel this summer, money-saving travelers are shopping for cabin bags that can beat airline luggage charges and are cheap to buy. Bargain bags are currently all the rage on social media, with low-cost cabin bags that appear to fit snugly inside an airline bag sizer blowing up on Tik Tok. 

With travel increasing, several cheap travel duffels claiming to beat airline bag charges are going viral and selling out fast. A $15 bag recently went viral on TikTok, with a video that's racked up 6 million views demonstrating how it fits perfectly into budget airline's Ryanair bag strict sizer. 

The Narwey Duffel Bag

The bag is called the Narwey Duffel bag, and it's available from Amazon right now for just $15. Available in a wide range of colors, the low-cost duffel measures 40cm x 20cm x 25cm, and maker Narwey, it can be placed under airline seats – meaning there is no need to pay for extra baggage.

Despite its compact size, travelers have been raving about how much they have been able to fit inside it. A travel blogger, emilystravelguides on TikTok, showed off the budget bag and commented, “The viral Ryanair cabin bag is the real deal.”

Emily shows the bag in the 10-second clip and demonstrates how it fits perfectly inside the baggage checker at the Ryanair terminal. In the short video, she also shows how she has packed clothes, toiletries, a laptop, and other essentials for her trip inside the small bag. 

Another TikToker, Lilythompstone, recommended the outrageously cheap bag for a short city break and showed the bag fitting the Ryanair bag measuring tool at an airport. Her viral video has nabbed more than 9.5 million views, more than 600k likes, and viewers commenting that they “bought it so fast” after watching the popular clip.

Are Low-Cost Bags Worth It?

While the bags have received glowing reviews on social, not everyone is convinced. “These viral social media bags are the hand luggage equivalent of fast fashion,” says Creative Director of Cabin Max, Sean Gresty. “They are often made from unsuitable materials and do not undergo strength testing or quality control practices of established hand luggage brands.” 

Gresty adds that while a “sub-£10 bag may seem like a great bargain at the time,” travelers might be forced to buy an expensive replacement at the airport if it breaks. While many have praised the bag on TikTok, some Amazon reviewers have given the viral bag a one-star rating, with common complaints ranging from broken zippers to loose stitching.

“This bag didn't even survive one flight,” wrote reviewer ‘Caroline K' on Amazon. “The quality is very poor, and the stitching came undone within hours of its first use. I was on my way to the airport when the zipper broke, and it was my first time ever using it,” wrote another disgruntled customer.

When Bags Don't Fit The Airline Bag Sizer

Bag expert Sean Gresty thinks that viral videos aren't always the best way to judge a bag's quality. “It's always best to go with an established brand that offers a warranty on their products – preferably one with an excellent rating on independent review sites like TrustPilot or Which?,” he says. 

Along with quality complaints, some customers have posted online reviews that claim that these low-cost bags don't always fit strict airline bag requirements, even if they are marketed as fitting. TikTok user Viktoria complained on social media after she said her bag didn't fit into the sizer and Ryanair's basic luggage rules only allow bags measuring 40cm x 20cm x 25cm. In the video, she said, “POV: you bought the viral Ryanair backpack, and it doesn't fit the sizer.” 

I really wanted to love the TikTok bag so I could get on the TikTok shop bandwagon and make my millions, but honestly, I wouldn't bother,” said TikToker The Travel Mum. “Some things are worth spending a bit more money on if they will last,” she added. 

Flight Approved

Another common problem with low-cost bags advertised as ‘flight approved' is that the bag's dimensions often exclude the wheels and handles. This oversight causes cabin bags to be rejected at the check-in counter or gate, and travelers must then pay for the bag to go in the hold. 

As airlines enforce stricter regulations on carry-on luggage sizes, passengers may have issues with cheaper cabin bags at the airport – especially if they have protruding or oversized wheels.

“Wrongly advertised as an EasyJet bag,” wrote one Amazon reviewer. “It's 49cm, not 46cm, so it can cause serious problems (and money) if people want to use it as a free under-the-seat cabin bag.”

“Looking to maximize the EasyJet allowance, you'd have to be careful not to overstuff this as it will expand beyond the allowable measurements,” writes another Amazon customer. 

Reduce Stress at The Departure Gate 

So what can passengers do to ensure their bargain bag meets airline requirements and reduce additional stress at the departure gate? PLAY, the low-cost Icelandic airline, has some tips that travelers should bear in mind when it comes to packing for their getaways.

“Don't confuse personal baggage for carry-on baggage,” a spokesperson said. “Personal items are often free of charge and allow travelers access to those essential items during their flight, whereas carry-on baggage often incurs an additional charge.”

PLAY also advises that it's important to note that most airlines will include the wheels of your suitcase within the required allowance, so be sure to use the image guide on your airline provider's website when choosing your chosen bag. 

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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