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Looking for the perfect 2nd bag with tote strap to carry on top of the RS rolling carry on.

Fellow Travelers,

After several Rick Steves tours I think I have just about nailed the packing light thing and now I am looking for the final piece. During my most recent trip I used the fantastic RS rolling carry on along with a smaller bag suitable for toting on top of the rolling carry on. This combination provided for easy mobility and it worked out nicely during those long walks to and from the hotels and buses. I purchased the smaller bag on Amazon, and although it did a credible job, it is admittedly cheap and a little flimsy. I doubt that it will survive another long and fast paced trip.

I am now looking for the perfect second bag to complement the RS roller carry on, and I would like your suggestions.

My requirements are:

  1. Slightly smaller than the Rick Steves rolling carry on, but large enough to fit at least two mid size packing cubes and a few other small items.
  2. It must have a solid tote strap for easy mounting on the Rick Steves carry on roller. Some tote straps are flimsy and the top bag tends to flip over.
  3. Ballistic nylon exterior.
  4. Carry on size for all airlines (note, I usually check the RS roller).

My top candidate so far is the AER travel weekender. See link. It is a little pricey at $189, considering the fact I paid $129 for the Rick Steves carry on, but it looks like these two would make a good set. Any suggestions?

Posted by
990 posts

Lo and Sons OG Tote in Med or Large. They are having a 20% off sale right now, although if you can wait - they do bigger sales at times.

Lo and Sons Catalina - they have many sizes

This company is pricey, but I love them - wait for a good sale if you can. They often do 30-40%off.

I typically change out all straps to OP/Teck USA Mini SOS strap from amazon - it is super comfy and you can't even feel you are carrying anything.

Posted by
1884 posts

I love Rick Steves' Euro bag and always take it when I travel domestically or in Europe. It fits nice under the seat in front of me & also on the top of my Rick Steves' rolling bag. I occasionally take both aboard (I did last fall to France) and have never had a problem carrying on both. I carry all my important stuff, reservations, guidebooks, medications, jewelry, brush, one days worth of clothes, kindle, covid masks, etc. etc., all the necessaries. The Euro bag has great outside zip pockets & side pockets & inside mesh pockets & an attachable gray pouch I use for meds

Posted by
5067 posts

We've used the RS Veloce Shoulder Bag with the same carry on bag for several years and have been pleased with the combination. It might not be as large as you would like, but it might be a good alternative for a lot less money.

Posted by
14293 posts

I've been going back and forth between using a Baggallini tote and another one that does not have a trolley strap. There may be a Baggallini that fits your size need. The one I have is the Any Day Tote but I'm not sure it would fit 2 medium packing cubes in it. One, yes. Two, maybe not.

Do you have a TJ Maxx near you? I sometimes see Baggallinis there but you have to act fast or they are gone. Currently my local AAA shop has some Baggallini tote bags too. I like to see what something looks and feels like lol.

editing to add: BTW, I've messaged the Queen of Enblers Regarding BAGS aka Mardee that you've posted, hahaha!

Posted by
7033 posts

Pam, merci du compliment!

Okay, let me roll up my sleeves here.... rcf027, first, I have to tell you that I love that bag you chose. This may have backfired, Pam, because now I really want that bag! Having said that, it is kind of a large bag for a personal item at 35L. It's also a little heavy at 2.7 lbs. That may not bother you, but I like something a bit smaller and lighter. @rcf, I'm assuming you've checked the measurements to see if it fits airline requirements?

I was going to echo the suggestion for the Lo & Sons Catalina Totes, but they do not come in ballistic nylon; only recyclable poly. You might want to look at some Tom Bihn bags. They have a wonderful collection of travel bags and all of them are made in Seattle at their company out of ballistic nylon. They are extremely well made, but quite pricey (pricier than the AER bag). Here's a look at one that's a bit smaller but is a very nice bag.

Posted by
62 posts


My question is not an advertisement. I am legitimately looking for a trolley bag that will round out my needs. I am an avid traveler and I have just returned from my latest trip. Some people have mentioned that the AER weekender might be a little large at 35L. I should add that our RS trips are often book-ended by other trips where other types of clothing may be necessary, and they often last a month or more. A decent sized trolley bag is definitely the right choice for us, Now the question is which one.

One post asked if I had checked out the airline carry on rules to make sure my choice conformed. As far as I can see they are currently 22x14x9, although they have been trending smaller in some places of late. However, in my most recent return from Europe the airline was not at all concerned with carry on size and didn’t even bother to check.

Anyway , I’m not selling AER bags, I wish I was, then I wouldn’t be concerned that the weekender is expensive at $189 lol.

Posted by
295 posts

I use a Verage rolling underseat bag.

Verage Underseaters

Mine is the 14-inch Plus, 30-liters, but I see they have a newer model, Upgrade 14-inch Plus.

They also have 2 smaller rolling underseaters. All are 5-lbs or less.

I have had no problems putting it under the seat on Southwest. On my last trip I put my packed 9-liter day bag and a packing cube in it and still had space to put smaller stuff in.

I really like that the trolley sleeve on the 14-inch plus allows you to place it sideways on top of another bag so the dirt from the wheels doesn't get on the other bag. Also ensures that you still have room to hold the handle on the other bag.

Wish mine had the finger cup on the bottom like the Upgraded version.

Scroll down and they show which airlines each size fits and give the carry-on and underseat dimensions and weights allowed per airline. Of course check your own airlines to make sure this is still valid.

Sorry RCF,
I didn’t see a posting history on your post. Also, your post was so well written and organized compared to most posts. No offense intended.

Do you really want a 35 liter bag as a 2nd bag to ride your roller? It’s rather large for a 2nd and won’t fit underseat very well. Try a 28 liter bag or less. Or, eliminate some of the stuff you are carrying.

Posted by
62 posts


The Verage carry on looks very nice. I like the very sturdy trolley strap on the 4 wheel version, and I really like the fact it has wheels which comes in very handy after you check in the bigger bag. I think the two wheel Verage might be the way to go for me but I will need to research if 27L is big enough to fit two medium packing cubes and a small dopp kit. After much tweaking I have determined that my packing needs for a month-long trip with various outfit needs and at least one laundry stop is two large packing cubes that fit perfectly in the RS roller, and two medium packing cubes plus a dopp kit in the trolley bag. The 35L AER weekender will definitely do this job, but the trade off if that it has no wheels and costs significantly more. There is always a trade off! LOL.

Posted by
62 posts


No offense taken. Thank you for the compliment regarding my OP. I agree that 35L might be a bit large for a secondary trolley bag. I mentioned my requirements in a response to khansen. The Verage bag he/she suggested might do the trick. In my reponse I mentioned it is 27L, but I see that the one I have put on my short list is actually 30L which might be the perfect size for me. What do you think given my requirements?

Underseat rollers are tricky to maneuver under seats. You have to be really careful about the dimensions. Also, compressibility to fit underseat is a factor.

27 - 28 liters should be enough for 2 medium Ebags packing cubes and a Dopp kit or similar. I have traveled with a 27 liter pack as my only bag. It worked. I could test pack it for you with 2 packing cubes and toiletry bag to see if it works. Based on my past travels, I strongly believe it will.

About trade-offs: This bag will require a trade-off in fabric, but could work for you if you enjoy floral prints.
The Vera Bradley weekender (not the Grand, just the regular). Fabric cotton. Cost $62 -$72 on Amazon. Don’t buy this weekend. Prices are too high! Much better prices last week! Annoying thing about Vera Bradley and is that the prices fluctuate so much, it’s like watching the stock market. Pick the pattern you desire, then just keep checking for a price drop. The absolute lowest I have seen the weekender is $57. Anything around $62 - $72 is fair.

Posted by
295 posts

Looks like one of the upgrades to the Verage 2-wheeler is an expansion zipper. Takes it from 27-liters to 33.

I’m going to be a pest here. I want to emphasize that this is an underseat bag and must fit underseat, unless you are paying extra for a 2nd bag for overhead bin or checked-in. You need to stay with 28 liters or less.

Posted by
62 posts

I ordered the 30L upgraded Verage from Amazon. It is 17x13x9 so it is well within the specs for carry on luggage. It has an excellent trolley strap, wheels, and it looks like it should fit two full medium packing cubes, a dopp kit, and then some. I will report back when it arrives in a few days. With Amazon returns are so easy that if it doesn’t work out sending it back will be no trouble. However, I think this may be the one.

Thanks khansen for your great suggestion, and everyone else for your input. I hope this thread helps out others who are looking to streamline their light packing.

Posted by
359 posts

I have the Verage 4 wheel bag and love it! Lots of nice features, sturdy, and it holds a surprising amount of stuff. However I am a very minimalist packer and use it for my primary suitcase to place in the overhead bin, so I haven't tested to see if would actually fit under the seat. Good luck with your search. Finding that "just right" bag is so hard!

Posted by
38 posts

Here’s another vote for the Rick Steves Euro bag. We just returned from 2 weeks in Bulgaria where we used the Rick Steves rolling carry-ons for the first time ever. We were die hard backpackers, but we are now “formerly youthful” frequent travelers. I brought the Euro bag and my husband brought a Rick Steves trolley back pack as personal bags. We had no problems bringing the rollers and our personal items on any of the planes. I could put a lot (on airplanes) or not so much (on bus rides) in the Euro bag, it fit well under the seat, and was quick and sturdy to trolley. It was also easy to use as a crossbody tote. I love all the pockets!

We are planning to use this combination again on our next four week trip to Ireland and northern France.

Posted by
62 posts

OP Update

The Verage 30L arrived today. It’s a game changer! Out of the box it looks smallish. However, I loaded up two medium packing cubes with as much as would fit in them and they fit nicely in the Verage with room to spare. My dopp kit fit easily as well. The Verage has several external pockets for laptops or iPads, and other miscellaneous stuff. It also has a USB charging port. Bonus! The trolley strap is as solid as I have seen, and the wheels and handle will come in very handy when the bigger bag is checked. The Verage bag pairs very well with the Rick Steves carry on roller. They make for a handsome, effective, and easy to use kit.

Thanks to those who suggested it! And for those looking to upgrade definitely put the Verage on your short list.