Is it possible to pack for a four day business trip in a bag that fits under an airplane seat? Reader L asks,
I always carry-on now & so far, I haven’t had to gate check my bag. However, on the way home from a recent trip to Vegas for a trade show, the flight was overbooked & it seemed everyone had decided to carry-on. The only reason I was able to carry-on was because I boarded early with my client (he’s on the road all the time & has great perks! I don’t travel enough to have any perks.)
So my question is this: Do you think it’s possible for a woman to pack for a four day business trip in a carry-on bag that will fit under the seat in front of her if the overhead bins are full? And if so, do you have any recommendations for the best type of bag in that situation? Something that still looks professional?
I love this question. Reader L is absolutely right—if you don’t board early in the process, there is a good chance that there won’t be room in the overhead bin for your bag. If you pack smart and have the right bag, there is no reason why you couldn’t fit what you need for a four day trip in a small suitcase that will fit under the seat in front of you.
Tips for packing light:
Plan to rewear. Wearing items more than once will allow you pare down to the necessities.
Use a packing cube. I have easily fit clothes for four days in a packing cube (pictured).
Bring two pairs of shoes. While normally I say three pairs, shoes take up a lot of room. Two pairs will probably be fine.
A sample packing list:
- One dress.
- One pair of pants.
- Two cardigans.
- Two shirts.
- Day 1: Dress+cardigan
- Day 2: Pants+shirt+cardigan
- Day 3: Dress
- Day 4: Pants +shirt
Finding the right bag
One of my favorite packing websites, Travel Fashion Girl, has packed for five days in her Lo and Sons OG. While I admire that, it’s a bit trickier for business trips because you have to carry all of your work stuff in addition to your clothes. So while you could do it in a large purse (and more power to you if you go that route!) I would use a rolling briefcase. The key is to look for a bag that has a place for your laptop and then a separate, larger compartment for clothes.
The travel bag of the week from this week, the Women In Business Croco Rolling Briefcase, would actually be perfect. Another option is the London Fog Luggage Chelsea computer bag. Before purchasing a bag, check the dimensions to be sure it fits airline guidelines (here is a handy list from USA Today). Pack all of your clothes in the packing cube, and leave that at the hotel during business hours. I strongly suggest bringing a small purse that you can use when you’re not working so you don’t have to lug your big bag around.
Readers, would you try to pack for four days in a bag that fits under an airline seat?
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