How to pack for business trips with just a carry-on

Traveling with a single piece of luggage can save time and stress – and can even be good for the environment. Getting everything you need for business trips into a carry-on may take some practice, but will make your life easier.

Do carry-on bags save money?

In a word: yes. Most airlines allow passengers to bring onboard one personal item – like a laptop case, purse, or small shopper/backpack – and one carry-on at no extra cost. Checked bags can cost anywhere from $20USD to $100USD per item, depending on carrier rules and flight length. Saving money with the carry-on is an easy win.

Choose the right carry-on bag for your business trip

Before you even start packing, the key is to pick the right carry-on – one that meets airline size requirements. The most common size is 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 cm) for domestic flights, including wheels and handles. For international flights, slight larger carry-ons may be allowed. Typically, there are no weight requirements for carry-on bags but always check with the specific carrier for rules. Opt for a lightweight and durable bag that suits your travel style; suitcases, duffle bags and backpacks with multiple compartments can help you organized.

Traveling with just your carry-on bag and personal item can help speed the security process. You can skip the check-in counter and head straight to security. If nothing else, you’ll be spared from standing at the bag carousel waiting for the light to start flashing once you arrive at your destination. You might also find that navigating public spaces and transportation is easier.

Smaller bags are good for the environment

Airplanes consume a significant amount of fuel to lift off and stay in the air. The weight of the aircraft, including passenger luggage, directly affects fuel consumption. By traveling with just a carry-on, you can help reduce the overall weight of the, leading to lower fuel consumption and, consequently, fewer carbon emissions.

Make a business trip packing list

Write down everything you want to take on your trip, and then get rid of items you can do without. Think: One belt instead of multiples or two pairs of shoes instead of many. Stick to versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits. Garments that can be layered can help you stay comfortable if temperatures change during the trip. Roll your clothes instead of folding them to minimize wrinkles and save space. Compression packing systems can help fit a lot into a small space. Place heavier items at the bottom of the bag and lighter items on top to distribute weight evenly. Wear the bulkiest clothing items, such as a jacket or boots, on the plane.

Don’t overdo the toiletries

We all appreciate a good skincare routine, but toiletries will quickly add weight to your carry-on bag. Bring along travel-sized containers or invest in reusable travel bottles to carry your essential liquids. Be sure your liquids don’t exceed airline limits or restrictions.

Know what not to pack

Speaking of limits, certain items are restricted or prohibited in carry-on bags, such as sharp objects, liquids over 3.4 ounces, and firearms. Traveling with an unusual item? Familiarize yourself with all guidelines to avoid complications and delays at security checkpoints.

How-to guides

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