Here is a quick synopsis of business travel.
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Once upon a time, airlines didn't charge you extra money for checked baggage. So you could pretty much pack as much as you wanted into your luggage and carry on only what you needed. Then a few years ago, airlines began charging for excessive checked luggage. So you packed a bit less and made sure everything you needed fit into one or two pieces of luggage.
After that, every piece of luggage checked at the ticket counter resulted in a charge. So you changed your strategy and packed everything you could into your carry-on bags – even if that meant bringing an extra piece or two onto the plane with you, but the future of business travel may be even more restrictive. In April 2010, Sprint Airlines began charging customers $45 for each carry on bag which fit into the overhead compartment!
Will the other airlines follow suit? If so, what does that mean for business travelers? Will you have to put all of your carry-on luggage underneath an airline seat in order to avoid extra charges?
The end of this saga is yet to be written. But Doug Dyment, founder of Onebag.com, is not worried. His website focuses on how to travel as lightly and efficiently as possible. In fact, Dyment brags that he can pack whatever he needs for a six-month trip in a single bag – which fits underneath the plane seat in front of him! According to Dyment, you can fit a week's worth of socks and underwear, up to four "nice" outfits, toiletries, and a couple pairs of shoes in a single piece of carry-on luggage which will fit in the 21x16x8 inch space underneath a standard airline seat. Impossible? Here are his suggestions for having everything you need for your business trip packed neatly at your feet:
Use every bit of space you can. Put accessories or medication bottles in your shoes. Place jewelry or other small items in unused toiletry bag pockets.
Utilize the back of the seat. For items like in-flight reading materials and snacks, place them in the seat pocket in front of you. You can either stuff them into outside pockets of your bag or carry them in your hands as you get on and off the plane.
Pick the right bag. Dyment's favorite is the Air Boss from Red Oxx. It measures 21x13x8 inches and weights less than four pounds. Whichever one you choose, make sure it has adequate internal tie-down straps as well as numerous pockets and compartments.
Don't pack your suit. It will wrinkle. Period. If you absolutely have to have one, wear it on the flight.
Think before you pack. List everything you need to take with you, and then cross some things off that list. Pack clothing items that match with one another, and consider leaving the laptop at home if you have a smartphone or an iPad.
Bundle-wrap instead of fold. Lay your clothes flat and then wrap them around a centralized object (like a toiletry bag) to prevent wrinkles. Go to Onebag.com for a tutorial on this packing method.
So don't let the airlines milk you out of any more money than they already do. It is possible to pack smarter and lighter, and as Onebag.com can attest, you don't necessarily have to shove everything into the overhead compartment.