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It seems almost every year that airlines are increasing the cost of a checked bag. What used to be included in your airline ticket can now cost you upwards of $50 per bag, per flight. To many, this is a deterrent, but that’s when I like to remind others that a carry-on is a viable option and one you shouldn’t be overlooking. I’ve gone on three-week business trips and taken only a carry-on bag with me with no problem.
Not only do you avoid those sneaky fees, but you also save time at the airport by not having to stand in line to check your bag and wait at the baggage carousel to pick it up once your flight lands. Time is money, and if you travel a lot, this benefit alone can be worth using only a carry-on when traveling.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. It may be easy to pack a carry-on for a weekend trip, but what happens when work sends you galavanting around the country for weeks at a time? It can be challenging to make it work logistically. But, it can be done. Here are four strategies I’ve used successfully and you can, too.

Curate a Monochromatic Closet

This is my No. 1 tip. When I’m traveling, my wardrobe is black, white and navy exclusively. Though this might seem boring to some, it gives me a lot of options to mix and match and minimizes what I need to pack.

Electronic Everything

Books, meeting notes, boarding passes — everything needs to be electronic. You shouldn’t need a pile of printed paper when you’re on a business trip. By keeping everything electronic, you’re saving the environment and space in your bag.

Comfy Shoes

If you’re only able to bring two to three pairs of shoes, it’s important you have ones that you can be in each day for three full weeks. Investing in a good pair of comfortable, professional and most likely black shoes (for versatility) will definitely save you from having to check a bag.

Packing Cubes

I swear by these, and the good news is that they can be found on Amazon for under $25. These cubes help you organize your wardrobe and save space. I’m a big fan of rolling my clothing, and once it’s nicely organized in the packing cube, I can just take it out in my hotel room at my destination and live out of the drawer-like cube the whole time.

Wear Your Heaviest Outfit on the Plane

This kills two birds with one stone. First, planes are cold, so wearing your heaviest, warmest clothing will keep you comfortable. You can even use a jacket as a blanket or pillow if you want to settle in for a nap. And second, since outerwear tends to be bulky, it takes up precious room in your bag. By wearing it on the plane, you’ll save major space.

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