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How To Fit Everything Under The Seat

Of all the awful baggage fees airlines now impose upon passengers, it can't get any worse than charging a fee for your carry-on bag. But some budget airlines such as Allegiant and Spirit Airlines have been charging a carry-on fee if you need to use the overhead bin for a few years, and more recently Frontier Airlines has joined the foray. If you're like most travelers, you'd rather bring your luggage on board than pay an extra fee, but what happens if you're faced with a carry-on fee that you're not willing to pay? Here are a few tips on how to fit everything under the seat.
Under the Seat Bag (Credit, Randy Yagi)
Get An Under-The-Seat Bag

Travelers can avoid overhead bin fees by simply using a bag that fits under the seat. Under-the-seat bags can also make for a more relaxed trip – you avoid both the hassle of finding space in the overhead bins and the often unpleasant rush to grab your bag once the seat belt light has been turned off upon arrival. Under-the-seat bags typically have a main compartment, one or more smaller zippered compartments and many feature rollers and an upright handle for easy transport. Among the top retailers that sell under the seat bags are Samsonite, Victorinox and Solo.

Related: How To Easily Book Last-Minute Travel

Solo Executive Backpack (Credit, Randy Yagi)
Other Bags

Under-the-seat luggage with rollers and handles are the most convenient but certainly not the only option. Indeed, some experts say duffel bags are generally more affordable and have more space for carry-on items. Additionally, duffel bags are lighter than conventional luggage and some also come equipped with rollers and a retractable handle. However some drawbacks to consider with duffel bags is less protection for your valuables and wrinkled clothing. Backpacks from retailers such as Solo and Eagle Creek are also worth mentioning, in addition to Amazon and eBags, and many models can be found equipped with rollers and a retractable handle

Pack Lightly

If you are determined to avoid exorbitant baggage fees, it's essential to pack lightly and leave the fluff behind. This may require only bringing along a certain amount of clothing, toiletries and anything else you deem necessary. It's certainly easier to pack for warmer climates but if you're traveling during the winter, it may help to simply wear layered clothing during your trip. Other tips to consider include how many gadgets such as a laptop or tablet are necessary to bring along, necessary items to wash your clothes on the trip and even leaving some things behind when you're ready to fly back home.

Related: Tips On Packing Lightly For Vacation

Travel Packing Bags (Credit, Randy Yagi)
Other Considerations

If you're still having trouble fitting everything into a single carry-on bag that will fit under a seat, then you have to decide what else to leave behind. Toiletries are a good place to start since many of these items can be purchased during the trip or can be found in many hotel rooms. And while you can also compress your clothes with mesh packing cubes or plastic packing bags, it might be easier to just leave that extra pair of pants or shoes at home. Other items to leave at home include jewelry, valuables, books (especially if you are bringing along a tablet) and any camera other than the one that's equipped with your smartphone.

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on

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