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Frequent Travellers: How to Choose and Use an Under-Seat Bag So You Never Have to Check Luggage Again

If you hate waiting at the baggage carousel for checked luggage, it's time to figure out how to pack lightly and fit everything into an under-seat bag. While space varies, most airlines have under-seat luggage areas measuring 19 x 11 x 17 inches in width, height, and depth or the equivalent of 48 x 27 x 43 centimeters. If you want to make the most of this space, you need the right bag and the right travel strategies.

Take a look at these essential tips:

1. Check your favourite airline's under-seat dimensions before buying a bag

While looking for an under-seat bag, keep in mind that space offerings vary from airline to airline, and in most cases, space allowances also vary between coach and business class. To ensure you get a bag that is going to fit, use the dimensions above only as a rough guide, and make sure you check with your favourite airline for its exact offerings in the section of the plane where you tend to travel.

2. Choose luggage with an add-a-bag strap

When you use under-seat luggage, you typically have enough space in the bag for a couple day's worth of clothing, your laptop, a few toiletries, and other travel essentials. For some journeys, this amount of room is ideal, but in other cases, you may need to bring an extra bag.

Luckily, most airlines allow a single carry-on bag which is your under-seat bag as well as a personal bag. Depending on the airline, your personal bag could be a purse, a small backpack, a compact briefcase, or a range of other small options.

So that you can easily carry your under-seat bag and your personal bag, choose an under-seat bag with an add-a-bag strap. These convenient straps can also be used to hold bulky winter jackets, sleeping bags, or other items to your luggage.

3. Leverage extra room in the bag's height or depth

If you are trying to find the largest under-seat bag possible, keep in mind that the depth measurement is flexible. If your airline boasts an under-seat depth of 43 centimetres, for example, you could buy a bag that exceeds that length. It will just stick out a bit, and you will have to rest your feet on it.

4. Book centre or window seats if possible

The seat you book can also have an impact on how much room you have for your bag. In general, centre and window seats have more under-seat luggage room than aisle seats. Keep that in mind when booking your flight.

5. Don't overfill the bag

When you are finally ready to start packing, remember not to overpack the bag. Stuffing it too full may make it impossible to slip it under the seat, especially if your bag is relatively close in dimension to the amount of space offered by your airline.

6. Use external mesh or gusseted pockets

If you just have too much stuff to fit in your under-seat bag, you don't' have to overfill its interior. Instead, push whatever you can into the bag's external pockets. Many under-seat bags feature mesh pockets that are ideal for slipping in umbrellas, bottles of soda, or other small essentials.

Many of these bags also feature gusseted pockets that expand as you fill them. Take advantage of these external pockets. They allow you to carry your items easily through the airport, and when you get to your seat, if those items prevent your bag from fitting under the seat, you can slip them out of the external pockets and hold them in your lap through the flight.

Keep these ideas in mind as you search to buy luggage online.