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What are the size limits of a carry-on suitcase

Dear Rosanne,

I’m glad you asked this question. Many casual travelers believe that as long as they limit their carry-on baggage to one suitcase, they’re good to go. Not true. Every ticketed passenger on every domestic airline (with the exception of Spirit, which charges for carry-on bags) is entitled to one piece of luggage and on personal item (such a a purse, diaper bag or laptop bag). However, that piece of luggage must be regulation size. And while there is no industry-wide standard, your carrier will have on its web site the exact dimensions your bag must adhere to in order to avoid being sent back to the check-in counter to pay for a too-big bag.

Helpful hint: In general, if you add the width + length + height of your carry-on luggage and the total number is less than 45 inches, you’re probably good to go.

Here’s a list of links to the carry-on policies for most major airlines:

The Difference Between Baggage and a Suitcase

Sunday night’s Mad Men episode was all about suitcases, a topic that’s gotten a lot of coverage here on The Window Seat. In the show, the suitcase not only embodied the metaphor of possibility, durability, and “going places,” but also that which weighs us down, our “baggage.” It has always struck me as unsettling that the suitcase, tied so intrinsically in my mind to travel and adventure and the call of the unknown, would also have this flip-side negative connotation. “He’s got baggage,” we say, to imply that someone carries a heavy emotional load.

Q&A: Guru Offers Packing and Baggage Tips + Giveaway

Unlike travelers who loathe slapping down extra cash for baggage fees, I am thankful for them. Yes, thankful. It’s as if the airlines were speaking to me when they began charging for those checked bags. They were saying to me, “Jennifer, stop packing so many shoes.” You call it an inconvenience. Nickel and diming. Poor customer service. I call it tough love. Really, do you need anything more than a carry-on bag? I’m currently on a 10-day trip that includes stops in San Diego, Phoenix and Dallas, and I say, “No checked bag needed.”

Kelly Vrtis, resident packing guru at The Container Store, would agree that you don’t need anything more than a carry-on bag — if you create a plan and invest in products that make packing easier. I asked Kelly to share her top packing tips with readers, and here’s what she tells us.

10 Great Packing Tips

This week couldn’t go by fast enough, could it? In fact, you’re already starting to pack for your Memorial Day getaway, aren’t you? But, do you really need all of those shoes? Well…do you?! It’s only a three day weekend. I say, pare down, and spend the $50 you would end up paying on roundtrip baggage fees on a nice dinner instead. Here’s how:

10 Great Packing Tips

Have Gun, Will Travel to America’s National Parks

As of yesterday, the traveling public is now allowed to bring loaded handguns into most of our national parks as long as they follow the local state laws (for permits and whatnot). Hunting, however, still is illegal within national parkland, as is discharging your weapon, as is bringing a loaded gun into a visitor’s center, so I’m a little unsure of what this new law is supposed to achieve.