Guestpost: Professional, Small Suitcases For an Overnight Business Trip

The Best Suitcases for a Short Business Trip | CorporetteWhich is the best suitcase for an overnight trip?  We’ve talked about Kat’s top packing tips, as well as rounded up some great weekender bags, but this is totally up business travel blogger Road Warriorette’s alley, so I thought I’d pass it on to her — thank you for guest posting, RW! – Kat.

Reader C is on the hunt for a professional, small suitcase for overnight business trips, to help her cut down her baggage:

I travel occasionally for work, and have the standard wheeled suitcase that everyone has, which is perfect for up to week-long trips.
But lately, I have been doing more overnighters, and my usual suitcase plus a computer bag plus a purse is overkill.

I am searching for a wheeled bag that’s big enough for an outfit and my toiletries, and a separate compartment for my laptop. Ideally it’s professional looking enough that I could wheel it into the corner of a business meeting, and not be embarrassed because it looks like a backpack or a duffel bag. Any suggestions from the hive?

I totally understand—it feels weirdly wasteful to travel with a suitcase that is half empty. There are so many professional-looking standard sized rollerboards, but it seems like smaller bags that look appropriate for work are few and far between. Here are a few options.

The Best Overnight Cases: Lo & Sons' O.G.If you are a minimalist packer, you may try only bringing one bag. I have the Lo and Sons O.G. and I love, love, love it. There are plenty of pockets, and using a few light-packing tricks it can hold all the items you need for an overnight trip. Even if this type of bag won’t work for you as a suitcase replacement, it would cut down on your load as a combo purse and computer bag.

The Best Overnight Cases: Bagalini Rolling BriefcaseAnother option is a rolling briefcase. There are plenty of professional, high quality options available that will fit all of your necessities. My two cents is that if you go this route (or the small suitcase route) then pick one that has a flat top, so you can still stack other bags on top. I like this Baggalini Skyline Rolling Briefcase. It has several compartments, comes in plenty of colors, and has great reviews.

The Best Overnight Cases: Victorinox EurotravelerFinally, there are small rolling suitcases. There aren’t a ton of options out there, but you can find something will look professional, roll easily, and hold plenty of stuff. Victorinox is a great brand—I own the Victorinox WT 20” rollaboard and love it—and their Eurotote is on clearance right now at eBags.


Readers, which are your favorite suitcases for an overnight business trip?

 overnight business trip




    I have one like this and it’s great for short trips. It fits laptop, laptop accessories, files, an outfit or two, my toiletries case, and a pair of heels.

  2. SV in House :

    I have an older version of this and it is great for your needs:

  3. Hideo Wakamatsu Jelly Bean: None better.

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      I love my Hideo Wakamatsu suitcase. Love it.

    • The name sounds like a dance you would do at a tiki bar.

    • Workingmomz :

      I have a samsonite knockoff of this I got for like $40. It’s shiny which makes me happy. I use it for business trips and am old enough that I don’t care if it’s not perfectly professional.

  4. It’s a tough balance. I have a rolling briefcase but often opt for a duffel instead…because I’m generally on commuter planes that have itty bitty overhead bins and the rolling briefcases sometimes don’t fit and have to be gate-checked. And waiting for a gate-checked back defeats the purpose of my booking seat A1 so I can jump out of that plane ASAP!

    I do most of my overnight travel from company office to company office, so I’m OK with popping into a meeting with my travel duffel (it’s black and leather).

    • long time lurker :

      YES. I frequently fly small commuter aircraft and do not want to gate check. I have a Tumi Everett Bag (it was a gift, I know its pricey) that I can put a folded suit plus some files. It’s basically an expanded messenger style bag with shoulder strap. I then carry a large tote purse with a mac book air. No gate check!

      • Team Tiny Duffle here too.
        I made that choice after trying to take a wheeled suitcase through the snow and slop of northern climates. I use a sleek leather bag for office travel and a durable, unpretentious nylon one for work site visits, combined with a very small reusable shopping bag containing reading material, ear plugs, iPad, water, etc.

    • I think that the Lo and Sons OG bag is extremely small!! You can only fit a very small laptop plus maybe a couple more small items. You would not be able to fit a business outfit into this bag. I was very disappointed with it. I would suggest getting a rolling briefcase or something similar to that. I have tried the Solo brand bags, and they are nice and have multiple exterior pockets.

      • +1 on Lo and Sons OG. (or -1?) I am very disappointed in it – I cannot even use it as my carry-on, let alone an overnight bag. It barely fits my work laptop, and I absolutely cannot get a laptop, files, jewelry roll, wallet-purse, and other essential carry-on items in it. Huge waste of $$$ for me. I am an “older” professional and have reverted to a TUMI backpack, if you can believe it. Today I walked into a client meeting with it, and there was a fellow (male) partner and a senior associate, also toting backpacks. We seem to all be waking up to the practicality of a backpack over the alternatives.

        As for overnight bags, I have an Eagle Creek for 1-nighters and an LLBean for multi-nights. Both are carry-on size, well organized, and I love them as much as one can love luggage.

  5. LL Bean Coupon? :

    Does anyone have a coupon code for LL Bean they’re not using?

  6. I have a small black rollaboard that I got at Costo back in the early 2000s. It’s a Kirkland brand one. I have a ribbon tied on the handle so I can grab the right one. For the closings I have been to, there are a bunch of similar ones all in a corner of the room and it hasn’t been a big deal. I’ve never noticed any swanky bags, just pretty well-used wheelies.

    YMMV — this is for law / finance where everyone is on a day trip to/from NYC or some other short-hop trip with at most two nights away from home.

  7. saltylady :

    I had a big, sort of laminated duffle/tote thing with a great, subtle pattern that was so awesome– it could fit several changes of clothes and the toiletries, with room for a book and an ipad. The zipper died and I’m devastated- I can’t find anything cute that’s like it. I bought my husband a Jcrew guys waxed canvas tote and I’m planning to usurp that.

    • Anonymous :

      Your local shoe repair store – if you can find one – can often repair or replace a zipper.

  8. I know someone who has this and swears by it.

  9. But if you're carrying on everything :

    . . . what about toiletries. It is not possible to put everything into little < 3 oz. bottles (aerosol hair spray, mousse), plus some of us need a hair dryer and full-sized brush every morning. How do you deal with this?

    • I’m a huge user of toiletries – for overnights, I will use a travel size hair spray (lots under 3 oz out there) & then I use empty contact lens cases for creams/hair gels (I’ll switch products to carry on) & use alternative products for other things (e.g. powder foundation instead of liquid, towelette cleansing cloths instead of liquid face wash, etc.). I’ve never stayed in a hotel that hasn’t had a hair dryer so I don’t take those.

      • sweetknee :

        Great idea about the empty contact lens case. I have bunches of those just laying around since one comes free every time I buy new disinfectant solution !

        • Agree with all this. I never travel with a hair dryer any more and can’t remember the last time a room didn’t have one.

      • This is exactly what I do. I don’t use mousse, but for curly hair creme and smoothing gloss I use a contact lens case. There are also several decent travel sized hair dryers available. (I actually posted about this today.)

        I also use the contact case for other toiletries that I only need small amounts of–face wash, eye cream, and moisturizer. For toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, I recommend pouring some of your normal products into the Aveda Fillables bottles (or any refillable bottle, really). I promise it will all fit into the quart size bag! I bring another small toiletry bag for things like contact solution, deodorant, comb, and razor.

      • What about shaving cream? I condense all my other toiletries into tiny bottles/cases, but I haven’t figured out how to reduce the size of shaving cream even though I only need a little for a quick trip. Even the travel size version takes up half the quart-size bag!

        • Charmed Girl :

          I forget where I saw this tip, but it works well is to use conditioner instead. So while I’m picky about the shampoo/conditioner for my hair, I’ll use the hotel provided conditioner for shaving.

    • I just bring a standard size roll-aboard suitcase (for a different reason – in order to accommodate sneakers and workout clothing, even for an overnight trip). I figure no one is going to look askance at my suitcase as long as it is overhead compartment sized, so I don’t worry about trying to bring a super-small one for overnights since that doesn’t fit my lifestyle.

    • Most hotels have hair dryers (I will usually check when I book) and the brush is something I usually bring. There are travel-sized hairsprays (drugstores / Target / hair places should have these — if you use a pump-style sprayer, you can refill, but I also have aerosols).

    • Hotels have hair dryers and nobody *needs* large cans of hairspray or mousse. You can get travel sized ones or decant into a travel container for non-aerosols, but I just don’t use any because I honestly don’t think anyone is scrutinizing my hair. Once I started traveling a lot, I stopped caring about bringing stuff. I even use hotel shampoo and conditioner. It’s not that bad.

  10. I do frequent 1-2 day business trips and use the Lo and Sons OMG as my purse/laptop bag. Works great. (For a purse, I use a small cross body that can either go in the OMG if there’s room, or I can wear it if I have a lot of paperwork, snacks, etc. in the OMG. But you could easily sub in a slim wallet).

  11. Anon Lawyer :

    That second bag looks a lot nicer and more stylish than my clunky litigation bag which I hate… hmmm

  12. The OP says she’s carrying a purse — why? That’s the first thing to go! Use a wristlet to carry your ID, credit cards, and cash — it goes in your briefcase.

    As for toiletries — every single hotel that’s halfway decent has shampoo, conditioner, lotion and a hair dryer, so there’s no need to bring any of that, and of course there are travel-size versions of hair spray, mousse, etc. Check any CVS or Walgreen’s.

    As for “worrying about a backpack or duffel look” — this is why it’s sometimes hard to take Corporette seriously. This is 2014. No one is paying THAT much attention to whatever you wheel into and store at the side of the conference center. You see all types. It’s of no consequence.

    • I think the point is that people go to meetings that don’t involve storing luggage at a conference center. A lot of times you’re going to someone’s office, sometimes with important clients in the room. You want to be discreet and not look like you’re wheeling your suitcase from college around so you can gtfo as fast as possible when the meeting is over (even though it is, of course, what we are all trying to do).

    • I Do Not Like the Cone of Shame :

      RSJ, it’s a legitimate question. Just because it’s not an issue for you doesn’t mean it’s not a concern for me or for other readers.

  13. I just got this one for a week-long trip in Hawaii (yep, packing very minimalist), and it’s great so far! All the reviews seem positive, and it’s deeper than it looks in the picture. And it has a laptop sleeve. And the front pocket can fit your tablet if you’d like. I think it’s really stylish as well. And I like a red bag (even though they have it in black and purple) because it stands out if you ever need to check it or something.

  14. After a lot of research, trying out, and agonizing, I got this Delsey:

    The spinners on it are fantastic, there’s a great spot for my 17″ laptop, and it’s PURPLE!

  15. I recently splurged on packing cubes. They’re so worth it.

  16. +1 for the Victorinox 20″. Got it recently and am very happy with it for a 1-2 day trip.

  17. I recently got the 18″ Travelpro Flightpro – it’s smaller than the average roller but perfect for an overnight with space for gym shoes, and holds my laptop easily.

  18. Tom Bihn’s Tristar ( Free yourself from wheels. The bag has backpack straps that can be neatly tucked away if you want to carry it on your shoulder instead. It’s big enough to carry a 15-inch laptop, change of clothes AND change of shoes…If you get it in black it will pass perfectly well as a business bag in any office. Packed normally, it will fit in a commuter jet overhead compartment, and even jam-packed it should fit under the seat in front of you. Never once had it taken away from me for gate-checking.

  19. Honestly, I went looking for smaller, lightweight luggage because hefting my 22″ bag into the overhead bin on business trips was getting embarrassing. Anyone else have this experience? I’m on the shorter side, so I have to lift my bag completely over my head. With an unwieldy large bag, a nearby man will often offer to put it in the bin for me, as I probably look like I’m about to fall over backwards trying to do it myself. I appreciate the chivalry, but it takes me out of the kick-a$$-and-take-names frame of mind for a business trip and makes me feel more like a little girl.

    I currently use this superlight 17″ roller bag and love it. It’s only 6lbs empty. I have no problem getting it into the overhead bin!

  20. Echoing – love our LO & Sons OG too! Great for travel and day-to-day work commuting!

  21. I never seem to get it right – that perfect overnight/laptop included professional bag. Appreciate all these great suggestions – off to do some online shopping.

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