Nerissa Settie, who, as the butler executive at Raffles Doha in Qatar trains the butler team and oversees day-to-day operations, wrote in an email that “each option offers a different benefit”, with duffel bags providing more depth and wheeled bags providing more compartments and less strain on your shoulders. If you opt for the latter, buy a bag with four wheels, Settie advised, which is easier to manoeuvre along an aircraft aisle.

Whatever bag you choose, know the rules. Carry-on bag dimensions vary by airline, so be sure to check your specific airline’s size and weight requirements, including those of any connecting carriers.

Also pay attention to your route and fare class, which can affect the number of bags you’re allowed to carry on, as well as their weight. And remember: While your bag may comply with the carry-on policy, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be allowed to bring it on. For instance, if you’re in a low boarding group, you’re more likely to have to gate-check your bag. With that in mind, keep essential items like medicines in a small bag that can easily fit under the seat in front of you.

If you’re unsure about whether you’re allowed to pack a particular item, check out the government websites for the places you plan to travel through, such as the Transportation Security Administration’s What Can I Bring? page and the European Commission’s Information for Air Travellers page.


When it comes to packing your clothes, the question is: Should you fold them flat or roll them? Settie recommends rolling because it uses less space and results in fewer creases. That’s easy enough with T-shirts, but what about a suit jacket?

The butlers at Raffles Doha use a technique that involves turning one shoulder of the jacket inside-out and then tucking the opposite shoulder inside it, aligning the sleeves and then folding the jacket in half while inside-out, which minimises wrinkling and helps protect the outer layer of the jacket. Or simply wear your blazer onto the plane, something Settie suggests because jackets and jeans take up a lot of space and weigh more.

Besides, she said, doing so gives you “the added benefit of travelling in style”.


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