Whenever I travel by plane, I need to have a table on which to place my computer workstation on it (~1 laptop, 2 external computer monitors, and a keyboard) as soon as possible after I arrive to my destination (typically, a rented apartment or hotel room). For some reasons, a fair amount of rented places don't have any table to work on, or the table might be too small (e.g., only the laptop and a keyboard fit on it).

Is there any type of tables that are convenient to travel with when taking the plane? Is there any clever way to assemble some kind of light makeshift table?

Convenient = light + can be placed in a regular-sized check-in luggage (~28 x 19 x 12 inches is quite common).

I am looking for two types of tables: 1 steady enough to use a keyboard on, and 1 not necessarily that steady, just good enough to hold a laptop and/or the 2 computer monitors.

What I found so far:

  • Some websites such as Airbnb indicate the presence of "laptop friendly workspace", but that significantly reduces the accommodation options, and sometimes such filters are quite vague (and looking at pictures of the place might not be enough: difficult to estimate table size, and the furniture might have changed).
  • One can use a small fridge, a shelf, and a regular-sized check-in luggage as a table.
  • I can buy a table locally but that takes some time + money, and in some locations I might arrive after the shops closed.
  • I am aware of one could use coworking spaces.

I have crossposted the question at:

  • @close voter: If you think the question is too broad, please let me know what I should further specify or give me one of the solutions you have in mind. Jan 14, 2019 at 5:28
  • Look at camp/camping tables or look at buying a set of telescoping or folding legs and attach them to the lightest weight top you can find.
    – mkennedy
    Jan 14, 2019 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


Assuming your accommodation has a bed, you can use that. To get a table like surface on it, place your suitcase* on top of it (perhaps even try opening the suitcase and place it so the sides are facing upwards, assuming it fully opens that way). If your suitcase isn't big enough to fit everything, consider putting your laptop and keyboard on the bed itself and the monitors on top of the suitcase (which lies flat on the bed).

One advantage is that you can set this up in two ways, you can sit on the bed yourself too or you can use a chair. Another advantage is that you don't have to carry extra stuff, you already bring your suitcase.

Two significant drawbacks are that you cannot use your suitcase when there is stuff on top of it. Also, when you have to place your notebook on the bed, it may have trouble losing it heat. For that, you might have to get a notebook standard with a fan, just so the bottom of the notebook doesn't touch the insulating sheets.

Another, perhaps minor drawback is that your suitcase may get a bit dirty when you travel a lot so you may want to clean it before putting it on the bed.

*As remarked in the comments, I also think a hard-shell suitcase works best here.

  • Unless you got a hard shell suitcase and a firm mattress, the external monitors are going to be a problem. Even with those items, I could still see the monitors being...wobbly.
    – mkennedy
    Jan 14, 2019 at 19:58
  • @mkennedy yea you may need to tailor your choice of suitcase to this purpose.
    – JJJ
    Jan 14, 2019 at 20:13

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