Luggage: To Check or Not to Check

 In Articles, Traveling

Should you check your luggage or carry it on; that is the question. Whether you are on your way home for the holidays or you booked a wonderful trip on a tropical island, what to do with your luggage is always a topic of discussion. Getting through some airports can be complicated enough without the added stress of wondering where your bag is, or worse, regretting dragging it along in the first place. There certainly are times when carrying your luggage is not the best option, but there are also times when you should definitely keep it close to you.

So should you check your luggage or carry it on? What are the pro’s and con’s for each? Let’s find out!

Checking your luggage: PRO’s:

-You can move freely in the airport. Carrying your luggage around the airport, even if it’s only a few pounds, can be quite annoying, especially if it’s a large airport and you have a few good hours to spend there. If you check your luggage, you can move around without worrying about the safety of your belongings or deal with the hassle of lugging things around.

-There are fewer limitations with what you can pack. You know all those serums and moisturizers you love to use but don’t have in travel size? Yeah you can check them and not have to worry about if it’s 2 ounces or not. As you know, there are quite a few regulations regarding what you are allowed to have in your carry-on. The liquids have to be in small, transparent bottles and you can only have a limited quantity. You are also not allowed to bring any sharp instruments and depending on the country, even some medicines can’t be carried on. 

-There won’t be the dreaded burden of dragging a suitcase onto a plane. You know that moment when everyone is standing between the chairs trying to find a space for their luggage on your packed flight? You won’t have to deal with that. Instead, bring a small carry-on (like a purse) with essentials like a phone charger and maybe snacks to keep easily accessible under your seat. 


Checking your bag: CON’s:

-You will spend more time checking-in. Getting your boarding pass can only take a few seconds if you don’t have luggage to check, especially if you do mobile boarding passes. On the other hand, if you want to leave your bag, you have to stand in additional lines to get it tagged and checked. Depending upon the size of your airport, this could add a considerable amount of time to the process.

– You will also spend more time at the airport after making it to your destination. Instead of walking off the plane and out the door, you’ll have to find your way to baggage claim. Again, depending upon the size of your airport, waiting for your bag can cost you valuable time.


Carrying it on: PRO’s

-You have complete control over your belongings. If you have important, valuable things in your luggage, you may want to keep them in sight. Although airlines have a great protocol of dealing with luggage, there’s always a small risk of having your belongings stolen. 

-You won’t have to worry about your luggage getting lost or delayed. It is not uncommon to hear about airlines leaving a few pieces of luggage behind or maybe even ending up on the wrong flight. Sure, it will eventually get back to you, but the idea of being in a foreign country without your belongings is not at all relaxing.

-You can leave right away! As mentioned above, when your flight lands you don’t have to wait for your bag since you already have it. Just de-plane and go! 

Carrying it on: CON’s

-You have limitations on the size and weight of your bag. Most airlines only allow small bags, typically no bigger than 20 inches tall, and it needs to be a certain weight. If your luggage fails to meet the specifications, it can result in the airline checking your bag at the gate, which sometimes comes at an additional cost to you. 

-You will need to limit what you bring back. Because of the above restrictions, if you already overpacked to begin with, don’t even think about trying to stuff souvenirs in that same bag. You may find yourself purchasing another bag in your destination, then checking it when  you return. If you know you like to shop it may be more beneficial to just check a larger bag to begin with. 

-You may spend more time going through TSA. It goes without saying, the fewer things you travel with, the less likely you are to be flagged by TSA. If you are flagged, they may need to inspect your luggage, and if you have a lot of things it can take a while.



Personally, my preference is to carry-on my bag because I despise waiting! But it honestly depends on so many variables. Where am I going and for how long will ultimately be the deciding factor. If I have 18 hours of travel time between 3 different airports, the last thing I want to do is carry a heavy suitcase around. 

At the end of the day, just know that there is no right or wrong answer here. Do what works best for you in that given situation. I can’t say you won’t have regrets because I swear every time I check my bag I want something out of it, and everytime I carry a bag on, I want to find a way to get rid of it. Ultimately it always works out. 

What’s your luggage preference? Let us know in the comments below whether you’re team carry-on or team checked bag.



About the Author

Ayishia is a self-proclaimed Charleston native who writes about all things travel on her blog As a writer, advocate, and travel blogging millennial, she strives to educate on the important impact travel haves and why it should be incorporated as a self care practice.


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