You’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what to bring for your vacation. Your stuff is piled up in a corner of your room, on your bed or the floor. You must now face the unavoidable question: Do you want to continue, or do you want to take a break? Where you’re going, how long your trip will be, and the luggage regulations of your airline will all factor into your final selection. The kind of traveler you are is the most important factor to consider. Some campers sit at the far end of each one, and no matter what, they’ll check or keep going. Even if you aren’t a purist, the easiest method to determine whether or not you should double-check is to make a list of important questions and honestly answer them.
When it’s time to keep going
In general, weekend vacations and short business travels benefit from the convenience of packing your carry-on bag. This is true unless you travel often and can pack a suitcase in 10 minutes. Carry-on luggage limits are usually stricter. Review your airline’s luggage policy, paying close attention to the restrictions that apply to your individual ticket. Some airlines charge extra for carry-on luggage.
Liquids are the most important factor to keep in mind. For those who can’t go a day without a complete bottle of their favorite hair conditioner, here is the place to get it. To be sure, you’ll have to check. If you don’t mind using hotel shampoo or picking up sunscreen at the pharmacy when you get there, keep reading.
- Carrying a bag is the best option if you can affirmatively respond yes to any of the following questions
- Having my luggage delayed or misplaced would cause me a great deal of stress and ultimately spoil my vacation.
- It drives me crazy to have to stand in line to get my suitcase checked at the desk and then wait for it to come around on the carousel.
- You won’t have any trouble doing your laundry either by hand or via the motel.
- Taking more than three pairs of shoes on a vacation is unnecessary, and that includes the ones I wear on the aircraft.
- I don’t want to have to pay to have my luggage checked.
- There are a number of places on my route where carrying a hefty backpack will be problematic, such as packed subway stairs or uneven city streets.
- Because it reduces the overall carbon impact of my journey, I like to travel light.
It’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of making sure your carry-on luggage is up to snuff. An ultra-lightweight roller bag can help you optimize your storage space. Consider getting a baggage scale so you aren’t caught off guard at the airport due to an overly-large bag. Remember that even with the greatest intentions, things will not continue on as normal. If the overhead bins are full when you board, you must check your baggage (usually, a courtesy check at the gate is free). Consider putting medicine or valuables in a convenient cabin pocket. Everyone dreads being the weirdo on the floor with open baggage.
When is it appropriate to check?
In general, most people choose to check a bag on longer travels. The huge wheelie could be ready to come down from the top of your closet if that’s your boat. Traveling with sports, photography, or video equipment that you don’t wish to rent once you arrive will need you to check a bag. If you’re going to a lot of destinations or someplace with chilly weather, you’ll need to prepare appropriately. If you want to bring a lot of stuff, such alcohol or packaged gifts, you should inspect your baggage (TSA might unwrap gifts found in carry-on bags).
Most frequent flyer clubs and certain credit cards provide free checked baggage privileges, although the cost of a checked bag is often more than that of a carry-on. In general, it isn’t difficult to stay below your airline’s checked luggage weight limits unless your trip is a month long or you are carrying bowling balls. This means that you should know exactly how much luggage you’re checking in before you arrive at the airport.
- If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the following questions, you might consider checking a bag:
- Even for a short vacation, cramming all of my belongings into a carry-on suitcase is a huge hassle.
- I’ll go shopping if my luggage is delayed or misplaced. I think it’s OK.
- I’m on a trip with a child under the age of two.
- Pre-boarding without a bag is more convenient for me. With a wheelie in tow, it’s impossible to get into a restroom stall or into a bar.
- I don’t want to depend on the goodwill of strangers or flight attendants to lift my suitcase into an overhead compartment.
- There are times when I don’t want to play footsie with my overflowing tote bag for the whole plane ride.
- Even with a new pillow cover, placing my head on a pillow that has been used by someone else gives me the creeps.
Because you’re already checking and won’t be rushing to get medication and valuables out of your bag, take the time to plan ahead and place them in your personal item. It’s possible to make the difference between an exhausting flight and one that you truly like by bringing along some snacks, an eye mask, and earplugs. In addition, if you want to check a suitcase, allow additional time at the airport. The U.S. Department of Transportation offers monthly statistics for most major domestic airlines on lost luggage (and other issues, such delays).
Carry-On and Check-In
Carry-on isn’t a guarantee that you won’t need to check a bag on the return leg of your trip. When you’re on vacation and your baggage is lost or delayed, it’s a real bummer. However, back at home, you’re prepared for everything. While on vacation, choose to bring home keepsakes like food, wine, crafts, and clothing. Making use of your initial carry-on and checking a bigger suitcase on your return trip will help you save room. Be gone, packing anxiety!