If you are a regular traveler, you are bound to come across this one question, and realize that it pops up every so often. It is a credible question, after all. Lots of people advocate traveling light, and then many would prefer to have choices, hence an increase in the bag size. Here's the thing - you really have to sit down and think for yourself. Are you comfortable lugging suitcases to check-in, waiting in lines for baggage claim, or even paying for oversize bags. Or would you rather try fitting all you want into a small carry-on baggage, physically lug it around all the time, try fitting it into the overhead space that's always slightly small for your bags. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of luggage carriers. Let's explore them and try to find a good balance and help you decide when you could go completely carry-on, or completely check-in, or sometimes a good mix that works in your favor better.
Carry-on Baggage. What? Why? When?
What is a carry-on baggage? This is the type of bag/s you are allowed to take onto the airplane. You have to make sure, though, that it fits the carry-on requirements of the airplane. Sometimes though, especially with connection flights, your next connecting flight might be a small one, and the authorities will then require you to check your carry-on baggage as well. That one scenario aside, the idea of a carry-on baggage is that you can carry it around with you, all your valuables are safe and secure with you, you have no fear of fragile stuff breaking, you do not have to wait in long lines of baggage claims to gather your stuff, you just have them with you at all times and you are free to leave.
Why should you choose a carry-on baggage? Some of the reasons, we already discussed in the above paragraph. Ease of carrying, flexibility of movement from one terminal to another, or just having your stuff safe and secure and with you at all times. There are additional reasons as well. You do not have to wait around in long lines of baggage claims to claim your bags. You do not need to pay baggage fees some airlines charge for check-in baggage. Sometimes, when the checked bags are oversize, the airline can charge extra fees, which can take a toll. You get to skip all that hassle when you are carrying simply a carry-on. Security clearance is also easy and quick, that's a big plus definitely. Packing and repacking also becomes easier, there is less stuff that you have the chance to forget or lose at any of the destinations you are traveling to. Bottom line, there's enough proof that you save on both time and money with a carry-on luggage only. So, if it is possible to do that for short-distance or short-time travels, try going this route.
When should you choose a carry-on baggage? When you are traveling domestic, or short distances, or even short-term, say a week or two, you could definitely manage it with a carry-on baggage. Try mixing and matching outfits, so you can wear the same and still look different. You will find yourself getting creative for sure. Instead of carrying the tall bottles of skincares, you could just carry travel packs. When you start thinking, you will find there are many situations where you could easily get by with just carry-on luggage. And at times when you are late, or have a long walk between terminals, every minute counts. We would suggest, at every travel opportunity, try thinking if you could do with just a carry-on, and make an educated decision.
Check-in Baggage. What? Why? When?
What is check-in baggage? These are bag/s that you give over to the airline authorities, so that the airline can transport them in the cargo area of the plane. Anyone can vouch for noticing how these bags are treated as they move from the belt, to the trucks, and into the airplane. That aside, this is extremely helpful when you are traveling internationally or have huge baggage. It is impossible physically to fit all baggage, big and small, into the airplane, and attempt storing them like in the case of trains/ ferries. So, the airline has made it easy by introducing the concept of check-in baggage. You essentially become hands-free and luggage light when you are traveling, and don't need to worry that the luggage is reaching your destination. The airlines take this responsibility seriously. Of course, there are occasions when the baggage did not arrive on time, or you would have to wait a day or two to collect them, but that is rare, and usually the airline helps you with these situations as much as possible.
Why would you want to check-in baggage? Again, we discussed some already, but sometimes it is virtually impossible to lug big bags on your own. The airlines provide you with the opportunity to let your big bags travel separately from you in the cargo area, and they take responsibility for reaching them to your destinations, mostly safe and sound. Another advantage is that you are limited in size of items, or types of items (scissors, pocket knives, batteries etc) when taking a carry-on. In check-in baggage, there are no such restrictions. As long as you follow the check-in guidelines, you could carry all your perfumes, shoes and favorite drinks packed in a check-in baggage. So again, depending upon your need, you may want to think of a check-in baggage.
When do you want to check-in your bags? Life has become much easier with airlines providing the opportunity to check-in bags before you travel, from the convenience of your own computer at home, or kiosks at the airport. All you have to do is deposit these already checked-in bags at the counter, where the lines are decidedly smaller. That helps you save some precious time. If you are traveling internationally, or even domestic albeit long distance, and for a longer duration of time, obviously you will need more stuff. And that would not fit in just a carry-on. You definitely then need a check-in baggage. Follow the guidelines of size and shape and you should be fine. This is also extremely ideal in situations where you need to carry a lot of gifts for people where you are going. If you are traveling for a special occasion like a wedding, etc., or traveling to a cold area, your items may increase in size and shape, and you will be left with no other choice other than a check-in baggage. These are the times that checking your bags is the ideal scenario.
Hopefully, this analysis between the two types of baggage allowed by airlines has got you thinking about your special situation, and planning accordingly. Sometimes, you may still want to check-in a couple of bags, and still have some items in a carry-on, and that's perfectly alright. Whatever works best in your particular scenario, you do that. The idea ultimately is to have that perfect vacation, that perfect reunion, without stressing out your travel journey in the process. There are guidelines in place by airline authorities to make your life easy, look over them, follow them, and make the best decision for yourself.
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