Check-In Vs Carry-On Luggage: Which Is The Best Travel Option?

If you fly regularly, you must have had this question as to check-in your bag or carry it with you.

Fees, the risk of lost or damaged luggage and waiting time aside, deciding whether to check your bags or carry on boils down to your top priority when traveling. Is it comfort, time or money?

Whichever factor tips the scales will let you know how you’ll be traveling for your next trip.

But before we get into this debate lets see what exactly do the terms “Check-in Luggage” & “Carry-on Luggage” mean.

What Exactly Are “Carry-on” & “Check-in” Bags?

A carry-on bag is the type of luggage travellers are allowed to take into an airplane. On the other hand, checked baggage is transported in the cargo area of the airplane.

Airplanes are designed with luggage compartment spaces to store carry-on luggage. The storage space is situated in overhead lockers or under seating.

Depending on which airline or country you fly from, carry-on bags are also labelled as hand baggage or cabin luggage.

Here’s a list of essential items you can pack in your Carry-On Luggage:

  • Important travel documents (E.g. Passport)
  • Money
  • Items of monetary value (E.g. jewelry)
  • Daily medications
  • Electronics
  • Toiletries (E.g. toothbrush and toothpaste)

There is no standardized ‘one-fits-all’ rule when it comes to carry-on luggage weight and size. Rather, individual airlines are entitled to change carry-on bag size requirements. Examples of factors that determine how big your carry-on luggage can be include booking class and the model of aircraft.

The Checked Baggage Vs Carry On Debate

Travel experts are of the strong belief that traveling with carry-on luggage makes travel easier because “there’s no way the airline can lose your luggage if you haven’t checked anything”.

Famous travel writer, Ali Garland is opposed to checked in luggage because she dislikes getting, “weighed down by heavy bags” and would rather avoid having to “deal with expensive checked bag fees.”

But, as the saying goes “there are always to sides of a coin”!

Many people believe that checking in your luggage is easier. They are prepared to pay checked bag fees to forego the nightmare of trying to cram all their travel necessities in a small carry-on bag.

Ask Yourself These Questions Before You Choose

When it comes to choosing whether to check your bags or carry on, don’t feel like you have to come up with a perfect answer for all of your travels. Instead, just decide what makes the most sense for your next trip.

  • Do you need extra room for souvenirs? Are you willing to ship them or do you want to have them on you on your way back?
  • Are you able to pack light for this trip? Or are the activities varied enough that you need more?
  • Do you like to have more with you when you travel? Or does the idea of carrying less make you feel freer?
  • Are you okay with carrying all of your bags on the plane versus dropping them off at check-in?

Is It Better To Check Your Bags Or Carry On—Yes or No?

In a nutshell, it depends!

However, here’s what we suggest you should do the next time you fly:

  • If you really want to save money, then you should carry on your bags. (Just make sure you check your airline’s policy to ensure they don’t charge a fee for this.)
  • If you really want to save time, then you should pay for priority boarding and carry on your bags.
  • If you really want to maximize comfort, then you should check your bags but make sure your carry on has all the conveniences you want for the flight.
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