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Dislike carry on luggage

I really dislike dealing with carry on luggage. Although I pack light I almost always check in my bag. I'm in the minority that finds carry on luggage inconvenient. Even though it's silly, the following things give me anxiety:

  • going through security and having to pull out toiletries
  • dealing with it inside the airport (I frequently travel solo)
  • finding room in the overhead bins

I also don't mind waiting for my luggage.

I'm leaving for Europe in two days, and although I know the ongoing airport situation, I'm tempted to check in my luggage regardless. I'm flying on United, with a 3 hour domestic layover. I can't decide what is worse; if I choose carry on I'll 100% be anxious, but if I check in my luggage there is the increased possibility of it being lost.

Posted by
550 posts

IMHO - do what gets you less anxious and allows you to enjoy your trip. There "is" a chance you might loose your luggage but not 100% chance. Just think of all the people who do the same thing you will do and pick up their bag at their destination. Also, I am guessing that you can still buy all or almost all things you "need" and still have a good time (I'm assuming you are not going to the jungle in the Amazon). This could be the beginning of a great travel story.

Have fun.

EDIT ADD: Take your toiletries, a change of clothes and important papers in a small carryon

Posted by
528 posts

There are airports that are worse than others and, conversely, those that are better. Heathrow in June was fraught with issues. Others have reported the same with Schiphol in Amsterdam. Things may have changed since then. Other airports may be fine with check-in luggage lines, etc.

Where are you flying into/out of?

Posted by
2148 posts

Oh, jemamc. I could have written this and experience the same anxieties you do. I do opt to check through although that bag is carryon size and relatively lightweight. I guess I just make the decision to take my chances with checking for the same reasons you do. That said, I never check anything I can’t live without and those items go into the carryon I do actually carryon. It fits under the seat in front of me. This works for me. I flew back and forth from Denver to both France and Ireland this summer and experienced no issues despite layovers and baggage transfers. I did include apple air tags in the bag for these trips. For whatever reason, being able to see where my bag was was somewhat comforting.

Posted by
396 posts

I dislike carry on, too, and always have checked my main bag.

With the current issues, however, while I would still check my main bag, I would be sure to carry on at least a couple of extra changes in essential clothing in case of a bag delay. Of course if the bag never shows up, that is another issue to deal with, but whatever.

One question: how many flight connections in your itinerary? And upon arrival, are you immediately moving on to another city say via train or rental car? When I travel to Europe, I fly non-stops whenever possible to, say, Paris or London, where I will stay for up to a week, and I think that makes it more iikely my bags will be there when I land, and if delayed, more likely they will be delivered to me in a day or two.

Posted by
5 posts

It's so nice to hear from other people who prefer to check in luggage. I'm flying out of SFO. I have a 3 hour layover at Washington Dulles, then onto Dublin.

Posted by
6378 posts

I am a hybrid type of guy. When I traveled for business, most of the time I would check my bag, unless it was a one or two night thing where it all fit in a small bag. Going to Europe, I consider the risk. If we are arriving, then staying in the arriving city for a few days, a week, then no problem checking. But if we are landing, and then taking off to different towns, then the risk of losing a bag also means it may not catch up with me, and that is a problem, so we carry-on, and to be honest, for Europe, we carry on the way there nearly every time.

On the way home? Always check a bag.

Posted by
113 posts

There have been no baggage issues at Dulles from originating flights. As you are doing UAL to UAL connection baggage transfer is a breeze.

Posted by
84 posts

I get your frustration with the last two points. You should really look into TSA Pre Check, or even better, Global Entry. You’ll never have to remove your toiletries bag (or shoes or electronics) ever again, at least in the US!

Posted by
986 posts

If having to deal with a lost bag is not that big an issue than I would check my luggage. For me, when we arrive we usually have places to go, and it may even involve a train or bus ride so carry on only is the way I travel, it just works for me. But if it stresses you to the point of anxiety then it defeats the purpose of travel, mainly to have a good time, therefore check your luggage and enjoy the trip!

Posted by
2855 posts

This is the first year that I've done carry-on only while travelling with my wife and it was strictly because of the lost luggage situation. Peace of mind that our luggage was with us was beneficial, but the worry and then the battle for overhead space was an added stress as people tried to force their way into the pre-boarding lines to make sure they weren't last on board.

Posted by
86 posts

I am also a light packer who prefers to check my luggage. I find it stressful to deal with finding overhead space, and I have been wondering if that is even more of an issue now. Especially stressful is trying to jockey for position when boarding groups are called, hoping to find the coveted "over my seat" bin space. Now with covid, I really don't like being shoulder to shoulder with others trying to do the same. I have essentials and a change of clothes in my "under the seat" bag, and I could make that work if needed. I roll the dice, with clear knowlege I may lose, but also knowing the odds are in my favor.

Posted by
2132 posts

I would check it. I always travel solo and it's a giant pain having to always keep the bag with me, especially for that 3 hour wait before you board. I do put an AirTag in the bag so that I can check on it periodically - that gives me peace of mind - and I carry on a personal items with toiletries, electronics and a change or two of clothing.

As was mentioned above, the odds are in your favor that your bag will get through just fine.

Posted by
9222 posts

We typically carry on, but it’s not for everyone. We leave this Saturday going SMF-SFO-DUB. SMF-SFO is United and after what is now a 9 hour layover we will be on Aer Lingus to DUB. After much anxiety I’ve decided to check my bag. There are several reasons and I’m going to take my chances. I believe my husband has made the same decision. We will have everything important with us and I’ll take a packable duffel bag with a change of clothes for each of us. We will be in Dublin for 3 nights so if necessary anything delayed should be able to reach us and we will Apple air tags in our checked bags.

Posted by
1331 posts

Some people that are strictly, always CARRY ON ONLY can come off like zealots—not only passionate about their own choice, but judgemental of other people's choices. We should all do what we want to, and what we're comfortable with, understanding all factors involved, including which parts of the process are greater stressors for each of us, as individuals.

I check a bag for any trip more than a few days—I think those of us that do are a silent majority. So, always to Europe. Cramming, weighting, stuffing, selecting, lacking options—those are all greater stressors for me than checking a bag.

I do always carry on a bag that will cover some basics- meds, chargers, a change of clothes, in-flight essentials...

Posted by
14232 posts

We're unashamed bag-checkers as well, along with modest carry-ons for the cabin. It's just personally easier for us to pack that way, although we don't overload on the front end by any means. My bag IS noticeably heavier on the back end, though. It's all those darn museum books!!! Oof.

Oh, and we both HATE fighting for overhead space.

Posted by
7356 posts

There's nothing wrong with checking bags. We all have to weigh (pun) the pros and cons and make those decisions. A lot of the arguments for carryon only here in this forum are because many people have not even considered reducing the load they want to take. And, much of the Rick Steves' argument in favor of carryon-only is not just about the aircraft part of the trip. Its about minimizing the amount of stuff you have to carry and manage throughout your trip - to and from hotels, on trains, etc. And the benefits of packing light make more sense if you are traveling "Rick Steves' style", less so if you're depending on taxis and others to carry and load bags, staying in hotels with bellhops and elevators, etc.

I'm hoping to hear from recent travelers if the well-publicized baggage issues have resulted in more people bringing more and bigger carryons onboard.

Posted by
3654 posts

I almost always check a bag too. I've only done carryon only for trips of a week or less. But, with the exception of flights to embarkation ports for cruises, we are almost always in our destination city for several days. That allows time for a delayed bag to catch up. Contrary to some, there really is no right or wrong; only what works best for you.

Posted by
8906 posts

We only started checking our bags a few years ago , doctor’s orders. I get anxious checking them but the US based airlines apps have places to see if your bag has been loaded, unloaded etc which is very helpful to me.
Doing carry on gets you through passport control ahead of the crowd on your flight. That was a big reason we did it too. My spouse hates wasting time waiting for anything!

Posted by
10442 posts

We have been on team Check a Bag for a few years as we like to carry our trekking sticks and high top hiking boots. As we travel for 8 to 10 weeks at a time, we probably have a couple more items than the average person like 10 weeks of hubby’s meds. After struggling with the 21” bags and a spare hold all for the boots and sticks on our 10 week trip last year, we bought slightly larger duffels (24-inch) so that this year we’d have a little more room and not have the darn extra holdall.

That is a long intro to saying I have vacillated on carry-on this year or not. We’d have to buy trekking poles in Europe if we do carry-on and bring only low-top hikers. I did a “practice pack” a few weeks ago and we can manage, but…I really want to use the larger check bags. As our flight is non-stop PDX to FRA, I am confident our bags will be onboard. The question is, is FRA such a mess we won’t find the bags or will have to wait hours for them?

I am putting trackers in the bags (Tile version) and brightly colored straps as the bags are black. We’ll put a change of clothes in our daypacks along with 3-1-1 toiletries. We have two nights in Frankfurt so worst case (I hope!) is we have to wait on the luggage a bit. I suspect Passport Control will be worse than luggage delivery. Anecdotal evidence here on the Forum would indicate things are getting better. It’s no longer “news” so the travel press isn’t saying much that is useful about current conditions.

Best of luck and may you have a smooth journey!

Posted by
286 posts

So pleased to see so many people check their bags. I would not have ever thought this because I have seen so many people carrying on huge bags and multiple bags on to the plane. Then have to stand and ponder their luggage stowage and hold up the boarding process. Plus, they take up too much space wheeling their darn bags through the airport 2-3 abreast and oblivious of others. Not to mention they clog any restaurant table areas with multiple bags piled up in the walking spaces. And the waiting areas.
So, kudos to all the check bag people.

Posted by
13530 posts

If I were flying over now given the confusion and mess that can be encountered in airports, I would just have what is permitted as a carry-on. There have been times when I checked everything in, both pieces, a total of 44 pounds , including what easily was allowed as a carry-on, since I didn't want to be bothered with the luggage. This was on trips lasting a month to 7 weeks, traveling with the Mrs. or going over solo.

Luckily, I've never had any piece of luggage stolen, lost, taken by accident, etc. The pieces were always there where they were supposed to be, even though on one trip especially I had some anxious moments at FRA when I was one of the last 15% still waiting for it to be thrown out....somebody is always among the first as is someone will be last.

There are advantages to both ways of dealing with luggage..... another trade-off. Up to now, ie, pre-pandemic, my policy was never to do carry-on only, domestically or to Europe.

Posted by
2403 posts

The checked/ not checked bag flight discussion leaves out the aspect of using trains while in European countries: can you manage your bags when you have big platform changes, steps, and five-minute train connections?

Posted by
162 posts

Perhaps for this trip carry-on outgoing and check on your return flight?
I travel solo and usually always check my bag as I also hate dealing with it inside the airport (dragging it to the restroom all the time). I recently switched from a roller board type suitcase to a swivel and did carry-on for a recent domestic trip and found I didn’t mind it as much because the swivel type was much easier to handle and I could put my under seat bag on top of it instead of carrying it over my shoulder and that was nice.
I also had a lost bag for the first time ever this summer coming home from Ireland because of a delayed flight/missed connection. It got to me two days later. Since I take a 25” bag for Europe I will continue to check my bag but I now own an Apple Airtog.

Posted by
5 posts

My mother and I just had this discussion last night about our upcoming trip. We have decided to check our luggages but also carry on a packable tote with couple days of change clothing and toiletries. While we have always traveled light with carry on size suitcases, we have always checked these. My mother is older and I am petite, so neither of us want to lug around our suitcases through security and lift these up.

Posted by
2855 posts

I'm hoping to hear from recent travelers if the well-publicized
baggage issues have resulted in more people bringing more and bigger
carryons onboard.

My sample size is small as I've only been on one trip so far this year, but both ends had a connection-so 4 flights. On each one, a preboard announcement was made requesting for volunteers to check a bag because the flight was full and overhead storage may be a problem. There were volunteers for each flight, but also some people were forced to check bags after boarding when no overhead storage was left. No flight left on time and maybe this was part of the cause.

I did notice some bags that were clearly too large, and people with more than 2 bags, but there was no enforcement.

Posted by
5 posts

Yay Team Check In!

I'm taking the same size bag (19 inch roller bag) regardless of my choice. Thanks to all of the thoughtful responses I am going to check it in. I'll have a small carry on with my documents, meds, change of clothes, stuff for the flight, etc.

Posted by
85 posts

I have been carry-on only since 2010. However last month I checked a bag for a domestic direct flight because I needed to bring more items - particularly shoes - for a new job. I loved not having to deal with my luggage at the airport and boarding was a breeze (I too have anxiety about overhead space). OTOH, I disliked waiting for my bag at the carousel and even though I was relatively certain it would arrive, I did have concerns it wouldn’t. I think for Europe I’ll still do carry-on for the ease of arrival/departure at the airport and also because I think I’d panic a lot more there if my clothes didn’t arrive. I hate shopping and don’t want to spend any time buying replacements when I could be touring. I have the luxury of traveling with a spouse who is strong and tall, and he does a lot of the heavy lifting. I might amend my answer if I travel solo.

Posted by
396 posts

The checked/ not checked bag flight discussion leaves out the aspect of using trains while in European countries: can you manage your bags when you have big platform changes, steps, and five-minute train connections?

I can, because I don't check an oversized bag because I am carrying 3 weeks worth of clothes - I pack lightly, do laundry every 5 to 7 days.

In other words, not everyone who prefers to check a bag does it because they over pack for trips. And seeing some of the people who carry on bags, I see many people who have more/larger bags than I have. As someone else noted, it blows my mind that carry-on size limits are rarely enforced on larger aircraft in the US, and like others, I don't want to be stressed trying to find an overhead bin on a flight given that every flight I take is full and people insist on carrying on all of their bags. i like to travel as hands free as possible...

Posted by
1928 posts

We fall in the hybrid category. Our preference is to check unless we are moving on quickly from our destination city and especially when it’s a separate ticket. Weather can be a deciding factor as well; if there is inclement weather related to any connecting flight we carry-on. We’ve learned the hard way in both summer and winter that weather can blow up a good plan. When it’s a direct flight, we check the bag, but always travel with a basic change of clothes and any other necessary items.

Posted by
1190 posts

No one needs more stress, true. But I'd say try to get over it. The many downsides of checking baggage, which do not need to be listed here, yet again--all of which I have experienced at least once and they each made me supremely anxious--far outweigh any stress I once felt about going carryon-only. Also, consider it seems checking bags coming home is much less risky than checking bags outbound. And this, too, should pass.

Posted by
3579 posts

I too travel solo. I certainly don’t love carry-on luggage but it beats the alternative of checking it in and having to wait for heaven knows how long at the baggage carousel only to find out that it’s not there. With the carryon with me, I have control. I don’t want to waste time at the arrival airport waiting for my bag assuming it isn’t even lost.

More often than not, my carry-on is not opened at security but if it is, all my things are in three or four mesh bags so security doesn’t have to open anything because they can see through the mesh. Thus it’s quick.

My carryon which is a two wheel Pullman fits in the overhead compartment easily because its dimensions are carry-on compliant.

I fly directly from JFK to my European destination so I don’t have to worry about connecting flights and I still won’t check in a bag. That you have to take a domestic flight on United increases the likelihood that your checked bag will be lost. That right there would make me 100% anxious.

Posted by
14446 posts

jemamc, you aren't wrong at all. I do carryon out of necessity, but given options I would check. Even now I would guess you have a 99% chance of your bags going through. Enjoy the trip.

Posted by
93 posts

I agree its more likely than no that your luggage won't be lost. That being said, my luggage was lost my whole trip 3 separate times, and I just don't like shopping at my designation. I'm 5'2" not always easy to find things I need, and I really hate shopping.

Posted by
2855 posts

Good point on the height comment. My wife is 5'0" and has to hem all of her pants. That would be a significant issue on the road.

Posted by
6113 posts

We always check a bag and it’s never a small bag. Usually 20+ kgs, but we are usually away for at least a month. I have never lost a bag yet and I rarely wait more than 5 minutes at the carousel for it, as getting through passport control usually takes longer, even if using the e-gates. I am on holiday and I don’t want to be spending valuable holiday time washing clothes every other day.

Hand luggage is for camera equipment, binoculars, medications and a few essentials. The rest goes in the checked bag.

Far too many posts on this forum deal with how to squeeze X amount of luggage into x amount of space. Just take a bigger, checked bag!

Posted by
61 posts

After much debate, we checked last week. ATL-AMS-GLA and back. The return connection was even a tight one - 70 minutes! Both we and our checked bags made it through Schiphol flawlessly. We did Airtag them (which was fun - watching them move slowly around the airport en route to our next plane). Team Check!

Posted by
14232 posts

....can you manage your bags when you have big platform changes,
steps, and five-minute train connections?

Yep. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

Posted by
73 posts

We haven't checked bags in years, ever since missing a connection. Our flight got in so late, we arrived 20 minutes before our connecting flight left - not enough time to unload the checked bags and get them loaded on the new flight. All of us with checked bags were stranded for 3 days. (Miami, spring break.) We had allowed 3 hours between flights, but, alas!, that is not always
enough time if you're flying BahamasAir. "Island time" is definitely different from real time. :)

Posted by
1537 posts

There was a previous post on a similar topic not long ago:

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/packing/give-yourself-some-slack-on-packing-light

I weighed in there with the various advantages of checking a bag.

One other thing worth mentioning: if you're on a tour with other travelers and doing flights within the tour, you won't derive any time saving from carrying your bag on the plane. You will still end up waiting with all the other tour participants until they all get their bags.

I'm doing a solo trip to Turkey and the Caucasus in September and October, and I am planning on traveling with carry-on only if I can. (I won't know for sure until I get to packing.) I just like the peace of mind of having my bag with me. But some of the internal flights I'll be taking during the trip may require me to check my bag, so I will be prepared for that. And I will carry a plastic shopping bag or foldable bag with me for overflow on the way home if I find a lot of souvenirs I can't live without.

Posted by
265 posts

We have all the time in the world
Time enough for life to unfold
All the precious things love has in store

We have all the love in the world
If that's all we have, you will find
We need nothing more

Every step of the way
Will find us
With the cares of the world
Far behind us

We have all the time in the world
Just for love
Nothing more, nothing less
Only love

Every step of the way
Will find us
With the cares of the world
Far behind us, yes

We have all the time in the world
Just for love
Nothing more, nothing less
Only love

Only love

Songwriters: David Hal, Barry John.

Louis Armstrong

Posted by
265 posts

@ Allan

Is people trying to force their way into the pre-boarding lines, a unique US/Canadian sport? Never heard of this before.

Regards Ron

Posted by
1229 posts

It sounds like carrying on for you is a hassle, whereas checking causes you anxiety. IMHO, hassle or not, a carry on will arrive with you, 100% guaranteed.

Posted by
5141 posts

Please check your bag and don’t look back. It’s what you want to do. Keep your essentials with you, and enjoy your trip!

Signed,
A person who always does carry on

Posted by
14232 posts

That linked "Florida finds thousands in stolen luggage" story? What sane individual packs $15,000 worth of bling or $1,600 in currency in a checked bag?

Posted by
240 posts

I too am a hybrid - I almost always carry on outbound, but check homebound. I am usually a solo traveler, mostly for shorter trips. Yes, it is a pain to have to keep up with my suitcase during a layover, but it would be more of a pain if I were only traveling for six days (which is typical for me) and had to worry about a missing bag, waste precious time shopping for new stuff, etc.

If I were going for longer, flying direct, or traveling with someone else, I am more willing to check on the way. We've done it before, putting a few items belonging to each traveler in each suitcase so that if one were lost, we'd all still have enough clothes.

My husband has always been Team Check. He likes to bring beard scissors and full sized toiletries and whatnot. He also isn't a very skilled packer so his clothes take up more room than they need to. We typically fly Delta and because I have the Delta AMEX, when we travel together it doesn't cost anything to check a bag. However, he's started traveling to visit his mother, who moved to another state, and we had to have a little 'Come to Jesus' meeting about going carry-on only instead of paying $30 each way to check. He kind of got on board with it then, but this summer when the news was full of lost luggage stories and photos of hundreds of stranded bags at airports, and we were at YYZ and saw mountains of bags in person, he became a true convert.

I've never had trouble finding overhead space for my bag, maybe I've been lucky. Even with an Economy fare on Delta, I get to board w/Main Cabin 1, so there's usually plenty of overhead space. That said, though i am a committed Carry On Only-er, it does feel luxurious to check my bag on the way home and only have to deal with my personal item!

Posted by
2855 posts

@ Allan

Is people trying to force their way into the pre-boarding lines, a
unique US/Canadian sport? Never heard of this before.

Regards Ron

Maybe. I've never thought about it. Except for one case, all of my flights have always had a North American airport at one end and so full of North Americans. Up until your question I've always assumed the whole world was full of annoying passengers and we weren't special.

Posted by
2855 posts

That linked "Florida finds thousands in stolen luggage" story? What
sane individual packs $15,000 worth of bling or $1,600 in currency in
a checked bag?

That was my first thought as well, except my description was more colourful than "sane individual."

Posted by
1190 posts

What sane individual packs $15,000 worth of bling or $1,600 in currency in a checked bag?

People. Am I right?

My father once asked me to transport 40 US Gold Eagles for him, about $16,000 back then, roughly $70,000 today. Yet another reason to go carryon-only: You too can be a precious metals mule!

Posted by
265 posts

@ Allan

Seems another of life’s pleasures has passed me by and through to the keeper. But my wife has hatched a plan to change all that.

We have friends currently living in Petoskey, Michigan and she wants to visit them. Since disclosing the plan to me, I sometimes find myself waking in the middle of the night in a cold sweat or with my heart at over 200 bpm dreaming about the insightful airport accounts related on these blogs. (200 bpm usually only happens when I am swimming with Whale Sharks at Ningaloo Reef during their twice-yearly migration of the Indian Ocean).

She has devised a plan whereby we fly from Europe into Toronto and are picked up by our friends and then returned for the train journey to Vancouver. Have nightmares over driving in USA. But not Canada.

And am not happy with having to disclose all my personal information on one of those ETSA application forms. Could end up in a cabal members basement in Florida. Canadian law is pretty much the same as mine, so will be at ease in Canada. Also know a colleague in Vancouver (a QC) who I can rely on should I need help. He spent time in chambers (offices) in Ealing, London for a world renown firm often used and spruiked by the Two Ronnies. Martin, Bartin and Far..Far… Far…Fargo. Unless he finds himself promote to the bench.

I have broached, with my wife, the subject of going carryon only when travelling overseas. Appeals to me. Lifetime Oneworld Sapphire gives a little extra carryon allowance in business. Has not gone down well. One cannot show up at Royal Ascot without the latest millinery creation from one the great Milliners of Melbourne. And a different hat is definitely needed for the Aintree racecourse season. When staying at the family pile in Berkshire, could not possibly refuse an invitation to the Lord Lieutenant’s Ball. Social indiscretion of the highest order. Need an outfit for this. (The family Berkshire pile was purchased in the late 70’s when the UK was on its knees and the threepence would have been accepted as a down payment for the whole country.)

Also, the remote possibility of being invited to a BBQ at Fred and Mary’s pile in Copenhagen. Then again, they may have memories of the BBQ at our Tassie pile south of Hobart.

I am not at all adverse to the carryon lifestyle. In fact, suspect I would adapt to it quickly. But am in fear of the prospect of certain important parts of my anatomy dangling from my wife’s earrings. If anyone wishes to place a bet, my best mates are running a book with good odds on the prospect.

Allan, thanks for the heads up. Looks like I need to complete my travel education by flying into an airport on the continental USA and engaging in the Argy Bargy of airport life.

Regards Ron

Posted by
120 posts

This is a subject that impacts me on almost every flight I take with dh. I prefer carryon, he actively dislikes it.

One thing we’ve learned for the flight if we’re shipping luggage through is y up cross packing. Meaning, we divide our clothes among 2 suitcases. That way if one goes missing, both of us still have something. We also use air tags.

I often pack a carryon size bag, even when checking it, because I like traveling with less.

@Ron, I was pleased to hear you mention Petoskey. I was in Gaylord this summer visiting my sister in law. I really liked Michigan (I had never been before). I hope you enjoy your time there.

Posted by
584 posts

@Ron, I was pleased to hear you mention Petoskey. I was in Gaylord this summer visiting my sister in law. I really liked Michigan (I had never been before). I hope you enjoy your time there.

I've lived in metro Detroit since my early teens but didn't discover Saugatuck and the dunes until my mid-20's. It took another decade before I found how much I enjoyed the Traverse City area at cherry time, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Munising and spending time without cars on Mackinac Island. "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you"....

Posted by
15 posts

I always travel carry-on. I’m just not willing to take a chance on my luggage being lost. I keep my toiletries in the front pouch of my personal item so that I can quickly assess it when needed.

Posted by
11045 posts

@jemamc....well, you're there now since you were leaving on the 18th. How'd it go? What did you decide to do?

Posted by
5 posts

@Pam I had no problems checking in luggage. Even on my way home with a short layover in Heathrow, and a Aer Lingus to United connection.

Posted by
11045 posts

Excellent! Great to hear you had no problems with checking luggage!

Posted by
816 posts

My only beef with carry-on luggage is when I'm walking down the aisle while embarking and disembarking from a plane. There are so many Rick Steves wannabes without the strength to lift their own bags into the overhead bin. I usually get a nice workout helping them. I'm dealing with shoulder problems now so I probably won't do it as much from now on.

Posted by
195 posts

Even if you intend to go carry-on, many times the airline will ask you to gate check your bag.

Posted by
109 posts

I try to carry anything not easily replaced. For me, that is a specific hair cream that works for my hair, and pants. I’m 4ft 10in, and pants off the rack are a non-starter. I have to get them altered, generally by several inches, and that’s not solved easily or quickly. I can deal with replacing anything else but I carry extra pants with me onboard if I’m checking.

Posted by
68 posts

Hi, I'll join in the convo.
I just got back from 24 days in Europe, and I only did carry-on bags for the whole trip, for the first time ever. I LOVED it!
I have always checked bags and even brought an additional tote for souvenirs, but not this trip. Honestly, I didn't miss anything. I really enjoyed the convenience of only having a carry-on, not having to wait forever to get my checked bags, and I never had any problems with overhead space. I also learned from a very nice Loganair (UK airline) rep that they offer valet service for bags that do not meet their size/weight requirements. Therefore, my travel buddy and I were able to bring a 22x14x9 (US-carry-on-size) suitcase to the gate and have them valet it there; it was waiting for us at the bottom of the stairs right off the airplane. We also brought a full-sized backpack that they allowed us to carry on. That was plenty of room, and I even travel with a C-PAP machine.
I invested in some compression cubes for this trip, and they were a Godsend! They saved a lot of space for me, especially after rolling up my clothes. It was much more compact this way.
We also utilized a laundry service on this trip, which saved us time and cleaned our clothes better than we could have in the hotel sink. Halfway through our RSE group tour, thanks to our tour guide, we learned of a laundry service offered in Keswick, not far from our hotel. A bunch of us went over before breakfast one morning and dropped off our laundry; it was ready for us after 4 pm. 15 pounds for a huge bag. Not bad!
So, traveling with a carry-on is definitely doable. IMHO.

Posted by
18557 posts

Keep it up, luggage checkers. I definitely think everyone (else) should check their bags. I never will, but their checking luggage will assure me of space in the overhead bins.

Actually, since I began traveling with Robin, who is mobility challenged and needs assistance in boarding, we have always been in the first group boarding and always had space in the overhead bins. Oh, once I traveled without her, on a domestic flight, on American, which has the most generous personal item allowance, and my normal carry-on fit in their PI sizer.

Recently, airlines have increased the size of overhead bins, so that now a 22" carry-on should fit in the bin, front to back, across the cabin, and be able to go in with the 14" width bottom to top. So, a regulation carryon should be able to fit in 9 inches of width. I would like to see airlines put metal deviders in the overhead bins every 10", and label each space for the seat below it, so that would be your overhead bin space, that no one else could use. With a 31" seat pitch outside the aisles, and four or five seat across in the middle, there would be some un-assigned space left over, but everyone would be assured of space in the overhead bins.

Another "fix" would be for the airlines to say that, if any bags have to be gate checked, the first ones would be bags that were already in the bin with the long side fore to aft (of the airplane). This usually shows that the bag excedes the height limit (22") and won't fit in the bin across the cabin.

Posted by
1190 posts

and label each space for the seat below it, so that would be your overhead bin space, that no one else could use.

I actually prefer to use the overhead bin opposite my seat. I can see if anyone tinkers with it and it's a wee bit easier to reach if I need to get into it during the flight.

If more bags are checked into the cargo hold, I will have more room overhead for my tiny 30L carryon bag, so true.

Posted by
1229 posts

I actually prefer to use the overhead bin opposite my seat.!

Aha! So you're the one. I was wondering how a bag could be in my bin and no one was in my row yet. LOL

Posted by
14446 posts

Bogiesan, I go for across the aisle and where I can put the bag forward, towards the door a little. Mostly because its easier for me and everyone else and faster when getting off the plane. I checked with the flight crew, no reserved storage bins on a flight. But if I get push back I say G-d Bless You and move it. Then I sit down and put my seat back and try and sleep.

Posted by
1559 posts

As a single person, I'm carryon all the way. I had to check my bag one time on a flight from London to Barcelona. Our flight was delayed, we didn't arrive until 8:30pm and guess who had to wait an hour because her bag was the last one offloaded? This gal.

Never again. I'm not a fan of standing around airports waiting for luggage to come out of the carousal. I'm usually on the way to my hotel while people are still waiting.

Posted by
3515 posts

funpig, on international flights, the overhead bins are too high above my head for me to be able to put my carryon in the overhead. I appreciate help from those who are taller. On domestic flights with lower overhead bins, I can manage my own bag.

Posted by
1190 posts

HEATHER:

I'm carryon all the way ... guess who had to wait an hour because her bag was the last one offloaded? This gal. Never again. &c.

I had been a casual carryon-only guy for years but the final random checked luggage event for me was discovering someone had walked off with my bag and left me their look-alike. Took 48 hours to get my stuff.

Never again.

Posted by
305 posts

I can completely empathize! Here's what I'm going to do moving forward based on past experience, including my return trip home from my Rick Steves tour last week:
- Because I have TSA PreCheck (since 2016) and never have to take out or prioritize my liquids, I will only fly non-stop from the US or connect through a US city when going to Europe. If you don't have TSA precheck, I highly recommend getting it. Note that I still abide by the volume limit for each toiletry item, but I never have to take them out or limit to one ziploc bag. PreCheck is worth every penny, as is Global Entry for your return trip home. (Note that Global Entry has nothing to do with liquids, but it will make your life easier and help you get through the airport faster when you get home.)
- I will continue to bring my Rick Steves backpack with all my toiletries as my carry-on, along with a day bag on the way to Europe. Not willing to take the chance of lost or delayed luggage, which has happened to me in the past. I don't want to spend my limited vacation time trying to find replacement toiletries and clothes in a hurry while dealing with jet lag--especially in a foreign country.
- I will bring and check an empty roller bag/suitcase with me to pack with souvenirs and leftover toiletry liquids on the way home. Will include bubble wrap or may just wrap things with dirty clothes later, haha...ew. 😁 Because every international airport is so different, I don't want to deal with the liquid challenge while going through security. Yes, it would be a bummer if that checked bag got lost or stolen after my vacay, but it's less stress and I'm willing to take that chance on the way home from, vs. on the way to my vacation.

Posted by
2960 posts

-I do check my carry on bag 99% of the time...but never say never. There are things I do to make sure my bag gets to the right flight/destination: 1. I tie colorful fabric on two handles, not hanging, to make it different from everyone else's bag, 2. I make sure the airline labels the bag with the correct destination. 3. I make sure I have 2-3 hours between connecting flights for the baggage handlers, 4. I make sure my itinerary is accessible inside my bag, 5. I take photos of my bag...this has proven very helpful. I check my bag because I find traveling while having a carryon bag in the airport to be a hassle, when I can just check.
-In my small personal item I have really all I need of docs, meds, electronics and a change of clothes. I could travel with just this small bag, but would much rather not.
--This being said, I, the non backpack person, am studying packing for walking El Camino in 2023 (fingers crossed), which will mean I will carry my small, hopefully 12 lb, 28 liter backpack on the plane. It is one thing being able to manage to live out of my PI items if luggage is lost (never has been) versus only having about that much to start with...
---Bottom line, there is no right way, do what causes the least anxiety for you.