4 Reasons You Should Never Check a Bag

4 Reasons You Should Never Check a Bag

You guys, I have a strong opinion I think you should listen to. It’s not a favored one, but I think you should never check a bag.

Ah! Gasp! What?! That’s impossible.

Hear me out. (Or don’t and tell me what you think in the comments!)

girl-carrying-large-shopping-bag
you look ridiculous lugging around large bags

Of course there are some times that it makes sense to check a bag- but that week in the Bahamas is not it. Nor is the 2 week trip to Europe. Especially not the 2 week trip to Europe!

Why?

Cause it’s a pain in the butt and takes away from your experience!

(Don’t worry, I give more concrete reasons below…)

But who the heck wants to lug 50 pounds of stuff around with them while trying to see and do new things? You’re on vacation/a trip to relax and enjoy after all. When in your regular life do you carry or roll 50 pounds around with you? Never. You know why? Cause it sucks.

Sure, you might have a hotel you can just dump your bags in. But how are you getting to that hotel? That still takes effort. Not to mention the difference in size capacities between airlines, trains, buses, ferries, and even cars! Or that many places don’t have elevators. Why create a hassle for yourself trying to fit your bag into these spaces?

If you are American this advice is especially important because our idea of large here in the US is like Texas to the rest of the world. Supersize me has never been more relevant. Our bags are HUGE compared to what they build their world for.

(PS- would love if you would mention what country you are from in the comments so I can make sure I include relevant information for you!)

three-backpacking-girls-peru
don’t those look heavy? they were, we shouldn’t have checked them.

Also, just because your bag(s) fit size and weight restrictions for your flight to your destination, does not mean it will be appropriate for other transportation you take while on your trip.

I can’t stress this enough, getting your bag to the country you are visiting is not the whole picture. Think about all the other ways you will need to move it around and if that seems realistic.

So, with that little rant out of the way, let me share with you:

The 4 reasons you should never check a bag:

1. Save Time

The more stuff you pack, the more time you spend packing. And unpacking. And repacking. And looking for that shirt you’re sure you brought. (If you didn’t have so much stuff to sift through- because you packed less- you probably would have found the shirt by now, or better yet, actually remembered what you brought!).

Save yourself time before, during, and after the trip and just pack less. Spend that time enjoying another 45 minutes at the beach. Or not being late for an activity. Or sleeping in. Or, I don’t know, doing anything else besides shuffling around your belongings.

Having a checked bag also means more waiting time at the airport. Not only do you now have to arrive earlier to stand in line to check your bag (usually taking away precious last minutes of vacation), you also have to wait longer at the gate because you arrived earlier.

And bonus, in addition to the time you added at the front end of your trip, now that you arrived, instead of heading out to your destination you have to wait with all the other plebes at the baggage carousel. Don’t mind me as I run past you with my carry on and beat you to the beach!

The more you pack, the more you spend time worrying about what you pack. When you force yourself to pack less you take away the time spent overthinking all the clothing options and possible scenarios you will run into and taking more time to pack for all those hypotheticals. Plus, once on the trip you won’t waste as much time making sure you’ve collected all those belongings-you-never-even-used to take back with you.  

2. Save Money

Did you know it costs money to check a bag? I can hear you screaming, “not on international flights!” Ok fair enough, we’ll get to that. But domestically it will cost you. Are you really going to pay just to move your stuff from one state to the next? How many clothes do you really need??

As for international, sure, you might be able to get your bag there for free. But what about once you are in country? Depending on where you go it’s going to cost you. From needing to pay for a larger Uber to fit your bags to tipping someone to help you carry them up to your room (sometimes literally as many places don’t have elevators) to having to pay additional fees for “over-sized” luggage. Random fees and charges can happen all over the place just because you couldn’t cut down on your things.

Are you buying more items you think you’ll need for your trip? Guess what, that costs money. It’s really easy to want to buy new things for a trip. And I’m not saying not to, but just be reasonable. You probably don’t need to buy as much as you think and you definitely don’t need to take as much as you think you do. Save money on items up front and then on saving all those checking fees and use that money for another round!

3. Save Hassle and Situations Actually Going Wrong

Sometimes your bag literally won’t fit in the place/space you need it to. It’s happened to my friends with airplanes, trains, ferries, staircases, etc. Especially if you live in America, our size luggage just isn’t made for other areas, it will be a hassle to fit it!

4. Have More Fun!

It’s a fact- pulling around 50 pounds of stuff makes you tired. Don’t be tired on a trip. Bring less weight, have more fun!

Want to get that quick photo that’s hilarious and you can’t believe it, but you only have 2 seconds to capture it?  Oh, wait, *let go of luggage handle, pull out phone, missed it.* Not me, my hands are free since I just have a backpack, I’ll share the photo with you later.

Changing locations and worried about how you are going to handle all the modes of transportation? Not me, I’ll just sit my backpack between my legs. Sorry you spent vacation worrying.

Ok, I’m being a little facetious, but the truth is all these things- time, money, little hassles- add up. You want to make your trip as enjoyable as possible and you have so much control over this piece of it. There will be plenty that pops up that you can’t control, take this part out of it so you can handle those.

I just want you to have the greatest trip you can. And I wholeheartedly believe that begins with you not carrying extra baggage. (We can talk about the deeper meaning of extra baggage later- but yes, I also think you should never take regrets about your past relationship on a trip either 😉 )

At least give it a shot, challenge yourself. See how free you feel with just a carry on. If you hate it, try again. If you still hate it, let’s talk- I have time, I don’t have a bag to pack.

What do you think? Am I crazy? Is there no way you couldn’t check a bag? Tell me why in the comments, I’m still (a little) open to trying to be persuaded! 🙂

Cali

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