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Thursday, June 13, 2013

To Check Bags or Carry On? How you can avoid the whole checked baggage hassle.


Are you really tired of feeling anchored down by your stuff when you travel? As if the laptop bag stuffed into the extra large pocketbook, stuffed into the tote bag weren’t enough, there is the large
black suitcase, that you had to sit on to close, that may or may not make it to the baggage carousel at your final destination.

Unless I’m bringing school supplies to the Caribbean, I take a carryon and a pocketbook. Years ago I went to Chicago for the weekend and the airline lost my luggage. Since I worked for a different airline at the time, I spent a good part of the weekend tracking down my bag. Not exactly the fun time I had envisioned. After that it was carry on only.

Since then, the three ounce liquid rule has come into play and this is one of the main reasons why people end up checking a bag. The other reason is the indecision that kicks in when deciding what to pack. In end way too many clothes/shoes make a trip and never get worn.

Here are some 7 tips to make you think twice about checking a bag:

1. Save on checked bag fees. Most airlines are remaining profitable because of ancillary fees. If a family of four checks bags at $25.00 each, it adds up.

2. You can always buy suntan lotion/shampoo etc at your destination. Either toss it when you leave or if that seems too wasteful, bring empty three ounce bottles with you and decant what’s left in the full size bottle. 

3. If your flight cancels and you have a checked bag on that airplane, that bag has to travel with you on your new flight. That means you have to wait for the bag to be offloaded. If you only have carryon the agent can rebook you so that you get on another flight and you get to your destination sooner.

4. If you want to shop on vacation, bring a collapsable duffel bag that you can check on the return trip or better yet Fedex it home.

5. Some airports have free luggage trolleys at baggage claim, some charge a fee and then there is the airport where you have to do a missing trolley search outside on the sidewalk. At midnight. When it’s snowing. 

6. The wait at the baggage carousel...as it chugs around....hoping that yours didn’t get lost. If you are arriving at an international destination you will be arriving at your hotel later than those people who breezed through customs with carry on.

7. Save yourself the sore muscles from lugging all the stuff from the house to the car to checkin and back.

Make a list of what is absolutely essential for your trip. With some planning everything that you need for your trip should fit into your carryon.

Do you check bags or bring carryon? I’d love to hear your packing tips!