Should You Check Your Luggage or Carry On?

Should you check your luggage or carry on? Personally, having worked for an airline for the past 22 years, I like to travel light. It’s easier when you get to your final destination if you don’t have to deal with baggage claim. It makes getting through customs much faster. Usually if you carry on your bags, you are at the front of the line at immigrations. However, for those of you that have to check something (whether you are on a long trip, or over packed), here are some pointers.


Do not check medications. Put them in your carry on bag. If your checked bag is delayed it’s best to have your medicine with you.

Never check electronics or expensive jewelry. The airlines don’t cover these items for loss or damage.

Don’t check fragile items. Liquor bottles break and leak.

No cheese or anything perishable in a bag with clothing. If your bag is delayed, you’ll never get the smell out. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen.

Remember, 50 lbs is he limit for a checked bag. You are allowed two checked bags at 50 lbs each. For domestic and some international travel, you

are allowed up to 70 lbs at a charge of 25.00 per bag. Extra bags cost 80.00 domestically. International costs vary per destination.

Don’t check that pretty soft sided bag. If it’s pretty, pink or expensive you can be sure that it will get dirty. Bags are designed to protect their contents. If you buy a bag that’s soft sided and pretty, use it as a carry on. Remember, bags are stacked on top of each other in the bin of the aircraft. You may have 200 lbs of luggage on top of your bag. It’s not that our ramp agents are deliberately throwing your bag, its just the fact that when loaded in the bin, bags are all stacked on top of each other and fragile, soft sided bags get dirty or smashed.

Keep your used film with you. When the bags go through x-ray any used film can get ruined.

Guitars: If you check your guitar, please loosen the strings. The pressure in the bin of the aircraft can cause the neck to snap. I’ve seen several guitars with broken necks. The airlines no longer cover musical instruments for damage.

Car seats, strollers. The airlines provide plastic bags to protect these items. Use them. If a ticket agents doesn’t offer to put your car seat in a bag, be sure to speak up and ask for one.

Put your name and phone number on the inside and outside of your bag.

When picking up your bag off the carousel, make sure its yours. Bag swaps are common.

This is the number one tip. Do not check your KEYS. Think about it, you get home, your bag has been delayed and you cannot get into your car or your house. It’s an easy thing to do, but it is very inconvenient to get home and realize you forgot to grab your keys out of that checked bag.

Now, onto carry ons. Each passenger is allowed two carry ons. That includes purses, laptops, etc. You are allowed one quart sized baggie with your liquid items inside. Each item must be 3 oz. or less, and all items must fit in the one allowed baggie. Pull the baggie out and put it in the plastic tub at security so TSA doesn’t ask you to take it out.

So, should you check your bag or carry it on? If you check your bags, I hope the information above helps make your trip smooth. So have a great flight and have a fun trip.


While its quite necessary to keep checking your luggage at regular intervals, one should be careful so as to not become paranoid about it as it can cause inconvenience to others in the vicinity. Also, apart from the essentials, it is better if you keep a laste kohver, so that the children’s belongings can be taken care of without having to dump them with your items

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Patrick is a part-time fitness trainer and pursuing his Master’s in American Literature from Stanford University. He wishes to share his fitness plan with others to help them achieve their goals in terms of fitness and education.