Pros and Cons of Carry-On vs Checking Baggage

Front view of landed airplane in a terminal of Heathrow airport; London UK.

What is the difference between carry-on and checked baggage? When should you choose carry-on luggage instead of checking your bag? In this quick read, you’ll find all the answers you need to pack wisely for your next grand adventure.

The Pros of Carry-On Luggage

Peace of Mind

When you carry your luggage with you, you never have to worry about it getting lost or being sent to the wrong location. Accidents happen, and sometimes you’re stranded in a foreign land without your luggage because of an unfortunate mixup.

Save money

With most airlines, passengers are allowed to bring one piece of carry-on luggage free of charge.

Save time

Waiting for your luggage after a long red-eye flight is never fun. Instead of standing around a conveyor belt waiting for your suitcase, you can walk off the plane with your luggage in hand.

passenger In the Malaysia airport

The Cons of Carry-On Luggage

Size Limitations

There is a size limitation for carry-on luggage, which means you have to pack light. Large bags are sometimes approved; however, you may be required to pay a fee.

Convenience

One of the biggest drawbacks to carry-on luggage is that you have to take it with you everywhere you go in the airport. And if you’re traveling solo, that means you’ll have nobody to hold your bag for you if you need to use the restroom.

Restrictions

There are TSA carry-on restrictions that you’ll need to abide by. For example, you can’t pack liquids that are in a container larger than 3.4 ounces.

The Pros of Checked Luggage

Suitcase or luggage with conveyor belt in the international airport.

Size Matters

If you’re packing for a lengthy or complex adventure, the size of your luggage will make a great difference in your trip. Sometimes you need to pack heavy, and checking your bags will allow you to do just that.

Freedom

Want to bring a bottle of wine home from your trip? How about some foreign jams and jellies? A big container of brand name conditioner? When you check your luggage, you can pack just about anything.

Less Stress

If you’re a natural born over-packer who likes to be prepared for any situation that comes your way, packing light in a carry-on bag can be stressful. Packing checked luggage (or stuffing it with souvenirs) is one less thing to worry about.

The Cons of Checked Luggage

More Money

There are a few airlines out there that don’t charge their passengers to check one bag, but many do. If you’re checking your luggage, expect a fee.

Hassle

While checking your luggage frees up your hands during your time at the airport, it can be a hassle to check your bag in the first place. Plus, you’ll have to collect your bag once your plane lands.

A Lot More Junk

If you have the option to pack more than you need, you’re probably going to. An overstuffed, disorganized suitcase can be a pain to deal with during your trip, and it’s a whole lot heavier.

Pack Smarter with Nomatic

Whether you’re looking for a sleek travel bag that will fit in the overhead luggage bin, or you need a spacious suitcase for your next big vacation, we’ve got everything you need at Nomatic. Check out our wide selection of high-quality luggage and travel gear, designed to keep all of your belongings thoroughly protected and well organized.