To Check or Not to Check Luggage

Each time we begin packing for a trip, Justin and I always have this question: do we check our luggage or carry-on?

While it seems like a simple decision to some, we usually struggle. When I was younger, I never thought twice about checking my bags. I didn’t want to lug around my huge suitcase anyway. After my first trip to Europe, my opinions drastically changed. During my layover and customs inspection, I waited so long for my bag to arrive that I almost missed my connection!

Looking at the big picture, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world if I lost my luggage or continued on without it. Obviously, the contents were just material items that could have been replaced; however, I would have been disappointed to lose some of those sentimental souvenirs.

For a few years after this instance, I didn’t want to gamble with my time or belongings. I started to bring my bags into the cabin. Even though this forced me to learn how to pack a lot lighter, carrying-on gave me peace of mind. In addition, it also saved me money. Most airlines have started charging additional fees for customers deciding to check their bags underneath the plane.

I will say that there are some challenges with cabin luggage as well. When we choose this option, we always stress about our boarding. We want to make sure there’s room for our belongings above our seats. We have been on several flights where bags have had to be checked last minute. When this happens to us, I always think that our suitcases are going to remain on the jet bridge.

We have also learned that sometimes it’s just not possible to carry-on. For example, during our trip to Iceland, we needed so many Winter clothing items and accessories. We just could not feasibly pack all of our puffy gear into such small suitcases–even though I REALLY tried! I knew this was the right decision, but I was still incredibly ambivalent. So, Justin placed a Tile locator in our bag. This eased a lot of my anxieties! We had a few tight connections, and we knew our luggage arrived with us each time. I also noticed during this trip that we didn’t have to wait long for our bags to drop onto the carousels. These airlines have definitely improved their processes!

Overall, I believe that this decision is different for every person and trip. I think if I had to choose, my preference would be to carry-on due to cost and ease of convenience; however, if I do decide to check, I will always utilize my Tile and bring a few essentials in my purse–just in case! Whatever I decide, I always make sure to have extra room for new clothes or souvenirs. For this reason, it’s imperative that I pack a collapsable backpack. You never know what you’ll find out there!

Do you prefer to check or carry-on?