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Like many of you probably, I often read travel and travel-adjacent articles from different sites. In fact, I’m sure all of the “algorithms” know that I am a sucker for just about any sort of travel story, so they tend to get promoted and shown in my various news feeds.

Go Ahead… Check a Bag

So some of you may have already seen the article Go ahead, check a bag that appeared in The Verge a few days ago. In it, author Elizabeth Lopatto waxes poetic about all the reasons you could (and she does) check a bag. While I do concede and agree that there are plenty of valid reasons to check a bag, I think the article is a BIT over the top. I mean it has the subheading of

“The carry-on queens can’t feel virtuous unless they have you to compare themselves to — so do them a solid.”

So maybe that should give you an idea of where the article was heading. It also describes that for her recent 2-week trip, the author

  • brought four pairs of shoes, some finery for a wedding, a set of workout clothes, two linen shirts, three pairs of linen pants, jeans, two tank tops, a T-shirt, a jumpsuit, two sweaters, a jean jacket, pajamas, a dress, and every toiletry I could possibly need
  • packed enough underwear for the whole trip, plus enough socks for the whole trip because, ideologically, I am strongly against doing laundry in my hotel sink
  • brought gifts for the people who were hosting me, a few protein bars and apples in case I needed snacks in transit, a purse, a tote bag, and a fanny pack.

She mentions paying $30 to check her bag which, given the state of baggage fees in the industry, seems like a pretty good price actually!

5 Reasons To Check a Bag

There are good reasons to check a bag – here are a few:

  • You don’t have to deal with lugging your bag around the airport
  • Some airlines charge for carryons (even more than checked bags – I’m looking at you Frontier!)
  • It definitely gives you more room, especially if you’re on a longer trip
  • You might have a credit card with a free checked bag anyways
  • You don’t have to worry about keeping an eye on your bag while you’re at the airport

Why I Almost Never Check A Bag

Having said, that, personally, I almost never check a bag. Even when our family of 8 went to Spain and Portugal a few summers ago, we went with only carryons and personal items. Now one upside to having a family of 8 is that 8 carryons and 8 personal items does give you a LOT of storage space! And especially when I’m traveling by myself – I almost never check a bag.

Here are some of the reasons I’m firmly on #TeamCarryon

  • You don’t have to get to the airport as early, and almost never have to deal with the check-in desks
  • You don’t have to wait at baggage claim
  • It’s usually cheaper (no checked bag fees)
  • You don’t have to worry about the airline losing your bags
  • Once you get there, it’s a lot easier to move around. I often like to take public transportation to my destinations or walk around, and that’s a LOT harder to do (impossible?) with huge suitcases. Here we are on the aforementioned trip to Portugal and Spain, walking to our Airbnb.

The Bottom Line – What Do you Do?

So while I personally almost always travel with carryons, I do recognize that there are situations where checking a bag can make some sense. I’m curious to hear your thoughts!

Are you with me on #TeamCarryOn? Or do you usually check a bag? Leave your thoughts in the comments below

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