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Jarrod
Charleston

General Travel

Check-it or Carry-on?

I'm always curious how others go about handling their luggage when traveling for a 7-10 day trip, do you check your bag (and pack everything you could ever need) or carry-on (and travel was light as possible)?


27 Answers

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top answer by
Ross from Fort Collins

i havent checked a bag in years! i did a month in spain and Morocco with a small pack and the wife did as well! we are ultralight backpackers when we camp and that has spilled over into our travel style.  three ultralight button ups, two pairs of zipp off short pants and only one pair of legs and some travel slacks for nice dinners.a tiny water purifier to fill up bottles in the sink in the mornings and a fixed blade knife. any thing els besides toiletries needs to serve at least three purpuses or it doesn't go in the bag. 


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answered by
Pamela from New Canaan, Connecticut

I have a fail-safe Just One Suitcase packing list for women that fits entirely in my carry-on size suitcase, regardless of destination or length of trip.  If I had to translate my list for guys, I would say (depending upon the weather in your destination) pack 2 prs of jeans, 1 pr of khakis (or vice versa, depending upon your style; substitute shorts for 1 pr if you're going somewhere warm), 4 button-down shirts, a V-neck sweater, a polo shirt or pullover shirt, and a rain jacket.  Fold everything as flat as possible, and roll up pj's, underwear, socks, and a couple of t-shirts and tuck around the edges.  Put a pair of extra shoes in the outside pocket of the suitcase.  In a separate (smaller) carry-on bag, put your toiletries, electronics, chargers, and medicines.  The suitcase goes overhead, the smaller bag under the seat in front of you.  

You'll never have to stand in baggage claim holding your breath and wondering if your suitcase got to your destination...because you'll have it with you!  Bon voyage!


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answered by
sandra

I always check my bag and (knock, knock) haven't lost it yet.  Also travel with golf clubs often and I've gotten those every time as well.  Almost always fly United and I'm Platinum but truly,  think it's those little RFID tags


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answered by
Stephen from Montreal

Funny about carry-on -- yesterday was returning form SFO to YYZ on AC. flight overbooked.  so " please give us your carry-on and we will store it under the plane ...and we will NOT charge you for those bags."  I sat and watched these schmucks who were dumb enough to hand over their carryon to Air Canada.  The attendants promptly took the carry on outside the jet way where they have a nifty looking plastic chute, like a kid's slide, attached to the very steep external stairs.  They took each piece of luggage and placed it carefully in the plastic slide.  At this point it Mr. gravity took over and it accelerated, virtually falling the 25 feet to the ground, and smashed into some springy backboard at the bottom of the slide.  Long story short, anyone who had anything the slightest bit fragile, which they purposely kept in their carryon was disappointed when they got home... guaranteed.  I am not suggesting that checking those bags in the first place would have been better, just be wary of airlines offering to do you a favour.  Carryon can go both ways.


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answered by
Sloan from Lincoln, New Hampshire

Anything over 3 days I always check. It's less hassle. Plus I always have not so nice thoughts about the people who cram as much as they can in a carry on and then act surprised when there's no room. However I have lost my luggage once. It was on the return trip home and I had it the next day. No harm done. If it had turned out differently I might have a different opinion.


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answered by
Danielle from Toronto

Hey Jarrod - I'll share what I've written under similar questions: 

I always just bring a carry on - however it's the largest-sized carry-on you can bring (a Hey's hard-sided roller, I think 24"). I do like to leave some space in it though to bring back treats :)

What helps me pack light is making sure I have a laundry machine in the apartment I'm renting abroad - that way I can pack 3 outfits, wash and repeat! I've also learned every trip which items I can really live without.

The liquid limitations are not ideal, but I just make sure to bring the absolute essential liquids in the travel-sized containers and have been pretty lucky with my Airbnb hosts typically having anything on-hand that I may have forgotten. 

The reason I do this is I like packing light (it's definitely a freeing feeling!) and had some bad experiences with airlines losing luggage during my first 2 trips abroad! 


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answered by
Izabel from Lisbon

If you are staying in a hotel a big bag it´s ok, provided you´re not changing the hotel several times during the trip, but if you stay in hostel or at a friends house the best is a small bag with essential items for your travel and lightweight to have peace of mind.


I Hope this helped a little bit, if you need to plan any other aspect of your trip, don´t hesitate to send me a e-mail.

izabel@tiptravelinportugal.com


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answered by
Chad from Lafayette

I carry a single bag with my absolute essentials.  This includes medications, identifications, etc.  Basically anything I absolutely have to have that I can't replace just by simply walking into a store.  Clothing, I check.  I try to get away with a maximum of 2 bags if possible.  1 backpack, and one suitcase.


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answered by
Jinny from Los Angeles

I depends on what kind of traveler you are! For me, it depends on where I am going, which airline I am taking and what I will be doing at my destination. 

For instance, I've gone 5 days with just a backpack when I wanted to go hiking in China. No need for anything else but my iPhone, passport, a towel, a sweater, undies, running shoes and some change of clothes. 

When I was traveling in Europe, this depended on the airline I took. Most cheap airlines in Europe are dirt cheap (I found a ticket that went from Paris to Milan for 15 Euros); however, they overcharge for any carryon or checkin bag. In which case, I will carry as light as possible, even when I went on a cruise for 10 days in the Mediterranean. 

When I travel within the United States, I bring it all. Most major US airlines allow one carry on and one checkin for free. If not, then at least Delta has free checkin when you get a gold Delta AMEX. I love using this card because you get no international charges when using it abroad, unlike the other amex gold or premier cards. I also bring a large carry-on if i am going on a shopping trip. 

The other times I would bring a huge luggage is if I am taking a bus or driving for a 10 day trip. 

Hope this helps. Check out my travel blog for some interesting stories of a 22-year-old solo traveler: www.jinnygatchi.com


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answered by
Stephen "Sven" from Florida

It has been my experience that carry on by far is the best way to go. You do not have to wait in line to get your bags at the airport carousel, you do not run into the chance of airport or airline employees going through your luggage and you do not run the risk in certain countries of them planting stuff in your suitcase. Plus if you run into an emergency you have access to all your stuff right away instead of having to wait until you land.


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answered by
Jaleh from Baltimore

I try to carry-on whenever possible. There are so many positives to doing so: always knowing where your stuff is, no waiting at baggage claim, etc. I believe that traveling light tends to make traveling in general more stress-free. I tend to find that for 7-10 days a couple of pants and maybe 4 shirts are the maximum that you need in addition to underwear and toiletries. 


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answered by
Nathaniel from London

I avoid a checked bag whenever I can! I have done 7-10 day trips with just a carry-on plenty of times. For example, I traveled around Spain for 2 weeks and only had a small duffle bag. I did run out of toiletries, however, I was able to purchase them for cheap locally. In terms of clothing, once you map out your activities, select outfits that complements one another. For example, 1 pair of pants can accommodate 2 shirts. Or a pair of shoes that can go with at least 3 different outfits. For guys, shoes and jeans tends to take up the most space and weight in our luggage. Hope this helps!


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answered by
Sofia from Vasteras

I always check in my bag if it's more than 3 nights. But I'm a woman too, I need to bring makeup remover, lotions, makeup, conditioner, deo etc. And if you only bring a carry-on, then you can't bring big bottles of these things...


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answered first by
Scott from Bakersfield

When I traveled to Montana this past July I purposely traveled light.  I stay with friends there every year for two weeks at a time.  This time I packed a few days worth of clothes and my usual bathroom kit.  When I arrived I was able to purchase other toiletries and a few pieces of clothing that I left there for use next year so I can pack light again.  I spent less money on that than if I had checked a large suitcase!


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answered by
Tiffany from Corvallis

I do both depending on where I'm going and why.

Normally, I like to pack light on my way and just bring a carry on, but then I shop, and check my bag coming home.

Although checking bags can be problematic, I love to be able to walk off the plane with just my purse - no overhead compartment hassles, more legroom.

Airplane space is small enough these days.


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answered by
David from Baltimore

Always carry on as often as I can - too much can go wrong when checking a bag, and if they lose it then that's a serious wrench to be thrown into your trip.  Plus, I usually find (especially for backpacking trips where I'm consistently hauling my belongings) that if I have to check a bag, I've probably over packed!


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answered by
Rachel from Kuwait City

Carry-on.  Check out the Tortuga backpack.  It fits an amazing amount of stuff in it.  I also am head over heels in love with my packing cubes, they are a complete game changer in my organizational world. 

 


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answered by
AJ from Connecticut

really depends on the trip.  I have had times when I am going somewhere warm - where I literally just have a 30L backpack - with a pairs of socks, undies, shirts and a shorts and denim & toothbrush.

Ofcourse, on the other hand - i have done trips that I needed to have alot more than just that.  Like a suit, and shaving kit, etc etc  !! Yikes !! 

But truth be told, I love my Carry-on trips a lot more.


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answered by
Staci from Cleveland

I try to avoid checking a bag when possible. Being a girl, that can be tough with the liquid restrictions for carry on bags! However, here is the advice I have for when it comes to packing:

1. Roll your clothes. Shockingly enough, it helps. Be sure where you're staying has an iron! 

2. Plan your outfits. I know, I know. Guys don't really do this, right? But if you're going to minimize what you're going to bring, it helps planning ahead so you don't over pack.

3. Buy your toiletries when you arrive. If this is possible, it saves you space. Just go the a store and get the travel size and that way you don't feel like you wasted money when you can't bring it back. 

For some more info, check out this post on my blog. I packed in a carry on for two weeks! 

Good luck! :) 


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answered by
Jessica from West Hollywood

Pack less pants and always do carry on.... I like to bring an open 'beach bag' that I put my computer / purse / extra shoes / snacks in... Airports  like PHL > Philadelphia participate in work release programs with local jails/penitentiaries to let the inmates work at the Airport during the day and go back to jail at night... What I'm getting at is > THEY STEAL FROM THE LUGGAGE. I know this for a fact and suggest you get a luggage like BlueSmart with a GPS and locking system built in to ensure your luggages safety & location if you HAVE to check a bag.  


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answered by
Benedict from Berlin

I rarely, if ever check any bags.  The ability to run through security 30 mins before flight and then not having to wait at baggage claim. Multiply that by the number of flights that you take and you'll realize it's just not worth it!




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answered by
Roxanne from Montreal

I carry-on as much as possible but when i know i'll be staing at the same place i chek it. Some airlines don't charge for carry-ons, so why not ?




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answered by
claus

I always check in one bag as I want to be able to take shaving equipment, a corkscrew, a pocket knife and so on with me.

I am on the road 365 days a year and do not want to shop for these items in every country I go to.

And because of that I try to only fly airlines that includes luggage as I find it highly annoying to tick endless boxes while booking the flight.

Emirates is the best airline for travelers who want quality by the way.




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answered by
JJ from New York City

I would recommend you check the bag, because for a 7-10 days trip, chances are you have more than what you can fit in a carry-on. Also, unless you're flying First/Business, you might be told to check it anyways if your flight is full and you're lacking overhead room.




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answered by
Random from Seattle

Most of my travels no matter the number of days, I can pack everything I want in a carry-on. And then I do not mind going shopping when needed. Besides, never know who you'll meet when shopping for toothpaste and underwear... Adventure hardware required? (Pico de Orizaba) Then I have one duffel with gear only that I check.


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answered by
Justin from Edinburgh

Depends I guess where I am staying. If its a hotel then check bags. But if I intend on going from destination to destination then carry on most likely in the form of a backpack. 




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answered by
lilo from Montreal

Definitly check in your luggage and don't worry about the hassle of carry on






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