Travel Carry on or Check in? What is your strategy?


Back in 5 minutes..
Sep 15, 2006
I only carry on. Doesn't matter if I'm gone for more than two weeks. Only carry on. Latest victory was my checked bag beat back coworkers delayed 2 hours after our arrival home last trip..

So what is your strategy? And if carry-on why does that work for you??? tia!!


Nov 7, 2006
I used to always carry-on if I can fit my stuff in the right-size luggage, but inevitably, it's too heavy for me to lift over my head. I usually just get some friendly-looking man to help me, but a co-worker commented, jokingly, that I was setting back the feminist movement. So now I adhere to "if I can't lift it, it's getting checked."


Jan 9, 2006
Chicago, IL
I am a reformed overpacker, turned carry on packer. I LOVE not having to worry about losing my luggage! It really makes me consider what I truly need and think in advance about how to put together combinations of outfits. I haven't taken a two week vacation in quite a while, but I have definitely done carry on for over a week. There are a few times when it has been necessary, due to multiple climates being visited on a vacation, where it doesn't work... bulky clothes, but in general, carry on all the way.

I have a weird strategy with how I pack my clothes... I do it in a way they take up more room for when I go there, and then fold them differently on the way home so I can fit more in my luggage.

I also sort of pick a color... like brown or black so I don't have to pack lots of shoes/purses, and make sure my outfits work with what I am bringing.

Depending on the length of the trip, I will send out some laundry at a hotel too.


Lovin' Life!
Apr 21, 2006
I travel most to Asia from the US and need to check a suitcase, since I have my max 1 carry-on (laptop bag) + purse. SO good...and I fly first or business so there are priority tickets on the baggage tag. I still get really nervous watching the baggage carousel and hoping my bag will come out!!!!

Within the US I do everything in my power to NOT check a bag. In my experience US carriers domestically are typically worse with bag mis-handling.


May 7, 2006
I tend to always check baggage. I end up overpacking (although I have gotten better over the years...down to one big suitcase from two). In addition, my carry-on is my backpack for work stuff (laptop/documents) that I always bring, plus my purse...and since I travel for conferences I usually have a big tube with my posters in it.

So far *knock on wood* I have had delayed luggage twice. Once because a flight was cancelled and I drove home, but they wouldn't release my luggage. And the second time it got put on a later flight for some unknown reason.
Aug 27, 2006
With a can't really do carry on for a trip longer than a few days...although we did do it for a long NYC weekend last Christmas...3 nights and we had 4 carry ons for 2 adults and 2 kids...


Aug 9, 2006
DH and I carry on whenever possible. However our camera gear takes up two entire backpacks already, so carry on only isn't always an option... and if we're bringing scuba equipment too then it's impossible!


Dec 30, 2007
My home airport is notorious for losing luggage (good old PHL). I try to pack everything into my carry on whenever possible. It usually means planning ahead with outfits and trying to mix and match as much as possible. It also means only bringing one purse. If I am going on a trip longer than a week, I usually can't cram everything into a carry on.
The other tricky part is scaling down any toiletries into those 3 oz containers. If anyone has suggestions for this, I would love to hear them.


Jan 9, 2006
Chicago, IL
The other tricky part is scaling down any toiletries into those 3 oz containers. If anyone has suggestions for this, I would love to hear them.
I really havent had many issues with this... most of my make up containers are already under 3oz. And I pack that ziploc until there is no free space. If it is a longer trip, I don't worry about taking multiples of shampoo, I just figure I'll pick a little up when I get where I am going. When I travel with my FI, I may pack a little extra and have him use it as his toiletry bag, so I get two bags through, but usually we are OK. Have you tried to see if everything you need will fit? ALSO, make sure if you buy smaller bottles to put a hair product or whatever in, that it says the size on it. My friend bought small bottles at the container store that weren't labeled and they recently made her check her luggage because they didn't state the size.


Mar 18, 2006
For nearly all of my travels I check one bag that's packed within a few pounds of the 50 lbs limit- LOVE this suitcase beacuse the way it's sized I know it'll never go over. For my family that's pretty good- they all *need* to pack two suitcases each if they're going for a week or more. Actually a couple weeks ago my mom and I went up to Reno for a couple nights and she packed this HUGE, four-wheeled Samsonite monstrosity for just TWO DAYS!!!


No longer in Japan..
Jan 20, 2007
Depends where I'm going and for how long. For domestic flights I can usually get away with carry on but for international flights I pretty much always have checked luggage.


Always, always carry on. I travel a lot, sometimes weeks at a time, and I've learned to travel with a roll-on and a medium sized Chanel duffel. I put my purse in the duffel when I carry on so it counts as my personal bag. This has always worked, even when I went to Asia for two weeks. Thank goodness I did that, because even though I planned on checking in, the check in representative told me I shouldn't because of the short layover I had in SF - she recommended carrying on so I wouldn't lose my luggage.

I think the biggest problem while traveling is overpacking. I make sure to coordinate my clothes before I pack so I don't overpack. Last week when I went to Miami, I packed 4 jeans, 1 dress, 2 sneakers, 2 shoes, 3 skirts, 2 capris, 8 tops, 1 swimsuit, various belts, jewelry bag, makeup bag, liquid bag and intimates between the two bags. I had plenty of outfits to choose from while I was down there, with some shirts to spare.


Mar 21, 2007
San Jose, cali
I always take too much to carry on but I should since i'm very paranoid about losing my luggage. I only travel by plane once a year at the very most so it's not really an issue most of the time.

elle tee

Dec 6, 2006
Carry on whenever possible. I hate waiting to collect bags and I always worry that my luggage will get lost. I have learned to be a light packer, although that was not always the case! My trick is to lay out everything on the bed before it goes in the suitcase and bring as many double-duty items as possible.