Last Updated on October 6, 2019
A lot of my friends have asked me why I only travel with a carry-on. The real answer is my husband. Our biggest blowups in the travel department used to be about luggage. When we first started this trip, I couldn’t fathom stuffing all my belongings into a backpack. Side story – I hated carrying all of my weight on my back. Amos was such a little sweetie pie and he carried my backpack for me sometimes. I’m not his princess or anything. Fortunately, I got him on the suitcase train a few months ago and I think he’s starting to come around to that idea. Okay, now back to the real story. We’ve been traveling now for a year and a half and I’ve only checked my luggage in once. The only reason I even checked it in was because we had a layover in Qatar and we wanted to explore without having to lug around our luggage. The longer I travel, the more I’m thankful for my husband’s “carry on only” rule. Some people think I’m nuts for only living out of one backpack/suitcase for so long, but I promise I have good reasons for it. Here’s why I only travel with a carry-on.
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1. Save Money on Airfare
Some airlines charge an arm and a leg to check luggage in. *Cough Ryanair Cough* It’s almost the same price as your flight sometimes which is crazy to me. Some airlines are nice and include that cost in the actual fare. If the price includes checked luggage, there’s no reason not to check your bag in. If they charge, save the money and go with a carry-on. Use the money you save for meals or activities in your destination instead.
2. Spend Less Time at the Airport
I always feel sorry for the people standing in the ridiculously long queues at the airport waiting to check their luggage in before their flight. Standing in this queue tested my patience once so I try to avoid it all costs now. Save yourself time and frustration by traveling with a carry-on only. Also, this will allow you to skip baggage claim when you land and you don’t waste more time in the airport. I want to start exploring my destination asap and start eating all that yummy food as soon as I can.
3. No Worries About Luggage Getting Lost or Damaged
You have the ease of knowing that your luggage is on you at all times. You don’t have to worry about it getting lost in transit or being mishandled. Fun fact – I checked my luggage in for the first time a few months ago and the airline lost it. Yeah, airlines will possibly reimburse you for losing your bag but it’s a pain to fill out all the paperwork and go back and forth with them. Plus, it’s sad to lose your belongings that you so dearly love. Also, who wants to go shopping for a new wardrobe when they could be exploring?
4. Easier to Be Mobile
I can’t imagine hauling around more than one piece of luggage on the cobblestoned streets in Italy. If you have a carry-on, you can just throw it on your back or easily push it around and not have to worry about it. It’s going to be a fight between you and your multiple pieces of luggage. You won’t win.
5. It’s Safer
With a carry-on only, your luggage stays with you at all times. You have your eyes on it during TSA checks and you don’t have to worry about luggage handlers during flight connections. We took a ferry in Indonesia to get from one island to another and they made people with huge bags store it somewhere else on the boat. I don’t know about you, but I’m not comfortable doing that. I want to be able to keep my eyes on my belongings at all times. Since we had smaller bags, we were able to stuff them under our seats.
6. Less Likely to Forget Something
The less stuff you travel with, the easier it is to keep track of your belongings. When you live out of a carry-on bag for a while, you’ll find a way to pack your bags in a way where everything has a place. This helps you keep track of your items and you can make sure that they made it into your bag where they belong.
7. Less of a Target
You’re going to attract attention when you’re pulling around a bunch of luggage. You scream, “Hey, I’m a tourist.” You’re less likely to get noticed if you have one bag. Don’t make yourself a target for pickpockets and thieves. Plus, thieves know that your backpack or small suitcase isn’t filled with expensive things like jewelry and electronics so they’re less likely to mess with you.
8. Fits in a Locker
It’s safe knowing that your belongings are locked away when you’re staying at a hostel. This is especially key for budget travelers. Most lockers at hostels can only fit carry-on sized bags only. If you have more than one piece of luggage, you’ll have to divide your belongings up so you can store your important things in the locker. That leaves the other half of your belongings open for possible theft. We were in Venice for the day and we paid a tourist office to hold our bags while we explored. Our backpacks fit into the locker. People who had more than one bag weren’t able to use the lockers and their bags were placed in a random room with no security.
Are you a fan of traveling with just a carry-on? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments below.
I hope you found this post helpful for when you’re debating between a carry-on and checked bag. Don’t forget to pin it for later!