Never Travel with Checked-In Luggage – I'm Not Sure on This One

I’ve read a number of times – in books, articles, and blogs – that you should never check a bag with the airlines. I have done it myself – I did a 6-day trip to the United States for business in 2007 with only carry-on luggage. And it worked, but it meant that certain things had to be in place, primarily that I had access to the hotel laundry service to keep my clothing up-to-spec.

For recent trips, even when I have had a flight a night for a week on end (and therefore have to wait every time for my luggage to come through), I have checked my main bag into the hold. I haven’t had a problem with lost luggage (yet) – long may that continue – but my reasons have been:

– I haven’t been in one place long enough to get clothes washed and dried between meetings and workshops. Eg., in October 2010, I arrived at the hotel at 1am, was out at 8am, was in a meeting until 4pm, and then flew out at 7pm. There’s just not enough time to get clothes clean with such a schedule.

– I can take more stuff. When you travel with only checked-in luggage, you are limited to the number and variety of clothes you can take. I actually like having my Crocs available to wear in the hotel room, but with only checked-in luggage … they would have to stay home.

– Often I have books to carry too, for workshop attendees. Thus if books are going in the hold, my clothes might as well too. Sure I could mail them ahead, but that often creates various logistical challenges too.

I like the idea of no checked-in luggage, but I struggle with its practical implementation. What has your experience been?

Categories: Miscellaneous

2 replies »

  1. Weekly commuting, you want only carry-on luggage. Long-haul trips, checked bags are more practical, particularly if you are hitting multiple climates. If you are worried about delayed or lost bags, use your American Express card for the flight purchase and enable the baggage protection and delay insurance. Then if your bags are lost, damaged, or delayed, you are covered and can still make your meeting with the proper attire. Saved me on numerous occasions. Good luck on your travels.