Carry-On vs Checked Bag: Find the Best Option for Travel

Each type of travel requires a different type of luggage. A large suitcase isn’t always needed, and a carry on won't always fit all your necessities. The thing is, we’ve toured long enough and have visited too many cities to make us realize that choosing the right kind of baggage is one of the most important things in traveling.

They say it’s best to learn the hard way, but it sure did take a lot of money from each of us as well. Now, to kick off this baggage war, let me ask you a question: Do you know exactly what type of bag to bring for each of your trips? If not, let me break down the pieces for you.

What is Carry-on?

A carry-on is a term used for hand luggage that you can bring with you inside the plane's cabin. Because of its size, they don’t need to be stowed away in the cargo compartment. It can be a smaller version of your suitcase or a backpack that can fit right above the overhead cabin.

International carry-on luggage might be a little bigger but it still fits the size and weight limitation of cabin baggage. For the fun part, here are some of its advantages.


  • It gives you more security as you well know that your baggage is just within your reach.
  • It’s a fuss-free kind of packing as it can really be just a straightforward way of doing it.
  • You can save a lot of money by just taking advantage of the free kilos that you’re allowed to carry inside the plane. No fees to pay! What a joy, right?
  • You won’t have a hard time moving around. Carry-ons are usually modest in size so that’s not going to be a problem when you walk from one point to another. If you’re constantly changing location, a piece of carry-on luggage is for you.
  • It rids you from stress. No need to worry about losing something. Packing can really be simple. No need to pay anything.


  • Carrying them around can be a bit of a pain.
  • Anything that isn’t necessary is cut out from your bag along with other extra pairs of this and that. You would constantly ask yourself during the packing, Do I really need this or not?
  • If you’re traveling with your kids and they also have their own carry-ons. Then that means you have to watch over two or more bags during the entire airport stay up to the time you board the plane and down to deplaning.
  • And because you have a limited number of clothes, you have no choice but to hand wash them unless there’s an available laundry service near you.
  • That’s basically how carry-on luggage affects the trip both in good and not so good ways.
  • Checked baggage, on the other hand, is a different song to dance to.

What is checked baggage?

Checked baggage is the type of bag that you deposit into a check-in counter.

In that case, airport personnel take care of your case and put them inside a cargo cabin along with the luggage of other passengers. This means that you don’t have access to your bag once you leave them at the check-in counter.

You would only get your bag again after the plane has landed and you’ve finished all the necessary security checkpoints. It’s usually your last stop at the airport upon arrival.


No need to carry anything around aside from that small pouch or tote to carry all your important travel documents and other valuables.

Once you board the plane, you have nothing to think about but to find your seat. You won’t have to rush inside to make sure you get a space in the overhead bin for your carry-on.

Checking in your baggage is usually an easy task. There’s nothing to worry about this one.

You can practically bring anything you want. Unlike carry-ons with a handful of restrictions, best carry-on gives you more freedom to bring all the extra stuff you want to bring. Its restrictions are mostly the prohibited items inside the plane like flammables and those that promote violence.

Airport security can be quite strict, so there’s a lesser chance to lose your luggage.


Well, you have to pay a certain amount to have your luggage checked in. That depends on how much they weigh and how many bags are you going to check-in. Prices may vary in different countries.

If you have the means to pay for the corresponding baggage fee of huge luggage, then you’re lucky. But if you’re on a tight budget, you will be restricted to comply with the weight limit that you can afford.

There are instances where checked-in luggage can cause a delay. Sometimes, your luggage is the last to leave the cargo compartment and the last to be put on the conveyor belt. It takes patience to wait for your bag especially when all the other passengers beside you have already gotten theirs.

Now that we’ve laid out both the good and the dark side of either option, all you need to do is review them according to what suits your needs.

Checked baggage vs Carry on luggage: Should I Check my bag or Carry-on?

1. If you plan to buy a lot of souvenirs for everyone back home, do you think it would fit inside your bag? Or will you be willing to just ship them over and leave your bag with some room for other stuff?

2. Do you think packing light is an option for this trip? Or do you need a bigger space to bring certain types of the item for all your scheduled activities during the trip?

3. Do you feel more secure when you pack more? Or do you feel good when you know that you’ve packed less?

4. If you decide to pack light, you think that would be enough to last you the entire trip or would you need to purchase items once you’re there? Or are you confident enough about the packing skills that you won’t even have to worry even if you decide to pack light?

5. Are you okay with the idea of carrying all of your bags at the airport and once you board the plane as opposed to dropping them off at the check-in counter?

If you find the answers to this question in your heart and you give them with all honesty and truth, then you probably already know what to bring on your next trip. Just don’t overthink it. Sometimes the best answers come with the most basic reasons. So go ahead and start some luggage shopping.
Kalyan Panja