Let me just say I know this topic may be a bit polarizing. Packing is hard enough as it is. Trying to shove everything you need into a carry-on bag only makes it harder.
But, to me, carry-on travel isn’t just about trying to cram my stuff into a smaller bag to save on checked luggage fees (though that’s a bonus). There are heaps of benefits to traveling light.
I know it’s not going to be right for everyone, and it’s not right for every trip, but just hear me out, okay?
If you’re going straight from the airport to a resort, this probably doesn’t matter as much, but if your trip involves multiple legs, packing light is undoubtedly a benefit.
Negotiating several suitcases through the airport and in and out of taxis or buses and on and off of trains will quickly become a burden (ask me how I know!). Especially since cobblestone in Europe or non existent side walks in Mexico aren’t always reliable— sure, you can roll your luggage along easily in the airport, but once you hit the street, it’s a whole different ballgame.
Packing light enables you to move around more easily— literally!
Taking only carry-on luggage makes the days when you’re in transit much more manageable.
For instance, let’s say you’re at the airport and your flight is delayed or canceled at the last minute. Sometimes the airline can rebook you on a new flight with a different route to help you reach your final destination. Unfortunately, if you’ve checked your luggage, you may be stuck waiting to collect it before you can board a new flight.
This is where carry-on travelers triumph!
I’ve had airport staff help me out with last-minute flight changes that saved my entire trip from cancellation, but these changes never would have worked out if I’d had checked my luggage.
If the airport fiascos of 2022 taught us anything, it was that checking a bag was a gamble.
Remember how everyone was gallivanting about Europe last summer while their suitcases sat around in piles at Heathrow or JFK? If those news articles weren’t enough of an incentive to carry your luggage with you, I don’t know what is!
If you’re on a long trip, there’s a chance you’ll be reunited with your luggage before it’s time to go home, but for quick getaways, you might be SOL.
(Pro Tip: if you DO check a bag, keep a clean change of clothes in the bag that you carry with you on the plane, just. in. case.)
Who doesn’t want to save $35 on luggage fees? This goes a long ways in some countries and in others will at least buy you a drink!
Also, since most of your fellow travelers are probably overpacking, there’s a good chance the airline staff will ask people to voluntarily check bags at the gate free of charge.
This saves you the trouble of fighting for overhead bin space and absolves you of the guilt of potentially dropping your bag on someone while lifting it in or out of the bin. Basically, you score most of the perks of checking your bag without having to pay for it.
Becoming a carry-on traveler isn’t ideal for everyone, but there have been countless times throughout my travels when I’ve been really glad that I didn’t have a bunch of extra luggage.
I hope this gave you a few things to think about so you can determine what will work best for your next trip. And if you have yet to plan that trip reach out to your CTC advisor. We’re always here to help!