Tag Archives: checked baggage

Pros and Cons of Carry-on vs. Checked Baggage

airportgroundtransportationFactors to Consider Before Packing for Your Next Flight

Most travellers I know aim to travel with just carry-on baggage but most often end up checking their bags because it takes far too much time and effort to pack smart and efficiently. Most of us pack far too many clothes than we will ever need because doing so requires much less thought when packing. Just throw everything in that suitcase and don’t worry about it right?

Although there may be several benefits to travelling with just carry-on, in my personal experience it may not always be the best choice.  In fact, it may end up causing you more headaches throughout your journey.  Before I divulge why it may be less convenient to not check a bag, lets explore some of the benefits to travelling with carry-on alone:

Pros of Travelling With Only Carry-On Baggage:

No extra baggage fees


The typical airline charges $25US per checked bag and up to well over $100 for bags that are overweight.  By keeping your personal articles to a minimum, you can save up to over $200 per return flight. Recently however, due to long TSA wait lines, some airlines are dropping baggage fees in order to expedite the security wait times.

Save Time by Avoiding Baggage Drop-off Lines and Waiting to Collect Your Baggage at Your Destination

Businesswoman walking with luggage in airport baggage claim area, rear view (tilt)If you are checking a bag, be prepared to add at least 1 hour minimum to your transit time.  Instead of simply printing off your boarding pass and proceeding through security, you will have to tag your bag and line up to drop off your bag. This process alone can take an hour so if you are planning on checking a bag, be sure to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours early for domestic flights and 3 hours for international flights in order to ensure you have enough time to drop off your bag and go through security.

Furthermore, when you arrive at your destination, typically you will have to wait an additional 20-30 minutes for your bag to be available for pick-up at the baggage claim carousel. For international travellers, this wait may be even longer given that customs agents may be searching your bags prior to putting them on the carousel.  What better things could you be doing in those 20 minutes? Be at your hotel, sipping on a nice glass of chardonnay? Sign me up!

No Worrying About Lost Baggage

lost baggageI don’t know about you but every time I’m waiting at the baggage claim, I always fret over the fact that my bag might not make it.  I neurotically think of what time I checked-in for my flight and what order my bag should be in as it was loaded and unloaded on the plane.  Fortunately, I have not ever had one of my bags lost but one time I had to wait almost 3 hours after returning on a flight that arrived at midnight.  I was not a happy camper by the time I claimed my bag at 3am but nonetheless, I was pleased that I did get my bag!

Save Money at Your Destination

suitcasefull It’s quite simple: if you have limited or no space in your bag to put anything else in it, you don’t have the option to buy things and bring them home, well unless you buy another bag!

 

 

Cons of Travelling with Only Carry-On Baggage:

Not All “Carry-on Approved” Bags Will Fit in Overhead Bins 

Can't fit much more than a laptop case in this bin!

Can’t fit much more than a laptop case in this bin!

Ever go to a luggage shop and see luggage labelled as “Carry-On Approved Luggage”?  Or even try out the airline’s “Carry-on Approved Luggage Sizes” bins at the airport?  Well sorry to disappoint, all that is meaningless and rather completely dependent on the type of aircraft you will be flying on.  Each aircraft has VERY different overhead bin storage space and there are some aircraft such as the dash series which won’t fit much more than a laptop case!

 

IMG_20160505_200803Travel Tip: I always travel with an extra small bag/purse within my larger carry-on which contains all of my electronic devices (cell phone, chargers, etc).  Note the small purse in the left of this photo which I store in my larger carry-on below.  This way if you are on a small aircraft where your bag won’t fit and you have to use the sky-check service, you can quickly remove any articles which cannot be checked (i.e. anything containing a lithium ion battery).

 

Additional Scrutiny at Customs Checkpoints

customs nothing to declare

As I mentioned previously, if you are just travelling with carry-on, you have limited space in which to place any additional articles which ultimately limits you in terms of what you can purchase throughout your travels.  Several times, well more often than not, I travel with only carry-on and do not purchase any items while abroad and therefore have nothing to declare at customs.  Apparently this must be some sort of red flag or perhaps a red flag only because I am a female and I should be bringing multiple bags and shopping everywhere I go? I have wound up in secondary screening almost every time I travel with carry-on only and have nothing to declare. Being subject to secondary screening is time consuming and anything but fun.  At minimum, it may add 1 hour to your journey and if you have been travelling for a long time, this is the last thing you want to have to go through! As a side note, if you are travelling internationally, ALWAYS DECLARE EVERYTHING HONESTLY and IF IN DOUBT, DECLARE IT! Not properly declaring items is a serious offense!

Limited Quantity of Items (Liquids and gels, clothing, shoes etc.) 

liquids and gels

This is probably the biggest challenge for most travellers; Being able to pack all of your necessities in such a way that it meets carry-on requirements.  Liquids and gels are limited to a maximum of 1L total comprising of bottles that contain a maximum of 100 ML each and that is very difficult to do, especially if travelling for more than a few days at a time.  Clothing can be packed minimally especially if your hotel has laundry facilities but shoes however cannot.  If you are planning on travelling with just carry-on, I recommend wearing all of your bulkiest items (boots, jacket, etc.) during transit.

In reading this, I hope that my points will better prepare you for your next trip.

Looking for tips on how to travel more efficiently? Contact me at thetravellingsaleswoman@gmail.com

Safe travels my friends!

TSW

 

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Pack Your Carry-on Luggage Appropriately or Risk Not Flying at All

If you’re travelling for business and your briefcase containing all of your portable electronic devices doesn’t conform to your airline’s carry-on standards, you can forget that business trip!

In this post I will provide some general airline travel tips and provide suggestions on what types of baggage you should travel with and the contents each baggage type should contain.

How many times have you packed for a trip only to end up using half if not less of what you packed?  We have all done it at some point.  As we become more seasoned travellers, we learn how to pack more wisely.  In the US, more and more people are travelling (see infographic from Hudson News below), and most of whom (I say from experience), do not know how to pack appropriately.  Now, airlines are beginning to crack down on these passengers and you need to be prepared for it the next time you fly.

BusinessTravelInfographic

Last week Air Canada announced that they will begin strictly enforcing their carry-on allowance at Pearson International Airport (YYZ) in Toronto effective this past Monday and they will begin doing so in other international airports across the country over the coming months.  This means that at all check-in and security check points, Air Canada will be checking passengers’ carry-on baggage to ensure that it meets their specifications.  If it does, each bag will be tagged with a “Carry-on Approved” tag.  If the bag does not meet the airline’s specifications, passengers will be required to check their bags before proceeding through security.

approved carryon bag tag

When I heard this news, I thought “This is great news! It’s about friggin’ time!!!”.  For those of you who read my article “The Top 10 Worst Airline Passengers I’ve Encountered”, you will recall me mentioning my frustration with the “Carry-on Cow”. You know, those passengers that have multiple and/or oversized bags and who naturally board the aircraft before you and then there is no room for your appropriately sized carry-on.  Or those who deliberately try to sneak on baggage that they know is oversized so that they can avoid the baggage check fees.  When this happens, the flight attendants then have to make arrangements to check their baggage and do that at no additional fee.  My neighbor who is a baggage handler for Air Canada informed me that this is the reason for 95% of flight delays.  That’s insane!!!  So I’m extremely relieved that Air Canada is taking the lead in doing this, especially because that is the airline I most frequently fly on.  I presume other airlines will follow suit shortly.

If you’re guilty of being one of those Carry-On Cows or just uncertain about the size of your carry-on bag, here are some helpful hints:

1. Research your airline’s baggage allowance policy BEFORE you PACK and plan what you will bring accordingly. You may have to buy new luggage.

TIP: Many companies sell bags with labels describing the bag as “carry-on size” when that is not the case at all.  Bring a measuring tape with you and measure the luggage dimensions before you buy!

2. Wear you bulkiest items (largest shoes/boots, coats etc) on the plane.

3. Leisure Travellers: As long as you have your PHOTO ID and CREDIT CARD EVERYTHING ELSE CAN BE REPLACED. If you try to pack everything as carry-on because you are afraid of the airline losing your luggage, you won’t be able to get away with this anymore. Either pack less or just commit to packing a checked bag and don’t put any real unreplaceable items in it.

4. Portable Electronic Devices Can NOT be CHECKED. This is because most of these devices (laptop, chargers, batteries, GPS, mobile power inverter, etc) contain lithium ion batteries which are classified as dangerous goods. Their improper storage on an aircraft may result in an explosion, fire or short circuit, all of which will not only destroy the device but may pose a flight hazard.

This can pose a dilemma for business travelers who usually must carry several if not all of these devices.  They take up half of my briefcase and they are items I cannot do my business trip without.   So if you don’t pack them appropriately in your carry-on, you won’t be able to check them and therefore won’t be able to board the aircraft for that important business trip.  Try explaining that to your boss!

To help you decide how to pack appropriately for your next trip, I have laid out my packing suggestions in the table below:

BaggageTable

What’s in my baggage?

Small Purse:

WhatsInMyPurse

  • Photo ID/Passport (You can’t board without it!)
  • Wallet (Relax– you can always buy whatever you forgot!)
  • Pens (Yes pens –If you are travelling internationally you will have to fill out customs immigration forms)
  • Cell Phone and charger
  • Travel documents (Yes I still keep paper copies of everything. After all you never know when your phone or tablet will die
  • iPad and charger
  • Personal articles such as liquids and gels (-moisturizer, hand sanitizer, lipstick, lighter), hair brush, gum, kleenex.

TIP: The best way to relieve pressure in your ears due to altitude changes is to blow your nose

Large Purse or Laptop Case (same dimensions):

  • Same as above except my laptop instead of iPAD (that’s just a toy!)
  • Small detail binder including literature

Small Carry-on:

IMG_1082

  • Chargers, adaptors
  • Camera
  • Clothes – only enough for my trip. It is OK to wear something more than once!
  • Toiletries (that are less than 100mL each and total no more than 1L) in a TSA-approved bag

Briefcase:

TIP: Be sure to use a hardside briefcase to prevent yourself from over-stuffing it and making it oversized!

samsonite

  • Laptop and charger
  • GPS, cable and mount
  • Phone charger (for wall and car)
  • iPod and aux cable
  • Power cord (most hotel rooms NEVER have enough outlets!)
  • Detail Binder
  • Literature (sell sheets)
  • Schedule/ Calendar for all of my appointments – Yes I’m old school! I prefer a paper back-up
  • Sales Reports (paper copies for handy reference)

Yes, believe it or not I squeeze all of this into my little briefcase!

TIP:  If it gets full, I either put some literature in my checked baggage or arrange to have it shipped to me at my destination.

Checked Baggage:

  • You can put anything in here, except something that you cannot replace (i.e. family heirloom etc) or that is very heavy as most airlines will charge you an additional $100 or more if your back is over 50lbs.

I hope you find some of these tips helpful for when you are preparing for your next trip be it for business or pleasure.  If you would like any more specific advice, please feel free to contact me at thetravellingsaleswoman@gmail.com or provide your questions in the comment field below.

Safe travels my friends, and just as a reminder, don’t be that Cary-on Cow. You won’t get away with it for much longer and certainly not if you fly with Air Canada.

Cheers,

 

TSW

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