8 Great Reasons to Join the Carryon Club

A popular travel debate is how much stuff to bring on trips? The carryon versus checked baggage argument has led to countless arguments and relationship breakups.

OK, I might have made up that last part.

I have been a member of the carryon only club ever since I can remember. With the exception of a couple of flights when my kids were toddlers, I and / or my family never check bags. For week long trips to Europe, we traveled with only three carryon bags (for four people). My wife and I traveled for several months with only a carryon each so I know everyone can do it.

Bringing less stuff makes for happier travelers.

Big Carryon, photo from 1bag1world.com
Big Carryon, photo from 1bag1world.com

8 Great Reasons to Join the Carryon Club

  1. Saves Money. Now, with most airlines charging passengers for checking bags*, members of the carryon club save money every time they fly. Carryon club members, when we decide to splurge on luxurious lodging options, save additional expense of tipping bellmen.
  2. Saves Time. After flights, carryon club members get the heck out of airports while checkin club members wait at baggage claim. More vacation time equals more fun.
  3. Reduces Stress. Carryon club members do not have to worry about their bags being lost or delayed by the airline, stolen or damaged during the transit process, or broken into and stuff being taken. Any of the above situations also results in a loss of time and money.
  4. Reduces Physical Toll. It is simply harder to travel with more stuff. Lugging your bags from baggage claim onto the shuttle, from the shuttle to the rental car, from the rental car into your lodging, or onto a bus or train, or walking around; it is harder with more stuff.
  5. Europe. European rental cars and hotels are smaller. If four people each bring a carryon AND a checkin bag, they may not all fit in a regular size rental car. You will be required to rent a larger vehicle, which costs more money and is less convenient to drive the smallish roads. Many European hotels have small configurations. People who bring too much stuff are constantly tripping over their bags on the floor.
  6. Ease of Movement. Tight flight connections, especially between different airlines, are much easier to make for carryon club members. We do not have to wait to claim and recheck bags. For longer flight connections, we can explore and not have to lug an extra bag.
  7. Repacking. Less stuff equals less time repacking and minimizes the possibility of lost items.
  8. Greenness. It is environmentally friendly to bring less stuff. Less stuff means less weight on airplanes and other transportation.
Carryon, photo from Shorpy.com
Carryon, photo from Shorpy.com

What do you think? Are you a carryon club member? Want to join?

  • NOTE: Baggage fees might be waived if you have the airline’s credit card.


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20 thoughts on “8 Great Reasons to Join the Carryon Club”

  1. I think with airlines starting to charge for all checked baggage more people will be trying to use carry on only.

  2. I am not a member of the carry-on club, but you sure have given me some excellent reasons to consider joining.

  3. I just traveled for 3 weeks in Israel and Turkey with a 20 inch carry on size suitcase and a briefcase sized back pack (because actually it is a brief case left over from my full time lawyer daze (not a typo). But, my husband didn’t, so I checked my bag too (free on international flights) since I was going to have to wait with him anyway. I absolutely agree that it’s best to travel with baggage that you can handle yourself–up and down subway steps, on uneven cobblestones, etc. It’s true that packing for multiple climates and for long term stays away from home make the carry on equation more problematic.

  4. Yes, it’s a great thing to aspire to. As a new nomad, I am not there. But, I’m finding stuff I thought was necessary isn’t. So, am whittling things down. Doing well to have everything in one checked bag, though. 🙂

  5. Of course, I am with the Carryon Club especially since you can have a purse that can carry lots, too! But I must admit, except when I have to be in a foreign place for several months, not just a couple!

  6. I have been traveling with carry-on only for years. Although I found out that in some countries the carry-on size limit is quite small – Colombia for instance. I had to check my usual carry-on bag when I flew from Bogota to Medellin and on the Cartagena. On a recent trip to visit my family in Calgary I checked a suitcase because I was bringing some stuff back to Oh-Canada. Well, it added an extra 30 minutes to my wait at the airport. Carry-on only is always my preference!

  7. Your statement, “It is simply harder to travel with more stuff” couldn’t be truer! As long-term travelers we dread the pack/repack and we realized long ago that less stuff is truly less stressful. Great post!

  8. Not sure in our situation: most likely when we travel by plane (which isn’t that often – we travel more by road) we are changing hemispheres and climate zones, so there’s straight away more bulk! Either we’re leaving Australia in summer, shorts, T-shirt, and sandals on the way to airport, and arrive in Europe for winter, long pants, heavy boots, thick shirt pluswoolen jumper plus winter jacket plus gloves and hat, or we’re visiting places with numerous climate zones – like now South America with everything between altitudes of over 5,000 meters (16,000 feet) and tropical beaches…

  9. Great reasons to join your carryon club! We were very close to becoming members but we were thwarted by the fact that we were travelling for 8 months and needed both summer and winter clothes. We each had a carryon but need a third small bag that held both our winter clothes (which lived in the boot of the car most of the time until they were needed!) It wasn’t a problem but it did mean that we had to check the bag when we flew. Next time, we’re travelling in the one season!!

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