Pros and Cons of Carry-ons vs Large Suitcases

One of the things you may not consider when planning a trip is which piece of luggage to use. Either you’re going to wait and see how much you have to take, and plan accordingly. Or you’re thinking about buying your first piece of luggage, and aren’t sure which one to get.
Today, we’re going to present the pros and cons of the carry-on and the pros and cons of the larger suitcase.
There’s a size in here for everyone — carry-on, large bag — but which is right for you?
Pros: Carry-Ons
The biggest pro for the carry-on centers around savings: saving money, saving time. If you’ve priced luggage, you’ll know that carry-ons are cheaper than check-in size suitcases. They also save you money because you don’t have to pay the checked bag fee suitcase users incur when they check their bag.
Carry-ons also save you time by allowing you to skip the ticket counter and use the self-check kiosks or mobile apps to get your boarding pass. You also save time at the end of your trip because you’re not waiting at baggage claim for your luggage to be offloaded from the plane. These two reasons are why we prefer carry-ons when we travel.
Cons: Carry-Ons
Do not be deceived, though. Using a carry-on has its cons. The most obvious is that you are limited in how much you can take with you. If you’re going on a week-long trip, it takes a savvy traveler to know how to make the most of a minimal wardrobe selection. You’re also less nimble as you go through security and make your way to your gate because you’re trailing something behind you.
Using a carry-on also means the possibility that the plane you’re flying on doesn’t have sufficient overhead bin space. While I still prefer gate checking my bag to counter checking, it’s an unknown you have to consider and some people just don’t like playing that kind of roulette.
Carry-ons also have to be carried. If you’re traveling with children and they also have their own carry-ons, now you have multiple bags to keep track of and handle as you make your way through the airport. You’ve seen these travelers — they’re pushing children in strollers or holding their hands while trying to steer a carry-on, heft a car seat, and balance the backpack or diaper bag that holds all the other essentials that are needed on their shoulder. In this instance, your relaxing vacation begins with the travel to get there. Give your mind a break and check your bags.
Cons: Large Luggage
Which is a beautiful segue into the pros and cons of check-in size luggage. Let’s discuss the cons first. Bigger bags are more expensive, are often only used once a year or so for long trips, and are difficult to maneuver before you even get to the terminal. If you’re not using private transportation to the airport, you have to consider how to manage your bags while you use public transportation and the extra time you might need to do so.
Bigger bags also have to be checked, and that could be an added cost to your trip. They usually have a weight limit, usually 50 pounds, and anything over can cost you even more money. Finally, you have to wait for them to be delivered to the baggage claim carousel after you arrive, and you have to manage them until you arrive at your hotel.
Pros: Large Luggage
The pros of using a bigger suitcase are worth considering, though. You have more space for all that you need to take. You don’t have to decide between this pair of shoes or that one. And if you plan to purchase souvenirs, you have more space without having to leave stuff at home.
Once you check in, your airport experience is a walk in the park. Literally. Yes, you may have a carry-on for your essentials, but your hands are otherwise free for getting food or helping others you’re traveling with. You have so much less to keep track of that you can focus on other things, like preparing for those meetings or beginning to unwind and anticipate the place and the people you’re going to experience.
So what are your thoughts? What sounds like your best option? Or do you have any questions? Leave us your comments and your questions — we’ll answer them! — in the comments section or on our Facebook page.