Random Thoughts on Carry-Ons

OK I admit I am a total failure at travelling with just a carry-on. I can do it for a weekend, but not for an extended trip. That said I do ALWAYS have a carry-on in tow.

Do You Need a Carry-On in Addition to your Checked Bags?

I recently had a friend tell me that he had been advised that airlines no longer lose luggage, so there was no need for a carry-on in addition to your checked luggage. While airlines may not lose your luggage, it often gets misdirected or way laid.

On our recent trip to Croatia, six people in our group were missing checked luggage when we headed out on our bus. The bags had not made connections en route and took from two to four days to catch up with our moving target.

We just yesterday returned from a trip to Washington, DC. Our flight home to California had one stop in Denver. Our bags were checked through to California. Our flight was delayed in DC by weather and by the time we landed in Denver our ongoing flight had already departed. We were rebooked for a flight the next day. Since our bags were checked through, we could not retrieve them. We spent the night in Denver at a hotel with our carry-on luggage.

So my response to the need for carry-on luggage is a resounding YES. I always pack a change of underwear for two days, pajamas, a lightweight down jacket or sweater, my computer, camera, medications and charging wires for my electronics in my carry on.

How Much Does Your Carry-On Weigh?

I have a luggage scale and I always weight my checked bags before we leave for the airport. I take it with me so I can weight my bags on the return trip also. It never occurred to me to weight my carry-on. This proved to be a problem our 3.5 month trip to Australia and New Zealand. Both Air New Zealand and Qantas have a STRICT carry-on limit of 7 kg/15 pounds. They weighed our carry-on bags and forced us to check them if they were overweight. In some cases there was a gate agent prior to security with a scale, in another instance the bags were weighed as we boarded the aircraft. I found that once I put my computer in my carry-on bag it was overweight. Fortunately, I also travel with a Rick Steve’s Day Pack. I began putting my laptop in my day bag until we had boarded the plane and then shifted it back to my carry-on.

So next time you travel, check your airlines baggage restrictions for dimensions AND weight limits for carry-on luggage.


One response to “Random Thoughts on Carry-Ons

  1. I’ve never had my carry on weighed when traveling in the US, but it’s seens to be the norm now on many international flights. I flew Lufthansa to Europe last year and the carry on was weighed at the check-in counter in NYC, Frankfurt and Vienna. I was allowed 8kg which is roughly 17.5 lbs. Others in my group who flew other airlines had a similar experience. Aiming for something under 15 lbs leaves room for purchases while traveling that I don’t want to put in my checked luggage and keeps the bag light enough to handle with ease. I too carry items for an unexpected overnight stay plus a clean outfit for the next day along with medications and “gotta have” grooming items.

    I just bought a new carry on from Eagle Creek that has a net that can go on the outside to secure a travel pillow. Looping my pillow around the handle of the carry on has been very unsatisfactory – it’s always falling off. I’m interested to see how the new carry on will be dealt with with that feature deployed as it might cause the bag to exceed the allowable depth measurement.

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