Carry-On Vs Check-In: What’s Your Preference?

07 Jul 20


Carry-On Vs Check-In: Whats Your Preference? - GLOBE-TROTTER

When it comes to travel, there are those who like to pack light and those who tend to take everything but the kitchen sink.

Here, Globe-Trotter answers some frequently asked questions about baggage laws and explores the carry-on vs check-in debate.


In the golden age of travel, packing light wasn’t exactly an option. Before suitcases came into use at the beginning of the 19th century (quite literally as cases for suits), early adventurers would travel the world with huge canvas-covered chests and steamer trunks. Today, with travel ever more accessible and impromptu, packing light is the new norm.


Carry-on luggage is reflective of the modern traveller. They are a spontaneous and carefree bunch who like to travel as unencumbered as possible. Each item is planned based on comfort, durability and versatility. That is not to say that the carry-on traveller must pack like a Buddhist monk. The standard carry-on luggage allowance is 22”x 14”x 9”, including handles, so a substantial amount can be packed into one case for a long weekend or short break.


‘Customers are often surprised that our 20” Trolley Case is, in fact, a carry-on size,’ says Michael Rodie, store manager at the Globe-Trotter London flagship boutique on the brand’s signature case. ‘They look deceptively big and people often want to make sure that they are indeed able to take them on board. Another common question is how much they weigh. All of our carry-ons weigh four kilograms or lighter, which is lighter than poly-carbonate alternatives available on the market.


Carry-on luggage has many advantages. For one, you don’t have the hassle of checking in your suitcase and enduring endless queues. Once you’ve arrived at your destination there’s no need to wait for your case on the carousel, or to face every traveller’s nightmare of lost luggage. It also forces you to pack in a more considered, mindful fashion.


Of course, carry-on isn’t always the best option, especially if travelling long-haul. If your destination is a cold climate, packing all of your thermals in a carry-on suitcase is virtually impossible – unless you wear all of your layers to the airport (not advisable). And buying that totally unique, once-in-a-lifetime souvenir? Forget it. Some airlines are very stringent on checking size and weight of carry-on luggage, which could lead to having to fork out for check-in luggage after all.


‘When packing a carry-on case my best advice is to pack any shoes first,’ says Rodie. ‘They are the least forgiving element of your wardrobe. Once in, pack all of your clothes around them, and fit what you can in the shoes to save even more space. Also don't be afraid to overpack slightly; the frame of the fibreboard does have some flexibility in it so the case can expand a little.


The beauty of check-in is that you are free to take as much as you want (relatively speaking) and for beauty junkies that means not having to sacrifice your favourite products or compress them into miniature travel bottles. It alleviates the pressure of making sure everything fits into your bag and is useful if you have social or formal events. And if you’re the type of traveller who can’t bear to leave your iPad/digital camera/laptop/all of the above at home, check-in luggage is the optimum choice.


‘With check-in sizes, the biggest concern customers have is the durability of Globe Trotter cases,’ Rodie comments. ‘Luggage handlers are notorious for how they deal with passengers’ belongings, however, even though we have been making cases the same way for 120 years, they can stand up to almost anything modern-day travel can throw at them. Bar codes, stickers and other things that can affect the appearance of the case is the other topic that crops up occasionally. The more the case is used, the more of a unique personality it develops. Stickers, bar codes and cosmetic damage only add to the suitcase’s personality and are testament to your travels.


“I wish I was neat, tidy and organised enough to be on team carry-on but my (often last minute) scrambled attempts at packing mean I need a decent-sized bag that I can hurl clothes, books and binoculars into in a hurry. A bonus upside is that I don’t have to cart a bag through the (often-hellish) security line and onto the plane to play the overhead locker lottery. Which feels oddly freeing.”

Lizzie Pook, Journalist and editor (the Guardian, Stylist, Condé Nast Traveller)


“I’ve become a pro at capsule wardrobe packing because I can’t bear the hassle of having to check in luggage and then drag a heavy suitcase around a new destination. My attitude is if I find I’ve underpacked when I’m away, I can always hit the shops. So far it hasn’t happened though!”

Holly Quayle, Writer and editor (Glamour magazine)

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