About two years ago, after having my luggage lost one too many times, I decided I will never check in another bag when I travel. As a result, the lightened load has made the travel experience much more bearable, highly efficient and less stressful. I really noticed the difference on the a recent business trip to Philadelphia after traveling with someone who did check their bags. Although there was no lost luggage for my travel partner, the wasted time, especially when coming through customs, was a bit irritating. Below are the top 5 reasons why I only travel with one duffel bag (and a small backpack) and don’t plan to ever check in bags again.
Time Savings – We all are stretched for time and the less time we need to spend in crowded and noisy airports, the better for our sanity. I estimate on a trip last month from Tokyo to Texas, I easily saved a couple hours. Because I was able to check-in online from home, I could bypass the check-in counter and go straight to my gate — saving at least a half hour during the check-in process. When I got to customs, I didn’t have to wait for my bags to come through and was able to just move on through to my connecting flight after the passport counter. This saved at least 45 minutes not having to wait for my bags, being questioned by the customs officer, then having to recheck bags. This time savings is also critical if the time is tight between your connecting flight. Then once I got to my destination, I’m able to walk right out of the airport without waiting 30 to 45 minutes for my bags to arrive. It also saved the people who were waiting to pick me up.
No Problem With Canceled or Changed Flights – It is a relief to not have to worry about where your bags are or whether or not it is on a flight that may been changed at the last minute. On one too many occasions, I’ve been put on another flight and my bags didn’t follow me, leaving me at my destination without my stuff for a few days. Not fun and expensive too.
Not Having to Deal with the Morons in Baggage – It is wonderful to know that I will never have to deal with the airline baggage claim morons who can’t tell you where your bags are or when you can expect them. They are usually not empathetic to your issues and are rarely or readily willing to compensate you for your expenses. I’m sure the people who work in baggage get abused by customers all the time, that is why they seem so calloused — but come on, with technology today, being able to at least provide you a status of where your bags are shouldn’t be all that difficult.
Simplify – Being able to travel with just one duffel bag helps you simplify what you really need to bring. I remember when I didn’t have to restrain myself to one duffel bag and I would pack a bunch of stuff I didn’t need or use. Now I have a system down where I only travel with the essentials and normally whatever I bring I use. This takes some practice, but once you get your system down, packing for a trip will be a snap.
Saves Money – Since most airlines now charge to check in a bag, not checking bags probably saves you $25 to $100.
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