Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > TravelBuzz
Reload this Page >

Calculating the benefits of carry-on only

Calculating the benefits of carry-on only

Old May 6, 19, 3:19 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 155
Calculating the benefits of carry-on only

I've been playing around a little bit with some linear equations looking at when to go carry-on vs. checked luggage

Variables I'm considering include:
1. Average time to clear customs with carry-on only
2. Average time to clear customs after picking up bags
3. Actual trip (flight) duration (to calculate the wasted time as a percentage of travel)
4. Actual trip (holiday/overall trip duration (to calculate the wasted time as a percentage of trip)
Those are all pretty basic, but they're basically focused on the time cost of checked luggage

Considering the benefits, I see them primarily as reducing the need for specific tasks at a destination i.e. laundry, shopping, pharmacy visits etc. Does anybody have some thoughts about the best way to consider this? I imagine some are discrete rather than continuous i.e. if your carry-on can carry 6 days clothes, and your trip is 6 days, you aren't avoiding any of the benefits of checked luggage, but if your trip was 12 days you'd have to weigh the time to do laundry against the time in the airport.

What do you guys think?

So, brainstorm the things I need to consider, and if I can make my spreadsheets do some work, I may come up with something (primarily for my own curiosity, but it may be a good decision-tool!)
akl_traveller is offline  
Old May 6, 19, 3:28 am
  #2  
Moderator, CoronaVirus and Hilton Honors
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: on a short leash
Programs: some
Posts: 71,020
Lots of other relevant factors depending on circumstances. E.g. with carry-on only much easier to be accommodated in irrops (assuming available flights), some things can only be brought in carry-on, some things can only be brought in checked luggage, more weight to carry up/down stairs (if no or broken escalators/lifts), etc.
travelmad478 likes this.
Kiwi Flyer is offline  
Old May 6, 19, 3:29 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: K+K
Programs: *G
Posts: 4,446
you must be a consultant.

some destinations and nature of said trips i want to go fast and light. others i dont. its more gut-feel than hh.mm.ss quantification though
deniah is offline  
Old May 6, 19, 4:32 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: AS MVPG, Hertz PC, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum + LT Silver, Delta/United Gold
Posts: 3,233
Someone with fast track and checked luggage may come out ahead of those without but carry-on only.

I have done carry-on only for a 2 week trip.
BearX220 likes this.
Repooc17 is offline  
Old May 6, 19, 5:41 am
  #5  
formerly known as Tad's Broiled Steaks
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: @BuildingMyBento
Programs: Tri-State Turducken, Keisei Skinflint, KCR Headphones, Kopaja Platinum
Posts: 5,686
Mostly, I think about this question when flying in the US, or on US-based airlines to a lesser extent (i.e. internationally). Boarding/disembarking here is miserable, because everyone crams everything into their often oversized carry-ons. Spirit and Frontier (and perhaps Allegiant, etc.) only slightly help in this regard.

Japan/China/ can fully board a widebody in a shorter time than the US3 a narrowbody.

But, then you have flights where the average flight might be delayed due to excess checked luggage. Singling out the Philippines to anywhere here...

Long story short, I'm still flying, in spite of boarding/deplaning often being the most aggravating parts of the flight.

Last edited by BuildingMyBento; May 6, 19 at 5:47 am Reason: Is this in reference to the SSJ crash?
BuildingMyBento is online now  
Old May 6, 19, 6:52 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Ontario. Canada
Programs: Aeroplan, IHG, Enterprise, Avios, Nexus
Posts: 6,798
Too many variables. I've rarely waited for checked luggage at LHR due to the average length of their immigration processes. Meanwhile in Toronto I've always waited at the baggage carousel. So if you are going to an airport for the first time your results won't apply.

What about the intangibles? Considering anything other than carry-on denies one the smug, self-satisfied posture of the travel snob who drolly announces at every opportunity that he never checks and claims to have once spent 6 weeks travelling with nothing other than what he could carry in a Neiman Marcus shopping bag.

You may be overthinking this. I take the minimum I need for a trip. Carry-on most of the time, check bags when required. Carry-on does not instill false pride and I will not go to extraordinary measures to avoid checking. Therefore, you will not find me in a hotel room hunched over the bathroom sink scrubbing my unmentionables.

Last edited by Badenoch; May 6, 19 at 7:46 am
Badenoch is offline  
Old May 6, 19, 7:21 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: somewhere between Europe and Africa, from SFO
Programs: A3*G, EY Silver
Posts: 7,943
It's always carry-on only unless...
- I'm carrying wine/alcohol presents that I can't buy at duty free
- I'm going to multiple climates (e.g. skiing, where I need more than usual amount of clothes).

Otherwise it's carry-on only, no matter the length of the trip.
Palal is offline  
Old May 6, 19, 7:46 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Prince Edward Island
Programs: Air Canada P25K, Hilton Honors Gold, Marriott Gold, Caesar's Diamond
Posts: 1,490
Originally Posted by akl_traveller View Post
Considering the benefits, I see them primarily as reducing the need for specific tasks at a destination i.e. laundry, shopping, pharmacy visits etc. Does anybody have some thoughts about the best way to consider this?
People who travel with only a carryon can generally pack well enough to avoid the need to do laundry or pharmacy trips (i.e. they pack enough clothes and travel size containers of all their toiletries). Very few, other than maybe a 20-something backpacker, see it as a trade off between checking luggage or doing laundry at the destination...and even then, it's more about traveling light than it is about time spent waiting for checked bags.
Low Roller is offline  
Old May 6, 19, 8:21 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Trenton NJ
Programs: UA Gold MM, AA Plat, Honors Silver, Marriott Plat, IHG Plat, Wyndham Plat, National Exec, Hertz 5*
Posts: 2,330
Originally Posted by Low Roller View Post
People who travel with only a carryon can generally pack well enough to avoid the need to do laundry or pharmacy trips (i.e. they pack enough clothes and travel size containers of all their toiletries). Very few, other than maybe a 20-something backpacker, see it as a trade off between checking luggage or doing laundry at the destination...and even then, it's more about traveling light than it is about time spent waiting for checked bags.
If I'm on a longer trip and decide to carry on, I'll usually take clothing that I don't mind leaving behind and buy new clothes instead of doing laundry. It works out quite well. These days about the only time I do check bags is when I'm going to a location that would require heavier clothing that what I can comfortably wear on the plane (i.e., a winter jacket for southern hemisphere trips in the middle of summer).

For me, the benefit is on the return end. When I arrive back in the US, I can be at the curb waiting for the parking shuttle less than a half hour after the plane has landed due to Global Entry and a carry on. Waiting for checked luggage usually defeats this.
Bluehen1 is offline  
Old May 6, 19, 8:55 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 204
Last year I went on a 5 week (mostly business) round the world trip with just carry-on. (To be fair, it was supposed to be a 2.5 week trip that just kept getting extended.) I don't remember the last time I checked in luggage. I hate waiting for luggage to arrive (it usually takes a long time). Even when immigration formalities are involved, I'm done with them far before the luggage arrives (exceptions are airports like Bogota, where immigration lines can be very long).

Of course, there are times when you have to check in baggage: when you need to carry a lot of stuff or when there's stuff that cannot be carried on board: the most annoying example of this is not being able carry small scissors.
thebakaronis is offline  
Old May 6, 19, 9:06 am
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New York, NY
Programs: BAEC Gold, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Gold, AMEX Platinum (US)
Posts: 18,304
Originally Posted by akl_traveller View Post
Variables I'm considering include:
1. Average time to clear customs with carry-on only
2. Average time to clear customs after picking up bags
I'm assuming by "clear customs" you are (perhaps confusingly) using the term to cover all aspects of the arrivals process on international flights such as immigration, baggage claim and customs? Or are you factoring in additional time for clearing customs if you are pulled to one side and needs your bags searched?

I've never once needed extra time to clear customs when with a checked bag or not.
Fraser is offline  
Old May 6, 19, 9:10 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Boulder
Programs: AA Plat, CX Silver
Posts: 2,356
I've gone on >5 week trips with only a carry-on. It's been a huge benefit during IRROPs—both air and train.

I was once trying to take the train from Switzerland to Marseille but due to strikes, all onward trains from Geneva into France were cancelled. I had to overnight in Geneva and what should've been a single train the next day turned into four segments. With a single bag that wasn't a huge burden.

Also makes things much easier when you show up in some small town without a hotel reservation and need to walk around figuring things out. That's not a problem with a single bag slung over your shoulder but it'd be a pain with much more.
txflyer77 is offline  
Old May 6, 19, 11:26 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: YUL
Programs: BAEC, Priority Club, Fairmont Presidents Club
Posts: 623
I do carry on only for a few reasons, getting in and out of the airport quickly, I tend to do some train travel and so a smaller bag means I can carry it on and off, and store it above my head. I often get laundry done whilst I travel, it is cheap and easy in most cities. For a long trip I will buy a few toiletries, but for trips under two weeks I can easily manage with small containers. Dragging big suitcases around is simply a drag.
Bogwoppit is offline  
Old May 6, 19, 1:48 pm
  #14  
Moderator: Luxury Hotels and FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Palo Alto, California,USA
Posts: 17,289
The single biggest advantage of carry-on vs. checking seems to be something that I don't notice being mentioned in this thread: that way, your bags don't go to Beijing when you are going to Rome, and yes, that has happened to me.
farci likes this.
RichardInSF is offline  
Old May 6, 19, 1:58 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 129
I always carry on only. It's simply easier and has enough space for my trips (max 3 week trips). No worry about losing luggage or anything. I also bring a pack-able day pack as well which if absolutely necessary I can start filling up and bring it on as a personal item. The ONLY benefit of checked bags I wouldn't mind having is ability to transport stuff like alcohol.

Also I really don't care about wearing a shirt twice without a wash, especially since a lot of my stuff is wool that I pack. I see no issues with it unless you really stunk it up the first time around.
quitecryptic is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: