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FAQs about luggage
The right size for your carry-on and checked luggage depends on how long you'll be away from home and how much you like to pack. As a rule, 18-20 inches is ideal for international carry-on luggage. Some budget international airlines have strict size guidelines, but these bags meet those limits. If you only travel domestically, a 21 to 22-in carry-on bag is the most popular choice.
For check-in suitcases, a 23- or 24-in suitcase is probably the smallest you should consider. A 25 to 27-in suitcase is the most common, especially for couples sharing. There are 28 to 32-in suitcases available if you need extra space for long trips away. However, they can be difficult to manage and too large and heavy for some airlines.
Individual airlines have different weight restrictions for passengers. A weight limit of 50lb for each item of checked luggage is the most common. Airlines don't usually weigh carry-on luggage, although they may have size requirements. A portable luggage scale can help you make sure you're within your airline's weight restrictions. If your check-in bag is a little heavy, you may be able to move some items into your carry-on bag.
The weight of luggage doesn't usually matter for cruises or road travel, although lighter bags are more manageable. If you fly to a cruise port, remember you'll still need to consider your airline's weight restrictions.
For air and cruise travel, you can't pack items that violate the rules set by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The rules for carry-on luggage are stricter than the rules for check-in luggage. Some items such as toothpaste and perfume are allowable, but only in small quantities. As these rules change periodically, it's a good idea to check the official TSA list before leaving home. Some of the items you can't pack in carry-on luggage include:
- Aerosol insecticide.
- Self-defense items, including firearms, BB guns, and pepper spray.
- Sporting goods.
- Sharp objects, including scissors and knives.
Some of the items you can't pack in check-on or carry-on luggage include:
- Flammable items, such as paints and lighter fluid.
- Chemicals, including bleach and fertilizers.
- Explosive items.
- Alcoholic beverages over 140 proof.
Locking your luggage is a good way to deter casual thieves. These people are likely to move on to another bag that's not protected if they can't easily access the items inside yours. However, determined thieves can break through most luggage locks. For your protection, it's a good idea to keep valuable items, such as jewelry and electronics, in your carry-on bags instead of your checked luggage. While you might also lock your luggage if you have a lock, you shouldn't rely on it for your security.
Choosing luggage that stands out because it's patterned or brightly colored is an easy way to identify your luggage. You can make your luggage more recognizable by tying a colored ribbon around its handle or decorating it with stickers. Adding a luggage tag is another smart idea. Your luggage tag can verify you've picked up the right bag. It can also help you get reunited with your luggage if it goes missing. Some airlines will not check your bag unless it has a luggage tag.