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  1. #1

    Default Carry On or Checked Luggage?

    My wife and I are first time flyers outside of the U.S. and I am trying to convince her that carry on luggage will be less hassle than dealing with checked luggage. We have a non-stop flight going both ways but I am one who enjoys the convenience of not having to stand in lines if I can avoid it. Does anyone have advice if it will make much difference on having only Carry-On or not?

  2. #2


    We always check a bag as the airlines wont let you bring those large bottles of sunscreen and bug spray in your carry-on. A checked bag also leaves us room to pack any items we might buy while we are there.

  3. #3


    I like to carry on. It's nice to be able to walk right through security to the plane, then walk right out of the airport when you arrive. I can pack plenty for a week trip in a carry-on. Apparently some people struggle with the 3-1-1 rules, but it's not an issue for us. I avoid standing in line for check-in, checking bags, immigration, etc., like the plague.
    Last edited by Kyle; November 21st, 2013 at 09:01 AM.

  4. #4


    I know there are some who do go with just a carry on but I don't think it will make that much of a differences in trying to avoid lines. Most of the lines are from immigration and customs both coming and going. Plus there is the whole 3.5 liquid rule with TSA(usually the worst line), sunscreen at the resort cost about the same as a checked bag. Then depending on when you board the plane your bag may get check anyway when they run out of room.
    Last edited by redinthehead; November 21st, 2013 at 05:57 AM.

  5. #5


    In my opinion, using a carry on bag only would be more hassle, not less than using checked baggage.

    Unless you purchase Club MOBAY, chances are you WILL be standing in line. Sometimes you can just pass right through Customs and Immigration. However, the last time we went to Jamaica, we entered the line on the ramp going down to the Customs and Immigration area. We stood in line for more than 2 1/2 hours. Our luggage was waiting for us on the other side. Our luggage was waiting for us, not us waiting for our luggage.

    After you arrive at Sangster, you don't handle your luggage very much. You take it a short distance from the baggage area to the Couples lounge. After that, you don't touch your bags again until you are inside your room at the resort. You are staying at an all inclusive resort, not a Super 8. Just have some small bills with you at the airport to tip the person who loads your luggage on the bus. You also tip your bus driver. After that, the tipping is done, unless you venture off of the resort. No tipping on the resort.

    When you arrive at the resort, your bags are unloaded from the bus for you. You check in and show the porter your bags and the porter brings the bags to your room for you.

    On the day you leave paradise, the process is similar. The porter comes to your room and gets your bags. The porter loads the bags onto the bus. There are people who will bring your bags into the the airport if you are willing to tip. You will need to drag your bags in the line to the ticket counter where your bags are checked. You will stand in this very same line if you have luggage or not. But with a carry on bag only you will be dragging more weight through the airport for a longer time than if you checked your bag. But then, you don't see your bags until you are back at your home airport.

    With a carry on bag only you are limiting what you can bring along with you and what you can bring home. Check the TSA regulations because you could have items that would go into your checked bag that would be taken away from you by TSA.

    Think of it this way. For many airlines, your first checked bag is included, 1 per person. This doesn't really mean it is free, it is included with your airfare. You don't get this money back if you don't check a bag. You are giving the airline free money.

    Bring your 2 included checked bags. You won't be lugging a bunch of stuff around with you in the airport. You won't be lugging a heavy bag on and off the airplane. You can pack only what is absolutely necessary during your flight in your carry on making it much lighter to drag around with you. You can take more stuff with you. You will have room for some souvenirs on the trip back. We always seem to come home with more stuff than when we left.

    If you don't want to stand in lines at Sangster, consider Club MOBAY. About $160 for both of you. You can get this yourself online or ask your travel agent. People claim that even on the busiest days at Sangster they will get you from your airplane door, through Customs and Immigration, and to the Couples lounge in about 10 to 15 minutes. You can also get the same expedited service when you depart.

    Enjoy your trip to paradise

    Only 88 more days until CTI.

  6. #6


    If you do not check any bags it won't save you much time at all on your arrival in Jamaica. On 9 trips to Jamaica, by the time we've gone through Immigration, the most we've had to wait for our bags to hit the belt is 5 minutes. On your return to the U.S. it could save you more time depending on your home airport. It also depends upon how long you will be staying at Couples. While you will be living in swim suits during the day, you will need a change of clothes for dinner. Because it is so hot and humid, I've never worn a top or dress more than once. Another thing to keep in mind is whether or not you have any priority boarding for your airline. Those darn overhead bins are frequently full by the time the last few groups board. Then they check your bag anyway.

  7. #7


    When we go non-stop we go ahead and check a bag, sometimes two. If we have a connection on the way home we go carry-on for sure.
    Have a great trip!

  8. #8


    To each their own and I'm sure you will get a lot of opinions. However, we choose to travel only carry-on. You really can get everything you NEED in one carry-on bag and your personal bag. Of course, we don't need lots of shoes and matching outfits, hair stuff, etc. Do what works for you. We will be there in 3 1/2 weeks for 10 days and carry-on it is. I guess you could call us minimalists.
    Happy travels.
    Ronda and Doug
    COR Dec. 2007
    CTI Dec. 2009
    CSS Dec. 2008, Dec. 2012, Dec. 2014
    CN Dec. 2011, Dec. 2013

  9. #9


    We always check a bag for each of us. We bring full size shampoo/conditioner & sunscreen and I could never possibly pack for a week plus in a carry on (kudos to those that can). I have a crazy anxiety about being in a foreign country and not having everything I could possibly need (I literally make my packing list weeks ahead of time and start the packing process days ahead though). I also have to have a new swim suit for every day, as they don't dry and a different dinner outfit for each day, plus daytime outfits/cover-ups. Also, we like to have the room to bring lots of goodies home. Sorry, that probably didn't help your argument. (We also don't mind the little extra hassle of checking a bag and will be using Club Mobay this trip).

  10. #10


    I just can't do carry-on. Nine days in the topics involves too many pairs of shoes, dresses, etc as nothing ever dries! And the. There's the extra space required to bring home wood carvings, etc.

  11. #11


    We have always carried our luggage. It's cheaper, easier to keep track of and it keeps us conservative about what we pack/bring to the island.
    Socal and Sintown
    CN 6/2014
    CB 6/2013
    CTI 6/2012

  12. #12


    Happy wife.. happy life!
    We are strictly carry on people.. but my husband leaves that decision to me!
    Wouldn't want to start vacation with a worried wife!
    Have a ball.. you are going to LOVE it!

  13. #13


    The first time we went to CN we took large, checked bags. After that (and it will be #9 in a month), we've gone with carry-ons. The first time we brought WAY too many clothes and ended up not wearing half of what we brought.

    The positives for us are: (1) not having to wait for our bags on the back-end (the return flight), and (2) it forces us not to overpack.

    The only negative is the need to buy sunscreen but the resort credit more than covers it. We are fine with the resort's shampoo, lotion, etc., so we don't have any other liquids issues.

    I should note that we are ok wearing the same outfits on more than one evening. Obviously, if you want to wear something new every night, bring lots of shoes, etc., you may want to bring the larger bag. Also, if it rains heavily while you're there, you may find that you need more clothing than if you can wear a bathing suit all day. It's really a personal preference.

  14. #14


    We also always use checked bags in addition to our carry on. A lot of good reasons have been given, but since there are no direct flights for us, you have to have checked bags to pack the rum cream you bring back from Jamaica.

  15. #15


    I like good wine. A checked bag allows me to bring a few bottles.

  16. #16


    Don't forget since it's an international should get one piece of checked luggage free per person
    Holly Irvin

  17. #17


    In 68 trips to CTI(1 was for 31/2 weeks) we have never used anything but carry ons.

  18. #18


    We are carry-on only. Have always had clothes we never wore while on the trip and brought home. For those who profess to not save any time with carry-on only, I challenge them to go on a trip with my wife and me.

  19. #19


    Carry-on only does save time. It may not be a lot, but it's worth it to us. It's also more convenient, and it's vacation...what do you really need? You're in your swimsuit 80% of the time! I used to take a huge checked bag, and ever since I switched, I've been happier. It's just plain easier for me, and I don't miss all the crap I used to bring!

  20. #20


    We check bags. Airlines are becoming more picky with carry ons and with personal carry on items. We flew Delta this summer and they ran out of room in the overhead compartments so some carry ons had to be checked. There is no way to avoid lines at immigration or customs. You still have to go through those lines going and coming back. I am picky about my sunscreen so I need to take my own. It's also very expensive at the resort.

  21. #21


    There is no benefit to only bringing carry-on. You won't save any time because by the time you get through customs your checked luggage will be waiting for you. Then you factor in the cost of having to purchase the very expensive sunscreen/bug spray at the resort (because you can't bring it in your carry-on) and it's costing you more money to NOT check a bag in the end. Plus, by checking a bag, you also should have some room to pack away any gifts you might bring home with you.

    There is absolutely no benefit to NOT check a bag.

  22. #22


    Check on the way down for liquids, lotions, etc. Small carry-on with personal items.

    Carry-on everything on the way back because BWI baggage is notoriously slow.

  23. #23


    If it's a matter of money savings, then that's up to each individual. But to me, it seems more stressful to figure out what you can bring and what to leave behind, roll everything up and pack them up like a can of sardines, deal with laundry service and purchasing sunscreen and other liquid issues at the resort, and not having the ability to bring back any souvenirs or whatnot. Comparing that to the extra 5-10 minutes it would take to claim your luggage doesn't seem worth it. What will those 5-10 minutes buy you? And extra 5-10 minutes in the Couples lounge.'s not the amazing race. It's comparable to those people who get upset on the shuttle when someone wants to take a 5-minute bathroom stop and to pick up a couple Red Stripe on the way to the resort. I understand people want to get to the resort, but all that stress and rushing seems so.... anti-Jamaican.

    And, on a side note, those carry-on people who throw both their carry-on and personal items in the overhead, forcing others boarding later to check their carry-ons, are being very selfish in my opinion.

  24. #24


    A lot depends on how long you are going to be there

    We like to dress up for dinner
    If it is only a short trip you can do that but for us (10 days), that is not really possible
    I love to have my wife all dolled up with her evening wear and that means matching shoes/sandals
    It is a small price to pay (lugging a couple of bags) to have a romantic dress-up dinner out under the stars every night we are at CSS

    Its vacation, enjoy and don't fret


  25. #25


    We check bags mostly for toiletries, sunscreen, bug spray, shoes, beach bag, etc. I pack swim suits, most clothes and even shoes in carry on now. At least cover 1 or 2 of everything. I suffer from lose-my-luggage-aphobia... even though so far never lost a bag permanently. Had a scare after the recent (long nasty delayed by a day) trip home from Bonaire when our dive gear didn't show up. It took a different flight/route. Now I wish I could carry that on too! LOL.

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