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What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Large Luggage?

B. Miller
B. Miller

There are some pros and cons to using large luggage to keep in mind before embarking on a trip. One of the main pros is that large luggage can be packed with a great deal of items; there is really no need to pack lightly when traveling with bigger suitcases. On the other hand, larger luggage can be somewhat unwieldy to manage, much heavier to carry, and can incur extra baggage fees when checked on an airplane. For this reason, it is necessary to weigh the convenience of being able to pack a lot with the inconvenience of dragging around a big, heavy bag.

Some people find that if they are traveling for an extended period of time, or are even moving somewhere new, large luggage can be a lifesaver and allow them to take their most important possessions on the plane with them, even if they have to check a bag. Hard plastic luggage is another great option for people who are carrying valuable items, such as camera equipment, that could be damaged if the bag was dropped, or if something heavy fell on top of it. These are available in larger versions as well for extra convenience.

Using small luggage is a way to avoid having to check a bag.
Using small luggage is a way to avoid having to check a bag.

The downsides to large luggage may outweigh its capacity benefits, however. First, if an individual is taking a large piece of luggage on a plane, he or she will nearly always have to check it. This can cause extra wait times at airports, possibly increase the risk of lost luggage, and may even incur extra baggage fees. It will almost certainly incur extra fees if the bag exceeds the weight limit set by the airline. People traveling by train or car might find that using large luggage annoys other travelers or makes it more difficult for other people to fit their own items as well.

If luggage does not have wheels or an extending handle, it may be too heavy for some people to carry.
If luggage does not have wheels or an extending handle, it may be too heavy for some people to carry.

Additional cons to using large luggage can sometimes be seen when a traveler arrives at his or her destination. Unless he will be staying in the same place for the duration of the trip, it might be an annoyance to have to pick up and carry the luggage to different places. This is especially true if the luggage does not have wheels or an extending handle for easy carrying. Some people might find that their luggage becomes too heavy for them to carry, which could even lead to back pain, such as when trying to bend over and lift it.

Discussion Comments


If I use luggage that is large, I end up packing so much more than I need. I have a tendency to be over-prepared for things, and using smaller luggage helps me manage this obsession.

One year, I took a big bag with me to visit a friend for a week. When I got home and unpacked, I found that I had brought along four outfits that I never even wore. Also, I had carted along three pairs of shoes that I never used during the trip.

The next year, I took a bag about half the size of the old one. I took the exact number of outfits I would need, and the bag was so much easier to carry. I didn’t have any emergencies that required extra clothing, so I decided to use the small bag every year.


I have some really cool large luggage that I bought to take with me on my yearly beach vacation. I stay for a whole week, so I need lots of space for all those swimsuits, beach towels, and flip-flops.

The giant hard suitcase is covered in seagulls and ocean waves. The handle is a big seashell. Inside the lid are compartments for little things, like toothbrushes and tweezers.

A canvas bag that attaches to the suitcase is covered in the same design. I used this to hold all my shoes, and it was great to be able to store them away from my clean clothes.

The suitcase has wheels on the bottom, but the handle doesn’t extend upward. So, I have to lean down a little in order to roll it. That is the only disadvantage to using this luggage.


@seag47 - It must have been nice to go on a trip with just your husband, because I’m sure it didn’t matter how big your luggage was. I had to go on a long journey with four other family members, so we had severely limited space.

I had to use a large suitcase to fit in everything I wanted to take with me. When I arrived at my aunt’s house, she told me that I would have to unpack some of it and use a smaller bag. She showed me the space they had reserved for my bag in their trunk, and it was about half the size of the suitcase I had brought.

I had to leave about four cute outfits and my hair dryer in my car and use a duffel bag that my aunt had. I was not happy about having to leave the clothes behind, but at least I knew that the hotel would have a hair dryer in the room.


My husband and I used a set of large upright luggage when we drove from the deep South to the Northeastern U.S. to visit his family. Anything smaller than the giant bags we took could not have held all of the clothes we had to take for such a long trip. Though these bags took up the majority of the space available in our trunk, they were necessary.

We left on a Tuesday and came back the Thursday of the following week, so we both needed a lot of underwear, socks, and different outfits. Also, it was cold, so we had to take bulkier clothes like sweaters, and I packed thermal underwear, which took up even more space.

Both upright bags had top handles and wheels on the bottom, so carting them around was not an issue. This worked out great, because we spent the night at houses of several different family members during our stay, and we had to spend four nights in different hotels while traveling to and from our destination.


I love using large luggage when I travel internationally, especially if I'm going to be abroad for a while. I don't have to leave behind half of my essentials if I have a large luggage. Over the years though, I've found that this can also be a disadvantage.

Airlines that travel internationally have a strict weight limit when it comes to luggage. We're not allowed to have anything over fifty pounds, so if I have 2 pieces, that's twenty-five pounds per luggage.

I've noticed that whenever I travel with a large luggage, I always go over this limit. It's a huge issue because unless I pay a hefty fee, the airline requires that I take things out to make my luggage lighter. You have no idea how many of my belongings I had to throw out or give away to airline workers at airports because of this.


@stl156 - I agree. I never have liked the hard luggage. Every time I am at the airport, I always see a few people carrying them around, though, so I guess some people like having them. I can see the article's point that sometimes you would want the hard case just for protection. I have seen the baggage handlers treat luggage a little rough before.

Lately what I have seen is not so much of the old fashioned hard sided luggage, but now they make hard luggage with rollers and handles like the fabric suitcases. They would be harder to pack, but they might be nice if you wanted to check your bag and reduce possible damage or if you were on vacation and planned on bringing back fragile souvenirs.


@jmc88 - It didn't happen to me, but I saw the opposite thing happen to someone else before.

I was waiting to check my bag for a flight, and someone in front of me had one of the large rolling luggage bags I think you are taking about. I think there was a certain weight limit for bags on that flight and this one was over by a few pounds, and they wouldn't let it on the flight. I think in the end, the person just had to end up taking some of the things out of the bag and leaving them behind. I'm still not sure why they just didn't add on an extra fee.

I can see how a big suitcase like that might be nice if you were traveling by car, though.

I remember when I was younger, we had some of the hard-sided suitcases. They were really a pain to have to carry around. The other problem was, if you were short, it was almost impossible to carry the large luggage sizes around without bumping them on the ground. I'm surprised it took rolling luggage so long to catch on.


@Emilski - I think we had one of the giant pieces of luggage you are talking about. We always used it on family trips to different places. If you were just going to be gone for a few days it was great, because you could fit everyone's clothes in it, and not have to worry about fitting two or more suitcases in the trunk. In that regard, it actually saved space.

Besides the normal interior part, ours had a lot of outside pockets with zippers. I think most suitcases might have 2 or 3, but this one had five I think. I don't know if it was designed like this or not, but one of the pockets was perfectly sized to hold toothpaste and toothbrushes and things like that. We usually stuck atlases and brochures and whatever else we needed in the other pockets.

We never fly very often, so there was only one time I had to check it at an airport. I don't recall experiencing any problems with it being too large or heavy and having extra fees. I guess a lot of that would depend on the airline, though.


I understand the problems with carrying around large suitcases and such if you are traveling on a plane, but I love the big sizes for vacations and other things. Whenever I was in college, I had a huge suitcase that I used to carry my clothes to and from school every year. I don't know the exact dimensions, but it was the biggest I have seen before. I usually had to take two suitcases, but this one was big enough to hold my second, regular sized suitcase. That really helped with saving space in my closets.

I never really had a problem with the weight of it. It had the normal wheels and handle to roll with you while you were walking. Carrying it up steps while packed full of clothes I guess might be a problem for some people, but I never had an issue with it.


@SauteePan- They really make a lot of large lightweight luggage so you don’t have to worry about carrying really heavy luggage.

I usually use a couple of medium to small luggage accessories when I travel and pack light. I think that it makes it easier not only when I travel, but also when I get home and have to unload by suitcase.

I avoid large luggage sets with a passion. I think that the bigger the luggage the more I pack which leads me to pack way too much for my vacation and it is a chore when I get home and have to unload everything.


I think that the obvious disadvantage of using large rolling luggage is that when you travel by plane you have to get your luggage checked in which can be a real pain in the neck.

I always hate waiting for my luggage to arrive at baggage claim at the airport and always worry that the airlines are going to lose my luggage. It happened to my sister on an international flight which was a complete nightmare.

I also think that luggage that is too large can be hard to manage unless it is a rolling luggage set.

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    • Using small luggage is a way to avoid having to check a bag.
      By: varandah
      Using small luggage is a way to avoid having to check a bag.
    • If luggage does not have wheels or an extending handle, it may be too heavy for some people to carry.
      By: Kurhan
      If luggage does not have wheels or an extending handle, it may be too heavy for some people to carry.
    • Larger bags can be unwieldy to manage.
      By: xcid
      Larger bags can be unwieldy to manage.
    • Most airlines charge service fees for checked baggage.
      Most airlines charge service fees for checked baggage.