Can You Check An Empty Suitcase?

For some people, part of traveling is having to bring back presents from their vacation. Maybe you've thought about bringing an empty suitcase with you, but you worry about the airline rejecting them. It's a situation a lot of people are not aware of, but we have the answers to your questions.

You can check an empty suitcase for your flight, as long as you pay for the appropriate checked luggage fee. Airport staff may ask why you are bringing an empty suitcase with you. However, there are no restrictions on bringing empty suitcases, so as long as they pass security inspection, you should be good to go.

We know it's pretty unusual for people to be bringing empty suitcases on flights. However, bringing empty suitcases can save you from having to get luggage while you're on vacation. Keep reading as we share some tips on how you can bring an empty suitcase on board and ways you can protect them.

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Can You Check An Empty Suitcase?

One of the things travelers worry about is the luggage they have to bring home after a trip. As much as we plan the contents of the suitcases to a tee, the additional weight is still inevitable especially when you shop on vacation. There are souvenirs, new clothes, and knick-knacks you need to pack.

pastel blue carry on suitcase ready for check in by an airport staff

Some travelers think about bringing an empty suitcase with them on a trip, but information about this is relatively few. If you are planning to do this, you can check an empty suitcase with you on your flight, as long as you have paid for the appropriate fees.

The airport staff may ask some questions as to why you are checking in an empty luggage, but if it passes TSA inspection, there should be no reason for you not to check it in. The staff will still weigh the empty luggage accordingly for check-in and you should be able to retrieve it at your destination.

Can You Check A Suitcase Inside A Suitcase?

sky blue, bright yellow carry on suitcase, on top of each other

If you are planning to bring a carry-on and an empty suitcase, there is an easier way to take them with you. Instead of taking your carry-on with your on board, you can simply put it inside your empty suitcase and check them both at the same time.

You can stack your suitcases inside each other as long as the outermost luggage fits within the checked luggage dimensions. The TSA will still check your luggage under normal circumstances. As long as no illegal items are seen in the inspection, you should be able to check your luggage without problems.

How Do I Protect My Suitcase?

grey and black suitcase, at the lobby, white sofa, wood textured walls, white floor tile

While empty suitcases are great to bring on a trip, there is the problem of possibly getting your empty luggage a little worse for wear. As we all know, most suitcases knock against each other while they are in transit. This means that an empty luggage will fall over easily compared to others.

To protect your suitcase from situations like these, you can always add a little weight to them. Fill them with a few shirts or disposables like newspapers to weigh them down. Alternatively, give your airline a call and ask them for recommendations and to inform them of your plans.

If you are bringing an empty luggage with you, remember to choose a luggage that can withstand the journey. The best option would be a hardside suitcase because it is sturdier and it has a solid structure of its own. Softside suitcases sometimes rely on the contents to give it resilience, so bringing an empty one might not be a good idea.

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Take it further by adding more protection to your empty suitcase during transit. Since luggage is prone to bumps and scratches due to handling, a luggage cover will help prevent these issues from happening.

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The luggage cover will also protect your suitcase from water and dirt. It will also make it easier for you to recognize your bags on the baggage carousel because of their unique designs.

Can I Take A Box Instead Of A Suitcase?

huge, large, heavy box ready to be scan on airport terminal security purpose

If you find that bringing an empty suitcase with you is a little troublesome, there are other options that you can explore. Airlines generally do not have rules on the luggage material that you will be checking in because they focus more on the size and weight.

That being said, you can bring a box and check them in instead of a suitcase. As long as the size dimensions and weight of the box fall within the allowed restrictions, you can check them in. Of course, it would be wise to call ahead of time and confirm with the airline if they have issues with travelers carrying boxes.

The maximum size of the allowable checked luggage is 62 linear inches. For boxes, the maximum would probably be 24" x 18" x 18" cardboard moving box. This box falls just at 60 linear inches and it falls under the allowable restrictions. The maximum weight should be 50 lbs. or less to avoid excess fees.

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However, if you will be bringing boxes with you on a flight, you have to make sure that it is very secure. Since cardboard is less durable than the standard plastic suitcase, any mishap can certainly damage your box.

When packing boxes for transit, always use heavy-duty tape to keep everything secure. For checked boxes, duct tape is your best option because it is harder to cut through while items are being moved.

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You should also place a plastic lining inside your box to prevent anything from falling out if your box gets damaged. It can also protect your items from possible tampering, because you will definitely see if someone purposely opened your box to get to the contents.

Are There Alternatives To Boxes Or Suitcases?

Of course, if you are looking into bringing just a few items that doesn't require that much packable space, you can bring smaller options. This is also great if you don't have specific shopping plans on your trip, but you end up buying some stuff.

Most seasoned travelers find that an extra foldable travel bag is a great addition to any checked luggage. If you have room to spare, you can bring any regular bag that you have at home. However, there are foldable options that will take up less space in your suitcase.

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A foldable duffel bag is great for carrying extra items you don't have space for in your luggage. These duffel bags fold to a small rectangular shape that fits in a pouch. You can slip one or two of these foldable bags in your suitcase in case of an emergency.

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Alternatively, if you are not a fan of carrying duffel bags and you prefer backpacks, there is an option for you. These bags are very small and lightweight, and they can be folded down into a small drawstring bag. Great for stowing those last minute shopping finds before you head home from your trip.

Final Thoughts

carry on suitcase packing stuffs, shoes, hat, clothes, laptop, face mask, personal stuffs

Bringing home souvenirs and presents can be a hassle, especially if you don't have the extra space in your suitcase. Fortunately, there are ways for you to work around this such as bringing an extra suitcase or packing them in a box. Whichever you choose, just make sure to secure them properly so you'll enjoy your shopping haul when you get back home.