Do You Have To Have A Suitcase To Fly?

When traveling, people almost often relate this with people dragging suitcases in the airport as they rush to board their flights. If you are a first-time traveler, you might be wondering if suitcases are always necessary when going on a trip. Fortunately, we're here to give you answers to your questions.

While suitcases are common items you will see in the airport, you definitely do not need to have one in order to fly. Some seasoned travelers actually prefer boarding their flights without a suitcase in tow because it is easier to move through the airport.

Going on a flight without a suitcase can definitely be a different experience. Keep reading because, in this post, we will be sharing with you ideas on how you can travel better without luggage. We will also share some advice on picking the essential bags for travel and tips for first-time flyers.

big bag suitcase in the city and travel, Do You Have To Have A Suitcase To Fly?

Do You Have To Have A Suitcase To Fly?

In the airport, everyone seems to be dragging one of these by their sides—suitcases. They come in different kinds, from small carry-on suitcases to big rolling suitcases for people who will be flying to far-flung places. It's such a common scene at the airport that people think everyone needs a suitcase to fly.

Fortunately, that is quite far from the truth. If you are planning to fly out for a quick vacation or a two-day business trip, then you definitely do not need a suitcase to fly. Some travelers prefer bringing smaller, more compact bags instead of a suitcase when they fly out.

big bag suitcase in the city and travel, Do You Have To Have A Suitcase To Fly?

If you are a first-time flyer, don't worry if you don't have a suitcase! Depending on where or how long your trip is going to be, you might be able to use other bags that you have. There are no restrictions on the kind of bag travelers bring as long as it fits within the allowable size and weight restrictions.

Of course, there are benefits to having your own suitcase when you fly. For one, they are convenient because most suitcases have wheels which makes moving about the airport easy. They are also practical because you can pack items inside with better protection than other bags.

One of the disadvantages, however, is that having a suitcase with you will definitely lead you to longer times spent in lines. TSA will look into your bags and this often leads to long waiting times at the inspection checkpoint. Sometimes, you'll also need to check in your bag at the counter before your flight.

Suitcases in airport

Can You Fly Without Luggage?

Flying without luggage is definitely possible, especially since more businesses are now offering luggage shipping. Shipping companies like UPS and FedEx now offer a pack and ship option for travelers who like getting their hands free from the hassles of baggage check-in.

One of the reasons why people are now using this service is because shipping your luggage can definitely help you save costs from possible overweight luggage. Shipping companies definitely have a more flexible arrangement when it comes to weight restrictions, and usually are bigger than an airline's.

Some people also find that shipping their luggage because of long-distance relocation is definitely easier than bringing everything with them. There are fewer problems when it comes to moving through multiple airports because they don't have to keep checking in their bags.

Girl in hat with backpack traveling in the airport

What Bags Are Essential For Travel?

We know that suitcases are not necessary for airline travel, but it is advantageous to have one in your closet. For many travelers, different bags serve different purposes during certain kinds of trips. You definitely don't need all of these essential bags, but you might want to consider having them.

summer vacation, travel, tourism and objects concept

Personal bag/Personal item

Let's start with the smallest, but the most common bag you will see on a traveler. Airline staff will typically call this a "personal item" and this is often the second piece of bag that you can carry on board aside from your carry-on. These bags must be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you.

Handbags, tote bags, purses, briefcases, camera bags, laptop bags, and small backpacks typically fall under the category of personal items. Most airlines will allow travelers to carry one personal item and their carry-on, but some economy flights can be strict and only allow either one of these bags.

Check out this tote bag on Amazon.


A carry-on bag is generally the standard piece of luggage an airline will allow you to carry onboard a flight. You do not need to check in these bags, but rather, you'll find space on your airplane's overhead bins to stow them in.

Carry-on bags are not just small rolling suitcases. You can also bring a travel duffel or a backpack as a carry-on. What is important is that your carry-on must fit within the size restrictions that the airlines have published. Some of them may also have weight restrictions, so don't forget to check that as well.

Grab this 21-inch carry-on on Amazon.

Full-sized spinner suitcase

These suitcases are definitely the ultimate travel bag. Spacious and practical, a full-sized spinner suitcase is definitely one piece of luggage that you should consider getting. They come in different kinds, hardside or softside suitcases are both excellent bags you can use for travel.

A full-sized spinner suitcase must be checked-in before a flight. This is because this bag automatically goes beyond the allowable dimensions for carry-ons, not to mention the weight it possibly carries. Spinner suitcases have this name because of their wheels which spin easily as you drag them.

See this 24-inch spinner suitcase on Amazon.

Large duffel

Some travelers do not use this bag as much, but it is always a good idea to have one in your collection. Large duffel bags are great for trips that don't require as much space as a rolling suitcase. If you're simply going on an overnight or two-day trip, this bag will suit your needs.

Large duffel bags are lightweight, but they definitely offer a lot of packable space. On a flight, they usually fall within the restrictions of carry-on luggage so you can definitely use one of these on vacation. Alternatively, you can also fold one up as an additional bag in case you overstuff your suitcase before going home.

Get this travel duffel bag on Amazon.

Tips For First-Time Flyers

Asian teenage girl is using a smartphone to check flight at the international airport to travel on weekends

If this is your first time flying, don't stress yourself out by worrying about too many things too much. Take some time to relax and follow these simple tips to help you get through the anxiety of your first flight.

1. Check luggage requirements

One of the problems first-time travelers experience is going over their luggage requirements. Some people think they can get by with only a carry-on suitcase, but they often go over the restrictions and they have to check their luggage. Before a flight, make sure to check your luggage requirements with your airlines.

2. Pack only what you need

It's tempting to pack a lot of clothes for fear that you won't be able to choose the perfect outfit for the day. A piece of advice though, it would be best to pack only what you need because you will most likely leave a lot of stuff untouched. Make a list of necessary items to bring and stick to it.

3. Arrive early

Security inspections, checking in, going through immigration—these things can be time-consuming in the airport and you definitely don't want to cut your time too short. Arrive early to avoid delays so you don't have to run to your gate before boarding.

4. Keep travel documents and identification ready

Security inspections are random and security might ask for your identification at any given point in time. Always have your travel documents and your identification with you at all times so you have everything they need when they ask.

5. Relax

Take a deep breath and relax. Dress comfortably for your flight and don't worry so much about the things happening around you. If there are any problems, there are helpful airport staff that will gladly assist you while you are traveling.

Wrapping Things Up

big bag suitcase in the city and travel

Flying does not have strict requirements on the luggage and bags that you can bring. Whether you like taking a suitcase with you or simply swinging a backpack over your shoulders, you can definitely go out and fly. When you travel, always remember that the trip is always worth the experience and not the things that you carry around.