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Booking a Cardboard Box as Checked Luggage – You Need to Know This!

Have you ever seen someone using a cardboard box as luggage? I know the first time I saw one at the baggage claim I was asking myself: Can I book a cardboard box as checked luggage?

Let’s take a look at using a cardboard box for checked luggage.


Can I book a cardboard box as checked luggage?

Airlines do not have rules against using a cardboard box as a checked bag. Keep in mind that your cardboard box still needs to meet the size and weight requirements for the airline’s luggage policy. You can use a cardboard box as checked and carry-on luggage.


The Basics Of Using A Cardboard Box As Checked Luggage

A cardboard box can be used as a checked bag or even as a carry-on option. Airlines don’t have any rules against using cardboard boxes as luggage.

However, the final decision comes down to the individual airline and might depend on size and security conditions.

Your cardboard box is still going to be held to the same weight and size restrictions as any other piece of luggage.

You’ll need to check with your airline ahead of time to make sure that you know how big and how heavy your cardboard box can be.

You should also consider that a cardboard box is typically weaker than most other types of luggage. It can’t stand up to nearly as much wear and tear as plastic, metal, or leather luggage.

An airline might decline a damaged cardboard box for safety and security reasons. You might also need to sign a damage waiver when checking a cardboard box.


What Kinds Of Cardboard Boxes Can Be Used As Checked Luggage

You can use any type of cardboard box you like to check luggage. You’re probably best off using a standard, brown moving box for your luggage. Just make sure it meets the size requirements for your airline.

You should avoid using heavily branded boxes. It might be tempting to get a second use out of that microwave box, but those boxes typically aren’t as strong as the moving variety.

Branded boxes are also harder to label and can be attractive targets for thieves.


Cardboard Boxes You Can’t Check

There are some restrictions as to what types of cardboard boxes you can check.

The biggest thing here has to do with the durability of your box. I’ve seen people turned away with boxes that were already severely beaten up.

If the airline doesn’t think that they can safely transport your box without it falling apart, they’re going to make you switch to some luggage you will have to purchase at the airport.

Your box should also be clearly labeled just like any other piece of luggage. The ID tag on your luggage helps you locate it at the baggage claim.

It also helps the airline find you if your luggage gets lost in transit. Your box needs to be able to be labeled in a similar way.

More often than not, I see people taping this information onto their bags.

Here’s a clever trick you can do. Put your contact information in a zip-top bag and then tape that bag to the side of your cardboard box.

This gives you a waterproof luggage tag that isn’t going to fall off in transit.


Cardboard Boxes Are A Luggage Weight Hack

One of the biggest advantages of using cardboard boxes is that they are extremely light. They’re a great way to get around the weight restrictions airlines put on your baggage.

Your average piece of luggage can weigh somewhere between five and 15 pounds on its own. The cardboard box comes in way under this weight.

You can get the most bang for your buck if you pack with a cardboard box. Even cardboard boxes at the top end of the size you can bring on an airline hardly weigh a single pound.


Cardboard Boxes Are Better For Certain Items

Luggage is typically designed with clothing in mind. This is great for your weekend vacation to a Tropical Paradise, but maybe not for moving other items.

If you’re traveling with things like computers, video game systems, or similar items you might want to consider a cardboard box instead of luggage.

This allows you to pack things as if you were moving which winds up being much more durable.


When To Not Use A Cardboard Box As Luggage

There are some reasons why you shouldn’t use a cardboard box. Let’s go over the drawbacks of using this type of luggage.

The biggest drawback is durability. That cardboard box is only going to be able to stand up to a few flights before it’s ready for the recycling bin.

I’ve seen plenty of cardboard boxes get punctured, crushed, and even have holes in them by the time they reach the baggage claim.

You also might face some additional security and safety measures if you use a cardboard box.

You’ll likely need to sign a damage waiver when you check your box and you might even encounter additional security screenings because a cardboard box can look like a suspicious package.


Frequently Asked Questions About a Cardboard Box as Checked Luggage

I know I had a lot of questions when I first thought about checking a cardboard box. Here are some answers to some of the most common questions.


Can I Use A Box As Carry-On Baggage?

You can use a cardboard box as a carry-on bag. The same rules apply to a checked bag. Your cardboard box still needs to meet the airlines requirements for size and weight for a carry-on bag.


Is It Safe To Use A Cardboard Box As Luggage?

It’s safe to use a cardboard box as luggage. You just need to make sure that you safely pack the contents of your bag. Keep in mind that cardboard boxes are more fragile than other types of luggage and you should take a few extra precautions when packing for your trip.


How To Pack A Cardboard Box For Flying?

The answer depends on what you’re packing. If you’re packing the standard clothes for vacation, you can pack things like you normally would. If you are packing anything that’s fragile, you should take extra precautions to make sure that it is securely packed.

Final Thoughts on Cardboard Boxes as Checked Luggage

Now that you can answer “Can I book a cardboard box as checked luggage?” are you going to try this on your next trip? A cardboard box can be a clever way to get around having to buy expensive luggage.

If you need more travel tips, check out our other articles.