If you’re heading to a location in the US, packing everything into your carry-on luggage is an easy way to avoid baggage claim and long check-in lines. However, if you’re traveling internationally, carry-on restrictions start coming into play. 

A lot of international airlines now have weight restrictions on cabin baggage and they usually are less than the average weight of a packed carry-on. 

When traveling internationally with carry-on luggage, you must consider a few things before packing:

How much can my carry-on weigh?

Weight restrictions vary by airlines. Currently, most US airlines do not have weight restrictions on carry-on luggage. There are size restrictions of the bag, but the weight isn’t a factor. 

These are the weight restrictions on major carriers’ for economy class:

Air New Zealand – 15 lbs. 
American – No weight restrictions
ANA – 22 lbs.
Delta – No weight restrictions on most of their flights
Emirates – 15 lbs.
Icelandair – 22 lbs.
Korean Air – 25 lbs.
Lufthansa – 17.6 lbs. 
Norwegian – 22 lbs. 
Qantas – 15 lbs. 
Swiss – 17.6 lbs. 
United – No weight restrictions on most of their flights

Should I still use a carry-on instead of checking a bag?

Traveling with carry-on luggage is easier when having to haul your bags through a busy airport and public transportation. Having only a carry-on bag also makes it easier to fit into taxis and transport from the airport to a hotel room or Airbnb. 

If you have to make a connection with a small gap in time, packing only a carry-on makes it a lot easier, especially if you have to reclaim your luggage before getting on your connecting flight. 

The best part about packing carry-ons is you won’t have to wait around at baggage claim after a long flight. 

The best ways to meet carry-on weight restrictions:

If you’ve made the choice to only pack a carry-on bag, there are a few things to consider to ensure a smooth experience.

First, you should look up the weight restrictions on the airline’s website. Once you find out the weight restrictions, make sure to stick with them and don’t overpack. 

Your carry-on will be weighed for international flights, so it’s best not to take any chances. 

Since weight restrictions can be pretty low, it’s best to purchase a carry-on bag that is lightweight, weighing less than 5 pounds. 

It’s also best to assess the items you’re packing and trim weight where you can. For example, you should pack lightweight clothing and shoes, small toiletries and light jewelry. 

After packing, weigh your bags to confirm you’re within the weight limit. 

Remember, it’s best to pack smart and travel light so you won’t have any surprises at the airport — like an overweight carry-on bag.