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Dump the Baggage: 4 Inexpensive Luggage Storage Options for Travelers
A couple of years ago, I had a long layover in Boston on my way out of the country.
And by long, I don’t mean I had a slightly inconvenient two-hour stretch. I mean I had nine hours to kill. Not long enough to shell out for a hotel room but certainly too long to sit in the airport, paying way too much for overpriced paninis and weak coffee when the inevitable boredom-hunger sets in.
So I set out to do some sightseeing instead.
There was one problem, though. I had a suitcase with me — one that was already pushing the 50-pound allowance for checked baggage — and since I had no idea where to stow it, I was going to have to drag it along.
And drag it along I did. By the end of the day, I had lugged that extra 50 pounds (plus a smaller carry-on) over several miles up and down hills, in and out of restaurants, shops and even a crowded pub, and loaded it in and out of city buses several times.
Needless to say, it was an exhausting day.
But if present-day me could go back in time and tell past-me one thing, it would be, “Hey, dummy! There are such things as luggage-storage services, and you should take advantage of them!”
Luggage-Storage Options for Long Layovers and Sightseeing
There are plenty of inexpensive options for storing your luggage when you’re traveling — as long as you know where to look. Here are four options to consider when you need to ditch your bags for a few hours so you can see some sights.
Some larger airports have a luggage-storage facility. You can check bags in to the storage center and leave them for any length of time from a few hours to several days or even months. Length of storage and fees vary from airport to airport, but at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, you can store your bags for about $4 to 18 per day.
Just be sure to ask exactly how long you can leave your bags as not every airport-storage service is open 24 hours.
And if you have a shorter layover but still don’t want to have to worry about bags while you zip out of the airport to grab a bite to eat, most airlines allow you to check your bags as early as four hours before your scheduled departure time.
2. Train Stations
Some train stations will hold your bags at the “parcel check” service for as little as $5 per day.
Amtrak’s at-station parcel check is for ticket holders only, but if you’re traveling abroad, a train may be your primary means of travel from city to city, making the station an ideal place to ditch your bags for a day of sightseeing.
If you’re totally desperate for a place to stash your bags, you could always buy an inexpensive train ticket and then take advantage of that ticket-holder perk (whether you plan to actually ride the train or not), but it’s up to you if the slightly larger charge is worth it.
Most hotels will store your luggage for a day of exploring after you check out for a small fee (if there’s no fee, a tip may be expected), and some hotels may allow you to store your luggage for a time even if you didn’t stay there the night before.
Just check with the front desk to see if it’s a service that’s offered.
4. Department Stores, Dry Cleaners, Cafes, Bars
Plenty of places you wouldn’t have thought of will also hold your luggage for you. But don’t just walk into any ol’ bar and ask them to watch your bags — that really can’t end well.
These companies offer local daily storage options through partnerships with trusted and vetted businesses in cities around the world, and provide additional protections such as tamper-proof seals and insurance on stored bags. As with any service, be sure to do your research, check out reviews and read the fine print about what items should and should not be stored.
Also, keep in mind that as fairly new services, they haven’t all rolled out in every city. But it couldn’t hurt to check these sites to see if they offer luggage-stash locations in the destinations you’ll be exploring.
Happy (baggage-free) travels!
Grace Schweizer is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder.