It’s a story as familiar as travel itself. You arrive at a destination too early to check in your hotel or you’re stuck at the airport for a long layover. It’d be great to see the sights, but the last thing you want to do is lug your bag around town.
Fortunately, luggage storage options abound, and ditching your bags in a safe spot is easier than ever. Take the advice of professional travelers and stow your bags so you can get the most out of your travel dollars.
How Does Luggage Storage Work?
Luggage storage facilities provide a safe, convenient way for travelers to drop luggage on demand during long layovers or awkwardly timed arrivals/departures. In most cases, you don’t have to worry about booking luggage storage in advance.
Luggage storage or lockers are available for a fixed price or an hourly rate at most airports, train stations and hotels. Businesses, tourism offices and baggage storage services also provide weary travelers with a place to stash their bags.
The best options are legitimate luggage storage locations that provide insurance and guarantee against theft or damage. If you’re traveling with expensive valuables, carry them on your person or purchase additional insurance just to be safe.
Here are seven creative luggage storage solutions recommended by professional travelers:
- Use luggage storage or delivery service at airports
- Store luggage at train stations
- Check out bag storage at hotels
- Discover luggage storage services
- Ask the tourism office
- Find luggage storage at local businesses
- Brainstorm creative luggage storage solutions
7 Luggage Storage Solutions for Long Layovers and Sightseeing
There are plenty of affordable, convenient options to store your bags when traveling — as long as you know where to look. Here are seven options to consider when you need to ditch those suitcases for a few hours so you can see some sights.
1. Use Luggage Storage or Delivery at Airports
Most airports have a luggage storage facility or service. You can check bags into the storage center and leave them any length of time, from a few hours to several days. Time limits and fees vary from airport to airport and some have size restrictions.
Gabby Beckford, a solo female travel expert who runs Packs Light, says airport luggage storage is definitely worth the price to get in a little more sightseeing.
“For example, Athens is a common connection point, and I connected through that airport on my way from Seattle to Mykonos,” she said. “I had an eight-hour layover, which was long enough for me to use the airport’s luggage storage facilities for around $20 and then take the train to explore the city before my connection flight later that evening.”
At John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, you can store your bag for about $4 to $18 per day. Just be sure to ask exactly how long you can leave your bag as not every airport storage service is open 24 hours.
If you have a short layover but want to zip out of the airport to grab a bite to eat, most airlines allow you to check bags about four hours before your departure.
Some airlines also offer luggage delivery and will drop your bags at your destination for an affordable price.
2. Store Luggage at Train Stations
Some train stations will hold your bags at the “parcel check” service for as little as $10 per day. Amtrak’s at-station parcel check is for ticket holders only, which might not be a convenient location if you’re not traveling by train.
If you’re desperate for a place to stash your bags, you could always buy a cheap train ticket, but it’s up to you to decide if the slightly higher charge is worth it.
3. Check Out Bag Storage at Hotels
Most hotels store your luggage after you check out for a small fee. If there’s no fee, staff may expect a tip. Some hotels allow you to store your luggage even if you didn’t stay there the night before. Just check with the front desk to see if that’s allowed.
When Beckford has a luggage storage problem, she likes to put her Marriott Gold status to work.
“If all else fails, because I am a Gold status member of Marriott, I’ll try to find a Marriott property and store my luggage there,” she said. “They rarely ask if I currently have a room, and usually assume I am about to check in or have already checked out! I’d say hotels are usually my first plan B.”
Does taking a trip feel out of reach? A travel sinking fund, day trip and other ways to cut travel costs can help.
4. Discover Luggage Storage Services
Don’t just google “luggage storage nyc” and hope for the best. Use a luggage storage service with a network of verified hotels and shops to find a storage place.
For a baggage storage app with friendly service, check out Bounce luggage storage or Luggage Hero. Bounce offers more storage locations if you’re traveling to a city in the United States, especially metro areas. Luggage Hero has more info on international locales where you can drop off or pick up luggage abroad, specifically in Europe.
5. Ask the Tourism Office
It might not be top of mind, but the tourist office is an excellent resource for finding luggage storage options. If the tourist office can’t store your bags on site, they can recommend options nearby.
You can find locations of tourism offices listed by state here. A list of comprehensive international tourism offices is available here.
6. Find Luggage Storage at Local Businesses
Even if a shop isn’t part of a baggage storage network, they might accommodate a spot for your bags behind the counter for cash. Cafes, bars, restaurants and even retail stores could be options for storing your luggage.
7. Brainstorm Creative Luggage Storage Solutions
Experienced traveler and blogger Daniel James Clarke of Dan Flying Solo admits he gets creative when a go-to luggage storage location doesn’t work out. Dan reports he’s been able to safely store luggage — sometimes at no cost — at cafes, bars and even churches.
“Since traveling full-time and carting all my belongings around, I’ve been surprised just how many places I’ve been able to store or keep them,” he said. “My No. 1 tip is to always ask and often the answer is yes!”
So pack your itinerary and your suitcases as full as you’d like. Next trip, save yourself some money and sore muscles by dropping your bags at a recommended luggage storage service and hit the streets footloose and fancy-free.
Kaz Weida is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.