Don’t check your bag, wear it

In an effort to avoid checked baggage fees, many passengers now try to pack everything they’ll need for a trip into one or two carry-on bags.

For now, most domestic airlines don’t charge for carry-on bag, or for coats, purses and other small personal items. But, as I wrote for’s Overhead Bin, few travelers would be surprised if more airlines began following the lead of Spirit, Ryanair and some other budget airlines, which do charge hand-luggage fees.

It may already be – unofficially – happening. In what George Hobica, founder of travel website, terms a “relatively new trend,” some airlines are getting aggressive about weighing carry-on bags.

“Hawaiian has a 25 pound weight limit and actually weighs bags at the gate, snatching away bags that weigh more and charging a checked bag fee,” said Hobica. “EVA Airways has a 15 pound limit and several other airlines have limits as well. It’s touted as a safety precaution of course, but it’s also a sneaky way of extracting fees for carry-ons.”

For passengers not willing to take a chance at getting dinged with a last-minute charge, there’s another option: wearing your luggage.

A line of iPad-compatible vests, hoodies, jackets and trench coats from SCOTTEVEST(http:, each with between 20 and 30 built-in pockets and compartments, is a big hit in the “luggage you can wear” category.

For parents trying to carry both a baby and a bulging diaper bag, the convertible Go-Go Babyz “Sidekick,” is a diaper bag that doubles as a wearable baby carrier.

And then there’s the Jaktogo , a carry-on bag that can be worn as a coat. (Other versions include the Dresstogo and the Ponchotogo.)

Invented by John Power, an Irish-born engineer who was determined to find a way around carry-on limits imposed by the budget carriers he frequents in Europe, the Jaktogo has 14 various-sized pockets designed to hold more than 30 pounds of clothing, gadgets and gear.

“It’s certainly not a fashionable item you’d wear around town,” said Power, “And we won’t be showing it off in Paris or Milan. It’s ‘boarding-gate’ clothing that’s all about practicality and thriftiness.”