In 2018, an ambitious pair of travelers set out to visit all seven continents in record-breaking time.
Leaving from Australia, they flew through Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas, eventually touching down in Antarctica. Their whirlwind trip of eight flights and nine layovers took a grand total of 92 hours.
It’s unlikely that your future travel plans will ever be this ambitious. Still, you might find yourself in need of airport luggage storage during a long layover or multi-leg journey.
In this post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about airport storage options. Keep reading to learn how this little-used feature could make your travels so much easier!
Why Would I Need Airport Storage?
You might be thinking, why would I need to store my bags at the airport? I’m going there to travel with my luggage, right?
That’s true, but consider a few common travel scenarios where airport storage could be a lifesaver.
Scenario #1: The Long Layover
You land in an amazing city like Hong Kong, Dubai, or Paris. You have 12 hours to kill before your connecting flight.
You can’t wait to go outside and explore a new destination. You even notice a counter that offers sightseeing tours from the airport. Perfect!
But wait—what about the three gigantic suitcases you’re hauling?
Scenario #2: Traveling With Kids
You’re taking the family on a cruise and you’ve just landed in Miami.
You won’t need your heavy winter coats in the Bahamas. You have no idea where you’re going to store that enormous stroller in your stateroom. And you probably don’t need both of those jumbo boxes of diapers, after all.
In either of these scenarios, airport baggage storage is the answer you’re looking for. You can leave behind the items you won’t need until your next flight, freeing you to move around without extra bulk.
Common Airport Luggage Storage Options
Now that you see the practicality of storing your luggage, how do you actually do it?
Many airport security features changed after 9/11, including luggage self-storage centers. However, there are still a few ways to leave your bags in most major airports.
Here are three options to look out for.
Left Luggage Service
Before you fly, check the airport’s website or call their customer service center and ask about left luggage facilities.
If they’re available, this is a safe and affordable solution for leaving the bags you don’t need. They’ll charge either an hourly or daily rate, depending on how long you need to store your luggage. Expect to pay between $6-$15 per day for this service.
Once you’ve collected your baggage, head over to the left luggage counter with your photo ID in hand. You’ll need to attach a luggage tag or sticker to your bags that include your name and contact information. You’ll also want to ensure that your bags are zipped up and secured (if you use luggage locks) or zipperless luggage.
Before you head off, make sure to ask about the opening hours for the service. You don’t want to arrive for your connecting flight and discover the counter is closed!
Although not as common in US airports post-9/11, some still offer self-storage lockers where you can leave your bags. If you’re traveling overseas, nearly every major airport will offer this option as well.
You might notice these in arrivals lounges, parking garages, or near the baggage carousels. They might be coin-operated or accept a credit card, so check ahead of time to see what your destination airport offers.
Note that most self-storage lockers can only be used for 24, 48, or 72 hours. If you’re looking for longer storage, you’re better off using a left luggage service or seeking options off the airport premises.
Luggage Storage Networks
An increasingly common option for baggage storage is using a website or mobile travel app to locate storage facilities.
How do these services work? You simply type in the destination you’re traveling to. The site or app displays nearby luggage storage options for you, which might include the airport, train stations, hotels, or other facilities.
If you’re short on time or you don’t want to bother with your own research, this can be the easiest way to find bag storage at your destination.
Other Options for Baggage Storage
Airport luggage storage is convenient and affordable, but what if it’s not available at your destination?
No worries. You’re not doomed to haul your luggage all over Rome during a long stopover. There are many other places you can check about leaving your bags for a few hours (or a few days).
Train stations and bus depots often provide similar services, whether it’s a self-service locker or a manned luggage counter. Even if there’s not a service directly inside the terminal, there’s guaranteed to be an independent facility nearby.
Do some research before your trip to find out what’s available in the area you’re visiting. Many travel apps and sites offer this feature to make your search easier. You could always do a quick search for “luggage storage” on Google maps around the airport area too.
A final option you may not be aware of is leaving your luggage at an airport hotel. Even if you’re not staying there, some hotels will allow you to store your baggage for a few hours while you explore the city. Fees for this service are similar to what you’d pay inside the airport.
Travel Smarter: Use Airport Luggage Storage
Self-storage lockers may not be as common as they were before 9/11. Still, most major airports offer options for travelers to store their bags for a few hours or a few days.
If you’ve got a long layover or multi-city stopovers on your next itinerary, check ahead for airport luggage storage options. This simple service can take the hassle out of your travel days and let you enjoy each new destination to the full.