The Best Place To Store Luggage When You Have A Layover And Want To Leave The Airport

If only you could fly directly to your destination without having to make any stops at airports along the way, right? Unfortunately, not all cities are linked via direct flights, and even when they are, seats on those flights often cost much more than journeys with a stop or two. However, there's a silver lining to surviving a long layover: You can leave the airport and explore a whole new city.

As long as your stopover city doesn't require a special tourist visa or other entry requirements, it's typically okay to leave through the arrivals gate, do some sightseeing, and head back to the airport before your next flight. The main issue for many travelers is their luggage. If you're carrying anything larger than a backpack, you probably don't want to lug it around while you venture out for a few hours.

Depending on the airport, you may find official on-site luggage storage perfect for passengers with long layovers (check your airport's website to confirm they offer these services). In some cases, the storage units are even available after security, meaning you won't have to put your belongings through the security screenings again. These options are often the most convenient, though they can also be expensive and might be limited depending on the time of your layover and the size of the luggage.

Third-party luggage storage is available in many tourist destinations

Besides official, airport-run storage facilities, you'll also find third-party lockers and luggage storage companies near many airports and tourist neighborhoods. Often, these facilities aren't actually storage units but are hotels, shops, and restaurants that are willing to watch your bags while you're out sightseeing or if you arrive at your destination early. You can find them through apps and websites, including Stasher, LuggageHero, Bounce, NannyBag, and Radical Storage (note that availability may vary depending on your location).

To use these services, you generally need to reserve luggage storage in advance, so it helps to plan your layover beforehand. When you're ready to explore, take your reservation information and head to the storage spot. If your layover is extra long or involves overnight or early morning hours, be sure to confirm that the luggage babysitter will be available when you're ready to pick up the bags. Note that these services are almost always outside airport terminals, so give yourself plenty of time to get through security with your luggage.

Do you have to store checked luggage during a layover?

Some of the hassle of dealing with luggage during a layover can be easily mitigated if you decide to check your bags. Depending on the airline and flight itinerary, checked bags may be checked all the way until they arrive at their final destination without needing to be collected and rechecked during stopovers. This is particularly true for flight schedules with tight connections during normal travel hours.

In these cases, you may not have to store your luggage at all between flights. The airlines will work to move your bags from your first flight and prepare them for your second flight while you're having fun exploring the local city. However, you may be required to collect and recheck your bags during some long layovers or layovers that occur overnight. This is also common practice at U.S. airports for most flights arriving from overseas.

Be prepared to visit baggage claim at the beginning of your layover to retrieve your luggage. If it's too early to check the luggage for your next flight, find an airport storage center or one of the third-party services discussed above. Whatever you do, don't leave luggage in the baggage claim area, expecting to find it later when you return. It could get stolen if you're not there to claim it, or, if you're lucky, it'll get sent to the lost luggage department. Locating the bag could take time and make you late for your next flight.