Can I Use a Cardboard Box as Checked Luggage: 4 Reasons Discussed

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A common question asked by passengers traveling by airplane is can I use a cardboard box as checked luggage? It’s a wise question to ask, as they are usually not used instead of suitcases and so the rules regarding them might not be as clear. Luckily, we are here to assist you.

We will be discussing if you can use them as checked luggage, how to secure them properly so they don’t burst, and the pros of using them instead of a suitcase.

Let’s get started!

Is it Worth it to Use Cardboard Box as Checked Luggage? Revealed!

Cardboard boxes can be used either for carry-on or checked luggage. And here are additional things you should know:

  • They are lighter than other suitcases, so you can save on costs and pack extra items.
  • They come in various sizes so you can choose a larger or smaller box according to your specific needs.
  • There are many situations in which they are better than suitcases but they also have drawbacks.
  • One such is that they lack wheels which makes it harder to transport heavy boxes.

Let’s check out some more details on it.

Is it Worth it to Use Cardboard Box as Checked Luggage? Revealed!

Extra Fees Due to Overweight

The size and weight of your checked or carry-on luggage are of the utmost importance, because:

  • Any bags with dimensions larger than mentioned (we have explained them below) will be fined with oversized baggage fees.
  • In addition, most airlines state that the weight of your checked luggage should not exceed fifty pounds as an overloaded cargo hold can be dangerous.
  • If your bags weigh more than that, you’ll have to pay an overweight baggage fine.

An Insight Into Using Cardboard Boxes as Checked Luggage?

There are advantages and disadvantages to consider if the thought of checking a box as baggage appeals to you. Indeed, in some situations, a cardboard box can be better than a standard suitcase as checked luggage. Here are the perks and downsides:

  • If the luggage is mistreated, a ruined cardboard box will not be as devastating for you as a damaged expensive suitcase.
  • Plastic wrap can be used to cover the entire box for extra security.
  • If the TSA stops you from trying to bring a banned item past screening, this is a good plan B. If you’re caught, all you have to do is find a box, put the item in it, and head on over to the airline’s check-in counter to submit it as checked luggage.
  • These boxes are extremely cheap compared to a suitcase.
  • It’s far more inconvenient to transport because it lacks wheels and handles.
  • Depending on the dimensions and weight of your suitcase, it may not be placed on the standard baggage carousel when you arrive at your final destination.
An Insight Into Using Cardboard Boxes as Checked Luggage?

Details on Maximum Size Permitted

Most airlines only allow luggage with a maximum size of 27” x 21” x 14” and a maximum weight of fifty pounds. If you have a cardboard box that exceeds this size and weight you can use more than one smaller box.

For more details, you can check out this helpful video.

Using a Cardboard Box as a Carry-on Luggage or a Personal Item

Carry-on and personal items made of any kind of material are permitted by airlines. They limit just the dimensions and weight of your carry-on luggage.

Therefore, you must follow those regulations. This means you shouldn’t have any trouble stowing it in the overhead bins or underneath the chair in front of you.

Additional Plus Points of Using a Cardboard Box Over a Suitcase

Some situations where a cardboard box can be used are:

1. When you Have a lot of Stuff

Boxes made of cardboard are much more lightweight than typical suitcases and bags. Buying a cardboard box to store your belongings in is a good idea if you’re concerned that their combined weight will put you over the weight limit.

When you Have a lot of Stuff

2. When you Want to Cut the Costs

If you’ve packed everything you can fit into your suitcases but still have things you want to bring with you, you might want to think about bringing a cardboard box instead.

  • That way, you can put that money toward more pressing needs rather than a new suitcase you don’t need just yet.
  • Cardboard boxes are readily available, inexpensive, and convenient alternatives to suitcases.
Can i Use a Cardboard Box as Checked Luggage. When you Want to Cut the Costs

3. You Are Traveling with a Personal Item that does not fit in a Suitcase

Boxes are more flexible than hard suitcases, so they can be molded to precisely fit whatever you’re transporting. However:

  • Keep in mind that there is still the matter of fitting the item within the size and weight limit that an airline has.
  • Inquire about any additional costs associated with transporting any unusual items with the airline in advance.
You are Traveling with a Personal Item that does not fit in a Suitcase

4. They are Simple to Stack

Stacking your belongings in a suitcase may prove a little problematic due to the case’s wheels and handles. Cardboard boxes, on the other hand, can be stacked without any difficulty because there are no awkward gaps caused by wheels or handles.

They are Simple to Stack

Items That are Unsafe for a Checked Cardboard Box

There are a number of prohibited things that cannot be included in checked baggage. There is still a considerable possibility that your checked luggage may be lost, stolen, or damaged in transit. It’s smart to prepare for the worst outcome possible.

Thus, make sure you store the following items in your carry-on:

  • Medicines.
  • Personal ID such as Passports etc.
  • Expensive items such as jewelry.
  • Devices such as laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.
Items That are Unsafe for a Checked Cardboard Box

4 Steps to Properly Secure Checked Cardboard Box

There are several things you can do to strengthen that cardboard box and increase the likelihood that it will arrive at your destination unscathed on the luggage conveyor.

Some helpful tips are listed as follows:

1. Put Another Sheet of Cardboard Under the First One

Here’s how to get started:

  • You should fortify your box’s bottom because it bears the brunt of the weight.
  • Adding an additional cardboard layer on top of the bottom folds will do the trick and prevent the box from bursting under the weight of its contents.

2. Use Extra Cushioning

If the box isn’t very solid or the items within aren’t packed firmly, it may collapse on itself.

  • Including cardboard strips across the entire length of your cardboard corners will prevent this from happening.
  • If someone were to put anything on top of your box, this would prevent its edges and sides from collapsing.

3. Tape the Seams and the Corners Inside and Out

Taping the inner joints and edges as well as the outer corners and edges is a great technique to reinforce your box.

  • Duct tape is stronger than regular masking tape, so use it instead if you want your box to survive a long time.
  • The edges and corners should be taped many times across all surfaces, not just once.
Tape the Seams and the Corners Inside and Out

4. Pack the Box in Plastic Wrap

Following are the final steps:

  • A great technique to pack your box to keep its contents safe is to use plastic wrap.
  • In the event of a spill, it will be protected in this manner.
  • The added deterrence of having to hack through many layers of plastic and duct tape prevents would-be thieves from even trying.


What size box can you check on a plane?

Most airlines only allow luggage with a maximum size of 27” x 21” x 14” and a maximum weight of fifty pounds.

Can I use a cardboard box as checked luggage Emirates?

Yes, you can use a cardboard box as checked luggage for an Emirates flight.

Can you fly with cardboard?

Yes, you are allowed to fly with cardboard boxes.

How do you pack a cardboard box on a plane?

To pack a cardboard box, follow this straight manual: Bubble wrap the inside of the box for shock absorption. Wrap more delicate goods inside a smaller box. Completely wrap the cardboard box to prevent shifting of contents. Protect the contents of the box by sealing it with plastic. And, it’s done and dusted!

Can you transport a box on a plane?

Yes, you can transport a box on a plane.


While it may be unusual to use cardboard boxes as your checked or carry-on baggage, there are many advantages to doing so. They are more accessible and affordable, especially if you’re traveling and find yourself short on luggage space. A cardboard box might be a quick and inexpensive answer.

Be sure to wrap the box securely with tape and bubble wrap so it does not get destroyed along with the rest of your personal belongings.

Did we convince you to use them for your future travels? Let us know in the comments.

Author - Willa Carson
Happywayfarer author Willa Carson
Hi, I'm Willa Carson, a passionate traveler who has been exploring the world for 7 years. Whether it's trekking through the Himalayas, exploring ancient ruins in South America, or simply savoring a cup of coffee at a local cafe, I believe that travel has the power to enrich our lives in countless ways. So join me on my journey and let's discover the world together!
Read more about me here.

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