Can I travel with an empty suitcase?

How do you protect empty suitcases when checking in at the airport?

I once had to do something similar with half-empty suitcases with large, heavy things piled on them while I was moving. What worked quite well for me was taking large, sturdy, and readily available bag-like items such as:

  • High performance garbage bags
  • Duvet covers, large pillowcases
  • Sleeping bag liners

... open them to get a lot of air, then tie them tightly and trap air so that they act like flexibly shaped pillows.

Because these pockets are not completely filled, they can be maneuvered to fill the space they need well, and there is less risk of them bursting than, say, balloons (the "bang" when balloons pop out of a pocket when they are heavy The bag placed on your bag could concern a luggage carrier ...).

Things like trash bags are also very useful for dividing up your packaging on the way back so it doesn't go to waste.

Darth Vader

+1. Where do we actually fit in? We have some real bags. And we have a lot of space right now. Shall we just put some of these objects at the bottom, then pack the objects in between, and then pack them up again? What would be ideal?


It depends on what you have. I strategically placed the airbags so that larger objects act like pillars and protect more delicate items around the pillars. I think in one box I had normal stuff at the bottom, airbags at the top, in another box I pushed the normal square objects into the corners, acted like posts, and then filled the middle with airbags. I don't recommend putting objects on top as they are a bit slippery because the air can move around.


I would have thought that duvet covers, pillowcases, and sleeping bag covers wouldn't hold air for more than a few minutes. Garbage bags could, but they could also leak. What did these items look like at the end of the trip? (And how long was the trip?)


I tied them up and tested them with a few firm squeezes first, they held up pretty well. I can't remember exactly how I tied them, maybe it was clips or zip ties and large knots, that was a while ago. The most important thing is that you don't try to fill them tightly with air like a balloon. Use plenty of material to tie them tightly and allow for some slack. When I think about it I think the pillowcases didn't work that well, not enough material to tie them well. The trip was not very long (a few hours including unpacking the boxes from the vehicle)