Difference Wiki

Luggage vs. Baggage: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 8, 2023
Luggage refers to the bags and containers holding a traveler's personal belongings, while baggage can also mean emotional burdens in addition to physical luggage.

Key Differences

Luggage originates from the word "lug," implying something that is dragged or carried, and is primarily used to describe physical items like suitcases and bags used for travel. Baggage, however, has a broader scope, often encompassing not only physical items but also metaphorical burdens or problems that an individual carries with them.
In common usage, luggage is typically used in a more specific context, referring to the bags and containers used for carrying personal belongings during travel. Baggage, while also used in this sense, can extend to include emotional or psychological burdens, as in "emotional baggage."
The preference for using either term can vary culturally. In American English, "luggage" is more commonly used to refer to travel bags, while in British English, "baggage" is often used. However, both terms are understood in each variant of English.
Over time, the term "baggage" has developed a dual connotation, representing both tangible items and intangible concepts. Luggage, conversely, has largely retained its original meaning, strongly associated with physical items used for travel.
In the travel industry, both terms are used interchangeably to refer to items transported by travelers. However, "baggage" is more commonly used in official contexts, such as in airlines or train services (e.g., "baggage claim area").

Comparison Chart

Primary Use

Refers specifically to travel bags and containers
Used for both travel bags and emotional burdens

Contextual Connotation

Mainly physical objects
Both physical objects and metaphorical burdens

Cultural Variation

More common in American English
More common in British English

Evolution of Meaning

Maintained its original meaning
Developed a broader, dual meaning

Industry Usage

Less commonly used in formal settings
More commonly used in formal settings like airlines

Luggage and Baggage Definitions


Luggage is a collection of bags and containers for personal belongings during travel.
She packed her luggage the night before her flight.


Baggage is used to describe both physical and metaphorical loads.
The therapist helped her unpack her emotional baggage.


Luggage encompasses suitcases, trunks, and similar items used in travel.
The hotel porter helped them with their luggage.


Baggage refers to the suitcases and bags holding a traveler's belongings.
She claimed her baggage from the carousel at the airport.


Luggage refers to the personal belongings packed for traveling.
His luggage was lost during the transit.


Baggage can be the emotional or psychological burdens one carries.
He arrived in the new city free from the baggage of his past.


Luggage is the assortment of travel bags and accessories.
They bought new luggage for their world tour.


Baggage includes all types of containers for carrying personal items.
Their baggage was thoroughly checked at customs.


Containers for a traveler's belongings.


Baggage encompasses the totality of one's belongings or burdens.
They started their journey with minimal baggage.


The cases and belongings of a traveler.


The trunks, bags, parcels, and suitcases in which one carries one's belongings while traveling; luggage.


(uncountable) The bags and other containers that hold a traveller's belongings.


(uncountable) The contents of such containers.


A specific bag or container holding a traveller's belongings.


That which is lugged; anything cumbrous and heavy to be carried; especially, a traveler's trunks, baggage, etc., or their contents.
I am gathering up my luggage, and preparing for my journey.
What do you mean,To dote thus on such luggage!


A case used to carry belongings when traveling


Luggage includes all items one takes along while traveling.
The airline misplaced my luggage on the connecting flight.


Is baggage only used for travel?

No, baggage can also imply emotional or psychological burdens.

What is luggage?

Luggage is a collection of bags, suitcases, and containers used for carrying personal belongings while traveling.

What does baggage mean?

Baggage refers to both the physical bags used for travel and metaphorical burdens an individual carries.

Are luggage and baggage interchangeable in travel context?

Yes, in the context of travel, they are often used interchangeably.

Is there a size limit to what constitutes luggage?

No, luggage can vary in size from small carry-ons to large suitcases.

Is luggage more common in American or British English?

Luggage is more commonly used in American English.

Which term is preferred in the UK, luggage or baggage?

Baggage is more commonly used in British English.

Can luggage be used to refer to emotional burdens?

No, luggage specifically refers to physical items for travel, not emotional burdens.

What are common materials for luggage?

Common materials include hardshell, polycarbonate, fabric, and leather.

Do airlines use the term luggage or baggage?

Airlines typically use the term "baggage."

Can luggage include hand-carried items?

Yes, luggage can include both checked and hand-carried items.

Can baggage refer to belongings other than travel items?

Yes, it can refer to any personal belongings or emotional issues.

How did luggage get its name?

It comes from the word "lug," implying something that is carried or dragged.

What is the origin of the word baggage?

Baggage originates from the French word "bagage," meaning "packed goods."

How does one choose the right luggage for travel?

It depends on the length of travel, destination, and personal needs.

How do airlines handle lost luggage/baggage?

Airlines have specific procedures for tracking and compensating for lost luggage/baggage.

Are there restrictions on what can be included in luggage/baggage on flights?

Yes, airlines have specific regulations on what can be carried in luggage/baggage.

Does baggage have a negative connotation?

When referring to emotional issues, it can have a negative connotation.

Can luggage be used figuratively?

Rarely, as it typically refers to tangible travel items.

Is there a difference in luggage types for different modes of travel?

Yes, size and type can vary depending on whether you are flying, driving, or cruising.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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