For us our problem is that our carry-on bags usually each have a laptop and I have a lot of camera gear that I won't check. So we each check a bag but our United status gets us one or two bags free. Sadly we now just accept the fact that most airlines charge something for checked bags and we just figure that into the price of the trip. If you just have essential clothing a carry on suitcase works but if you have tech gear and cameras our clothes go in the checked bags.