Jaime & Cara checked in their bags for the flight to their Final Destination City and just left the airport without them.
This is true......but you can't compare TAR 14 with TAR18...it is apples and oranges. TAR14 Final 3 cleard US Immigration and Customs at the Honolulu airport, then connected to Maui on another flight. In this case, the airline would hold any unclaimed bags from the baggage carosel in Maui. In TAR18, the Final3 cleared US Immigration and Customs in Miami. If TAR18 team(s) checked baggage in Sao Paulo, it would be held in the Customs Hall. Again, I dont know if you could exit the Customs Hall without your checked baggage. If a team was going to abandon their stuff, I would think they would do it in Sao Paulo, before they got to the airport. In several TARs we have seen teams get rid of stuff before heading home.
In TAR5, Colin/Christie and Brandon/Nicole packed their stuff in boxes and checked it from Calgary, Canada to Dallas, Texas. How did they get away with this? Well I believe they cleared US Immigration and Customs at the Calgary Airport. Maybe some of the Canadian members can confirm this. At the time, Canada and US had different agreements about this. I am not sure if this is still possible now.
I have always wondered if teams showed up at the sequestor hotel before the race with just the backpacks. This didn't really seem feasible. So then, I wondered what WRP did with their leftover luggage. It was not till TAR13 when Bill and Mark showed up at Elimination Station and went to their room and, low and behold , there was their rolling luggage on their beds. So production takes possession of their extra luggage and returns it to them after they are elminated. I still dont know if production just sends all teams extra luggage to the elimination station or if they haul it along the race course and then gives it to the teams to take to elimination station. IF elmination station teams didnt want to mess with backpacks, then they could have packed all that stuff in their luggage and let production transport it to their after Finish Line hotel. We saw teams in TAR16 arriving in SF and none collected any luggage and none that I remember had any backpacks either. They were transported to Candlestick Park to the finish line. Production must have collected their at some point and tranported it to their hotel.