The Traveller's Magazine icon
The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

Think you have to be roped into paying all sorts of extra fees when you fly low cost? Think again. From card fees to checked luggage, here’s a smart traveller’s guide to travelling for cheap without racking up the fees.

The “extras” can really add up, and sometimes cost more than the flight itself! They call it low cost flying but it certainly doesn’t seem that way once you add it all up the extras like check-in fees, debit card payment fees plus charges for bags that are too big and too heavy.

If it’s travelling cheap that you’re after, just follow these tips and you’ll be one up on your favourite discount airline.

Baggage blues

The easiest way to rack up the fees: checked-in luggage. Avoid it, at all costs. Ryanair cheekily increases its fees for hold luggage for July and August, when families are most likely to travel for longer periods of time. If you need to check luggage for your trip, quickly compare the prices with a regular airline. They could be cheaper in the long run plus you’ll get some extras in-flight.

Best solution: Take carry-on luggage ONLY and make sure your little suitcase is within the size and weight restrictions or else you’ll be asked to dish out around £50 at the boarding gate.


Paying by card

This used to be a major problem but luckily a new law has been passed which prohibits companies, especially airlines, from charging customers a fee for processing their credit and debit cards. Under the new rules, the payment surcharge will have to reflect the actual cost of the airline to process the card transaction. Yay!

Best solution: In most all cases the fees are the lowest when paying with a Visa Electron.


Airlines are cheeky. Ryanair got rid of its airport check-in desks and replaced them with electronic kiosks. At the same time the airline decided to start charging passengers £5 to check-in online… or £40 to check in at an airport kiosk. The only way to avoid it is by catching a promotional discounted offer that is so cheap that the extra fiver added on at the end doesn’t make too much of a difference.

Best solution: Find the cheapest possible fares and ALWAYS remember to check-in online and print your boarding passes.



These are the main areas where airlines will catch you for a few extra quid. When going through your booking though, always double-check the travel dates, names of passengers and card details. Don’t rush because to change it later you can bet there will be even more fees involved. And the last tip, arrive at the airport early and you won’t need to worry about priority/speedy boarding.

Find more smart traveller tips on the Traveller’s Blog!

Imgs: friend JAD, herrkrueger, epos / Flickr cc.

Looking for your next trip? Find the best flights with us!

2 responses to “A smart traveller knows: how to avoid extra fees

  1. I am not exactly a light traveler and would never do carry-on luggage, especially when coming over from NA to Europe; I did it once for a weekend trip over Easter break and it was a pain having my purse in my luggage.

  2. Great tips. Carry-on is the only way to go, I agree. I would like to add one more general travel tip that saved my last trip to Rome from total disaster. I lost my passport during the day but had no idea it was missing. Fortunately, I had an Okoban tracer tag on it. A waiter where I ate lunch found it and entered my tracker number on their website and I was sent a text message (and an email) before I ever even knew my passport was missing. Lucky for me because I was leaving in the morning for Germany and getting a new passport would have been impossible. I found these tags at It saved my trip and I now have tags on almost everything that goes with me on a trip.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

footer logo
Made with for you