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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

Let’s be honest, no one likes paying up for checked (or carry-on) luggage. We just want to get to our destination! In the US alone, airlines racked up $1.7 billion in the first 6 months of 2012 in baggage fees. With a little effort, you can easily avoid the luggage fees. Here’s how.

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Packing light isn’t always possible, especially if you’re going away for several weeks or travelling to cold winter destinations where extra layers are a necessity. Even if you’re a pro at packing light, you can still get caught with fees, especially with airlines like Wizz Air who now charge for large-sized carry-ons.

Tip 1: Know your airline’s luggage policy

There’s a few things you should know. Luggage rules change constantly. They also vary between airlines, destinations, travel dates and by bag weight, size and number. It’s all to get your head around but it’ll pay off to read the fine print. If you know how much luggage you’re going to need to carry, it might pay off to rather book with a regular airline (which includes a complimentary checked bag most of the time) than with a low cost airline. The cost of checking bags might actually make that cheap fare more expensive in the long run!

Tip 2: Invest in a baggage scale

Don’t even think about heading to the airport thinking, “It’s probably under. It doesn’t feel too heavy.” There’s nothing more expensive than an overweight bag. It can even be cheaper to check an additional bag than pay for the extra kilos you’re taking with you. Always weigh your bag before leaving for the airport or invest in a small travel-sized luggage scale that fits into your bag.

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Tip 3: Upgrade your luggage

Are you still travelling with suitcases you bought 10 years ago? Therein lies one of the problems. Luggage technology has changed a lot since then and suitcases are lighter than ever with new material like ballistic nylon and polycarbonate. While they can appear a bit expensive at first glance, it’s an investment that will pay for itself if you’re a chronic over-packer that frequently gets hit with over-weight luggage fees even just a few times a year. These bags are light and long-lasting.

It’s the small things that count and when it comes to travelling, it’s the small things that save you money. Have you ever been made to pay overweight luggage fees? What are your tips for travelling light?

Img: manc72friend JAD / Flickr cc.

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One response to “Baggage Blues: how to skip luggage fees

  1. It’s unbelievable how much it costs for baggage these days. Pretty soon it will cost more for the luggage ticket than for the passenger ticket. Even worse when they lose your bags and cannot get them back to you. Here is a tip to be sure your bags get back to you if they are lost. Okoban tracker tags let TSA or anyone else that finds your lost stuff contact you directly but keeps your privat information hidden. They only cost a few bucks but are well worth it as an insurance hedge. I got mine at mystufflostandfound.com and put them on all my stuff – my bags, laptop, iphone, passport, etc.

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