Did you just finish making your summer vacation travel plans? If so, your trip dates will soon arrive. If you are flying to your destination, you may start to pack soon. If you haven’t already heard, many airlines have started charging extra baggage fees. Many airlines now charge you a set fee, like $25 one way, for a second bag of checked luggage. Unfortunately, some are also charging for the first. Although this added expense is well-documented by airlines, it may throw your vacation budget out of whack.
So, how can you avoid or limit the cost of the extra fees airlines charge for your luggage?
First, do you need a suitcase? Do you have one? If not, keep costs in mind. How much do you travel? If you only take one vacation a year, you don’t need to invest $100 or more in one suitcase. Wal-Mart and Target have cheap suitcases for an average of $50 or less. If you need suitcases for each member of your family, look at the packaged deals. The suitcases are often different sizes, but a better value for the money.
Check the weather forecast before your trip. It is always good to be prepared for the weather, but don’t go overboard. If traveling to Hawaii, you won’t need a winter coat, hat, and mittens. You may want to bring a sweater and a raincoat, but don’t fill your suitcase with unneeded clothes and supplies. Check the weather forecast first. You may be surprised how much room you save in your suitcase by doing so.
Don’t pack what you don’t need. Many hotels no longer offer small bottles of shampoo and soap. If you do get some, it is usually less than before. This is a cost cutting measure. For that reason, bring health and beauty products from home. It will be cheaper than buying at a nearby convenience store or hotel lobby. Many discount and department stores have small travel size packages available for soaps, toothpaste, shampoo, and so forth. With the exception of toothpaste, save your money. You can also buy cheap packages of empty bottles, often marketed as travel cases. They cost no more than $2 for a large set. Take the empty bottles and fill with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion.
Invest in space saving travel bags. Many of these bags are advertised on television, so consumers think of them as nothing more than an infomercial product, but they do work. Travel bags don’t use a vacuum cleaner. Instead, you just fill, seal, and lean on. The key to using these bags is to not just fold your clothes into one pile. You will get a brick that isn’t much smaller in size. Fold that pile, but then fill the empty spaces in the bag. By properly using space saving travel bags, you can fit many clothes into one suitcase.
As previously stated, many airlines are now charging for the first bag of checked luggage. If you want to avoid these fees and are taking a two or three day rip, make use of your carryon bag. By using space saving travel bags, you may be able to fit all of your clothes into your carryon. Another great alternative is to limit the number of clothes you bring and wash your clothes at the hotel. Paying $5 to do a couple loads of laundry is still cheaper than paying an extra $15 each way.
If you are taking a vacation with your romantic partner or family, consider condensing luggage. Does your teenager have a half empty suitcase? You are wasting money if you pay $30 roundtrip for that suitcase. Share them instead. You may eliminate one or two suitcases by sharing, saving you money. This step is best with family. You never know what an acquaintance may try to sneak in their suitcase; don’t be held liable for someone else’s lapse in judgment.
Finally, be careful with souvenirs. They are nice, but costly and take up extra space. What if you don’t have enough room? You may need to buy an extra bag. Not only do you end up paying for the souvenir and emergency suitcase, but your airline may charge you an additional baggage fee. Your $5 shot glass may easily cost as much as $10 now. Use space saving travel bags to create extra space for souvenirs, limit your purchases, and only purchase those small in size.