If you want to save money on the cost of air travel, a good place to start is with your airline reservations. The less you pay for a ticket the more you save. With that said, many airlines are now increasing their fees and even creating new ones. You will see this with luggage. At first, airlines started charging passengers for a second bag of checked luggage. Now, some are even charging for the first. If you are taking an extended vacation, these extra fees can quickly add up. So how do you eliminate them?
For starters, you must know that the fees exist. An increase in fees is not something an airline wants to shout from the rooftops. Most travelers showed up for their flights to learn, for the first time, it would cost $30 roundtrip for their only suitcase. Imagine the anger. Although these fees are well-known now, you still need to look for them. Know if your airline charges you a fee for your first or second suitcase and how much.
As for how you can avoid or lessen the impact of these extra baggage fees:
Pack your carryon bag full. Most airlines outline rules and restrictions for carryon bags on their websites. You should know ahead of time how big your bag can be and how much it must weight. Use a ruler and a bathroom scale to ensure you are just under. If traveling for a two to three day trip, you can get away with using your carryon bag alone, provided you pack wisely.
Speaking of packing wisely, do it. Only bring what you need. Having four pairs of shoes for your trip to Hawaii is nice, but do you really need them all? You should be able to get away with a pair of sandals and sneakers. Also, research your hotel or resort ahead of time to see what you are supplied with. Is there a curling iron and hair dryer in your room? If so, don’t waste valuable space by bringing yours from home.
Watch the weather. Knowing the weather forecast for your vacation destination makes it easier to pack wisely. If you are traveling to Hawaii, see what the weather is forecasted to be like. If rain is predicted, bring a raincoat. If the temperatures will be above 70 your entire trip, live the winter coat at home. Pack only what you need, especially in terms of clothes and accessories.
Opt for large suitcases. Most airlines have strict rules on carryon luggage, but they are more lax on checked luggage. Do you need two suitcases to hold all your clothes? Are they small suitcases? Head to your local department store and purchase a bigger suitcase. Most airlines charge $25 one-way for a second suitcase. For $50, you can easily purchase a larger suitcase that you can reuse, making it a wise investment.
Share luggage with family. If you are traveling with your romantic partner or with your entire family, condense luggage. This is best when charged for each checked suitcase. Does your ten year old really need to have his own suitcase, especially if it is only half full? Have all members of your family condense luggage into as few suitcases as possible. Depending on the size of your family, this could save you $100 or more a trip.
Use space saving bags. Because the commercials for Space Bags appear like infomercials, many consumers believe they don’t work. They actually do. Not only that, but they have bags designed for air travel. With these bags, you place your clothes inside and apply pressure by leaning. Watch your clothes as they shrink in size. You can use this approach to eliminate a second suitcase. For short trips, use these space saving travel bags in your carryon; you may not even need to check a suitcase!