Home Travel & Lifestyle Top Tips for Beating Airline Checked Baggage Fees

Top Tips for Beating Airline Checked Baggage Fees

Flying isn’t cheap, and the cost to fly is only going higher as the year progresses. One of the ways airlines make additional money is by charging you heavily for checked baggage. But some smart ideas and pre-planning before you travel can help you save some money and keep your travel budget intact.

Check out some of our favorite tips and hacks to keep your checked-in baggage fees to the minimum.

  • Pack Your Carry on Better. Weight restrictions and size dimensions for carry-on bags can range anywhere from 15 to 40 pounds depending on the carrier. If you do have some unused weight in your hand luggage, you might be able to move some items between bags and save a ton of money. Some booking sites may not publish all the details. Try a quick call to the airline or check their official website for the correct information before you book.
  • Pack light. If you travel often, invest in some high-quality, lightweight clothing that will be easy to maintain on the road and  help you make the most of your checked baggage allowance. Remember to save some of your weight for souvenirs and other things you might want to bring back with you.
  • Get yourself an airline-affiliated credit card. These rewards cards are particularly useful if you travel often, as they give you benefits like free checked-in bags, priority boarding and several discounts and offers.
  • Sign up for frequent flyer programs. People who travel a lot will attest to the many benefits of racking up frequent flyer miles and getting the higher tiers of the card. Why? Well, waived checked baggage fees is one big plus.
  • When traveling with the family or with friends, distributing the weight between several members can be a useful trick to save on checked baggage fees. Kids going on a full fare ticket usually won’t use up their entire weight allowances either. This can be great for post-vacation shopping on the way back home.
  • Unless you are carrying something incredibly fragile, lightweight four-wheeled bags are the way to go. Many high-quality bags will give you years of hassle-free service without taking up your precious weight allowance.
  • Whether it’s winter and you have layers on or its summer, and you can’t be bothered with jackets and coats, wear your most cumbersome clothing while traveling. This includes everything from accessories to shoes. Airports usually run cold so you won’t struggle with the temperature. Besides, once you’re on board, you can easily take off and store any pieces you don’t want to wear.
  • Choose an airline with lower fees or even no fees for checked baggage. Airlines like Southwest have no checked-in bag fees, while others like JetBlue allow you to check a bag for free under specific plans.
  • If you’re going trekking, hiking or need specialized equipment or clothing for a trip, sometimes mailing it to your destination can be cheaper than hauling it all, yourself. We’d recommend sticking to the bigger things, though. Avoid personal items that are essential like underwear, medication, etc. lest they get lost or misplaced or don’t reach in time. Sometimes it might even be more prudent and cheaper to rent things like bicycles, scuba gear and skis when you get to your destination, particularly if you’re already close to the weight limit when starting.
Finally, it must be said that the best tip of all to skip baggage fees is to learn how to travel carry-on only. There, we said it!
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