The best way to save money on your flight is to find cheap plane tickets, obviously. The less money you spend on your flight, the more you end up saving. That’s easier said than done at a time when airline companies are increasing flight fares and creating new fees for travelers. Suspect number one: baggage fees.
Today it’s difficult to fly economy without incurring extra baggage fees. It went from offering this service for free to charging the second bag to asking for money for your first checked suitcase. And if you’re taking a longer holiday, these costs can add up pretty fast. So how do you avoid extra baggage fees?
You can’t escape all baggage fees
These fees will always be there. Unless you pay additional baggage fees, you can be sure your pricier plane ticket will include them. The airline won’t experience a loss either way. So the goal is to avoid the extra baggage fees, not all of them.
The best way to fight the system is to know your airline’s baggage policy and look out for any changes. In the past, changes to baggage policies weren’t circulated in advance to inform travelers. Today, to avoid travelers acting out when they discover they need to pay more right before boarding, airline companies provide better transparency.
Think about Ryanair’s change in baggage policy. Back then, I received several notifications so I knew what to expect when booking a new flight with them. But, of course, not everybody reads their emails or app notifications if they have the app in the first place. So there were still a lot of unhappy customers who had no idea what was waiting for them at the airport.
(Well, I think everybody was unhappy with their change, but some more than others, depending on when they found out. And even though Ryanair’s new baggage policy was found abusive, it’s there to stay.)
How to avoid or lessen extra baggage fees
Avoid extra baggage fees with these 6 travel tips from The Travel Bunny.
Estimated time to learn: 4 minutes
1. Pack a full carry-on bag
Check your airline company’s website to learn in advance all the rules and restrictions they have about carry-on bags. Measure your suitcase before packing and weigh it on your bathroom scale once you’re done. This way, you don’t risk having a bag too large or too heavy to come with you in the cabin.
Traveling only with a carry-on can be challenging, especially when you’re planning a longer holiday. But it’s totally doable! There are lots of people who fly from the US to Europe with just a carry-on and travel several weeks using only what they packed.
Learn how to pack light by creating your own ultimate carry-on packing list.
2. Pack wisely
Remember to pack wisely to avoid adding any unnecessary weight to your luggage. Pack clothes that go together to have more outfit options. And plan to dress in layers, so that your clothes are good for both warmer and colder weather. And you may want to dress to impress, but do you really need a long dress on top of a mountain? I’m sure you’re going to take cool photos for Instagram without it, too.
Also, check with your accommodation to see if they offer towels and toiletry items. Or if they have a hairdryer in the room. By not bringing any of these things that are otherwise necessary to you, you’ll be saving a lot of space in your luggage.
3. Use compression bags
Compression bags seem too good to be true, but they really work! And many of them are specifically designed for air travel. All you have to do is put your clothes inside, then lean on them to apply pressure. You don’t need a vacuum cleaner, so you can use them wherever your steps (well, plane) may take you. They can make the difference in helping you pack a carry-on instead of preparing a piece of checked luggage.
4. Keep an eye on the weather forecast
It’s lovely to finally be able to pack light, but remember to choose your clothes to fit the weather at your destination. If it’s warm, no need to bring a winter jacket. And if it’s cold and there’s no indoor pool, maybe leave the bathing suit at home. With rainy days in sight, opt for a raincoat that can double as a windbreaker instead of an umbrella.
And, to avoid increasing the size of your luggage and paying extra baggage fees, wear the heaviest and bulkiest clothes and shoes on the plane.
5. Larger suitcases as checked luggage
If you can’t pull off traveling with only a carry-on bag, at least don’t bring more than one suitcase to place in the hold. Instead of paying around 25$ one-way for that second suitcase in baggage fees, invest in a larger suitcase. If you look at the airline company’s policies on checked luggage, you will see they’re a bit more permissive than those for carry-on luggage. For now, at least.
6. Condense your family’s luggage
If you are traveling with your significant other or with kids, consider sharing the luggage. This way you avoid extra baggage fees if they want to charge you for each checked suitcase. Mathieu and I do this even with carry-on luggage when we’re traveling for just a weekend with a low-cost company. It’s more convenient to deal with one suitcase instead of two.
- Internet connection
- Travel bag
- Compression bags
Mirela Letailleur is a Romanian travel blogger living in the South of France. She writes on The Travel Bunny travel blog about affordable travel in Europe, creator of unique free travel guides, local travel expert. Problem solver. Wannabe coffee guru.
You might also enjoy reading these packing tips on The Travel Bunny blog
How to pack checked luggage the right way
What to pack in a personal bag for flying