Nothing kills your holiday mood quite like being faced with unexpected excess baggage fees at the airport. In this guide, we’re talking through some of the easiest ways to avoid paying these nasty fees on your checked luggage, and it’s actually easier and much more feasible than what you might think. Hopefully, it’ll be one less thing to worry about whilst you travel.
Research your airline’s baggage policy
Though it goes without saying, it’s worth noting that policies on baggage restrictions and fees will vary between each and every airline – so be sure to choose your airline wisely. When doing your research, look beyond the headline prices, because you’ll often find that just when you think you might be making significant savings on a cheaper flight, your baggage costs could quickly mount up and you’ll be waving goodbye to those savings in no time.
Baggage policies often differ depending on a number of factors, including your flight destination and class of service – though, generally speaking, any excess baggage weight is typically charged per kilo at the airport. So be sure to take the time to clue up on the policies.
Pay for additional baggage weight in advance
As mentioned before, generally speaking, excess baggage weight is typically charged per kilo at the airport, and even if your bag is only 1kg or 2kg over the limit, costs can very quickly mount up. But did you know it’s nearly always much cheaper to simply book extra hold luggage in advance? Believe it or not, airlines are well aware that keeping within a specific size/weight limit is not always possible, so they actually encourage you to plan ahead by offering a discount on additional hold luggage, in comparison to what you would have to pay at the airport. So, if you think you might tip the scales at the check-in desk, just pay for the extra hold luggage beforehand and avoid any unnecessary stress at the airport.
Spread the weight across your partner’s baggage
If you happen to be travelling with your significant other, a friend, a family member or another loved one, and your oversized/overweight baggage doesn’t make it past the check-in desk, ask them to help you spread the weight across your checked baggages. If you’re considering paying for additional hold luggage in advance as mentioned previously, some airlines will offer combined weight allowances, so for example, you could buy a baggage limit of 40kg but spread it across two separate bags. That way, it won’t matter if one bag is slightly heavier or even belongs to another passenger – so long as both bags do not exceed the overall weight limit, they can be carried. Though, i the worst comes to worst at the check-in desk and the airline are particularly strict, you and the person you are travelling with can simply try to even out the contents of your suitcases, evenly spreading the weight across both bags.
One of the most common pieces of advice for avoiding extortionate airline baggage fees is to simply pack lighter. Though, we all know that it certainly isn’t as easy as it sounds. Instead, try to pack smarter. First and foremost, invest in some lightweight luggage. Standard suitcases can have heavy frames that can account for a surprisingly huge chunk of your weight allowance, even when totally empty. A lightweight suitcase, or perhaps even a backpack, allows you to save more of those precious kg for your actual luggage.
Another handy piece of advice for when it comes to packing smarter is to actually wear your bulkier or heavier clothing whilst travelling, so as to take some of the weight off your luggage and make room for more of your essential belongings. You’re entirely within your right to do so, all whilst avoiding those pesky excess baggage charges in the process.
Don’t forget to also consider what you could buy when you get to your destination, as opposed to carrying it with you. Things like toiletries when you jet off on a 2 week holiday are usually pretty easy to find, no matter where you’re off to. As well, if you’ve booked a hotel or an apartment to stay in, take some time to look into what might be supplied to you when you get there. There’s no need to waste your baggage weight allowance and suitcase space on things like towels and hairdryers if they’re going to be provided to you at your destination.
Weigh your bags first
If you take the time to actually weigh your baggage as you pack, you could end up saving yourself a pretty penny. A trusty luggage scale could make your travel life so much easier, especially if you travel often, and they’re a lot more affordable than you might think. You can be travel-savvy and check whether your luggage is overweight in advance, and from there, you can decide how best to re-pack if necessary. If all else fails, you could balance your luggage on bathroom scales to get a good idea of the weight before you go.
Consider shipping your luggage
If for whatever reason you have a serious amount of luggage to take with you on your travels, or to bring back home with you, a convenient luggage shipping company could provide a welcomed, affordable solution. Luggage shipping companies provide a service for you to send your luggage ahead to your destination, not only helping you to avoid excess baggage fees at the airport, but also allowing you to travel completely hands-free.
The cost of your luggage shipment will ultimately depend on the size and weight of the luggage you’re sending – yet even with this considered, it could work out a lot cheaper than coughing up overweight baggage charges at the check-in desk. Many luggage shipping companies offer door to door services, so there’s no need to wait in line at the check-in desk, nor any need to wait around for the appearance of your bag at luggage carousels. All in all, they can help to make your travel experience run totally smooth, which is always a bonus.
Written by Katy Mairs, blog editor at UniBaggage.com