Friday, August 27, 2010

8 Ways to avoid checked bag fees when flying

I seem to be traveling more and more these days and while I'm an extremely light packer (I've got packing down to a science), I'd rather spend the extra $25 - $75 baggage fee enjoying a facial at the spa or dinner and a tropical drink on the beach.

Here are just a few ways of making sure that you're not trading that massage just to bring an extra pair of shoes (or two, or four).

1. Many of the travel credit card let you check bags for free. Delta SkyMiles (American Express) allows up to nine people on one reservation to take a bag FREE of charge.

2. Apply for the airlines reward programs. Loyalty pays - in this case members of Continental OnePass gold, silver or platinum are allowed 2 bags checked free of charge.

3. Before purchasing a new suitcase WEIGH IT. Since the fees are based upon the weight of your packed luggage, buying an ultra light suitcase can make the difference and allow you an extra outfit or two, or extra souvenirs packed on your return.

4. Golf clubs, skiis, surfboards, etc. may be cheaper to RENT at your destination than the extra fee that they incur on the plane. With baggage fees up to $100 for the third bag, that can mean an extra $200 just to bring your Big Bertha's (they probably have state of the art clubs for rent right at the resort).

5. Pack light. I coordinate everything in like colors. By packing light I can just take a carry on, without having to worry about fees (except with Spirit who charges $45 for a carry-on...UGH).

6. If you choose your flight based on cost. Figure the cost of the bags into the equation. A cheaper flight may actually cost MORE if you have to add on the baggage fees (airlines like Jet Blue and Southwest typically allow a free checked bag).

7. Look for "deals" - there have been hotel deals out there that actually pay your baggage fees if you stay with them (like the Klimpton "We've got your Bag" program).

8. This one is for the women. Carry a LARGE handbag. This is my FAVORITE. I pack my toiletries, pjs, and one days worth of clothes in my handbag. It let's me free up some room in my suitcase for all of the things that I plan on buying on vacation!

If  I'm going to pay a bag fee, it's going to be on the way HOME, when I bring all of the goodies that I bought while on vacation.


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Stefani @ said...

We use Southwest Airlines. You can take carry one bag for free and 2 for free under (as long as they are under 50 pounds). What I do is weight myself, then weigh myself holding the luggage.

willow said...

A lot of friends send their luggage ahead of time by UPS this works great especially w/ small children.

Zippy said...

Stefani - GREAT idea! Thanks.

Willow - UPS now has luggage shaped boxes with a handle that can be used over & over again. I checked them out before going to BlogHer.

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