Sometimes you can just feel it. You’ve packed your bags on the last night of your trip and a wave of sadness sweeps over you. Not because you’re heading home, but because you just KNOW your checked bag is going to be WAY over the weight limit, and you’re going to have to pay. Big time. Well, we’ve got some great tips for sticking it to the man and avoiding airline baggage fees (overweight & oversized).
1. Stay Under the Limits (duh)
Pretty self explanatory, but if you don’t break the limit, you don’t pay fees. My first way of achieving this is by under-packing. If you know that you’re gonna hit the shops wherever you’re going, plan ahead and don’t pack 50 lbs. of clothes! Leave some wiggle room for purchases and you won’t have to pay those overweight airline baggage fees!
Also, be sure to throw a Luggage Scale in your suitcase. Knowledge is power, and a luggage scale gives you a heads up if you are over the weight limit. Better to calmly leave that beat up pair of shoes in the hotel room than frantically scramble to figure out what to throw away at the airport while cursing out the woman at the counter.
And remember: You are allowed a carry-on bag and a personal item. I ALWAYS have a spare reusable bag in my suitcase for such occasions. Luggage a few pounds over? Don’t worry, just throw the heaviest items into your spare bag and count that as your carry-on! (Just remember to avoid slowing up the security line by doing all that BEFORE you get to the front) Or if you’ve already got a carry-on and personal item, don’t forget…your pockets have no weight limit! Stuff every pocket you have with stuff! Shove items down your pants! Whatever you have to do to get though! (NOTE: Stuffing your pants full of stuff MIGHT come across as suspicious behavior and cause some friendly delays at security. Use your head)
Also, don’t forget that other baggage fee culprit, overSIZED luggage. If you think it costs a lot to check an overweight bag, you might want to sit down. Trying to check a bag that’s oversized can cost you up to $200!!! Can you believe that!? Even if you still come in under 50lbs! Don’t even get me started if you have BOTH and oversize and overweight bag. It makes me nauseous. To figure out if your bag is oversized, measure the height, depth and width and add those numbers up. If it’s over 62 inches you might be in the market for a smaller suitcase! (Be sure to check with your individual airline to see what their limits are, as some airlines differ)
2. Check a 2nd Bag
When you consider that the very highest rates for a second checked bag are only around $40-$50 (most are $35), it’s actually WAY less expensive to check a second bag than it is to pay $100 overweight airline baggage fees! Of course this means you have to HAVE a second back to check. In NYC you can’t spit without hitting a store selling cheap luggage for $10 that can do the job for your trip home. Or, you can go with an innovative suitcase like the Eagle Creek Morphus that is actually two bags in one! The innovative construction allows you to zip off the front gear bag from the polycarbonate back shell and use the morphing technology to create a second full-size bag. It’s one of the coolest luggage innovations we’ve ever seen!
3. Mail a Box Home
Along those same lines, shipping a box of your heaviest items home might be an even cheaper option. A large flat rate box through USPS costs about $17 and you can definitely fit a couple pairs of shoes, toiletries, a travel french press, etc in there! I’ve been on some month-long trips and had to resort to shipping boxes home every month so I didn’t have to pay overweight airline baggage fees every time I flew. It was a simple solution to a possibly annoying/costly problem.
My name is Spencer Howard, and I’m an Concierge/Host/Drunk who has spent the majority of the past 9 years on the road, hopping from hotel to hotel for months at a time. Through trial and mostly error, I’ve become what the airport security line calls an “Expert Traveler.” (It makes my Mother proud)
But for those of us who go beyond occasional puddle jumper and enter the world of Hotel Homebody, it takes more than a complimentary mint and a flat screen TV to warm the cockles of our hearts.
I hope you have insurance, because I'm gonna be throwing some knowledge bombs at your face.
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