Tricks to Bypass Baggage Fees While Traveling

Don’t let high baggage fees hold you back from taking flight this summer

Between January and June of 2012, US flyers spent nearly $1.7 billion on easily avoidable baggage fee costs. Of course, packing extra light is one of the best ways to save money on baggage fee costs, but traveling with the bare minimum is not always an option.

Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air now charge for carry-ons, and a single checked bag costs about $50 roundtrip flight on most major airlines.

Here are a few tips that can help you travel for less:

Know Your Airline’s Policies

Airline baggage fees change constantly, and can often vary by airline, destination, date of travel, number of bags, weight of the bags, and overall size of the bags. Even with the affordable ticket purchase, you may end up paying hundreds of additional dollars in fees. Remember that a cheaper flight ticket doesn’t mean a cheaper overall flight. For example, if you are looking at a flight from Miami to Las Vegas and you find two tickets for $150 on two different airlines (Southwest and Delta), keep in mind that the price may not be the same once you check out the policy. Per checked bag on a Delta flight there is a $25 fee, but on Southwest the first and second checked bags are free.

Become a Member of a Frequent Flier Program

Travelers who fly a lot can save money by joining their favorite airline’s Frequent Flier program. All airlines offer some type of member awards program. Contact your favorite airline to find out more information about their frequent flyer program as well as how you can become one of their elite, VIP, or preferred members. If you don’t think that you are a good fit for a frequent flier program, consider applying for a an airline credit card as most airlines waive the check bag fees for their airline credit card holders.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fly on a Discount Airline

Southwest airlines allows two checked bags for free while JetBlue lets passengers check one bag for free. However you can pay anywhere between $25 and $100 on Spirit Airlines for carry-on bags that are too big to fit under the seat in front of you.

Verify That Your Baggage is Not Overweight

Overweight baggage can be way more expensive than checked bags. Although you may have that you were able to save money by stuffing two weeks’ worth of clothes in one bag, you may actually end up paying hundreds of dollars additional. Avoid overweight baggage fees by weighing your luggage each time you fly, including before your return flight.

Consider Shipping Your Baggage

If you take into consideration that most airlines charge $50 roundtrip for your first checked bag, then standard delivery services and even luggage shipping companies don’t sound like a bad deal. The fees that will apply are standard delivery rates for FedEx, UPS, or USPS. For example, UPS charges $58.27 to send a 40 pound suitcase from New York to San Francisco in five days.