What’s the worst thing about going on vacation or traveling the world?
Some of you may have specific problems or issues that come to mind, but most of us can agree that packing luggage is right up there. It’s a time-consuming process to start with, and then you have the stress of figuring out what to pack for your trip. If you’re super prepared, it can take days or weeks before you’ve finally packed everything. If not, you’re dealing with it all in a mad rush the morning before your flight.
Either way, packing is stressful – but that’s only half of the problem. The other issue with your luggage is how expensive it can be. For whatever reason, airlines don’t think we’re spending enough money on flights. Tickets are hardly cheap, and in-flight food is costly, yet they insist on charging more and more money for luggage. Some operators charge you for a bag in the cabin as well as ones in the hold. There are weight and size allowances too, leading to extra fees if you’re not careful.
Before you know it, the cost of luggage is almost creeping up to the cost of the plane tickets themselves! It’s ludicrous and can make traveling far more expensive than it needs to be. When travel becomes so costly, it starts being less accessible for everyone. So, we’re going to show you some smart tactics that’ll help you reduce luggage fees and travel with a lighter budget!
Compare airline fees before booking
Sometimes, you see an airline offering really cheap tickets to your chosen destination. You run a price comparison of all other providers, seeing that they clearly come out on top. So, you book tickets and then get to the luggage allowance section. All of a sudden you’re hit with outrageous fees that add to the overall price and you end up paying a fortune.
That’s how a lot of these “budget airlines” catch you out. They advertise cheap ticket prices and then hide the extra fees for everything else. Our first piece of advice is to compare all airline luggage/baggage fees before booking anything. There’s an interesting website that compares all baggage fees for you, so you see exactly how much it costs to take, one, two, three, or more bags with you.
As a result, you’ll have a greater overview of what it costs to fly to this destination. You may be surprised to see that more “expensive” airlines work out cheaper overall because they have more favorable baggage allowances!
Pack as light as possible
This will be a struggle for some of you, but packing lightly will save lots of money. Why? Because airlines do a couple of things to ensure you’re financially punished for being a heavy packer:
- Extra fees for heavier bags
- Extra fees for additional bags
To be fair to them, the second point is to stop people from skipping the extra fees for heavier bags by just purchasing multiple pieces of luggage. In either case, if you pack a lot of stuff, expect to pay even more than usual.
There are loads of guides out there to help you pack lightly for long trips, so it isn’t impossible. It’ll feel really bizarre at first as you’re used to bringing lots of stuff with you. However, we find that the more you do it, the easier it becomes. You get used to only needing a few things, so you will travel in comfort without overpacking and paying a fortune.
Take advantage of your free luggage allowance
Depending on who you’re flying with, you should get some free luggage allowance. Most of the time this will include a small bag to take on the plane with you. In the past, this could be a decently sized small suitcase that may be big enough to fit all your clothes in. Nowadays, airlines are restricting this to things as big as rucksacks.
Still, you can take advantage of this free allowance by packing as many items into this bag as possible. Seriously, bung everything you can into your rucksack so it allows you to bring a smaller piece of hold luggage. This helps with the previous point too as you can pack fewer things in your main suitcase, allowing you to pay for cheaper luggage that doesn’t weigh as much.
If you’re really clever – like really, really clever – you might be able to fit everything in your free bag. This will completely nullify any extra luggage fees, making the entire trip a lot cheaper.
Look into luggage shipping services
Airline baggage fees have become so expensive that you might be better off shipping your bags separately. Companies like Seven Seas Worldwide offer international baggage/luggage shipping to loads of destinations. The cost of doing this often works out a lot cheaper than the cost of paying for airline luggage fees.
Granted, it is more expensive in some circumstances and you’re better off trying the previous tactics instead. It’s a genius idea in situations when you have lots of bags or a lot of heavy luggage that you have to take with you. A good example is on ski trips when you have skiing equipment – planes charge extra for large items, making everything way too expensive.
All you have to do is find a luggage shipping service and compare the fees to airline ones. As we said, you may be pleasantly surprised by the price differences. If it works out cheaper, then go ahead and do this to save some cash.
With all things considered, it’s fairly easy to travel the world without paying absurd luggage allowance fees. Don’t get sucked into the idea that you have to pay these crazy fees. You really don’t – they only exist so airlines can make more money. All it takes is a bit of clever thinking (and some small sacrifices) and you will be able to travel with all your essential belongings but without spending too much money.