5 Ways to Avoid Overweight Luggage Fees

Travelers are often hit with overweight luggage fees simply because they don’t know the rules and limits. Besides the obvious recommendation to pack less stuff, here are a few tips to help you travel lighter and avoid overweight luggage fees.

Know the Rules & Limits

Each airline has its own rules and fees for overweight luggage, and sometimes the weight limits change based on a particular route. Knowing the exact weight limit for your flight before you pack, means no surprises at check-in. For most airlines in the U.S., any bag over 50 lbs. is considered overweight. However, some carriers will charge you a fee for bags over 40 lbs., and certain flights have a maximum per bag limit of just 33 lbs. Once you know what you are dealing with, you can pack accordingly.

Invest in Lighter Luggage

If you’re still using an old suitcase from years ago, it might be weighing you down, literally. A traditional rolling suitcase is convenient, but it could weigh more than 10 lbs. when it’s empty. If you travel regularly, it makes sense to invest in the new “ultra-light” designs, or consider a rolling duffle. In most cases, the cost of new luggage will be offset by what you‘ll save in baggage fees over just a few flights.

Take 2 Smaller Bags

While most airlines charge you a fee for checking additional bags, it’s usually less than the cost of the overweight luggage fee. It’s simple math really. If the second checked bag fee is $35, and the overweight luggage fee is $90, it’s much cheaper (savings of $55!) to take two separate bags than one giant suitcase. Plus, your back will thank you.

Pack Heavy Items in Your Carry-on

It might make navigating the airport terminal a bit cumbersome, but packing heavy items in your carry-on will lighten the load on your checked bag. Books, shoes and electronics are all good examples of items that can easily be moved to your carry-on for a savings of several pounds. Additionally, wearing heavy clothing items, such as hiking boots, will help keep your suitcase under the weight limit.

Shop When You Get There

Pare down your packing list by leaving off items that you can purchase at your destination. Chances are, you’ll be able to find toiletries and sunblock at comparable prices wherever you land. If you’re staying at a hotel or resort, confirm that there will be a hair dryer and beach towels on-hand, and rather than pack your own laptop, inquire about a business center for those few times when you need to check email.

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