When my husband, Aaron, and I used to travel (pre-baby) we would each only take a carry-on, which kept things really simple and easy. But now with a baby, we’re going to have to take quite a bit more stuff to get from place A to place B.
And, unfortunately, for some families affording a vacation nowadays is made all the more difficult, thanks to the influx of rising baggage fees on airlines. Nearly all the airlines charge some kind of fee for your luggage to travel with you. While airlines may think $25 is reasonable, adding your family’s bags to the vacation budget can add a few hundred dollars to the already pricey plane tickets. After all, any money you don’t spend on fees you can spend on vacation fun!
Here are 8 ways to prevent your luggage from eating up your vacation money:
1. Don’t Book Through a Third-Party Site
Airlines are trying to get consumers to go back to buying their tickets directly from the airline websites rather than through third-party booking sites so one way they are “penalizing” and “encouraging” travelers to book through the airline sites is by charging a baggage fee to anyone who books through the third-party website, but travelers aren’t getting charged a fee if they book directly through the airlines site. I research the best prices by looking at the travel websites, see which airline is offering the best price, then go to that airline’s site to ultimately buy my ticket.
2. Pack Efficiently
Most people are guilty of packing way more stuff than they actually need while away. While it is comforting to know you have all of your bases covered when traveling, it is more logical to stick with a few basics and find a laundromat on your travels. Try to fit as many basic clothing items in one or two bags as possible by rolling clothes and leaving the majority of your stuff at home.
3. Know Your Weight
Use your scale to get an idea of how much each bag weighs before heading to the airport. Not only will you have to pay a baggage fee, you may also have to pay significantly more if you are checking in bags that go over the set weight limits.
4. Utilize the Carry-On Wisely
Check with the airline for carry-on requirements. If each family member can pack their belongings in their own carry-on and stay within the weight and size limitations, you may be able to board the plane with no fees to pay at all.
5. Consider Credit Card Incentives
Some credit cards sponsored by an airline may be advantageous for your family’s travel needs. As long as the annual fees and other costs are reasonable for your budget and do not negate any savings you get, you may benefit from the different incentives and rewards they offer like airline miles, baggage perks, and other discounts. Please do not use credit cards if you have a problem with spending, the “perks” will not outweigh the cons.
6. Take Advantage of the Baby
If you are traveling with a little one, you may be able to load up the stroller with extra items to avoid checking another bag for a fee. Strollers usually have several storage compartments where you can fit items permitted on the aircraft. The stroller will be checked for free at the gate and you won’t get in trouble for having too much carry-on stuff.
7. Ship to Your Destination
If you are leaving with your family on an extended trip where a few basic clothes won’t do, compare the cost of mailing your items to your destination. You may pay much less by shipping the majority of your luggage. On the return trip home, consider shipping souvenirs and other items that weren’t with you at the start of your trip.
8. Nix the Airlines
When you are figuring out your vacation budget, you may need to accept the reality that flying to a destination is not in the cards for your family due to the high cost of ticket and fees. Find an alternative, more affordable method of travel or find a destination with a more reasonable driving distance.
Do you have any ways to avoid the luggage fees that I don’t know about? If so, I’d love to hear about them!
Image source: Steven Lewis