The joys of modern travel include faster planes, Internet in the air, and fees for absolutely everything. The biggest bane of modern travel for many people are the baggage fees currently charged by airlines, which can costs each person $50-$100 for a round-trip flight. In today’s economy, there aren’t many people who have that kind of pocket cash laying around and, even if you have it, wouldn’t you rather spend it on your vacation instead of giving it to the person behind the ticket counter?
The key to avoiding baggage fees is avoiding baggage…or at least cutting down on the bags you’re taking. If you’re going to be gone for months at a time or if you’re transporting something large (such as a wedding gown or holiday presents for all of your relatives), you might be stuck checking a large bag and paying the extra fee. However, most travelers should be able to get away with fitting everything they’ll need for their trip into the one carry-on bag that they’re allowed to take on to the plane for free. This eliminates the checked baggage cost, as well as the wait for your luggage at the baggage carousel and the chance that your bag will get drop-kicked by an underpaid airport employee who doesn’t care if your suitcase reaches its final destination or not.
If you’d like to work on getting all of your luggage into that one carry-on bag, check out these helpful hints:
- Get a good bag. You’ll lose before you begin if the bag you’re trying to pack is the wrong size or isn’t built to hold a lot of different items. It’s a good idea to get a bag that fits standard airline carry-on measurements, but also has a lot of compartments for storing your items. This is not a good time to try to test the airline. If you pack a bag that’s just a little too large to be a carry-on, it’s possible that they will make you check the bag at the gate. Don’t worry…you really don’t need a bag that large! Just knowing how to effectively pack your bag will make a small bag even more efficient than the large suitcase you’re leaving behind.
- Don’t fold your clothes. Instead, take an item such as a toiletries bag or book and wrap your clothes around it so that you create a bundle with all of your clothes flat against each other. This will save space and should cut down on the amount of ironing you’ll have to do. (Rolling clothes, a popular space-saver, doesn’t get clothes as small as bundle packing them does.)
- Don’t waste space. Put jewelry inside of your shoes. Pack your toiletry bag with extra underwear if you have more space. Slip flattened socks into the outer pockets of your bag. Carry-on luggage doesn’t get weighed, so if there’s space, fill it.
- Don’t pack everything. If you’re attending a wedding, business meeting, or other event where you’ll have to dress nicely in a suit or nice dress, don’t pack it. Wear it on the plane. Trying to jam a suit into a carry-on is just asking for permanent wrinkles.
- Cut your packing list in half. Take an iPad and you can leave your laptop, books, magazines, DVD player, and music player at home. Take only solid clothes in the same general shades and you can mix and match to wear them each a couple of times. Just remember to think about all of the functions of everything you’re taking. If something has only one function…maybe it’s not such a great thing to pack after all.