Seven Tips to Beat Baggage Fees

We’re all used to the tricks that low-cost airlines use by now, the initial fare sounds cheap, but by the time you include the booking fees and baggage you’ve somehow added another £50 or more to the booking! Well, with a little bit of forward planning you can still take advantage of those low fares, and you don’t even have to leave all your luggage at home.

1. Check what’s included
All airlines have different rules on how much luggage you can carry, so make sure you know what to expect before you book. If you’re going for an overnight stay, one 10kg carry on bag is plenty, but for a two week holiday with the kids it’s more of a challenge!
If you do need to pay for a checked in bag then factor that into your ticket price to avoid nasty surprises! Our low-cost airline comparison table gives a good initial guide to how much you can expect to pay to check in a bag with all of the UK’s major low cost airlines.

2. Take the right bag
If you’re just planning on taking hand luggage onto the plane, then every kilogram counts. Avoid taking a heavier hard shell suitcase and instead borrow or invest in a lighter canvas or soft bag. They’re also better for squeezing into small places like cramped overhead lockers

3. Pack efficiently
We hate to break it to you, but when you’re travelling low cost you’re not going to be able to take the kitchen sink. Be ruthless with your packing; you don’t need seven pairs of shoes for a three-night break, and most hotels will already have a hair dryer. Once you’ve got your capsule wardrobe worked out, roll rather than fold. Clothes crease less and you can fit a lot more in

4. Weigh before you pay
Excess baggage fees are designed to hurt – They’re there to encourage you to stick to the limit. So it’s never worth guessing at your bag’s weight. Put it on the bathroom scales before you leave to make sure you’re safe, and it’s best to leave a little weight spare for all the knick knacks you’re bound to find whilst you’re away.

5. Wear it well
Whilst your luggage is subject to strict scrutiny, there are currently no limits on how much you can weigh! So fill up your pockets with all your heaviest items, wear two coats if necessary! And of course you should plan to already be wearing all your heaviest, bulkiest clothing for the trip. You can always take off a few layers once you’re cleared through security.

6. The toiletry trap

Of all the things you need to take on holiday toiletries present the biggest challenge as liquids are still subject to a 100ml restriction. Even if you have less than 100ml of a liquid it will be confiscated if the container is larger than 100ml, so make sure you decant everything into small bottles before you fly.

7. Pool your resources
If you’re going for a long trip then just taking a teeny 100ml bottle of shampoo isn’t going to help much. Conventional advice is to ditch the toiletries and buy them out there, but we figure that by the time you’ve bought your sun cream, shampoo, shower gel, razors and so on again, that’s probably not much of a saving. If you’re travelling in a large group instead consider paying to check in one bag between you, and use it just to carry items that aren’t allowed in the cabin. This way you can bring back the odd bottle of wine too!

Top image via hoyasmeg