Luggage Woes*** Avoiding extra fees
As a North Americans traveling domestically and abroad, we seem to get caught up in options and what-ifs.
The excitement builds before every trip that I have to take. Thinking about the itinerary, what I will be experiencing, where I will be going, always prompts the flood and frenzy of clothes, shoes and necessary items that I think I must have for the trip.
Part of the thought process is that when away from home, you don’t want to have to buy something that you could have easily brought with you. Also the thought of paying two to three times the price of an item while away can be a discomfort to many, not to mention accessibility.
The airlines of today are not very accommodating to this type of thinking process. Gone are the days when you could have bought your airline ticket to include one to two checked bags plus a carry-on bag without paying extra fees. As times have changed, so has the world of baggage fees. For domestic travel, most airlines have moved to the paid checked bag policy beyond paying for your airfare. You could of course buy a Business or First Class ticket which will usually allow for baggage inclusions. Also, there is the option of frequent flier perks or credit card benefits which may help with baggage fees and allowances.
There are a few airlines like Southwest Airlines and Caribbean Airlines who still have checked bag allowances included in the ticket purchase. For International long-haul flights like I just did to Australia or Tahiti, a majority of the airlines will have checked bags included (sometimes up to two fifty pounds bags included). The time away for those type of trips could range between 7 days to 2 weeks away from home. With such a long timeframe, you could easily pack 100 pounds or 46 kgs of luggage.
Unfortunately, unless you are traveling luxury with a concierge or bellman throughout your trip, you may be called upon to lift and move your own luggage off the carousel at the airport plus sometimes walk great distances with those bags.
On my trip to Tahiti, I flew inter-island on small airplanes and also experienced the Ferry Transfer between islands. I will tell you that the baggage limits are reduced on these transfers plus schelpping them from place to place can be quite uncomfortable and tiresome. My most resent trip to Australia traveling throughout Queensland and New South Wales including Sydney Gold Coast, Brisbane, and the Whitsundays Islands have given me new goals when I think about packing for a trip.
Again, traveling from the US to Australia gave me the baggage allowance of 2 checked bags of up to 50lbs each/23kgs plus my hand luggage. However, the domestic flights had an allowance of 1 checked bag and 1 hand luggage. So here is the dilemma, if I travel from the US with 2 checked bags, plus 1 carryon, plus my purse, how do I get on the domestic flight with this load. Oops…excess luggage fees are now being assessed!
There are various methods that may be utilized when trying to pack light.
– Start a packing list
– Chose clothes that may not need ironing
– Rolling clothes like underwear & socks
– Fold jackets and other stiff items
– Chose clothing made from lighter material
– Use space saver bags and packing cubes
– Pack more tops than bottoms as bottoms may be used more than once
– Chose similar color combinations to minimize shoe options
– Only take up to 2 shoes options (hardest for me)
– Select a light a sturdy bag or suitcase
I believe that practice does make perfect so I will start utilizing smart packing when traveling. One bag per trip is how I would like to travel.
My goal from this point forward is to employ smart packing to avoid additional baggage fees, weightlifting while traveling and looking like a typical foreigner with the many bags syndrome.