Baggage fees... Now there's something that can confuse even the most savvy traveler.
People are always saying to me that flying isn't fun anymore.
What they're really saying is that it's changed.
It's just like everything, isn't it? People remember the "good old days" fondly.
It all seems easier and more romantic.
But seriously, you probably don't want to go back to the times when you had to make several stops to get to your destination,
And if you're honest, you probably don't want to pay more for your airline ticket....
That's what it would take if you wanted those free meals and wanted to be able to check your luggage for free. But we don't think you want to carry as much as we did to Africa one time... like that picture above.
What really will get your head spinning, though, is trying to figure out those baggage fees.
They vary depending on what part of the world you are traveling in or to.
They vary from airline to airline...
But from country to country? Well yes... sort of. Some carriers in other countries have lower weight and size limits, so you may have to pay to check what you thought was carry-on luggage.
It won't do you any good to argue about them. Sooner or later you'll end up paying something... just pad a little extra money into your budget.
Most U.S. airlines now charge some sort of a fee to check luggage. We've always tried to travel with one carry-on piece of luggage each, and that still works in the U.S.
In Europe, though, weight restrictions are tighter for carry-on luggage, and the allowable size is smaller... What you can carry-on in the U.S. must be checked on some European carriers.
Even in Europe and other parts of the world, some carriers are starting to charge for checking bags.
You will pay a fee for one bag, and usually slightly more for a second bag...
...even more for a third or fourth bag!
So try to limit those packing excesses.
The fees apply to each passenger however....
So if there is a family of four traveling with four bags, you will each be charged for one bag... at the smallest amount....
...as long as they also meet the weight restrictions.
Pay attention to how much your bags weigh.
Most airlines will charge more if your bag weighs more than 50 pounds (22.5 kilograms).
The fee goes up substantially if the bag weighs more than 70 pounds (32 kilos), and some airlines won't even take them if they're over 70 pounds.
Pay attention to this....
I can't tell you how often Mark came home telling stories about people trying to repack at the airport... throwing heavy stuff out and trying to re-balance baggage weights.
If you check in online, you can usually save a little money, but remember the weight restrictions still apply.
Don't think you can get away with paying online and taking a heavy bag.
There's just no getting around it!
If you're lucky enough to be traveling first class, you've paid enough that you don't have to worry about this.
For the rest of us, those baggage fees are now part of travel.
Learn to pack smart, and you can keep the fees to a minimum... and if you pack light, it really does make travel easier.