Confused by new rules on checking in baggage on planes? You're not alone. A recent survey by a leading online travel agent found that almost 40% of holidaymakers are baffled by the new baggage rules, and a whopping one in five travellers have been caught over their baggage limit and fined at the airport.
Many of the no-frills airlines charge for each bag you check in. It's no surprise that serial consumer rights offender Ryanair is the most expensive. Ryanair recently hiked its baggage charges a hefty 33% during the peak travel months of July and August, which for a family of four means an extra £160 in basic baggage costs alone! So what can you do to avoid the dreaded charges? Just follow our top ten tips!
1. Check before you book
Before you book your flight, make sure you know what the airline's policy on luggage allowances is. It's definitely worth shopping around and doing a few sums before you buy your tickets. Once all those extra costs have been added on, perhaps that cheap flight isn't so cheap after all?
2. Can you combine your allowances?
Read the small print before you book. Some airlines will let you add together your family's luggage allowance to spread the weight - and the cost - and some won't. If you're travelling with little 'uns, find out if they get a baggage allowance. Do the research before you buy the tickets!
3. Planning a sporty holiday?
If you have to take specialist equipment, like skis or scuba gear, then pre-book the space and pay in advance, as that will bring costs down. It also may be worth finding out the cost of hiring equipment when you get there, compared to the expense and trouble of taking your own.
4. How heavy is your case?
If you have a hard-shell suitcase, that could be taking up a hefty chunk of your allowance. Invest in, or borrow, a soft suitcase or rucksack, which will weigh kilos less.
5. Weigh before you go!
Invest in travel scales to avoid any nasty shocks at the airport check-in. You can buy these for around a tenner. Weigh your luggage before you go, and remember to take them with you, so you don't over-pack on the way back. Be honest, do you really need to bring home those beach towels you bought?
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6. Wear your heaviest clothing items when you travel
If you're wearing a coat with pockets (perfect for storing books, iPod, camera, etc), your heaviest shoes (maybe with flip-flops in your hand luggage) and that 'in case it's chilly' jumper on the flight, that will free up a good few kilos for all those other holiday essentials.
7. Ditch the toiletries
Why worry about possible shampoo spills ruining your clothes? You can free up valuable space - and kilos - if you leave your toiletries at home and buy when you get to your destination. Plus it's a good excuse to do some guilt-free shopping! If you really can't bear leaving your favourites at home, decant into mini bottles to reduce weight.
8. Check the weather forecast online before you go
There's no point packing heavy items of clothing if you won't need them. Pack a light waterproof in case of sudden showers. Maybe plan to visit the launderette mid-break to really cut down on clothing.
9. Plan ahead
Use a little forward thinking with what you have planned for your break, to decide what you really need to take. Be honest with yourself, it might be nice to imagine you're going mountain climbing, but if you're really just going to lie on the beach, leave the boots and helmet at home!
10. Unpack... before you set off
Once you've packed everything, take a good look and take at least five items out. Be strict with yourself! Don't forget, you'll probably want to bring things back home which will raise your luggage weight. And most important of all - you can always buy things when you get there!
Source: Yahoo Finance