More than ever, you need to consider baggage tips for a budget trip.
Travelers are penalized for dragging a bunch of bulky bags. Airlines face soaring costs and are trying to cut their expenses. Security personnel face new threats and requirements.
In short, it pays to be light on your feet.
Beyond basic comforts and affordable costs, mobility is one of the most valuable tools a budget traveler can enjoy.
Unless you're a frequent flier or travel agent, it's likely the complex structures for determining baggage fees are beyond your knowledge base. Airlines treat domestic and international flights differently. Some countries impose additional requirements.
There is also a large difference in the way baggage fees are collected on major carriers as opposed to low cost carriers. Some travelers make the costly, erroneous assumption that baggage fees will be cheaper or non-existent on low cost airlines. Often, the opposite is true.
The following three categories selections will help assess the changing and varied baggage policies at major and low-cost carrier counters, and provide some valuable packing tips.
Baggage Fees and Policies for 10 Low-Cost Carriers
Low-cost carriers have enjoyed a great deal of success in the marketplace, and they are essential vendors to check for low fares as you plan a budget trip.
But you must understand the business model for low cost carriers before you dive in and make a reservation.
Low fares fill seats and make the majors nervous. If you consider only the cost of the ticket, these fares sometimes are downright amazing. Unfortunately, there are more costs to consider. The pressure to keep those fares low is intense.
Budget airlines employ an "a la carte" system of fees, which means that services you once considered "included" are now available only for an extra charge. Refreshments and meals might fall into this category. Some even charge for printing your boarding pass.
Penalizing travelers for traveling with too much baggage definitely falls into this description as well. You'll need to pay careful attention to the common baggage mistakes, as well as frequent problems with low-cost carriers.
From airline-to-airline, some of the requirements are similar. But you'll see that baggage fees on low-cost carriers vary greatly.
Baggage Fees and Policies for 10 Major Airlines
The major airlines started imposing fees for baggage following the start of the 2008 recession, and they are not about to reverse field, even as economic times improve. They see a strong revenue stream that will continue to pay dividends, since there are many travelers who cannot or simply will not practice one-bag carry-on travel.
It pays to check the long list of procedures and requirements on your carrier of choice before you travel. It won't always be easy. Many airlines bury the baggage guidelines and fee schedules deep within their websites or fine print.
Links for the baggage fees at 10 major airlines will take you directly to the pertinent pages, so you won't have any unpleasant surprises at check-in.
Packing for a Budget Trip
Most budget travel strategies begin with mobility. Packing as lightly as possible is essential.
That advice is almost universally accepted as wise, but many travelers choose to ignore it. They simply must have 13 changes of clothing for every social situation that might present itself. They bring bulky items that could be purchased at their destination for modest costs.
Naturally, there are items that should be carried with you such as prescription drugs and other health-related aides that might not readily be available at the destination.
But it pays to make some strong decisions when packing. Here are some packing tips to help you take advantage of inexpensive transportation and other discounts.
Carry-on Luggage for Budget Travel
If you're not prepared to practice one-bag, carry-on travel, perhaps the problem is a lack of luggage that fits the fairly uniform and strict requirements for overhead storage on most flights.
Here are five affordable bags that should make it past the airline "carry-on" test. Warning: these bags are fairly small, and they'll challenge your ability to accomplish one-bag travel. The reward for choosing any one of them is a durable, well-priced bag.