You may think that you snagged a great deal on that flight home for Thanksgiving, but if you’re planning on traveling with bags, think again.
Not only are there fees galore just for checking a bag, but there are also fees for oversized and overweight luggage that could cost you $300 per bag (each way!). That, alone, could easily top the price of your ticket.
Here’s how to not be a sucker.
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Pay Your Baggage Fee Online
Most major airlines levy a $5 surcharge per bag for luggage fees paid at the airport. Paying via credit card when you check in for your flight online saves you money and time at the ticket counter.
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Fly JetBlue or Southwest
Airlines with budget-friendly airfares are also friendly to your bags. JetBlue allows one checked bag per passenger free of charge and Southwest allows two.
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Use a Scale and Tape Measure at Home
The fees for large and heavy bags are large and heavy—anywhere from $50 to $175. Weighing your luggage before you leave ensures that there will be no surprises at the airport. Also, measure your luggage even if you think you know the size—packing bulges count.
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If you can pack light (and small), you can avoid paying the checked bag fee altogether. These days, however, many people have the same idea, so if your bag will need to go in the overhead compartment, board the plane as soon as possible to snag a spot.
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Pack a Spare Bag
This is especially important if you plan to do a lot of shopping at your destination. A collapsible duffel takes up little room in your suitcase on the outbound trip and saves you from excess baggage fees on the inbound. You’ll end up saving $20 to $100 if you pay for a second bag instead of packing everything into one big overweight suitcase.