Don’t pay check in fees
The latest additional charge from some airlines is a booking in fee for each item of hold luggage. However there are two obvious ways to avoid this.
Avoid Baggage Fees
The first way to avoid a huge additional baggage fee is to fly with carriers who don’t add them. The charge is usually levied by small ‘no frills’ airlines. If they add the charge, you may find that their cheap ticket plus baggage handling fee is actually higher than their rival who doesn’t seperately charge for sticking your suitcase in the hold. Sadly the number of airlines who are charging for baggage is going up.
The second option, and one you should not dismiss is… Don’t take a suitcase at all
Flying without luggage
It is amazing how little luggage you actually need when going on holiday. Especially if you are visiting a hot country, it can be cheaper to chuck a pair of shorts, sandals and a t-shirt in your hand luggage and then buy whatever else you need for your vacation at your destination. Clothing in many destinations is much cheaper than at home, so if you are going to the southern Med, Africa, South East Asia or any less developed nations, this option may actually be perfect.
When we flew to the Maldives, we couldn’t get extra clothes except a sarong, but when you are on a tiny island, it is amazing how far a sarong will get you. Be guided by the local population. If they wear very little, you can wear very little too. Additions such as a toothbrush are best bought at home, although large 4 and 5 star hotels anywhere in the world will obtain these for you without a moment’s hesitation.
The joy of travelling without a bag is that really do feel more freedom. The whole process of boarding a plane is made so much simpler when you have no luggage to worry about. The only downside to this ultra stripped down approach to a travel is that it is so unusual that airport security or customs officials may want to have a word. They have to ensure that unwanted types don’t get into their country and may be concerned that you all some sort of vagrant because you haven’t bought your Louis Vuitton luggage with you.
Know the Cabin Baggage Rules
If you are going to take a small bag with you, do remember to check the airline restrictions on cabin baggage. These are strictly adhered to by staff so make sure your hand luggage is no larger than the airline’s maximum, not even by 1 cm. If you do all this you can fly to most destinations with hand luggage only which means a cheaper, less stressful flight.
In August 2018 the Independent Newspaper reported that Ryanair was cutting its cabin bag allowance to one ‘mid size’ bag (max 20 litres).
Shipping your luggage ahead
A trick used by some canny fliers is to ship their luggage separately (about 5 days in advance) so it is available at the destination when you arrive. This technique is suitable for people who regularly fly the same route and know where to pick up their luggage at the other end. The cost savings can be substantia, particularly if there are lots of you or your luggage is particularly heavy or particularly light (large volume but light weight can often be flown at specially reduced rates).
Pay for your flights with Cash
Avoid credit card fees by paying cash. If you have to buy a ticket at the last minute at the airport or they want to charge you extra, don’t let them add it to your card, because they will add a fee as well. I know it is old fashioned, but a cashpoint is probably just around the corner and they cannot add a fee if you pay by cash.