How to Steer Clear of Airline Excess Baggage Charges

With more low-cost airlines operating out of Australia than ever before and technology enabling us to buy flights anytime anywhere, traveling between countries has never been easier. But if you are planning to travel as inexpensively as possible, prepare to travel light. Excess baggage fees can add quite a bit to the overall price of your ticket and some providers (particularly low-cost airlines) will penalize you if you fail to adhere to their requirements.

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For example, some airlines charge additional fees if excess baggage isn’t checked within a couple of hours before boarding. In addition, airlines often charge according to the item you are taking with you, rather than the weight, which might not always seem justified or fair your perspective as a passenger. And further fees can be added to the price if you are traveling in peak season!

But what if you do need to take along a little extra luggage when you travel overseas? Perhaps you’re seeing family and have to return things, you’re going on an extended tour or you’ve even bought something while in another country and need to bring it back home. Luckily there are ways to ensure you get the best deal on your excess baggage and avoid paying money you’d otherwise enjoy overseas! Here are some suggestions on how to avoid excessive charges for luggage and travel bags:

Do Your Research

As eluded to above, airlines generally have a multitude of baggage policies. There are many different factors that influence how much your airline will charge you for excess luggage including weight, destination, time, date, the number of bags and more. You needn’t learn the entire policy by heart but getting a rough idea about how your airline charges you is time well spent.

If you do need to pack a few extra suitcases, make sure you’re comparing apples with apples when you look for the cheapest fare. A ticket might seem cheaper according to the advertised price or by checking a flight comparison website like Skyscanner, but you might find that once baggage is added you wind up paying twice as much as other providers.

As an aside, we’d also recommend using an incognito/private window when looking for the cheapest flight. Providers will often use your browser history to ascertain where you’d planning to travel, and jack up the price when you go to book a ticket to this destination.

Pack Your Suitcases Accordingly

There is nearly always an official limit on how heavy your carry-on luggage and checked-luggage can be, but airlines hardly if ever check the weight of your carry-on bags. You should use this to your advantage – it’s a good idea to pack the heaviest things into your carry-on bags. If it’s appropriate, wearing your heaviest, bulkiest clothing can also reduce the weight of checked baggage

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Sneaky

As discussed, airlines often charge according to the item you are checking in. Bikes and musical instruments for example often carry charges in addition to their weight simply because they are what they are. Savvy travellers have been known to dissemble these kinds of items and pack them in separate bags to avoid such fees

Consider Excess Baggage Shipping

If you are truly looking for the cheapest way to get extra luggage from country A to country B, we’d highly recommend hiring a shipping specialist rather than going through your airline. There are many international air and sea freight companies that get a lot of business from people looking to save when traveling overseas. They are, by definition, cheaper than airline charges for excess baggage and travelers should at the very least check out the rates.

At face value you might think that this is the less convenient option, considering you may have to wait some time before your luggage arrives and you don’t take it directly from the airport when you land. However chances are it works out much better for you. Many providers offer door-to-door service and can have the luggage delivered within a few days, which saves you having to drag it all along with you after your long flight.

Nowadays airlines are doing everything they can to charge passengers additional fees, so make sure you’ve done your homework when you go to fly as it could save you in the long run.

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