1. Know the chEck-in policy of the airline
Most airlines now charge you for checking your luggage in when you book one of their economy fares, so the first thing to check if you need to check-in luggage, is the airline policy regarding luggage. Plus, when you book your tickets online and will be doing some connections between different airlines, you must check the policies of every airline you will be flying with, they can change (a lot).
Sometimes pricing (or free items) depend on the dates, the destination, the number or the size of you bag, so you must check when traveling to a new destination. But also, they might change these from time to time and publish different discounts or offers when booking in advance.
Below you will find some links to the check-in policies to some of the most used european airlines:
And you can also use a meta-search engine such as Trabber or Skyscanner and add the number of bags so they can add them to the prices shown (some engines show wrong luggage prices when there are offers but are a good starting point).
2. Join the frequent travel program
When traveling a lot, frequent travel programs provide with extra tickets, discounts and/or other benefits to you. You might not get many when holding a regular card, but categories gold, elite, preferred or similar are always a great deal (you need to travel a lot or have your credit card with them to get there, but when you do it is).
For example, Iberia Plus Gold travelers get an extra 20 kg bag when traveling internationally. Other programs give you access to VIP rooms or get you a better seat for a cheaper price (or free.)
3. Weight your bags at home
Sometimes the cost of those extra kilograms in your hand or checked-in luggage can cost you more than booking an extra bag in advance. Cheap hand scales can cost about 20 euros and you can use them forever. Plus, most of them are as big as an smartphone (if not smaller) and you can take them with you on your trip.
Take into account that knowing your wieght in advance will allow not only to avoid extra costs, but to leave room for those amazing finds you will by at your destination and to spread the extra weight among the people traveling with you (so non of you has to pay for that.)
4. You can Send your bags through transport companies
When you are moving a lot of luggage, it can be an interesting choice to send your luggage through cargo transport instead of taking them with you on the plane. Some countries make it a bit expensive, but you will avoid the check-in lines, carrying them around (allowing for cheaper or faster transport options) or paying extra fees when boarding. Plus, you get a tracking code that allows you to know where it is and when it will arrive.
On the other side, courier in Europe is not that fast when trying to get something to the country side and deliveries won’t work on weekends.
5. Get a better luggage (less weight, more things)
Today, there are ultra light bags that allow to improve the way we use the weithg limits that each airline imposes. Investing in better luggage also allows for better movement when in the ariport, easier carrying around or less wrinkles.
Just so you get an idea
|Price-weight comparison in luggage|
|Hand luggage||Cubelite Spinner 55 cm Cabin Grafito||40€||2,5 kg||Link|
|Hand luggage||Aerolite ABS||359€||1,7 kg||Link|
|Check-in luggage||American Tourister 68 cm||140€||3,7 kg||Link|
|Check-in luggage||Samsonite Flux Spinner 69 cm||200€||3,49 kg||Link|
If you travel a lot, it might pay off to pay a bit more for some extra room. It’s up to you how much more is a little more.
6. Keep the heavy things with you and wear the biggest clothes
Checked-in luggage gets weighted, you are not. Plus, not every airline weights your hand luggage (but for the really cheap low cost ones).
On the other side, extra volume is easily spotted and you should take care with that.
7. Use all the space in your bag wisely
Not everything that you put in your luggage will be used. The “what if” take space but you can usually use something else if the “if” happens. You better plan your luggage for what you know you will be doing each day and the weather. Are you going out at night? Can you mix & match? Do you have lighter options that can work as a substitute?
Buying more expensive tickets that include checked-in luggage can help you save as they sometimes cost less than adding an additional bag. Plus they provide with extra benefits such as bigger leg room, preferred boarding or access to VIP lounges.
9. Find out what can go free and what is an extra
Yes, some things can still travel free. For example, musical instruments and baby trolleys are free in many airlines. On the other side, bikes, snowboards or skies have a different fare that is not included in your ticket fare and is not usually and option when booking online.