Avoiding Excess Luggage Charges

How we all know the deep joy of scoring that bewilderingly cheap seat on a budget airline, only to find out further down the line that the additional charges and fees mean a private jet might have been cheaper. A slight exaggeration perhaps, but studies have shown in no uncertain terms that once baggage charges, supplements and God knows what else has been added on, so-called “budget” airlines can be far more expensive than their un-budget counterparts!

Sadly, there’s little that can be done to avoid most of these devilishly fiendish charges, but when it comes to making the most of your baggage allowance, it often pays to employ a little fiendishness yourself. The morality and realism of some of the following may be open to debate, but keep at least a few of them in mind and I guarantee cheaper luggage bills, every time.

Compression Bags

Ski clothing and apparel is notoriously big and bulky, though in most cases hardly weighs a thing. As such, it can be hugely valuable to invest in a couple of good compression bags designed to squash all your non-breakables down to their smallest possible size and thus free up valuable room. There are various manual-strap options and those operated with a vacuum cleaner on the market today – chance are they’ll pay for themselves in a trip or two.

A Brave Face

Say you’ve managed to pack a fortnight’s worth of ski gear into a tiny shoulder back – walking through the airport with a hunched back, covered in sweat and grimacing every time you pick the thing up isn’t going to convince the staff you’re under your 5KG limit. If your bag looks light, make sure you also convey the same message and you’re far less likely to be hit with a £50 stowage fee at the departure gate!

Wear It!

This is where the realistic begins to blur into the downright silly, while hand luggage restrictions are becoming tighter than ever, there is still nothing to say how much you are and aren’t allowed to wear. Or to put it another way, as much as you can possibly pack onto your arms and legs is guaranteed to go through free of charge, no questions asked. I recently returned from a trip wearing three pairs of jeans, four tee-shirts and a stack of three hats on my hat that were met with much hilarity, though no charges!

Pockets

An extension of the above, you may only be allowed one small bag in the cabin but your pockets are fair game! As such, think combat trousers with superbly generous pockets and feel free to stuff these with anything that might otherwise tip the baggage scales the wrong way.

Find a Friend with a Cupboard

If you’re the social type, don’t be afraid to ask one of your friends on the other side to keep a few essentials for you for next time around – you’d do the same for them, right?

Drive There

And finally, if you’re really hell-bent on taking everything including the kitchen sink, consider ditching the flight altogether and taking the car. Or maybe the train. There are plenty of options out there with unlimited luggage allowance and pretty cheap tickets, plus the journey itself can prove to be the biggest adventure of all!