Female Students, Tips on Packing Less to Avoid Luggage Fees

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When we fly, we all hate the dreaded luggage and bag fees.

According to time.com, “Planning to check a bag on your next trip? Expect to tack an extra $50 onto the price of your ticket, or $200 for a family of four. The median fee for your first checked bag is now $25, and $35 for your second checked bag, according to a MONEY survey.

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A decade ago most travelers didn’t have to worry about these charges, especially on the big legacy carriers like American, Delta, and United.”

If we can’t influence the airlines to change their policies, maybe there is something else that we can do.

By Elizabeth Avery 

5 Tips for Women Travelers on Packing Less to Avoid Luggage Fees

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Have you grown tired after an all-night flight of waiting while you join 300 people looking to find your luggage spinning endlessly around a conveyor belt? To make matters worse, new baggage fees are being levied while fewer carry-on’s are allowed. This is a reprise of past practices that for a long time had disappeared. In my student days, airlines exacted baggage fees by charging by the pound for “overweight” luggage. It was a hit and miss process. I found by hoisting my overweight bag high on my shoulder it appeared so light no one weighed it! Going one step further, on one small flight to the South Pacific Island of Aitutaki, each passenger was weighed in addition to our luggage.[adToAppearHere]

Having tired early on of dragging a heavy bag around in college, I spent 5 weeks cross-country seeing the US with just an overnight bag and not much more as a summer exchange student in Europe. I had finally decided that taking too much abroad was a sign of being a novice. Having trudged up endless staircases in airports and made my way through winding passageways in train stations, I am firmly convinced that less is more.[adToAppearHere]

However, with the new wave of baggage restrictions, it is hard to meet the constantly shrinking regulations for carry-on’s. As a woman traveler, I find that the variety of types of clothing, colors and shoe options make this especially challenging. As a result, I have come up with the following 5 guidelines I follow every time I start to pack again.

  1. Leave all those extra bottles behind.
  • Pack cosmetics and personal items that have more than one use. Try a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen, combination shampoo and conditioner, a travel brush with a comb attached. Before you leave, throw in flat-pack samples given away with magazines and newspapers and at health clubs.
  • Buy locally what your hotel does not supply. Steer away from imports and find local brands. Although as I found in Slovenia, when you don’t speak the language, it can be interesting finding the right item. The easy solution? Look at international brands you recognize for items like toothpaste. Then pick up the domestic version which is generally shelved nearby. (Do check so you don’t end up brushing your teeth with shoe polish.)
  1. Only pack 1 item that does not have multiple functions.
  • The only exception I allow for myself is a bathing suit.
  • Plan on exercise wear that is stylish and can be worn on the streets (with a shirt as a cover-up if needed) and can double for sleeping. If you stay in a hotel that has coffee served in the lobby or as my ski group found out, if there is a fire alarm in the middle of the night, you will be glad to have made this choice.
  1. Pick a maximum of 2 colors that can be worn together.
  • Consider whether each item can be washed in the bathroom and left to dry. Ironically, I found in the sunny Brazilian Amazon that the humidity made it much harder to dry clothes than one January in Siberia where everything dried quickly on the over-heated radiator. Black is especially good since it goes with everything, and if you spill your coffee in your lap at least it won’t leave a huge, conspicuous stain.
  1. On accessories, plan wisely, and love your high fashion shoes but give them a day-off back home.
  • Be sure to take a smaller purse-within-a-purse as a shoulder bag for touring. This serves 2 special functions. In areas where pickpockets are rife, this is easier to wear under your jacket or just secure it under your arm. (Having once been robbed in broad daylight while abroad, I learned this lesson very well.) It is also a good way to have all your travel documents at the ready while in transit.
  • Just wear one pair of dressy (metallic?) flats and pack an extra pair of more substantial walking shoes that can make it through a 10-12 hour day of sightseeing.
  • If you find as I did in Lisbon that the slick bottoms of your flats are a hazard, invest in a pack of gum and create a no-skid surface.
  • If you must pack heels, avoid stilettos and test the heel to be sure it will make it through the trip.
  • Take a large scarf that can be used at the neck, in lieu of a belt, as a cover-up when required and in Arctic air-conditioning.
  1. Even with electronics, less is more! Bring a tablet and a smartphone and leave your laptop behind.
  • Be sure to test how they work in relation to each other. (Do you need a micro SD card and adapter?)
  • Many hotels have adapters for plugs but no converters so plan ahead if your appliances are not marked 110/220. Although the world has grown smaller, the numbers and types of electrical outlets have changed very little. However, some hotels and ships have an alternative international or lower voltage outlet.
  • Really safeguard your electronics as you would credit cards. Cyber crime is on the upswing. A lost smartphone, laptop or tablet can be a treasure trove of personal information.

A day or two before leaving, open your suitcase and make it a game: find one item you can leave behind. Lastly, try walking your roller bag around your bedroom and then lift it up on top of the bed 2-3 times. You’ll have an idea then of what it will be like making your way through the airport saddled with an overstuffed suitcase. With a little planning, any world traveler, whether experienced or a novice, can win the “battle of the baggage”!
Elizabeth Avery, http://www.SoloTrekker4U.com. We connect individuals traveling alone for business or leisure with top tours, luxury hotels plus great airline deals and airport car services at attractive prices. Packages range from camel treks in North Africa, river cruises in Southeast Asia and other global adventure travel to more sedate cultural tours of major capitals. Take advantage of our free membership today for unlimited access to our pre-approved provider network of 4-5 star services. Although our focus is solo travelers, couples and groups are most welcome. Click through to our 90 sec. YouTube travel videos![adToAppearHere]

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