Light as a Feather: 3 Ways to Reduce Those Dreaded Luggage Fees

October 3, 2018 / Travel

Let’s face it, flying on a plane isn’t always cheap, and even more so if you’re traveling during a busy time (e.g., Christmas). For that reason, the last thing you’d want to do is pay more at the airport if your luggage exceeds the maximum weight limit, especially if you’re on a travel budget. On the bright side, there are ways you can pack lighter to reduce or avoid baggage fees.

Consider some of these tips to help you reduce the weight of your luggage:

  • Wear some of your belongings instead of packing them.

Wearing some of the items in your luggage is one of the swiftest ways to get through an airport luggage check. Slip-on as many articles of clothing as possible along with jewelry, scarves, and other items you may have present in your luggage.

While many of the clothing and accessories packed in your luggage may be lighter in weight from the start, every little ounce counts. Plus, denim articles of clothing can add up in weight quickly. Even just one layer of clothing can make us weigh 2 to 3 pounds more, so if you can throw on just one more layer of clothing from your luggage, all the better.

  • Place your heaviest items in your carry-on bag.

At most airports, passengers are usually allowed to have one carry-on bag without being charged extra. Unlike regular luggage, carry-on bags aren’t always weighed. That said, place heavier items such as laptops, shoes, and makeup in your carry-on bag. Keep lighter items such as clothes in your suitcase.

However, double check with your airline to ensure carry-on bag don’t have weight restrictions. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the maximum weight for carry-ons at some airports starts at 11lbs/5kg. But every airport will vary.

  • Weigh your luggage before heading off to the airport.

Weighing your luggage at home isn’t going to directly make your luggage lighter, but what it will do is ensure you won’t get charged extra at the airport. If you notice your bag goes over your airport’s luggage weight limit, you’ll have the time to decide what to eliminate from your luggage (or replace for a lighter alternative).

Additionally, if you’re planning on packing a carry-on bag as well, knowing how much your luggage weighs can help you decide how much to put in your carry-on if your luggage happens to weigh too much. As an example, say you have a total of 60 pounds of luggage packed, but your airport’s luggage limit is 50 pounds. You’ll know you must pack 10 pounds in your carry-on.

Since you’re already weighing your luggage at home, why not also double check airport security guidelines for both luggage and carry-on bags? The Transportation Security Administration has more information on luggage restrictions.


Packing lightly can be difficult, especially when you’re going on a long trip. But fortunately, wearing some of your belongings, putting heavier items in your carry-on bag, and weighing your luggage at home before heading off to the airport can help you reduce or even avoid extra luggage fees altogether. But most importantly, remember to only pack the essentials!