Laura Maudlin - Apr 29, 2013
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Recently, most U.S. travelers have had to spend a lot of dollars on baggage fees when there are ways that they could easily avoid this. Packing lightly may seem the best way to avoid such fees but that does not favor families on long cruises. In addition, even those who pack lightly are still hit by the heavy charges. Here are seven smart ways to bypass baggage fees that are quite helpful.

1. Know your policy

It is important that you know the baggage policies that are offered by several airline companies. The reason for that is that airline baggage fees tend to change depending on the airline company, date of travel, destination, and number of bags, size and weight of the bag. This will help you choose an airline company that charges low or no fees at all. You can do this by checking TripAdvisor for fare and baggage fee estimation depending on the number of luggage to help you make an informed choice.

2. Join frequent flier program

Most airlines offer amazing loyalty programs to travelers that include baggage discounts and waivers for preferred or elite members. The status of preferred or elite member is achieved by managing to fly for 25,000 miles in a year with the same airline and is common even among the big airlines – United, American, Delta and US Airways. You can as well apply for a credit card for an airline as this may help you benefit from the waiver program.

3. Consider flying on a discount airline

There are airlines that do not charge for bag checks. Southwest and JetBlue allow for two and one free bag checks respectively. This however does not apply to all discount airlines because policies tend to vary. For instance, Spirit Airlines charge some fees if the bag doesn't fit under the seat that is in front of you.

4. Travel by train

Airlines may be charging quite a lot for baggage checks but some trains allow passengers to carry up to two luggage pieces – purses, computer bags and strollers not included – and get free checks. They only charge fees for additional bags which depend on the route that you are taking. The free checks apply even to bigger items such as bicycles, musical instruments and surfboards.

5. Make use of a luggage scale

You can be able to bypass baggage fees by buying a small baggage scale that you can pack when you are travelling. This can help you determine the right amount of luggage that you need to avoid the fees.

6. Consider shipping your bags

Baggage policies charge more than the post. Thus you can save a lot by shipping your bags via companies such as UPS, USPS and FedEx. These companies charge for their service delivery depending on the weight and size of your bags. Therefore, it will save you time and money sending your bags via standard delivery than travelling with them.

7. Luggage upgrading

Purchase a bag that is made of materials that weigh less to help you bypass baggage checks while travelling. They may be as expensive as overweight baggage but can help you save a lot since they are light and durable.

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