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Air travel savings: Beating airline baggage fees

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By Sabrina Squire - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Frequent travelers know that airline fees have become the norm. So, when vacationing on a budget you try to save money wherever you can. In today's More Bang for Your Buck, we went to the travel experts to find out how to keep airline luggage fees in check. 

Frequent flyers know to be ready for anything when it comes to fees at the airport. 

"Like $25 - for one bag," said one frequent flyer. 

There are varying strategies on how to beat airline baggage fees. 

"I let my wife pack first, weigh it, and then if I need a second bag for me alone I do it," said one traveler. 

"You're willing to wear clothes longer than you normally would," said another. 

Martha Meade, with AAA Mid-Atlantic, says the first question to ask is, "to check or not to check?" If you can avoid checking any luggage you'll avoid the fees and some hassle. 

"If you've checked luggage, your flight changes or there's some problem, you're very limited in your options because the airline has to transfer your bag to the next flight." 

A smaller suitcase will fit in the overhead compartment and doesn't need to be checked. Martha used some simple packing strategies to fill it with a week's worth of travel needs. 

"Often take things that can be washed. Little packets of Woolite you can carry in your TSA liquid bag...wash things, hang them up, wear them again," she said. "You want to take your long items like your slacks, lay them out coming out of the bag so that they can be woven in later. All of your other things roll them if you can." 

Don't forget the spots inside of your shoes. 

"We're going to fold our longer items, our jeans and our slacks, over this. That's going to keep them from wrinkling," said Meade. 

Some simple advice that can save you big bucks at the ticket counter. 

"If you have a family of five, each one is checking a bag for $25; you've just added $125 to the cost of your trip one way. That's $250 dollars round trip." 

If you do have to check luggage try to fly on a carrier that allows one or more bags for free. Southwest Airlines will let you check two bags for free and Jet Blue allows one checked bag at no cost. If you have to use a carrier that charges for baggage, know their policies. 

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