Pack smart to save money

I’ve always been envious of people who have the ability to “travel light.” Even the mere thought of packing light is so unfathomable to me that it’s almost humorous. And – I’ll admit it – slightly sad.

Unfortunately for people who can’t seem leave town without packing 18 pairs of shoes and the kitchen sink, airlines are raking in the profits at our expense. According to statistics from the ATA, airlines in the U.S. made an estimated profit of $2.6 billion in 2010. Baggage fees alone accounted for $906 million.

Shelling out a few hundred dollars for a ticket is one thing, but when I realized that checking my bags could potentially cost me the amount of another plane ticket, I became determined to change my ways.

So whether you’re heading on a trip to celebrate the last hurrah of summer, or you’re budgeting for upcoming holiday travel, these packing tips can help you avoid costly baggage fees.

Plan carefully

About a week before you plan to leave, begin compiling a packing list. Start by listing your necessities, then move on to outfits. Plan your outfits strategically based on your schedule and the weather at your destination. Mix and match articles of clothing to make more outfits with fewer items.

Pack like a pro

Have you ever wondered how the flight attendants fit all of their things into a single carry-on? It’s all about technique, strategy and utilizing extra space.

Rolling clothes rather than folding them will help save space in your suitcase, and will also help avoid wrinkles. Packing rolled socks and other small items inside shoes is a great way to utilize space.

Place the heavy, bulkier items on the bottom of the suitcase, and the lighter ones on top. Anything you don’t want to roll can be folded or placed on top of the other items.

Weigh your bag

Check your airline’s weight requirements online to ensure your bag isn’t over the limit. Fees for overweight bags are costly and can quickly put a damper on your trip.

There’s an easy technique to determine your bag’s weight at home. First, step on a scale and record your weight. Then, pick up your bag and step on the scale again. Subtract your original weight from the second to determine the weight of your bag. 

Anticipate overflow

Allow extra room in your suitcase for items you may want to bring back. You can also include an empty bag in your luggage to accommodate anything you may accumulate during your trip.

You might also enjoy reading:

Don't let travel fees bust your vacation buget
Off-season travel can stretch your budget
Rental car prices: How to hit a moving target

 

Jessica Horton is a former copywriter and community manager at MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.