Some of the most costly fees in flying can be those fees associated with luggage. Bags rarely fly for free anymore. If you are flying one of the budget airlines you can look forward to the nit picking cost of everything. Well, to be honest it is a trade off. A check bag can range anywhere from $15 to and influx of $100 depending upon its weight. A carry on, because of the travel convenience, typically will run your frugal pockets more; fees starting at $20. We cannot expect everything to be free. Or, can we? Of course, I am going to suggest a new strategy when it comes to packing; one that will allow you to expect everything [when it comes to your baggage] to be gratis! Learn how to pack everything in what is considered a personal item.
First, there is a difference between a carry on and a personal item. The difference of course is size and where it is placed. The personal item has to be able to fit under the seat in front of you. The carry on items typically goes in the overhead compartment; thus it can be a little larger. Each airline’s has specific dimensions that they quote for carry on/personal items but they are all relatively the same. Just think of a personal item in terms of a small backpack, a small gym bag or a small shoulder bag. I encourage you to push the limit here but do not go over it [the limit]. The typical dimensions Height x Width x Length for a personal item are 16x14x12 [Spirit Airlines] and 10x16x24 [Frontier Airlines]. Check your airline’s website for their specific personal item dimensions.
Personal Packing Tips:
- Learn how to pack ONLY what you will need.
- Pack your clothes in quart and gallon size bags. Pushing down on the bags while closing them gives a vacuum effect; leaving clothes flatter and giving you much more room in your bag.
- Instead of packing bulky bottles of perfume/cologne, pack the perfumed lotion. It is normally less than 3 oz. Smell good while saving space.
- Trial sizes are your friends. Never pack anything full size!
- Put jewelry and smaller items inside of your shoes/sneakers. You must use all untapped space.
- Plan to wear your jackets, belts, and sneakers. Your airplane outfit should be apart of the packing strategy. Jackets and sneakers take up a lot of space when you are packing. The best thing to do is to pack them on your back; literally.
- For females pack your purse in your bag. You are only allowed one personal item. If you carry your purse you will be charged for your bag. If you MUST carry a bag for easy access to your identification, money and/or credit cards then opt for the modern day fanny pack or messenger bag that can be easily camo’d. Just know that this is a “professional” packer’s move and you have to operate in stealth mode so not to have the airlines count it as your one personal item.
- Leave your laptops at home. Opt to take a tablet instead. You can get the same functionality without taking up a lot of space. Are you really typing a paper while you are on vacation?
- Organization is the key! Putting your bag together is like fitting pieces of a puzzle together. Bigger items go into the bag first and then you fill in the space with smaller items.
- Do not overstuff your bag. If your bag is busting at the seams that means it more than likely will not meet the dimension requirements and will not fit under the seat. If it does not fit then you must leave it!
Packing can be a pain in the rear but if you do it right you can simplify your choices and save money at the same time. Mastering fitting everything for a trip into an under the seat bag speaks volumes to your frugality but also gives you an additional thirty plus smackaroos to spend on a spirited beverage with an umbrella in it. And who does not want one of those?