If you travel a lot it’s only a matter of time before you get to the check-in counter only to find out your bags are overweight. It may be a complete surprise or something that you expected. You have a similar situation if you’re allowed two bags but you really need three bags to carry all your things. What do you do in these situations?
Probably the least desirable, but always effective, option is to pay the airline’s extra baggage or overweight baggage fee. This is, of course, the most expensive option, and the one we want to use only as a last resort, since better options do exist.
Use your frequent flier miles to pay the extra baggage or overweight baggage fee. Airlines don’t necessarily advertise this option, but many airlines will allow you to cash in frequent flier miles to offset, and in some cases completely cover, the extra fees.
One great tip that savvy travelers use quite often is the gate check option. How does the savvy traveler do this? They fill up the biggest carryon bag they are allowed and take it on the plane. At that point you will either find an overhead bin, or the airline will gate check the bag for you for free.
Since most airlines allow one carryon plus one “personal” bag opt for a backpack as your personal bag and the large carryon as your allowed carryon. If the cabin crew doesn’t agree with both bags they will gate check the larger one free of charge, which is exactly what you want anyway. When you’re using this option just make sure all the times stored in the bag you expect to get gate checked does not contain items that may be damaged in the cargo bin.
By combining these methods you’re likely to be able to travel with a lot more baggage than you originally thought possible.
Donald Dingerson is an author and freelance writer, who has traveled extensively throughout the world.