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Know The Rules Before Taking Your Flight

Each airline has different excess baggage fee rules and different charges, my advice is that you should investigate your airlines specific regulations before you travel.  Usually, this information is posted in the FAQ section (baggage allowance).  If you are having trouble finding this information on your airline’s website, just do a search for baggage allowance and that should take you to the information you need.

To help you determine the approximate weight of your suitcase before you end up in a sticky situation like I did, I’ve compiled this list of the weights of common items you might pack when you travel.

  • Jeans – Of course, the bigger the person, the more the jeans will weigh, but generally, a pair of jeans weighs one pound.
  • Books – Again, it depends on the book, a hard cover weighs more than a paperback.  A trade paperback book weighs about a half a pound.
  • Sweater – A heavier weight sweater can weigh as much as a pound. So if you pack a lot of sweaters and jeans, you can quickly add to the weight of your suitcase.
  • Shampoo – Taking full bottles of 500ml conditioner and shampoo could add as much as pound and a half to your weight limit.  Consider taking travel size toiletries to ensure you stay under the limit.  If you are concerned that your toiletries are weighing you down, do what a friend of mine does – when you arrive, buy all the essentials you’ll need for the duration of your stay (shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, hairspray etc).
  • Shoes – Women typically take many pairs of shoes with them on trips.  While a pair of flip-flops won’t send you over the limit, your running shoes or hiking boots just might.  Sneakers range from a half pound to a pound.  Take only what you will need!
  • Jackets or coats – Try not to pack your jackets or coats, because they can be incredibly heavy (particularly leather).  Instead, wear your jacket or coat on the plane.  You are allowed to bring one jacket or coat with you onboard, so why waste valuable baggage allowance by storing it in your suitcase.
  • Hair Dryer – Don’t bother with your hairdryer if you are going to be staying at a chain hotel.  Most hotels have hairdryers in their bathrooms or you can borrow one from the front desk.  Keeping your hairdryer at home will save you one to two pounds.
  • Souvenirs – If your suitcase was underweight when you left for your trip but you purchased many souvenirs, consider shipping them instead of flying them home.  Other options are to pack them in your carry on, or purchase an inexpensive additional bag and check two bags.  Remember, you need to know your airlines’ policy because they may only allow one bag per person!
  • The Suitcase – If you have a heavy-duty hard shelled suitcase it is going to weigh significantly more than a nylon one.  On average, a 26 upright suitcase with wheels weighs between four and five pounds.

One way to determine if your suitcase is in the allowable range is to weigh yourself holding onto your suitcase and then weigh yourself without the suitcase.  Of course, the difference between the two weights is the weight of your filled suitcase!
Next time you travel, pack wisely and know the airlines baggage allowance rules BEFORE you end up at the airport.

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