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Airlines collect millions of naira in baggage fees. But these charges are optional. However, why do so many travelers paying so much money when many of them could avoid baggage fees with some modest effort?

Understandably, packing light is one of the best ways to escape these extra fees. But travelling with the bare minimum isn’t always an option especially for passengers taking lengthy cruises or families that need multiple pieces of luggage. The following tips explain how to avoid baggage fees with tricks that the airlines probably don’t want you to know about.

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Know your airline policy

Navigating the airlines’ complicated baggage policies is no small undertaking. Baggage fees change frequently and can vary by airline, destination, date of travel, number of bags, and bag weight and size. Even if you’ve secured an affordable plane ticket, you could end up paying a lot more than you bargained for when flying on a carrier that charges baggage fees. Your best solution is to thoroughly read your airline’s policy before you book your flight.

Join a frequent flyer programme

Travelers who fly often can save on baggage fees by joining their favourite airline’s frequent flyer programme. Almost all major international airlines offer some kind of loyalty program that includes baggage fee discounts or waivers for “elite” or “preferred” members. Visit your airline’s website to learn more about its frequent flyer program benefits.

Know how much your luggage weighs

Overweight baggage fees can be far costlier than base charges for checked luggage. Bring a small portable luggage scale with you so you can weigh your bags prior to your departure and return flights. If your bag is just under the weight limit on your outgoing flight, extras you pick up along your trip, from souvenirs to soggy raincoats, could add some serious weigh on the way home. Is your luggage too heavy for the flight back? Stuff some things into your travel partner’s suitcase or ship them home.

Ship your bags

At first glance, shipping one’s bags may sound like a prohibitively expensive prospect. But take another look at your airline’s baggage policies, and suddenly standard delivery services and even luggage shipping companies don’t sound like such a bad idea. How much does shipping luggage cost? Prices charged by standard delivery services like FedEx, UPS, and USPS vary based on size and weight of bags (luggage shipping companies such as Luggage Forward and Luggage Concierge tend to be slightly more expensive).

Pack light with cool products

If you struggle to fit everything into a carry-on bag, you might need a little help from handy products like compression sacks, which can squeeze more into less space. Or stash key items in a pocket-laden garment, which are cleverly designed with hidden compartments that store more than you’d think. And look for foldable travel essentials that take up minimal suitcase space whenever you can.

By Damilola Faustino

Read also: Travel Tips That Will Help You Save Money

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