Packing tips – five tips for avoiding excess baggage charges

My friend Katherine recently flew to Los Angeles for a conference – and discovered Shopping Outlet Malls!  Katherine bought an entire wardrobe refresh for less than $1000 – but risked losing all her savings in excess baggage.  Here’s five tricks she shared with me on how she got her loot home without paying excess baggage:

  • First, before you start to pack, set aside your heaviest clothes to wear on board. (If you have space left over after packing everything else you can still pack some of them back in your case): Wear your heaviest shoes and carry your heaviest carry bag; wear multiple layers – you can always take layers off once on board and put them in your carry-on bag; wear your heaviest jewelry and put heavy small things, like torches, in your pockets. Anything you actually wear is not counted towards your baggage allowance.  You can save up to 5 kilos just by wearing your heavy stuff.  


  • Set aside your heaviest jacket to carry over your arm on to the plane. A single coat or cardigan not packed in your on-board bag is not counted in your on-board baggage weight allocation even though it might weigh up to 5 kilos – especially if just happens to have a few heavy things in the pockets!  You can store your coat in the locker once on board.


  • When you start to pack set aside any heavy things of low value – Runners due for replacement, T-shirts or jumpers that have seen better days, low value toiletries, that cheap heavy carved mask that perhaps your brother may not like as much as you think, etc. Fold everything flat and neatly.  Once everything is packed, now you can add on top those things of low value. Then, if you get to the check in counter and find your bag is overweight, it is easy to take out and discard your low value items Since extra kilos are really expensive – depending on the airline, up to $10 a kilo – it is worth it to me to jettison an old pair of runners that were close to done anyway, than to pay $20 in extra baggage to bring them home.


  • I have always found that airline staff appreciate me being willing to take things out of my case and will reward my effort by letting me get away with 1 or 2 kilo over.


  • It is amazingly easy to become quite accurate in guessing the weight of bags just by seeing how hard it is to lift. So it’s a good habit to get into at checkin to take note of the weight of your bag at the airport and note how hard it was to lift.  You will learn very quickly to tell how hard or easy it is to lift a bag as to whether a bag is over or under 20 kilo and it’s a really handy skill to have.