Traveling by plane is fairly rare for me. Once I had my kids, I just stopped doing it. Well, technically, after I flew with my daughter when she was a little over a year old, I stopped doing it! She’s now seven years old, and I’m heading onto my first plane since January of 2008. My first question? How to save money on a ticket, luggage, and all the new fees that arose since my last plane ride? A great idea: save money using a carry-on.
How to save money using a carry-on for your flight
- Find an airline that allows passengers to carry-on luggage without a fee (and a personal item, too, if you can manage it.)
- Once you’ve found the right airline, look for the carry-on size requirements the airline allows passengers to bring onto the plane. Weight and dimensions!
- Learn to pack 14 days in a carry-on bag (if your trip is shorter, you’ll have extra room and if your trip is longer, well….you’re on your own to find a way to learn how to pack for longer than 14 days.)
- DOUBLE CHECK the dimensions of the carry-on for your airline AGAIN, and if there are any doubts, or questions, call and ask the airline directly.
How to find an airline’s carry-on luggage fee
The beauty of the internet is it’s filled with lots of resources. Amazing resources. When trying to find any information about comparing airline “regulations” or “fees,” it’s always great to start with a little search online. Head to a web browser and search “airline baggage fees.” It’ll probably bring up a fantastic list of choices to check out, and one that struck my fancy was FareCompare. FareCompare had a huge chart that included worldwide baggage fees. It’s pure beauty for a novice like me!
A major chunk of airlines don’t charge for carry-on bags. However, some do. If that’s the case, it’s probably a great idea to check how much those airlines charge for checked bags. Do a little cost comparison, see what saves the most in not just money, but time and sanity (such as if you’re traveling with kids, and lugging bags all over the airport isn’t going to work with 3 kids and layovers.)
Carry-on size requirements
It’s hard to understand some of the size requirements on the airlines, but the chart for on FareCompare has the dimensions, and weights for each airline. Very helpful. However, do NOT stop there. Once an airline is chosen, and the choice to carry-on instead of check baggage has been made, go directly to the airline’s website. Investigate the size, weight, and dimension restrictions and double check the airline allows a free carry-on. Find the phone number for the airline, and call to triple check what’s on the chart, and the website! No one wants to arrive at the boarding gate and told “that bag’s not the right size, it’s got to be checked.” Then it will cost you extra: checked bags cost money, and charges to check them once you’re at the gate are added onto the cost of the checked bag. INSANE!
Packing 14 days in a carry-on
Great. Tickets are purchased through an airline that gave a great ticket price, doesn’t charge for a carry-on, and also allows one personal bag along with a carry-on bag. Of course, the dimensions of the carry-on bag are 24L x 16W x 10H. Yes, that’s right. The trip is 14 days long…how the heck is one packing 14 days in a carry-on?
Personally, I’ll be away for less than 14-days, but figured learning to pack for 14 days means it’ll be super easy to pack for any trips that are less than 14 days, right? Okay, there’s a few options to pick from below, and all of them aren’t for 14 days, mmmkay?
- 10-days in a carry-on from The New York Times – it’s got a flight attendant showing how to pack a carry-on. That’s pretty sweet.
- Travel Light During the Winter from Seventeenth & Irving – 14 days for a colder climate.
- How to pack two weeks in a carry-on from Seventeenth & Irving – 14 days for a warmer climate.
- Packing Guide for cool weather from Adventure Chic – 3 weeks for a cooler climate.
- Packing Guide for warm weather from Adventure Chic – 3 weeks for a warmer climate.
It’s going to be a bit of a challenge for me, as I’ve got so many “events” I’ll be attending that require an actual red carpet look. However, finding the right wraps, and jackets to compliment one little black dress might just be the ticket! I’d have never thought of that unless I was trying to save money using a carry-on for my flight! Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I just have stay calm and carry-on.