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Before You Pack for a Budget Trip


Luggage loading on to airplane via conveyer belt
Lester Lefkowitz/Stone/Getty Images

More than ever, travelers are penalized for dragging a bunch of bulky bags. Airlines face soaring fuel costs and are trying to cut their expenses. Security personnel face new threats and requirements. In short, it pays to be light on your feet. Beyond the basic comforts and costs, mobility is one of the most valuable tools a budget traveler can employ. The following three selections will help assess the changing and varied baggage policies at major and low cost carrier counters, and provide some valuable packing tips for a budget trip.

Baggage Fees and Policies for 10 Low Cost Carriers

Low cost carriers have enjoyed a great deal of success in the marketplace. Their low fares fill seats and make the majors nervous. The pressure to keep those fares low is intense, so some budget airlines are moving to an "a la carte" system of fees. Many will charge you for refreshments or a meal. Others are penalizing travelers too many bags, and those who carry oversized or overweight luggage. From airline to airline, some of the requirements are similar. But you'll see here that the fees vary greatly.


Baggage Fees and Policies for 10 Major Airlines

The major airlines are picking up policies from their low-cost competitors. It pays to check those procedures and requirements before you travel. Many airlines bury the baggage guidelines deep in their Web sites or fine print. These links take you directly to the pertinent pages, so you won't have any unpleasant surprises at check-in.


Packing for a Budget Trip

Most budget travel strategies begin with mobility. Packing as lightly as possible is essential. Here are some packing tips to help you take advantage of inexpensive transportation and other discounts.


Carry-on Luggage for Budget Travel

Here are five affordable bags that should make it past the airline "carry-on" test. Warning: these bags are fairly small, and they'll challenge your ability to accomplish one-bag travel. The reward for choosing any one of them is a durable, well-priced bag.


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