6 TRAVEL STRATEGIES for that $15 “First Checked Bag” Fee

1. USE A CARRY-ON BAG
Now is the time to finally ditch the big bag for a sleek carry-on. Do it!

2. SHIP AHEAD:
When a carry-on isn’t enough: need more room for gifts, sports equipment or boots and heavy coats? Ship ahead and have it waiting for you at your destination.

Check US Postal Service rates first: you’ll be surprised how cheap it can be. Do NOT ship anything overnight: you may pay more than the checked bag fee (avoid the “2nd day” rate, as well)

3. PACK YOUR CARRY-ON INTELLIGENTLY:
Chart your wardrobe
Figure out what outfit you’ll need each day of your trip: then go back and delete some (you’re not a movie star; you can wear the same thing twice)

What to pack
Reading material: choose paperbacks over hardcovers; better yet, magazines
Khakis: leave the jeans at home (denim is heavy)
Men only: it’s a vacation; do you really need a sport coat?

What not to pack
Toiletries: stop at the drugstore upon arrival and buy sample sizes
Shoes: only pack the ones you’ll really wear; “footwear options” is a luxury you can no longer afford

Also, check these “packing tips” from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

4. STAY AT MOTELS WITH SELF-LAUNDRY SERVICE
Do your own laundry: a single load will only take an hour of your vacation time, and allow you to further cut down your “packing list."
Stay with Mom: you know she’ll do your wash for you!

5. RESERVE YOUR SEAT EARLY
Avoid the “bin wars”: the sooner you reserve a seat, the sooner you can board (in many cases).
“Upgrade” for more legroom: you may find it comfortable and convenient to put your bag under the seat in front of you

6. GET TO THE AIRPORT EARLY
Don’t be among the last to board: there may be no bin space for your carry-on, or it may have to be stowed in a bin several rows behind you