Helpful Travel Advice for the Overwhelmed Airline Traveler

AirportCredit: morguefile

Many are looking for helpful travel advice in the wake of reconsidering airline luggage strategies and general travel packing decisions because of increased baggage restrictions and costly checked baggage fees. Many people when flying these days try to avoid checking baggage all-together. But for those who do still have to check a bag or two, which bag works best? In general, what's the most helpful travel advice for the conscious airline traveler simply trying to get from point-a to point-b without spending any more money than absolutely necessary?

Perhaps some have that perfect bag or other piece of airline luggage designed specifically for flying that they always use when travelling, no matter what; to think otherwise would be foolish. But for those who don't, there's a resourceful and creative alternative to the costly and heavy traditional approach to airline luggage. Because afterall, the amenities on specially designed airline suitcases greatly increase its weight. So what's this nifty alternative? A plastic tote! That's right, consider checking a plastic tote the next time you travel by plane.  Read on for the reasons behind this helpful travel advice. 

Baggage Fees

Most US-based domestic airlines, with the exception of Jet Blue and Southwest, charge around $25 for the first piece of checked airline luggage and $35 for the second. The math's easy: $60 for two pieces of checked luggage. While this doesn't necessarily break the bank for individuals, it's almost unthinkable for most families. Moreover, if one exceeds the alloted baggage restrictions on size and weight the baggage fees especially skyrocket.

So if you're checking a bag or two, and especially if you have a large family (or even small family, really) it pays to pack as close to the baggage restrictions on size and weight as possible. The weight limit is generally 50 pounds, the size around 60 cubic inches (l+w+h). So this means travellers can pack 50 pounds of airline luggage into their suitcase? No way! Not unless the travel bag weighs zero pounds, which, of course, is impossible. Thus, the #1 piece of travel advice for our modern age: Check a plastic tote. View it as an alternative to that heavy and expensive piece of official airline luggage that costs a pretty penny and greatly reduces the amount of transportable belongings.

Why Check a Plastic Tote?

Advantages of checking a plastic tote abound:

  • light weight - allotting more of the 50 pound limit to belongings other than the luggage container
  • inexpensive
  • durable
  • belongings protected, can't be smashed
  • no need for a lock - packing or duck tape seals contents tight, safe from spills and thievery
  • some have wheels - greatly increasing their competitive edge with modern travel bags
  • easier to carry than a box, thanks to integrated handles

Checking a plastic tote makes perhaps the most sense when moving, or generally when lots of stuff needs to accompany the airline traveller - think camping trips. If you're moving a long distance, read up on the pros and cons of whether to ship or check items.

For certain situations, of course, traditional airline luggage makes more sense to check than a plastic tote. Not everyone needs to check the max weight and size allowed for checked airline luggage. Many check airline luggage because of the strict carry-on baggage restrictions regarding liquids and sharp objects (camping expedition's are difficult without matches and a pocket knife!). But for folks needing to check the maximum volume and weight on their flight, consider a plastic tote!

Take-home Travel Advice: Think outside the bag!