Have you looked at overweight luggage charges recently? It’s insane. If your checked luggage weighs more than 50 pounds, you will definitely be paying a fee. On Southwest, it is an extra $75, on Jetblue, Virgin, and United, you will be paying an extra $100 per bag. If your bag is more than 100 pounds, you will be paying even more.
I pride myself on being a great packer. I can fit a week’s worth of clothes in a single backpack. I don’t worry about the weight; I am all about fitting what I need. For this reason, I have found myself at the ticket counter, desperately trying to redistribute weight between my checked bag and my carry-on as an annoyed agent looks on.
To avoid this embarrassment, you can weigh your luggage at home. There are a variety of fantastic luggage scales on the market that can help you determine what you can take with you, and what to leave to avoid extra fees.
How Luggage Scales Work
At-home luggage scales operate a little differently than the common bathroom scales we are all used to. First of all, they are much smaller, which makes them easy to store. Luggage scales feature a hand-held display, with a hook or strap extending down that is meant to attach to your piece of luggage. To use one, hook your luggage to the hook or strap, then lift the luggage by the scale. The weight of your bag hanging from the scale will register on the display.
Below are some options for the best luggage scales out there.
This scale is fantastic in that it is so easy to use – there is no set-up required. The first time you use it, all you have to do is hook the easy-to-use strap to your luggage and lift. The weight will display in seconds. It has a maximum capacity of 100 pounds. If you are a fan of simplicity and accuracy, this scale is the right choice for you.
This scale is actually a complete luggage-measuring tool. It has an analog weight display, which is great if you are never quite sure if digital displays are accurate. There’s also a built-in measuring tape so you can double check the dimensions of your baggage while you are checking the weight.
It comes in white or lime green, for the snazzier among us. If you only want to look for one tool when it comes to double-checking your luggage compliance, this scale is a fantastic choice.
The display handle on this luggage scale is actually shaped like a handle, which makes it easy to grasp and lift when you have particularly large or heavy bags. The strap that attaches to your luggage clips together for extra support. It is a digital scale. Once you have hooked it on to your luggage and lifted your item, the scale will beep when the reading is ready.
Whether you are moving, or just traveling with particularly large pieces of luggage, this scale is an excellent choice.
This luggage scale is unique in that it is kinetically charged. No need to put in batteries or charge this piece at an outlet. Anytime you want to use it, simply shake it vigorously for a few seconds, and you can get 90 seconds of power at a time.
Never again will you pull out a rarely used tool only to discover that it is dead and useless. If you don’t want to deal with power sources, then this is the choice for you.
Tips For Overweight Luggage
Let’s set up a hypothetical scenario. You have packed your bag, pulled out your trusty luggage scale, and discovered that your bag is nearly 15lbs overweight. Not wanting to pay extra fees on top of the checked luggage fee you have already forked over, you decide to unzip and re-prioritize. So what should you remove?
The heaviest items in your luggage:
Toiletries can get very heavy, especially if you have a lot of them. As a first step, make sure everything you are bringing is travel-sized, as there is rarely a need to cart around full sizes of anything. Next, try to ditch anything that will be provided at your location.
Almost every hotel offers toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion free of charge. If it comes down to it, ditch the whole bag and re-purchase once you get to your destination. Even some luxury hair products are likely to cost less than the $100 baggage fee.
Paper is surprisingly heavy. If you are traveling with novels or paperwork, your bag is definitely going to be heavy. Last year I started reading books right on my phone, and I haven’t worried about bringing a book or magazine anywhere with me since. Alternatively, you can pack a tablet or e-reader and achieve the same result.
Shoes, especially large ones, can be really heavy. Try to scale back on your footwear. Whenever I travel, I bring three pairs of shoes maximum: one casual pair, one set of running sneakers, and (if required) something fancy for when I dress up. There is rarely a need to pack more than a few sets of shoes.
Make a small investment now to avoid paying crazy fees later. Pick your favorite items. Pack your bags. Weigh them up. Hit the skies!