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Eight Useful Tips to Avoid Oversized or Heavy Carry-on Luggage Charges

by Lou-Ann Jordan Jun 5, 2023

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Findyello article with tips to avoid heavy or overweight luggage with image of woman closing heavy suitcase

For many of us, this is the time of the year when our wanderlust kicks in, and we start thinking of the various places we would love to travel. What better time to go island-hopping? The Caribbean weather is spectacular this time of year. It’s the dry season, but the intermittent showers cool the atmosphere.  

There are many fun things to do in the Caribbean. Several islands have begun witnessing the annual arrival of sea turtles which come ashore to nest. It’s also an excellent time to visit the sea aquariums in Curacao and the Bahamas, which feature magnificent sea creatures. Additionally, the numerous white and black sand beaches across the region are ready to be accommodated, especially as sea waters are relatively much warmer than in the earlier months.

Still, before you begin packing your bags for a Caribbean escapade, there is one thing to keep in mind. Pack light. Why? Because the airlines that service flights to most of the islands regulate one carry-on and one personal item bag. Additional baggage is charged. Moreover, there are size and weight restrictions for your carry-on. Caribbean Airlines stipulates 22” L x 14” W x 9”H (56cm x 35cm x 23cm) and 22 lbs/10kg, while interCaribbean Airlines regulates 16” L x 12” W x 9” H and not exceeding 10 lbs.  

Although those dimensions may seem difficult to maintain when you consider paying a baggage fee of $50US for overweight luggage or $100US for extra carry-on when travelling intra-Caribbean, you may want to make an effort. So, how do you avoid these costs? Our suggestion, once again, is to pack light.

Why spend money needlessly to pay for overweight luggage or a check-in bag? Also, when an airline offers free check-in, the ticket fare covers the cost, so it’s not free. When you’re travelling, make it a goal to maintain the single carry-on regulation to avoid additional charges, especially when it’s a short trip.

We have several suggestions to help you ensure you don’t incur unnecessary charges on your next trip. Here are eight useful tips that may help you ensure your luggage is not oversized or heavy.

Check the airline’s requirements. These days, many are choosing to forgo checking in their bags and simply travelling with their carry-on luggage. That means overhead compartments are often full, making airlines less tolerant of oversized luggage. Avoid having to squeeze your bag into the overhead compartment, taking up more space than permitted. Instead, check the airline’s website for baggage requirements before packing.

Choose lightweight suitcases. Before you even begin adding your clothes, check the weight of your suitcase. Is it heavy? There are many options for lightweight luggage. Choose a durable, secure, and, most importantly, light one. Soft-shell suitcases are a good option.

Roll don’t fold your clothes. Traditionally, when packing to travel, clothes were folded neatly. However, rolling offers a better way of maximising your space. This technique lets you fit more things in and utilise small pockets of empty space.

Fill up open spaces. Some skip travelling with bulky items like shoes because they occupy much-needed space. Still, it’s not always possible, and they can be useful. You don’t have to spend your whole trip wearing slippers unless you want to. Pack your shoes. You can fill their insides with small items such as socks, belts, or underwear.

Use travel-friendly toiletries. Travelling with liquids can be a hassle, mainly when using the carry-on option. They’re also heavier. Choose a lighter option. You can use travel-friendly toiletries such as solid soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste. Alternatively, purchase a travel-size toiletries kit. These are usually packaged with all the necessities and can easily be found and shown at security checkpoints if required.

Pack less footwear. As mentioned previously, some shoes can be bulky and take up space. Therefore, pack light footwear that can be worn with several outfits. Doing so will help you reduce the number of shoes you take on your trip.  

Take light clothing. You’re less likely to need heavy clothing as we’re in the tropics. As such, pack light items for your trip. If you’re taking bulky clothes, like sneakers, a hat, or jeans, it’s best to wear them to the airport.

Mix and match. We’ve talked about avoiding heavy clothing, but it’s equally important not to over-pack. A neat trick is to pack items that can be mixed and matched. Plan your outfits by selecting colours for your environment and articles you can re-wear.

Travelling light is not only possible, but it’s also prudent. Rather than spending money on extra or heavy baggage, with careful planning and packing, you can utilise the free carry-on option provided by airlines. Then, you can use your saved money to enjoy your trip fully.

Sources: REI Co-op, Tortuga and WikiHow