Excess luggage can sneak up on the best of us. Whether you’re returning from a holiday and you’ve overcommitted on souvenirs or you’re moving overseas with a few personal belongings – it can get tricky, stressful and expensive. The good news is, you can avoid the drama by being prepared and knowing what your options are. Below is a list of our top tips for dealing with excess luggage so you don’t have to part with your belongings or pay an unexpected fee just to get to where you want to go.
1. Read the rules
Before you set off overseas, make sure you know the rules and restrictions of your flight. In particular, you should find out the exact dimensions of cabin baggage allowances as well as the maximum weight for both checked and carry on baggage. Most airlines have similar rules, however these can vary depending on where you are going and what airline you are flying with. It’s better to ask questions sooner rather than later.
2. Ship excess baggage
Shipping isn’t just for people who are moving a large amount of belongings – there are also suitable options for small shipments. If you’re moving overseas with a couple of boxes, or you’re returning home with more souvenirs than you expected, you can send them to your destination using excess baggage shipping.
3. Choose the right shipping option
If you only have a few boxes to move overseas, you don’t need to pay for a full container load. The most common excess baggage shipping options are shared containers and air freight. Shared container services operate by packing your belongings with other people’s items going to the same destination. If you need your belongings ready for you as soon as possible, an air freight will generally take 7-10 days to deliver your items (this depends on the company you choose).
4. Put items in vacuum bags
It might seem simple, but vacuum packing can save you a lot of room in your luggage. Keep in mind that you will need a vacuum to remove air and this might be a hassle to find if you are backpacking. Don’t forget when you’re vacuum sealing your belongings, that weight limits still apply- usually 25kg.
5. Weigh your bag before you leave
Many of us have been there. The last minute realisation that your bags are too heavy, the flustered reorganisation and the defeat when you realise you need to pay for extra baggage. Save yourself the stress by weighing your bags before you go to the airport. If you have been living overseas or travelling for an extended period, don’t leave this until the last minute. Give yourself plenty of time to establish whether you will need to ship your excess baggage or organise additional checked baggage on your flight.
6. Share the load
If you are travelling with someone else and don’t mind a slight personal space invasion, you might like to balance items across carry on and checked baggage. If one bag is too heavy, shuffle items around and swap with something lighter from your companion’s luggage. Of course, if you are both travelling heavy you’re going to need to try a different approach!
7. Pack smart
Putting some thought into what and how you are packing can make a huge difference on weight and size. Are you taking items that you can buy when you arrive? Have you considered wearing heavy clothing on the plane (e.g. boots, jacket, jeans)? Give yourself time to pack strategically and get advice from a friend or family member if you are having trouble deciding what to take.
Travelling with excess baggage doesn’t have to be an annoying and stressful ordeal. Take the anxiety out of your trip by being organised, knowing your excess luggage options and avoiding last minute fees. Safe travels!