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Sunday, December 4, 2011



Hi, fellow traveler! Have you ever experienced hastily re-packing your bags at the check-in counter of the airport to remove your excess baggage? 
Or wear five layers of clothes at the airport to lighten your luggage? If your answer is yes, then these tips are for you.

I am a frequent traveler here and abroad. In one of my trips to China, I thought I'd collapse when I was wearing five layers of clothes at Shanghai Airport on my return flight to the Philippines. Ha ha ha! What with all the weight of the clothes that I was wearing. Sometimes it is cheaper to just leave unnecessary items behind instead of paying for the excess baggage or of wearing several layers of clothing.

Before traveling....

1.  Know your weight limits!

Always check the fine print on your airline ticket.  If anything is unclear, click straight on your airline’s website, or call them.

Ask two things:  
  1. the number of pieces of luggage you’re allowed to take with you 
  2. maximum weight for each luggage. 
Know what your weight allowance is for:
  1. carry-on baggage
  2. check-in baggage.
If you have connecting flights (of different airlines) on your trip, make sure you know the restrictions for each leg of your journey. What was fine for Airphil Express Airlines may not be fine with Cebu Pacific Airlines. So, check!

And double-check any specific restriction on sports equipment or music equipment, there may be additional handling fee charges.

If you know in advance that you are likely to exceed the limit, some airlines like Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, AirPhil Express, Zest Air and Air Asia will allow you to purchase an allowance for an additional bag in advance from their websites using your credit card instead of charging you for excess baggage upon check-in at the airport.

2. Weigh your bags before your trip!

If you need to re-pack to adjust your baggage weight, it is best done at home. Avoid exposing your undies and brassieres in front of everybody at the terminal.

If you travel a lot, it might be worth investing in a mechanical or digital luggage scale. Just like this one. I bought mine from True-Value in Cubao for P600 plus. I don't really remember the exact amount. But I still have the luggage scale up to now. ( Note: This is not a sponsored post. I am just relating my personal experience.)

I saw this @ CD-R KING and it only costs between P100 to P150.00. I don't know why mine costs 6 times more. So you decide. 
 Mine looks like this one but with a button so you could reset it.
This digital scale below will cost you Php 280 at CD-R KING. I just don't know if they're durable or accurate. Well, I bought mine at around Php 600 plus but it is durable. So I guess, I made the right choice.
If you don't want to buy a portable luggage scale, weigh your luggage on a bathroom scale. 
And if your digital bathroom scale doesn’t register lighter weights you could weigh yourself and clutch the suitcase on one hand so you could see the registered weight in the digital scale.  If the weight of your luggage falls within your allowance then you should rejoice. Just be aware of the risks of adding last-minute items to your case if you are already close to the weight limit.

3.  Size does Matter!

Take the sizes of your luggage into consideration, too! Don’t forget about the sizes too aside from the weight of your luggage. A good number of airlines particularly budget carriers like Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, etc. have specific measurements for carry-on luggage and take pleasure in measuring your bags as you prepare to board. 

I hate it when Cebu Pacific ground personnel almost always reprimand me about my luggage when in fact it could easily fit in the metal size guide. Pahiya sila. Ha ha ha! And yes you are only allowed up to seven (7) kilos of carry-on luggage and up to 1 to 2 bags per passenger depending on the airlines. That excludes camera bags, shoulder bags and laptop bags.
Don’t be the passenger holding up the line, attempting to pummel a weighty knapsack into the baggage metal size guide (a measuring contraption designed to catch out big bags). ( Guilty as charged eh! lol I did that in Hong Kong! It's a good thing Cathay Pacific personnel are so considerate. Kaka-try, napasok ko din! Lusot!

Please note that you could incur a fine or cause delay while your large luggage is sent to the hold. And if you are not used to carrying up to 7 kilos of weight, be aware that many airlines require you to be able to lift your own bags easily to the overhead bins.

4. Know the cost of going over the limit

Miscalculations happen, and last-minute shampoo bottles get stuffed into suitcases. If your suitcase tips over the weight limit, it’s good to know in advance how much you’ll have to pay. Save yourself time and tears and head straight to your carrier’s website to get the most up-to-date information about how much excess baggage is going to cost you.

5. The return journey

Yes, you made it to your destination without incurring extra luggage charges. But a bottle of perfume, wood carving, portraits, ceramic jars and figurines later, and things won’t be quite so lightweight.

Be aware of the potential weight difference after your holiday shopping sprees, and please be honest. Being in the state of denial won't help you solve your luggage problem.

Know what’s worth taking home and what you can live without. Because sometimes it is better to leave them behind than pay the excess baggage fee.

6. Ship your luggage

Can’t bear to leave anything? If you’re still not under your allowance, consider shipping items back home.

In most developed countries, a post office is your first choice.

Spend some time working out whether it’s better value to send a number of smaller packets, rather than one massive box.

If standing in line at the post office isn’t your idea of a good time, consider using a freight forwarding service to send your excess baggage home. You may arrive back well before your extra luggage does, but that’s a small price to pay to sail through check-in, don't you think?

Ow, don't forget to consider the customs charges that will be imposed on the items you will send through the post or courier. They might be higher than the costs of the items that you will ship through the post or courier.

7.   Choose lightweight Clothings

If you are going to a tropical country.  Choose cotton shirts, silk blouses or sleeveless shirts. If you are going on a five (5)-day holiday, just bring clothes good for three (3) days and buy the rest from your country of destination so you will have souvenir shirts from that country. That way you will not incur excess baggage.

8. Don't be Imeldific
Just bring one to two pairs of shoes and leave the rest of your collections behind. I remember bringing six pairs of shoes during my Thailand trip and ending up paying for excess baggage because of my being a shoe addict.

Good Luck! Enjoy your trip!


chrisair said...

Nice tip, yes it is not practical to bring many clothes and shoes, just bring what you will need. Or try to divide it in your hand carry so the excess will go to your hand carry

Michi said...

thanks for the tip, i'll buy portable luggage scale.

sionee said...

We use the bathroom scale at home whenever I help a family member pack. Nice tips here! BTW, I like #8! haha

Sining Factory said...

Hahaha. I so need this. I have to follow your tips too. Evrytime I travel, I always exceed on the weight limit. Tsk. :( Thanks for sharing.

Jonathan said...

I always carry about 15kg of carry on luggage along with the 15kg bag that I deposit. They do not really check carry on baggage so I hope I can still continue on doing it in the future.

Gil Camporazo said...

This is a-must read for those who travel for the first time. And also for those who travel frequently. This is a reminder for them. To avoid delay, embarrassment always check the luggages before taking off and it can be done several days before travel date.

Mei said...

Thanks for the tips. My family will be travelling soon, and we will be carrying some luggage. I have already thought of bringing few clothes since I want to fill up my luggage with pasalubongs on the way back hahaha

Cha said...

Chrisair, it is very common seeing people with excess baggage in the airport. What do you mean divide?

Cha said...

Michi yes you should it is practical that way!

Cha said...

sionee I am so guilty with #8 that's why I put it on the finale!ha ha ha!

Cha said...

Sining Factory you are welcome!

Unknown said...

Jonathan you are so lucky you could carry that much weight!

joy said...

i use my bathroom scale whenever i weigh our luggage :) making sure it's locked and i have the key so my sons and husband won't be able to insert additional items without my knowledge, better maging sigurado hehe.

Cha said...

So true Mr. Gil Camporazo!

Unknown said...

Mei that's the way to do it! We always leave with our luggage half empty so there's a space for pasalubong on our way back!

Julie. -- said...

I was in total baliw mood when I went home last year with 25 kilos luggage. I went through everything from here without any problem but I was so shocked when I reached Manila and about to board Cebu Pacific going to Bacolod. The weigh limit? 15 KILOS! Now what will I do with my 10 kilos??? Good thing I was with my Ex that time..He's carrying a small backpack with about 5 kilos inside. We patiently transferred all my 10 kilos belongings to his bag. Gee, I was so pissed. heehehehe.

germz said...

i look forward to my first trip outside philippines. my ever first goal for 2012. but i guess i'll not be having problems with excess baggage during going to my destination but when coming back because for sure i'll go spree shopping there and buy all the thing i want to.haha

Rochelle Caparas said...

very nice tip :) they are helpful. preparing is a great factor. I must recommend this post to other first time trsvellers :)

kRyStLe said...

thanks for these tips.. very helpful..

Matsumoto said...

Lol, I'd be #8 guilty traveler :D anyway, it's always good to have anything shipped if you are a shopper --- wag lang harangin ng customs ^_^

tatess said...

I Travel a lot and over baggage is always my problem .The last one was from Philpiines to the US and we end up leaving all of my favorite kitchen utensils in the philippineshubby's last trip ,he paid additional fee for over baggage. i guess the tips here will really helps travellers like me

Christia's World said...

When we stayed in the US for over a month, we knew that we will definitely go overbaggage so, we did tip number 6! :)

We made sure we shipped those we really did not need immediately as shipping took 1.5 months!

Much support, Christia
Top 7 Indicators of being an Old Couple from Christia's World

c5 @ said...

I actually bought those hand scales from CDR King! I used them as prizes for the games I hosted last october. I was thinking of my brother, hoping he'd win. He did not, but someone who did gave it to him. :)

danecca said...

This post is very helpful especially to all OFW like me..thanks cha =)

Tom Willing said...

Amusing and helpful post with baggage weight. we should need to known about our baggage quality, weight limits and space. This kind of thinking are vary helpful for our long travel and also our daily life.

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Amazing and helpful post thanks for sharing.
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