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Travel expert reveals seven top tips when flying with overhead luggage

It’s a Mexican stand-off with the airline steward and you blink first. Now the overhead bag you hoped would go unnoticed is heading straight for the baggage-tester.

Your heart sinks as the bloated suitcase rests on the solid metal rungs. He’s not even attempting to force it in. As the steward produces a strip of stickers you know it’s game over.

There’s nothing worse than your quick city break being ruined by unnecessary queuing at baggage reclaim. But some careful planning and all this could have been avoided.

With the summer holidays around the corner, travel experts have revealed their tip tips for saving luggage space and will avoid you having to put your baggage in the hold.

With the baggage tax, holiday-goers may find that all they’re allowed to take onto the flight is a backpack – unless they want to pay more for their checked in bag (File image)

The most depressing part of any holiday… the relentless waiting in baggage reclaim 

Many low-cost airlines now offer cheap flights but on the basis that you either add the cost of luggage on later, or bring a backpack.

A nationwide study found that a third of Brits have had to pay excess baggage fees when at the airport, equating to over £490 million in 2022 alone.

Each airline is different, but across UK airports fees can range from £11 per kg overweight on check-in luggage to an eye-watering £65 for overweight checked baggage. 

As the holiday season approaches, travel experts at Panache Cruises have shared their top tips to avoid paying the dreaded overweight baggage fee.

So here are the seven ways holiday-goers can avoid the extra baggage fees…

1. Utilise duty free bags

After making a little purchase in one of the airport shops, you can bring the Duty free bags on your flight without being counted as extra luggage (File image)

Duty-free bags do not count as carry-on luggage, so if a passenger purchases something at the airport they can use the bag.

And you should also look at purchasing toiletries at the airport, after check-in and security to free up your weight allowance for other items. 

This is also a great method for getting more liquids on board.

2. Pillow it up

This tip went viral last year, and it is pure genius. All you need to do is empty out a pillow case or one of those flight pillows and cram in your belongings (File image)

This hack is pure genius, as clothes – even when rolled – take up so much space.

And if you really don’t want to leave that hat and swimming costumes behind, this simple trick will help you avoid stuffing your bags while still having plenty of summer outfits to choose from.

All you need to do is empty out a pillow case or one of those flight pillows and cram in your belongings, making sure to plump out the pillow after.  

And this tip went viral last year after a student posted a video showing how to avoid paying for extra bagging by sneaking extra clothes onto a flight in an empty pillowcase.

3. Travel in the heaviest clothing

This could be the oldest trick in the book. But just because it’s an oldie, doesn’t mean it’s not a goldie. 

For this hack, all holidaymakers need to do is wear their bulkiest items like hoodies and shoes.

This will make more room in your case – and will keep you warm on the flight.  

Travellers should use the pockets of their bulky clothing to stash more items if they are still concerned about the weight of the case. 

4. Layer up 

Although sometimes impractical, layering up is a great way to free up baggage space. Under a coat, no one will know that you’re wearing two more jumpers, a bikini and five tops (File image)

Although sometimes impractical, and certainly in hot weather, layering up is a great way to free up baggage space. Under a coat, no one will know that you’re wearing two more jumpers, a bikini and five tops. 

As soon as travellers get on board, they can strip down to their original outfit because, technically, no one can say anything. 

While this strategy can involve holiday-goers wearing bundles of clothing on the flight, if desperate to travel cheaply, this is definitely an option.

5. Invest in a Travel Vest 

This may be a better solution than sweating on the flight. 

Wearable luggage, which offers a multitude of pockets to cram in small items, would be a great investment for frequent flyers who don’t want to pay extra for baggage.

They are an incredibly functional item to have, often lightweight, that travellers can use to safely store their valuables and gadgets. 

6. Save space for souvenirs 

Purchasing a souvenir from the destination you’ve just left is a must-do. But it does also mean that you’re going to be carrying extra weight in your baggage when you return (File image)

Bringing home a memento from various parts of the world is a big part of many people’s travel experiences. 

Therefore, it is important to plan ahead for the extra additions that you may put into your baggage towards the end of your trip, or you can risk a hefty charge on the way home. 

If it’s something generic you’re after like a small magnet, a chocolate or bottle of something, you can even buy these at the airport and use the duty free bag to save up space.

7. Invest in the best travel bag 

Airlines can be very strict about the size and weight of hand luggage and suitcases.

Therefore, it is important to shop around for the best luggage.

Investing in a lightweight bag can help travellers pack in heavier items is advisable. 

But always make sure that your new bag fits with the specific measurements of each airline’s policy. 

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