Pack Up Summer Travel Savings

August 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Edit

When it comes to vacation planning, people are pretty savvy about saving on hotels, airfare, car rentals and dining. But one area for savings may be overlooked — packing and luggage. Getting everything needed for a trip from point A to point B can be a hassle — and one that costs more money than it has to, especially when flying. Most airlines charge fees for checked bags. Airfarewatchdog.com lists fees ranging from $15 for the first bag to up to $150 for additional bags, depending on size and weight. For a family going on a weeklong vacation, that can really add up.

Packing Smart One way to lower or avoid airline baggage fees is to pack smart. —Find out ahead of time what baggage restrictions the airline imposes. You’ll save time and hassle by being prepared ahead of time, rather than being surprised and frustrated at check-in. —Most flights allow two carry-on bags — a personal bag such as a purse or briefcase and a bag no bigger than 45 linear inches, which is the total of the height, width, and depth of the bag (for example, 22 x 14 x 9 inches). You can pack more into a carry-on than you might think — up to several days worth of clothes. If your trip is for a week or less, consider taking only the carry-on. —Pack light. Lay out everything you think you’ll need for the trip — then put at least half of it back. By making clothes do double duty and coordinating outfits, you can pack a much lighter bag. —Save space. Roll t-shirts, jeans, socks and sport coats before packing. Put socks and undergarments inside of shoes. Also, find out what amenities the hotel will offer — if they have hair dryers, there’s no need to pack one, freeing up space in your suitcase.

Go Bag Free There’s a growing travel trend that savvy travelers say can save time and money — shipping luggage instead of carrying it. “With many airlines enforcing luggage weight and size limitations, and imposing fines for overages, we’ve seen many customers ship their luggage ahead of time,” said The UPS Store franchisee Steve Kwon. “Shipping your things in advance means savings on long road trips as well,” says Gail Acebes, Director, AAA Partnership Programs. “No luggage means more space in the car for the entire family and less weight in the car, resulting in better gas mileage.” There are a number of luggage shipping services available, most of which use carriers such as UPS. By using a carrier directly, it’s possible to save even more money. “Travelers can potentially save time and money by shipping their luggage at The UPS Store, which also lessens the hassle of dealing with luggage at the airport, and eliminates the risk of lost luggage,” said Kwon. “In addition, we have certified packing experts who specialize in packing odd, oversized items, such as water skis, golf clubs and scuba gear — items travelers would prefer to have waiting at their destination rather than lugging them around an airport.” Kwon offers some helpful tips for packing and shipping your luggage: —To reduce weight — and cost — skip the suitcase, and directly pack your clothes and other items in a sturdy box. —If you are shipping your belongings ahead to your destination, you’ll probably need to send stuff back home as well. One option is to pack a flattened box and a roll of packaging tape for sending home souvenirs … or dirty laundry. —An easier option is to have your shipment professionally packed at a national pack-and-ship retailer, such as The UPS Store. Expert packing is especially recommended for fragile items. —Be sure to notify the place you will be staying that you are expecting a package. That way, they will sign for the package even if it arrives before you do. —Put an additional address label inside the luggage or package in case the outside label is damaged or lost. —By using a shipping option such as UPS, you can track your luggage all the way to its destination via cell phones, PDAs or other web-enabled wireless devices. Because of the duties and taxes associated with international shipments, The UPS Store does not recommend shipping luggage internationally. Successful trips depend on planning. This year, plan on saving money by making smart packing decisions. Visit www.theupsstore.com to find a location and to use the online cost calculator to research the best rate and most economical shipping option.

Save Even More The UPS Store locations across the country have teamed up with AAA to offer valuable discounts to AAA members through AAA’s Show Your Card &Save program. AAA members that visit The UPS Store can save 15 percent off the full retail price of eligible products and services, while saving five percent on shipping costs.

Free iPhone App At a time when saving money is a top priority, Apple iPhone users can now easily find their way to AAA member savings by downloading a new application, AAA Discounts. The free, GPS-based app displays retail locations of AAA Show Your Card &Save partners near user locations. There are more than 110,000 AAA Show Your Card &Save locations in North America. “In the current economy, it’s more important than ever to take advantage of discount offers wherever they occur,” said Acebes. “This free, new application is just one more way AAA is helping members save money.”

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