What Are the Best Tips for Staying within Luggage Limits?

Sheri Cyprus

The best tips for staying within luggage limits include packing well while bringing fewer items and weighing your suitcases at home before you leave for your trip. Making sure you know the airline's or cruise ship's luggage limit way in advance of your trip is also advisable. It's up to you to make sure you have the most up-to-date information on the specific carry-on size and suitcase weight limits for the specific transportation companies you'll be using.

A bathroom scale can be used to weigh luggage before flying.
A bathroom scale can be used to weigh luggage before flying.

If you travel often, buying a luggage scale can be a good idea. These are easy to use as well as portable. Portable luggage scales are compact and look like a handle with a strap attached. Many of these portable luggage scales are really inexpensive and weigh suitcases up to 100 pounds (45.4 kg). Alternatively, you could use a regular bathroom scale.

When packing, it may be a good idea to weigh the luggage.
When packing, it may be a good idea to weigh the luggage.

The easiest method of weighing suitcases for the purpose of staying within luggage limits by using a regular home scale is to first weigh yourself, then do this again while holding your packed suitcase. When you subtract the second weigh-in from the first, that will be the approximate weight of your luggage. This method isn't as likely to be as accurate as the luggage scale or, of course, the official scales the cruise ships or airlines use. By keeping the weight of your suitcases well under the luggage limits before you leave home though, you're likely to avoid having to pay an extra fee when you arrive for your cruise or flight.

Learning how to bring what you need without over-packing is crucial to keeping luggage weight within the set limits. A great way to help you bring less clothing is to plan ahead to find one or more ways to have your clothes cleaned every half-week or so. Depending on where you're going and how you'll be traveling, your options may be to have room service pick up your laundry and return the cleaned items or use coin laundry yourself. Packing only one pair of shoes per suitcase is another way to keep within luggage limits, as they can be heavy items. Instead of heavy hardcover books, bring paperback versions.

If you pack separates that you can mix and match, having less clothing won't mean that you're stuck wearing the same outfits. After your travel wardrobe is cleaned, wear the separates in different combinations. For example, a printed blouse and skirt can look like a dress when worn together, but different when each piece is combined with something else. Also, having a few printed pieces can set the color scheme for your travel wardrobe and give solid colored tops and bottoms more interest. Not only can packing such an efficient wardrobe help you stay within luggage limits, it can simplify dressing on your trip so that you can have more time to enjoy yourself.

Increasingly, airline passengers are traveling with small-scale bags that they can carry onto the plane.
Increasingly, airline passengers are traveling with small-scale bags that they can carry onto the plane.

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Discussion Comments


I've never been too concerned about luggage weight limits, because most of my trips are for business and I'm only going to be gone for a few days at most. What concerns me more are the carry on luggage size limits. I can pack two or three days' worth of clothing and personal hygiene items in a standard carry on bag, but the airlines keep changing the rules. I hate to check additional bags, because I'm afraid they will get misdirected.

What I ended up doing was creating my own template of a standard carry on luggage rack used by most airlines. I got the dimensions from a travel company's website. It's mostly a wooden mock up, with the posts set at the proper height and width. If I purchase a new piece of luggage or wonder if I've overpacked, I'll put that luggage on the template and get an idea if I'm going to be in trouble at the airport or not.


I usually download as many ebook titles as I can onto my smart phone so I don't waste luggage space with paper books. I also use those vacuum storage bags for bulky items like sweaters and jackets.

I also roll small items like underwear and socks into larger items like shirts and pants, then separate them at the hotel when I arrive.

I rarely have to worry about the luggage weight limit, because I usually go back and pull out half of what I've packed. I include heavier clothes that can go a few days without laundering, like denim jeans and thicker cotton khaki slacks. I only pack one pair of dress shoes and one pair of tennis shoes. I mostly concentrate on having enough shirts to last for the entire trip.

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