Trying to save money while flying can seem like an uphill battle these days. Most flights incorporate various airline fees and many airports have higher-than-usual prices on food and other items inside the terminal. Even economy flights have fees associated with things for which you’re not used to paying, like snacks and drinks on the flight.

But there is hope! While you may not be able to entirely avoid them, you can reduce them significantly. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a newbie, you likely know using a carry-on bag can be cheaper than checking one, but here are a few tips that may be new to you.

Measure your bag before you leave
Classifying your bag as an “oversized” carry-on is a sneaky way the airline may sock you with unexpected fees – unfortunately, this has happened to us once or twice. Not every airline has the same restrictions regarding carry-on bag size, especially if you are flying a short distance on a regional carrier. Check your airline’s website and measure your bag once it’s fully packed.

Watch out for those bag-extender zippers as well. Even if your luggage started out at an acceptable size, unzipping the bag extender could push you over the required dimensions.

Weigh your bag as well
If you choose to check a bag instead of carrying one on, make sure it falls under the required weight limit. Most airlines limit passengers to just 50 pounds per checked bag. Exceeding that weight limit by even a pound or two could cost $100!

If you’re stuck at the airport with a bag that is slightly over the weight limit, let the gate agent know that you would like to move around items in your luggage. He usually will allow you to step out of line and transfer the extra weight to a different bag or to your carry-on.

Review baggage restrictions for each airline during your trip
Different airlines have different policies about acceptable size and weight limits for your luggage. If you are flying on multiple airlines – for example flying on a regional carrier from Cincinnati to Chicago then on a large plane from Chicago to Paris – make sure you understand the fee structure for both airlines.

This can be especially problematic if you are planning to take multiple short flights in a foreign country. Some discount airline brands will charge for carry-on and checked luggage, even if other regional carriers do not. Bottom line – your seemingly cheap flight from Paris to London can quickly become much more expensive.

One final tip – before you leave your house, print a copy of the airline’s baggage fee policy along with your boarding pass. This is an easy way to ensure you and the gate agent have a good understanding of what you expect to be charged and why.

Do you have any tricks to avoid luggage fees? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!