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Avoiding luggage fees

Airline luggage fees are steep and getting steeper. So are you better off taking your bags with you on a plane or shipping them separately?

Airfarewatchdog, a travel site, suggests that you can save money by shipping bags weighing more than 50 pounds than carrying them on flights.

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Site founder George Hobica says:

"Even though UPS and FedEx have raised their shipping charges somewhat, the airlines haven't been asleep either. US Airways recently raised their fees for oversized and overweight bags as well. And more fees may be on the way. Even if the cost of shipping vs. checking is virtually the same -- and it's usually less to ship, especially if the bag is heavy or you're traveling over shorter distances--you'll save time by not waiting in line to check in or pick up your bags at the carousel. And UPS and FedEx are much better at tracking shipments than the airlines are at tracking lost bags."

To me, the best alternative is to pack light. Do you really need 50-plus pounds of stuff — the size of at least a second grader — for most trips?

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