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So many airlines are charging extra for checked bags now, I’m including a quick cheat sheet list below for your records.

You know, it’s easy to complain about the extra $15-$20 these airlines are tacking on to their fares, but don’t let that turn you off of traveling this year. You can easily make that back by selling photos and articles about your trip when you return home.

And when you put things in perspective, flying from D.C. to Boston or from New York to Orlando is still cheaper than buying an ipod or a new duvet cover for your bed. Those kinds of purchases just don’t deliver the sorts of travel stories you’re rewarded with when you hop on a plane.

Similarly, folks are up in arms about the rising price of gas. But you have to put it in perspective. When I compare the price of my drive last year from D.C. to South Carolina to what it will cost me this year… I’m looking at a $17 bump. That’s not enough to keep me home. I’ll spend more than that on a bottle of wine.

Truth is, rising gas prices and checked-bag fees may be troublesome for some Americans, but not necessarily for you, dear reader…

You just have to think about creative ways you can recoup the extra fees. (And keep in mind, too, that as a travel writer or photographer, you could defray some of your travel costs as business expenses.)

Plus if you look around you’ll find hotels, travel websites, and rental car agencies that are putting a nice marketing spin on these increases in a bid to keep your business.

For example, Expedia.com now offers a free $25-$75 gas card when you book your hotel stay through them. And most Loews and Kimpton hotels have introduced a “baggage buy back rebate program,” which reimburses guests for the checked-baggage fees you had to pay during a trip.

Those are just two examples. You’ll find more if you Google “free gas card hotel” or “checked-bag rebate.”

Happy Travels,

— Lori

Lori Allen
Director, Great Escape Publishing

P.S. Here, for your records, is the list of checked bag fees. Remember to calculate this expense into your flight cost if you intend to check a bag at the airport. For further fees including the fee for more than two bags or overweight bags, check with the individual airline websites.

Airline First Bag Second Bag
Air Canada $0 $20
Air Tran $0 $10 online, $20 at airport
Alaska Airlines $0 $0
American Airlines $15 $25
Continental $0 $25
Delta $0 $50
Frontier $0 $25
JetBlue $0 $20
Northwest $15 $25
Spirit $15 online, $20 at airport $25
Southwest $0 $0
United $15 $25
US Airways $15 $25

Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.] 

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