How To Avoid Checked Bag Fees To Hawaii

Two recent comments, from Lance and Colleen, got me thinking about checked bag fees and what I’m doing to avoid them.

These fees are just too annoying (though I suppose understandable).  They’re ubiquitous and there is no way to avoid them coming to Hawaii.  Many carriers charge more if you don’t plan and pay for checked bags in advance.

Use the largest carry-on that fits in airline overheads (22 x 14 x 9).  On Hawaiian for example, that full-size carry-on fits directly into the overhead.  On Go!, however, the overhead storage is about 1/3 or less the size.  So there, you can likely gate check your carry-on (carrying it right to the side of the aircraft) and should not be subjected to a checked bag fee.

Leave the snorkeling gear at home.  There are rental places on each island and (for me) better yet, head to Wal-Mart for an inexpensive set.

You won’t need as much clothing as you think.  One sweater-sweatshirt, long pants and athletic shoes worn on the plane are generally adequate for staying warm during all seasons in Hawaii.  The remaining clothes can be lightweight, mostly shorts, shirts and sandals.  Dressing beyond casual is less common in Hawaii, so go very conservative in that regard.

Do some touch-up laundry while you’re here.  Many if not most Hawaii accommodations have laundry facilities on location or nearby.  The exception is generally the better hotels; although even the highly rated Koa Kea has a guest laundry.  Even then, quick washing can be done in a sink  (consider packing a 1-2 ounce container of liquid dishwashing soap), and a drying line in the bathroom is either provided or can be improvised.

Use the hotel beach towels.  Bringing your own takes up valuable luggage space. Use the hotel towels and drop them off on your day of departure en route to the airport.

White clothes need to stay home. They don’t mix well with the unavoidable dirt here in Hawaii.

I’ve seen the suggestion to pack some clothes you’ll be giving/throwing away soon. You can drop s them off when you’re leaving (perhaps donating to Salvation Army if they are in good condition) and replace them in your luggage with souvenirs.

Keep track of the weight of your carry-on (and your checked luggage).  Airlines are beginning to enforce carry-on weight limits, so be prepared in case they do.  A portable non-electronic luggage scale just keeps on working trip after trip.

Please let us know what packing tips work best for you.

7 thoughts on “How To Avoid Checked Bag Fees To Hawaii”

  1. Chris – those circumstances would be enough to irritate a Saint. I am all for ‘carry on’ bags – but not necessarily for the reasons most are doing this now a days. We have traveled for years with only 1 carry on – to make traveling easier. We just like it better that way.

    But we DO adhere to the size limits/requirements and if the airlines are going to charge for checked bags and NOT make folks adhere to size limits – then THEY are creating the CHAOS.

    We are all capable of checkingm measuring and weighing well ahead of time to make certain our bags meet the size limitations. Those over sized, super stuffed carry on bags should be ‘refused’ long before we board the plane.

    Use some of the FEE REVENUE to hire someone specifically to pre-screen the bag size well before boarding.

    BETTER YET – DUMP the stupid bag fees and let people travel the way they are most comfortable – with checked bags or carry on.

    My two cents. :0)

  2. The amount of folks bringing on carry on suitcases to avoid the fees was unreal on my recent trip to and from Hawaii. It didn’t all fit in the overhead compartment, and some had to be checked anyway. Our flight out of Honolulu was delayed an hour for something on the plane, and once we did start boarding, the flight attendant said there was a take off time but it was taking forever to load the plane, due to the excess amount of luggage. We got to the taxi way, and had missed that take off time. We had to sit there for a good 20 minutes, when already late, until there was a clear path for take off. That was caused by all those people trying to avoid check in baggage costs. I know the idea behind the fees, but just as much weight is being taken on with the suitcases which just make the size requirements or those bigger than no one catches.

  3. My #1 suggestion: Only take your favorite, most comfy clothing items and then in very limited quantity. We packed 1 carry on each for our last 1 week trip and still did not wear about 1/3 of the items we took. (yes, we did laundry – only takes a couple of minutes)

    We make sure everything we take will go with everything else. Khaki shorts and capri’s go with just about anything else :0) Go to different restaurants and you can wear the same thing and no one else knows that you are wearing the same outfit :0) This was the hardest idea to accept and implement – that a person does not NEED a different outfit and matching shoes for each evening out.

    My #2 suggestion for those who just HAVE to have their favorite hair products. Problem: the can of hairspray is HUGE. So is the gel.

    So, I bought small spray bottles and spent forever spraying the stuff into those little bottles until they were full! What a pain!! But, it worked. I had enough (barely) to last the week in Hawaii.

    Did I appreciate having to do this? Of course not!! Did I have a choice? Not if I wanted to use the same hair products as at home without paying a fortune for them in Hawaii and then either having to leave them behind (which I have done) or pay more to ship them home. We also did not want to spend the time looking for products that are not readily available.

    My #3 suggestion: Contact the property where you will stay and see if you can ship your liquids and gels ahead – thereby avoiding the screening/confiscation and often the LEAKING problem at the airport. Yes, we lost our sunscreen that way, too :0(

  4. These fees have got to go! At least Hawaiian is screwing us the “aloha” way by offering the screw-in-disguise “Economy Plus”!

  5. Airlines are just trying to make extra money by screwing us. We went to Hawaii last month and thought of packing less so we can take a carry on and avoid the baggage fees. All our things got into the carry-on, but still we had to check in. Why? Because remember – no liquids are allowed in a carry bag. Obviously we had a sunscreen, shaving cream, toothpaste, cream, deo etc. Where to put them now?

    Don’t tell me we shouldn’t have carried all this stuff and rather bought it from there. Hawaii is expensive. Moreover, we went to relax not to run to a store to buy some necessities.

    1. Thanks for the comments. I’ve just been taking 3 ounce or less containers of sunscreen, shaving cream, toothpaste, etc. Sometimes I buy small ones and sometimes I just repack them. Interestingly, I pack salad dressing the same way.

      Aloha, Rob

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