Just the shirts on our backs...

In 4 short weeks, my family and I will be on our way to New York City.  As usual, I've begun packing...not literally - just in my mind.  I can't relax if I'm not organized and the earlier I start the better for everyone involved.  For this trip, I'm not just packing for myself, but I have two pre-teens to worry about and a husband who doesn't even start thinking about it until about an hour before the flight leaves.  Grrrr...

I shuddered with a little jolt of anxiety as I started adding up the checked baggage fees for our airline. Suddenly, the great airfare I thought I scored didn't seem so great anymore. On American, we'll have to fork over $25 for the first bag, $35 for the second and $100 for the thirdHoly cow. Multiply that by two, of course, for the round trip and there goes our "walkin' around money"... and then some.

I started looking for ways to get around it.  I found a lot of articles with tips that began with "pack light". Thanks, genius.  I never would have come up with that gem on my own. Next, I toyed with the idea of getting an airline credit card.  I could earn points and miles and my "first checked bag is free".  Delta and Continental seem to offer a pretty sound credit card deal but nothing for American.  The American Express Blue Sky card, however, will give me a $100 travel allowance that I can put toward bags, in-flight meals, wi-fi etc. on any airline. And just for future reference, JetBlue would have given us the first bag free and Southwest never charges for checked bags (up to two) but the fare would have been double what I paid and no direct flights to New York. Some hotels, Kimpton brand for example, will actually reimburse you for checked bags.  Alas, our hotel does not. My head hurts.

So, I'm left with this plan:  we'll cram as much as we can into a couple of carry-on bags and hope we make it to the gate.  The gate agent will surely say "those are way too big for the overhead bin, we'll have to stow them for you" and viola!  Checked bags at no charge.  Sneaky? yes. It's either that or the hubby will just have to wear the same clothes for the duration of the trip.  Sorry, dear.

Baggage fees for major airlines
New York Times - Getting Around Airline Fees 


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I didn’t dip my toe in an ocean until I turned 25 and my friend Sandy and I traveled to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. After that week, I was hooked. I loved being somewhere new; smelling the smells, tasting new food, seeing how other people lived. It energized me. As luck would have it, I landed a job that allowed me to travel all over the US and often to Canada. Being a sports event television producer, I was on the road all the time. That's when my love affair with travel began. Now, its 20 years later and still no one gets more “geeked up” about planning a vacation than I do. All I need is a destination and some travel companions and my fire is lit! I start delving into my favorite hotel sites, sifting through photos and reviews, comparing, contrasting -it’s like an addiction. The travel shows with tips and trends? I study them like a playbook. I LOVE doing the things most people hate doing before they go on vacation. Whether it be searching for a food tasting tour with a local or discovering a romantic B&B in the middle of New York - I’ve found it and I’ll share it with you. So....where should we go?