How To Avoid An Overweight Bag Fee When You Travel

This hand-held scale can save you from frantically re-thinking your packing choices at the airport.
The Etekcity digiital luggage scale ($10.99) accurately detects temperature and weight and easily slides into your suitcase.
The Etekcity digiital luggage scale ($10.99) accurately detects temperature and weight and easily slides into your suitcase.

I have many life skills, but packing light has never been one of them. An irrational fear of traveling without my entire wardrobe has gotten me into some trouble at the ticket counter of many an airport ― not to mention cost me an arm and a leg in overweight baggage fees.

Instead of frantically repacking my suitcase on the airport floor or waddling through TSA in 10 pairs of pants, a handy-dandy luggage scale has recently became my portable solution for complying with airline luggage-weight restrictions and I highly recommend it to any other self-proclaimed over-packer out there.

Although there are tons of options available, the battery-operated Etekcity luggage scale, which boasts an impressive 30,800 five-star-ratings on Amazon, is my premier scale of choice simply because it’s straightforward, the weight measurements are always accurate and it comes in at a super affordable $10.99.

One thing that I appreciate about this digital scale is that it uses durable strap-and-latch design, instead of a hook, to wrap around your suitcase handle while the scale takes the weight measurement. I feel like this feature makes things a bit more secure and helps provide the most accurate reading as possible. The scale has a capacity to take weight measurements of up to 110 pounds and can display readings in both pounds or kilograms, which has been very helpful for international travel.

Some other added bonuses include a low-battery indicator, an overload indicator, an auto-off function to conserve battery life and even a temperature sensor so you can ensure that your luggage is being stored in the correct climate.

To use, I just wrap the strap around my luggage handle and clip the end to the corresponding latch at the base of the scale. Then, holding the scale, I lift my suitcase off the ground while the scale settles on a reading. The weight reading automatically locks on the screen for a few seconds after you have placed the luggage back down ,so you don’t miss it. Pro tip: If heavy lifting isn’t your strong-suit, I stand on a chair or any other elevated surface while lifting the suitcase. The leverage makes things a bit easier on my back.

To read some other glowing reviews of the Etekcity luggage scale, you can keep reading the promising reviews below, plus learn about some similar scales currently on the market.

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Get the Etekcity luggage scale

Promising reviews for the Etekcity luggage scale:

“Great to travel with...Used [it] for four bags to stay under 50 pounds during travel to avoid overweight baggage fees. The accuracy was verified throughout my travels during check-in with airline personnel in three separate states, using three different scale systems and all weights were accurate down to the ounce, which was a big plus. Any inaccuracy would potentially have costed me since my bags were packed within ounces of tipping the 50-pound limits. This was a great buy!” ― LAW

“We like to travel. With big suitcases that flirt with that 50 pound limit. In the old days, we would lug our bathroom scale into the living room and stand on the scale holding the luggage which was a bit awkward but ok it worked. The real problem came when we got ready to head back home ... no bathroom scale. Now we just strap this scale to the luggage handle, lift it slightly off the ground, and we get an exact weight. It’s small enough to pack and take along. We love it so much we bought a second one. No traveler should be without this handy tool. Or at least no traveler who likes to pack to the brim!” ― Chandelier

“This is a great purchase to save you money at the airport. Took a trip recently and was checking in three bags. With this handy little scale, it gave me accurate weights of each piece of luggage that I had. I previously had anther brand that was a dial scale with a small hook. The hook was not big enough and the dial would bounce back and forth and you couldn’t get an accurate reading. With the hook latching on to the scale itself, it is very secure [and] the digital readout makes it very simple to see what the weight of your luggage is. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is traveling and is worried about excessive weight in their baggage.” ― RJ

Other scales to try

A Samsonite suitcase scale with built-in measuring tape
Made by Samsonite, a go-to brand for all things luggage and travel, this portable electronic scale has a comfort-grip handle, a hook for measuring weight on one end and, on the other, a built-in measuring tape, which can come in handy if you ever want to be sure that your luggage size complies with an airline's carry-on requirements. This scale can read weights up to 80 pounds and allows you to toggle between kilograms and pounds.
An ultra-compact scale with a touchscreen face
This tiny digital luggage scale by Sharper Image claims to be one of the smallest and lightweight options available on the market, which ensures that it will take up absolutely no space in your suitcase. The touchscreen allows you to take weight measurements in either pounds or kilograms and will display the reading long enough to read after you have put your luggage down. There's also an auto shut-off feature, which helps to conserve on battery life. It can take wight measurements of up to 88 pounds.
A high-strength digital scale with a nylon strap
This high weight-capacity scale by Tumi, a luxury suitcase brand that also specializes in backpacks, laptop bags and more, can be a great option if the hook functionalities of other scales aren’t your thing. Using a nylon strap and metal attachment, this scale can connect directly to a corresponding niche on top of many Tumi suitcases, or it can be looped around a handle and connect to the base of the scale to provide a secure and accurate reading. The backlit digital screen simultaneously provides weight readings in both pounds and kilograms and has the strength to hold up to 100 pounds.

Before You Go

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