I hate being nickeled and dimed when I travel. That’s why I hate resort fees for services I probably don’t use, fees for accessing the internet at hotels and now, fees to check even one bag on an airplane. As has been widely reported, American, United and US Airways plan to charge us $30 roundtrip to check one bag — even more for a second. US Airways, meanwhile, is ending free nonalcoholic drinks on flights later this summer. Two bucks for a bottle of water.

What this means for us as we head into the busiest family travel seasons of the year is even more aggravation at the airport. And there be less room in the overhead bins as travelers try to cram in as much baggage as they can carry on (not to mention aggressively competing for the limited bin space), The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the airlines plan to station workers to intercept customers exceeding the carry-on limit (that means one bag small enough to fit in the overhead bin and one “personal” item like a purse, briefcase or child’s backpack.)

The good news is kids are people too and as long as you’ve purchased a ticket for them, they can carry on as much luggage as you can. Some airlines are not charging to check strollers and car seats — check on your airline’s website to see their rules. If you’ve bought a seat for your toddler or preschooler, use their car seat on board. They are not only more comfortable, but safer too, the FAA reports.

As far as luggage goes, I can just tell you to do what I’m doing — pack lighter! I know that’s not always easy with kids but light-weight quick-dry fabrics can help. (Check out your local Target or retailers like www.llbean.com and www.landsend.com ) The worse part: We’re going to be faced with doing laundry on vacation!

In the past, I’ve always suggested letting each child have their own suitcase. Now, I’m not so sure, unless you can travel with carry on.
And if you do travel with carry-on only, remember you can get whatever toiletry products you need when you arrive. It’s better than worrying about whether you’ve exceeded the carry-on limit.