Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Packing Light Becoming a Habit for Many

For years, we travel writers have been talking ourselves blue in the face trying to convince travelers to pack lighter. "You won't be a slave of your suitcase," we've shouted. "Meaning you can take public transportation from the airport, saving big bucks on taxis. And if you're unhappy with your hotel, you can more easily move if you've packed light".

Good advice, right?

Very few listened.

Until recently that is.

And we pundits can't take any credit for changing the bad habits of travelers. The airlines are responsible. Just last week, we heard that Delta and United Continental would be upping their baggage fees once again. Delta was getting rid of its $2-$3 discount for checking in bags online and upping the fee for a second bag to Europe to $60 (up to $75 if you don't check it in online) and to $30 for Mexico and Central America (it used to be free on those routes). United/Continental will now be charging $70 for a second checked bag to Europe (previously $50).

These moves are having an effect. According to a recent poll by vacation rental service Home Away, 56% of respondents are so angered by airline fees for checked baggage that they've changed the way they pack. Nearly half of this group (45%) pack lighter and simply resign themselves to doing some laundry along the way. A spendthrift 15% of the group packs less, but then buys what they need as they travel. Relying on the carry on, and cramming as much into it as possible, seems to be the strategy of 36% of the respondents. And the remaining 3% of travelers ship their belongings on ahead.

Interesting how the power of the pocketbook can build healthier travel habits. Now, if we can just figure out a way to get travelers to learn a few phrases in the local language before they hit the road....

No comments:

Post a Comment