While everything still fit in my maximum size suitcase when I arrived at the airport in Dublin, Ireland, the weight of my bag was significantly over the allowed maximum when I got to the counter to check it. I could have gotten out of line, thrown some things away, and waited in the 45 minute line again, but the rest of my class was already headed to the gate and I did not want to be left behind. So, I paid the almost $200 to ship my 59 pound bag home. My words of advice, if you buy too many souvenirs like I did on my 19 day European art and gardens tour, would be:

Throw away anything you can before you head home.

I took food to snack on in case I was not able to find food I liked in the countries we visited. I should have thrown it away.

Buy a luggage scale and weigh your bag before heading to the airport. They are relatively cheap, and you can always throw it away too if need be. I have no idea how my bag weighed 15 pounds more on the way home than on the way over, but it adds up fast.

Put heavier items in your carry-on bag. I brought back a lot of coins from other countries and know they did not help in controlling the weight of my suitcase.

If you think your bag may be overweight on the way back. Take an empty duffel bag with you. Put anything extra you buy into the duffel bag and check the extra bag. Paying for an extra bag to be shipped home is much cheaper than paying for an overweight bag.

Buy lightweight, small souvenirs. My mom only asked for photos of my adventures, but the rest of the family was bombarded with hoodies, key chains, and books.

Most importantly, tell your mom you paid for an overweight bag so she doesn’t call the airline to report a fraudulent charge on your card. 😊