Buy a Luggage Scale for $5, Save Yourself Money at the Airport

Last Updated Dec 6, 2010 9:52 AM EST

It's bad enough you have to pay $25 to check a suitcase, but if that suitcase weighs more than 50 pounds, plan on forking over another $25 -- or more, depending on the airline. And if it happens to tip the scales to 70 pounds or more, the price goes up yet again.

To avoid such nasty surprises at the airport, weigh your suitcase before leaving. Easier said than done, right? Most luggage will block the display of the typical bathroom scale, and I've yet to stay in a hotel that even had one.

What you need is a spring scale, one that calculates the weight of an item that hangs from its hook. For a limited time, Meritline has a Mini Digital Spring Scale for just $4.99 shipped. (If you miss this sale, don't worry: the regular price is only $6.99.)

Just loop the hook on your suitcase handle, left the scale, then check the weight on its LCD screen. It has a capacity of about 88 pounds, so it should be able to pin down any applicable airline weight class for your bag.

For five bucks, how can you go wrong?

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