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This is somewhat of a problem for me. Sometimes, when I'm packed up and getting ready to move, I find that I have no reliable way to weigh my own luggage.

Of course, most of us know that airlines nowadays usually have heavy restrictions on luggage, including size, type, but mostly, weight.

How should I accurately estimate the weight of my lugagge then? It seems that the norm for most airlines is 50lbs per luggage, but how can I tell whether or not something is below, equal, or above that imposed limit?

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Welcome to travel.SE. Not to sound condescending but I just use a scale like this one – Karlson May 10 '13 at 14:57
So your issue is the fact that your luggage is soft so it doesn't hold it's shape? Because I have used bathroom scales with this bag, may be it's better to change the bag/suitcase/duffel? – Karlson May 10 '13 at 17:00
I've used it with the hardside suitcases and it was with 0.1 lb accurate as long as it doesn't touch the floor. – Karlson May 10 '13 at 18:47
I frequently use Karlson's method with any type of bag and it gives a pretty good indication. – André Peseur May 10 '13 at 21:17
@MasterSergeantShooterPerson - When all I have is a bathroom scale I weigh myself, weigh myself carrying the luggage, then just subtract the two weights. – System Down Dec 19 '13 at 17:35

6 Answers 6

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Invest in handheld digital weighing scales

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Changed my accepted answer to this. While @Itai pointed out that getting a feel is a good idea, getting a feel is never accurate enough for me to know whether I'll have to pay a fee at the airport for overweight luggage. – thinly veiled question mark Jun 4 '14 at 23:33
@thinlyveiledquestionmark I'm glad I could have been of assistance. – Simon Jun 6 '14 at 12:31

If you don't have access to a scale and there's no post office around you and you don't know what 50 lbs feel like, just go to the airport one hour earlier, find an empty check-in counter and weigh it there. Plan enough time so you can repack some stuff to your hand luggage or even take out some of those heavy boots/jackets/etc. and wear it. Since all scales at the airport are calibrated, 50.0 lbs on one scale are also 50.0 lbs on another scale and you can make the most of your baggage allowance!

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Weigh yourself on a home scale, then weigh yourself holding the bag. Subtract the first from the second and you'll get the weight of the bag. If the bag is bigger than the scale, such as hanging over the sides, it won't weigh properly and that's why you have to stand on the scales holding it.

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It does depend on where you are staying, of course, but I have found in the past that most mid-range-to-luxury hotels (and sometimes budget ones, too) will have a scale available, even if there isn't one in the room. Just ask at the front desk / concierge / etc.

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I've gone to a courier or post office in the local area in the past. They have large industrial-sized scales that will easily take your backpack/bag/suitcase/camel and give you an accurate reading of the weight. Sometimes it's even in the public area so you don't need to check with anyone,but otherwise ask and act like the crazy tourist, panicking over their suitcase weight - most people will be keen to help out and see if you're going to be over the weight - besides, if you are, you might be shipping stuff home and look - you're in a post office! :)

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As Simon suggested, you do not have to estimate and can buy a handheld scale which you place in your luggage after measuring if you intend to acquire things during you travel.

Prior to having one of those I estimated and was rarely off by more than a few pounds. The idea is very simple: learn what 50 lbs feels like. You have to do this at home by lifting your suitcase with various content and comparing to something known to weight 50 lbs. The easiest to measure against a 50 lbs dumbbell or my 5 year old who weighed 49 lbs :)

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