A third of customers flying from Ireland incurred extra baggage charges of an average of €55 when flying in the past year.

The survey by lastminute.com shows just how easy it is to get caught out even if you do pack lightly.

And it’s not just baggage charges that you need to look out for.

There are a host of ‘extras’ that you could end up paying, so you need to know what they are and how you can avoid them.

Tina Leonard explains

Baggage charges

Should I only take carry on luggage

This mightn’t be so practical if you’re off on a two-week sun vacation, but try anyway because it’s free. Bring the minimum and pack lightly, which is easy if we’re talking about shorts and tees. Wear your heaviest clothes and layer them to get more on. You could also use a travel vest or poacher style jacket that come fitted with plenty of pockets.

Use the right hand luggage

Know the size dimensions that are allowed. Both Ryanair and Aer Lingus allow 55cm x 40cm x 20cm for carry on luggage and for Aer Lingus regional flights the size is reduced to 43cm x 28cm x 20cm. Beware soft luggage that may comply with those dimensions when empty but will expand when stuffed. Don’t stuff too much in though, as both Ryanair and Aer Lingus allow 10kg per hand luggage or 7kg on Aer Lingus regional flights.

With Ryanair if your hand luggage is oversized or overweight you will be charged €40, €45, €50 or €55 depending on weight and destination to put the bag in the hold. And one bag means one bag; your hand-bag or laptop cannot be carried separately. Aer Lingus’s terms and conditions do allow you to carry your coat, lap top or hand-bag in addition to your carry-on bag, but if you have to put your bag in the hold you’ll pay €30 or €40 at the airport (depending on where you are flying to).

Checked-in bags

It may be tricky to bring hand luggage only if you’re travelling with a family. So if you must you’ll pay between €15 and €20 each way with Aer Lingus. From June to 21st September you’ll pay €20 or €30 with Ryanair depending on weight allowance chosen (15kg or 20kg), but this rises to €25 or €35 on some routes (the Canaries and Greek islands). These are online charges, you can double those if you pay at the airport.

And whatever you do, don’t over stuff; excess costs €9 per kilo or €15 at the airport with Aer Lingus and €20 per kilo with Ryanair.

Other charges

Choosing your seat in advance

With Aer Lingus it costs €5, €10, €15 or €25 depending on which seat you choose and this rises to €20 or €30 for longhaul flights. You have assigned seating anyway with Aer Lingus.

Ryanair is currently trialing a reserved seating option on the Dublin to Gatwick and Malaga routes. It costs €10 for a seat in rows 1, 16,17 (inc emergency exit seats) and the charge also includes priority boarding (normally €5). Otherwise it’s a scramble.

Name change

If booking for someone else, double check you have their name, as it appears on their passport, correct. Otherwise, to change the name you’ll fork out €100 with both Ryanair and Aer Lingus.

Date / flight change

Double check that the dates right too. If you want to make a change it will cost you €25 each way with Ryanair and €35 with Aer Lingus, or €75 if you’re unlucky enough to need to make a change to a long haul flight. You’ll also pay the difference in price between the original price you paid and the price of the new flight.

Sports equipment

It may be cheaper to hire when you get to your destination. Aer Lingus charges €30/€40 each way and Ryanair charges €40 each way. And does the baby have to come? A car seat, booster seat or travel cot will cost you €10 each way with Ryanair.

Print your boarding card

Well with Aer Lingus you don’t have to, but forget at your peril if flying with Ryanair. They will charge you €40 to print it for you at the airport.

Booking/handling fee

Yes, you pay to pay.

Aer Lingus charges €6 per person each way, except for infants, if you’re travelling from the US or paying with a Visa Electron card. Ryanair charges €6 per person each way, unless you pay with a prepaid Mastercard debit card.

You can easily get a prepaid Mastercard debit card at payzone.ie, rubycard.ie, moneybookers.com, neteller.com and wirecard.com for example.

Do your sums first. You may have to pay for the card (€6 for payzone and €12.95 for a rubycard). There is usually a ‘loading fee’ for transferring money to the card; either a percentage (1.75% to 3%), or a flat fee of between €3.50 and €5.95. Both payzone and rubycard also charge a transaction fee of 2.95%.

You can get a Visa Electron card at entroppay.com. The card costs €7.49, there is a loading charge of 4.95% but no transaction fee.

If you miss your flight

If you turn up late to the departure gate and miss your Ryanair flight you can get a ticket for the next flight for a ‘missed departure fee’ of €100 but you must book it at a Ryanair desk within one hour to avail of this.

With Aer Lingus if you turn up late of check-in but the flight hasn’t departed, you can pay a missed departure fee of €75 for a seat on the next flight.