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Many airlines charge a fee to check a bag. An average cost is $25 for the first bag.  Southwest Airlines does not charge to check baggage.

Some airlines offer savings on the fees if bags are checked in online on the airline’s website. Additional charges are applied to bags that are oversized or overweight. To avoid surprise fees or additional costs at the airport, check the airline website for baggage information specific to that airline.

If you check a bag at curbside, keep in mind that the skycap’s gratuity is not included in any fees. A general rule of thumb for appropriate tipping is $1 to $2 per bag if it is checked at curbside; $2 per bag if the skycap takes the bags inside to check-in counter.

For specific shipping and baggage restrictions, such as pets, weapons, hazardous materials, or large or unusual sized items, refer to the airline’s website.

Valuables including medication, passports and jewelry should always be carried with you and not checked inside your luggage. Keep your carry-on luggage with you at all times.

Place identification tags on the outside and inside of your luggage. Tags that are placed on a luggage handle can be easily torn or lost during luggage-handling. An additional strap around the outside of your luggage will serve as a safeguard against tampering or accidental openings.