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/ Source: TODAY
By Lyn Mettler

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My family flies Southwest Airlines pretty frequently and they generously allow you to check two bags per person for free. The key is ensuring our bags are not heavier than 50 pounds — and boy do we cut it close sometimes...

A handy gadget that we discovered along the way is this portable luggage scale that lets us quickly and easily weigh our bags.

Etekcity Digital Hanging Luggage Scale, $11, Amazon

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At home, we used to stand on our bathroom scale with and without our bags to try and estimate their weight, but we didn't have the same option before our return flight.

Now, we just use this portable scale at home, which is SO much easier than trying to lift a heavy bag while standing on a scale. We even pack it in our suitcase, so we can weigh our bags before heading back to the airport for our flight home. Easy peasy.

One too many times we've arrived at the airport only to discover our bags were too heavy and had to do a frantic look-through the bags to see what we could move to another suitcase or bring with us on the plane. The alternative is paying a hefty fee — no thank you!

Apparently, lots of travelers find it helpful, as well, because the item has nearly 5,000 reviews on Amazon with an average 4.7 out of 5 stars!

How it works

Etekcity Digital Hanging Luggage Scale comes in a small box, which is extremely simple to unpack. You don't have to spend any time putting it together, simply pull out the plastic insert next to the battery, and it's all ready for its first use.

Lyn Mettler

To use the scale, insert the black strap through the top or side handle of the bag or suitcase you want to weigh and secure the hook on the metal triangle ring for stability. Press the power button on the top of the scale and wait until it zeroes out.

Lyn Mettler

Grip the handle, lift up and wait until the reading stabilizes, flashing three times, to get the measurement. The scale can weigh items up to 100 pounds.

It also has a thermometer for measuring the temperature in the surroundings. Simply press the Unit button to rotate through Celsius or Fahrenheit.

The weight will remain on the screen for two minutes unless you reset it by pressing Z/T (the same as the power button) on the top. To power it off, simply hold the power button for two seconds; otherwise, it turns off automatically after two minutes.

Lyn Mettler

And it's not just for travel — the scale can also be used to weigh other items, like baskets of produce at the farmer's market.

One tip: We originally would pack our scale in our suitcase and then forget where we'd packed it! Now, we put it in the same spot every time, so we'll know where to look for it. Another option may be to buy two, since they're relatively inexpensive, and leave one always packed and one in a drawer at home that is dedicated to travel, so you'll know where to find both.

Now you're ready to jet set without worrying about getting hit with an overweight luggage fee!

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