Summer TravelingAmericans are planning to spend more on summer travel this year – 53% of you say you'll spend upwards of $1,500, compared to 39% last year -- and I'm betting more of you will also be taking to the friendly skies. Or perhaps we should call them the not-so-friendly-and-sometimes-downright-maddening skies. You'll pay extra for nearly everything but the pleasure of a security pat down.

The biggest U.S. airlines pulled in $3.4 billion in baggage fees alone in 2011, according to the Department of Transportation. The Wall Street Journal reported that on Spirit Airlines, the average passenger paid $51.68 in non-ticket revenue for each flight segment, or a total of $103.36 above the ticket price.

As you might imagine, all that nickel and diming makes it hard to set a budget. So the best strategy, it seems, is two pronged: Shop smart, then avoid extras whenever possible. Here are five foolproof tips:

-- With Arielle O'Shea

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June 19 2012 at 11:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mily469's comment
Carole Ann

Oy! It's over 2,500 miles to family. Factor in motel charges, restaurants along the way, gas, tolls, wear and tear, not only on the car but on me and it would be cheaper and less frantic to drive. Weather conditions and detours not withstanding. :). Then you have the worry of the long drive back.

June 19 2012 at 11:05 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply