Americans 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. 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: