This Fishing Vest Travel Hack Is All Over TikTok—Does It Work?

We dove into the hack to see if it's actually helping people save on baggage fees.

We've all had enough of airlines' hidden fees, and if I personally had to pick one, I've definitely had enough of paying extra to bring a piece of luggage—let alone if it's just a carry-on.

Instead of complaining and rolling their eyes like I usually do, some people on the internet decided to take it upon themselves to solve the issue and successfully game the system before it games you. Travel writer Chelsea Dickenson is one of those people, and on TikTok she is often sharing hacks on how to not pay for baggage fees.

A recent hack, which soon went viral on the platform, instructs frustrated travelers to purchase a low-cost (£10.99, to be precise) fishing vest to use and wear instead of bringing a bag. Thanks to its many sizable pockets, Dickenson says—and demonstrates—it is pretty easy to fill it up and literally wear your luggage without incurring in extra fees. In the video, she shows what she is able to fit inside the jacket, which includes a bikini, a speaker, a deck of cards, a power bank, a laptop, and more—basically, all of your essentials.

Then, the trial begins. In the TikTok, Dickenson needs to see if the trick works and she's able to go through security. "I'm actually so sure this is going to work, I'm not even going to hide this under a jacket," she says. "It's pockets. You're allowed pockets, right?" The experiment turns out to be successful, and Dickenson manages to get on her flight without issues.

The question is, can this trick actually work? According to the comment section, it's a hit or miss. Some people enthusiastically pointed out that there might be an outfit combo that works even better than that. "This and cargo pants??" noted one user. "Life changing."

Others, however, brought up the fact that you might get in trouble at security. "Yeah, it doesn't look like there's anything wrong with it," reads one comment. "But usually you would still have to take the jacket off for the security check." To those claims, however, Dickenson responded that security can't really do much about your bag allowance. "You always take your jacket off at security!" she said. "And they're not checking allowance, just liquids and illegal items."

At the end of the day, though, it looks like it depends on the airline itself. One traveler shared their experience, and said that while the trick has worked at the beginning, it suddenly stopped after a while. "I had something like this called a bagket and it worked 4x," they wrote. "But I finally got stopped and I had no more room in my luggage to add the extra to."

The takeaway seems to be simple. If you wear a fishing vest as a luggage, there is nothing illegal with it, and chances of it working are pretty good. However, you should come prepared in case flight attendants tell you "no," and make sure you have other ways to store your belongings. If that sounds paradoxical, it's because it is—if you had somewhere else to store them, you'd have ample space in your bag, right?

The cool thing about these hacks is that if they work, they work wonders—but you should always prepare for the worst case scenario. If told no, you'd probably have to purchase a bag and the bag allowance in order to make it onto the flight. If you do the math and that's still worth it for you, then go right ahead! If not, you might want to consider getting a carry-on luggage allowance in the first place—some airlines even offer discounted rates if you purchase those in advance.

Looking for more travel tips?

Whether you need help sneaking weed onto a plane, finding an airport where you can sign up for PreCheck without an appointment, or making sure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to when your flight is canceled, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for up-to-date travel hacks and all the travel news you need to help you plan your next big adventure.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.