Originally, we decided to do a fourteen part series on making travel easy and fun. But each post I write gives me ideas for more, so we just may throw in a few bonus posts. Here’s one!
Let’s talk for a minute about two important subjects …. Travel Luggage and Carry On Luggage.
What Travel Luggage and Carry On Luggage Should I Use?
Hopefully you know that the days of expensive luggage went out the same day we stopped traveling in our Sunday best. Luggage gets tossed, broken, ripped and United breaks guitars . Anything short of complete and total destruction and the airlines will take no responsibility and have no liability and even then, they usually won’t. So when it happens, and it WILL, if you haven’t invested in a Louis V matching set, you won’t care and you’ll just take it in stride…
What Type of Adventure Travel are you Doing?
Depending on your type of travel, your luggage will be different. For diving, I put my gear in $25 army duffel bags. They weigh 2 lbs so I can put more gear inside and they look like dirty laundry coming home from boot camp. For climbing, we picked up Everest Hard Gear duffels in Nepal. Any bag that is yak proof is definitely airline proof! We don’t use bags with insignias on them that might indicate what’s inside and they need to be durable but expendable – because we’ve never met a bag that the airlines can’t destroy. Duffels lack wheels and require some hefting but that’s ok … there is always a luggage cart or porter available.
I use TSA locks on everything and bring a couple of spares. They do get cut sometimes and/or lost by the airlines or me.
For any “regular” type of travel, I use American Tourister soft-sided luggage or equivalent that I can replace for about $40. These have wheels and are easy to grab and go. Soft sided are a bit lighter even if less durable.
I prefer to be self-sufficient when traveling alone, especially as a woman. I usually have one rolling checked bag, one rolling computer bag and a small backpack. That way no one who need not be in my business has an excuse to approach me.
I don’t tie a hundred yellow ribbons on my luggage but I do have a luggage tag on both the outside AND the inside of my bag and even written in black marker ON the bag. I put my email but not my phone number. Again, as a woman especially when I travel alone, I don’t want to advertise my number.
Airline Baggage Requirements
Most airlines these days have the same requirements in terms of the size of your bags (though weight and number of allowed bags differs). Be smart. Take a few extra minutes and be sure the bag you purchase is not oversized unless you fully intend to pay for it. This will save hassle and stress at the airport.
I can’t say enough; check the weight restrictions for your airline. I recently had an airline check in agent tell me she just reads the limits off the screen now because it changes so often that she can’t remember it anymore. Be aware that when traveling on a multi airline itinerary, you will be limited by the least generous airline. Just because an airline gives you an allowance and you are flying part of the itinerary on their international partner; don’t assume that the international partner will give you the same.
Carry On Luggage
If you travel with a roll aboard bag you are pretty safe. Get a standard size one and don’t overstuff it. Airlines (even most remote ones) see these bags all the time and expect them. European weight limits for carry on luggage is very restrictive but North American limits are incredibly generous. Then carry a small backpack or shoulder bag as your “personal item.” Be careful of putting valuables in a backpack; they are very easy to pick in a crowded airport. I often carry mine off the shoulder.
Especially if you are traveling overseas or overnight there are essential things to keep in your carry on luggage.
1. All important papers such as visas, hotel confirmations etc..
2. Any valuables (diving watch, cash, credit cards etc)
3. Any Medications you need to take on a daily basis
4. A change of clothes suitable for your destination, including bathing suit. Anything you would need for 24 hours if your luggage were lost.
5. Breakables like your laptop
Accessible Carry On Luggage
You will want to put one of your pieces of carry on luggage overhead and the other under your seat. In the “under the seat” carry on you’ll want things to make your flight more comfortable and fun and that you can access without disturbing other passengers by getting in and out of the overhead compartment.
1. Book /magazine/ Kindle
2. Dvd’s and player
4. Noise canceling headphones
5. Extra layer of clothes (like a sweatshirt when the plane gets cold or socks)
6. Cash and perhaps credit card
7. Vitamins/toothbrush/hairbrush/ hand and face lotion (for long or overnight flight)
9. Passport (Int’l flights you will need to fill out paperwork and you don’t want to have to get up and get into your overhead bag)
10. Pen (same reason)
11. Neck pillow (I usually “hook” this onto my roll aboard so it doesn’t take space and throw it on my seat when I board)
What do you like to have in your carry on?? Let us know!!
To the Universe and Beyond!