Sunday, January 10, 2016

Pack Like a Pro

by Beverly Burmeier, Going On Adventures

Most airlines now charge for a checked bag, so passengers cram as much as possible into their wheeled carry-ons. And (bummer) a few airlines have begun charging for bags you bring on board the plane.

The most typical fee for a checked bag for U.S. airlines is $25 each way or $50 for a round-trip flight, but you can avoid that by traveling with carry-ons only.

These packing tips can help you fit up to a week’s worth of clothes and necessary items into the maximum-size carry-on, which is 22 x 14 x 9 inches (Even so, you might be required to gate check your bag on smaller planes).

Make a list of what you’ll need—then follow it. You can have a general list that covers any travel; then add specific items needed for the current trip.

Before getting out your suitcase, set aside the clothing items you plan to take—then put at least a third of those items back. Same with jewelry and personal care items. Do you really need three gold necklaces and four lipsticks? Most hotels supply shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion, so you can leave yours at home.

A soft-side bag will stretch to accommodate over-stuffing, unlike hard-shell luggage. Wheels are necessary—no longer a luxury--as are strong zippers and reinforced corners. Stash travel documents or other items you might need on arrival in outside pockets.

Packing pros recommend rolling rather than folding clothes. Shirts, pants, and skirts take up less space and wrinkle less when rolled. Or purchase bags specially made for vacuum packing these items.

Stuff small items like socks and underwear (and chargers) into shoes or other odd-shaped items. After your main wardrobe is packed, slip these small items into the nooks and crannies. Mesh bags of various sizes can help keep socks, sleepwear, and T-shirts organized.

When traveling to a cold destination, wear jacket, boots, and scarf on the plane. These items take up too much space in a suitcase, and chances are you can stash them in an overhead bin if they’re too bulky at your seat. That coat might even make a good pillow if you want to sleep.

You’re allowed a personal item, so make sure it counts. A large shoulder, duffel, or tote bag can hold a week-end's worth of clothes and a computer thus increasing your packable space. Just be sure it will fit under the seat or in the overhead bin of smaller planes for take-off and landing.

Packing liquids can be a problem when you’re not checking a bag. You can’t take a jar of barbeque sauce to your friends or sneak in a bottle of wine purchased on your trip. The TSA limits liquids to 3.4 ounces or less per container, and all of these must fit into a quart-size plastic zip bag. That’s a tall order for women who typically have a variety of personal care items.

Instead of packing liquid perfume, deodorant, sunscreen, insect repellent, make-up remover, etc., switch to solids and wipes. Many hygiene products now are designed in sizes and composition that meet the regulations of air travel.

Realize that you don't need a different outfit for each day of travel, and a pair of all-purpose shoes saves a lot of space. Bonus--lighter luggage is easier on your back and shoulders and more maneuverable in tight spaces. 

Bon voyage!

#travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia #packingtips

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