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An Expert's Cruise Packing Advice...


Packing with a partner...

Unless you have tight airline connections, if you pack and check multiple suitcases they should all stay together and arrive with you at your destination. However, should one of them be delayed, you and your travel companion can be certain to each have clothing to wear if you "mix" up your garments. Pack a bit of both of your clothing in each suitcase. Editor's note: You might want to consult with your travel pal regarding shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen and general health remedies. In most cases you don't need doubles so decide who brings what.


Packing small and watertight...

Here's an idea my husband Mel came up with when preparing for a bicycle tour of Holland. Pack small. Undergarments and knits take only a third of the suitcase space they normally occupy when they're compressed. Simply place those articles in bags designed for compact storage, such as those made by Pack-Mate, or appropriately sized zipper top kitchen storage bags and force all the air out before zipping them shut. Not only do you save room in your suitcases but your clothing will stay dry.

Dry? What's with that? Well, if you have soft-sided luggage and it gets caught in a downpour, either while being loaded on your airplane or ship, the contents could get soaked. You might also spray your luggage with Scotch Guard for additional waterproofing both inside and out. P.S. An added bonus of using zipper top bags is efficient unpacking-- just leave everything in the bags and stack them in drawers and on shelves. Fast, neat, and space saving!


Whose knickers are those on the conveyor belt?

We've all seen it happen. It's really embarrassing to realize your luggage has come unzipped (for one reason or another) and those are your delicate unmentionables on the airport conveyor belt.

You want to lock your luggage, but hate those tiny locks with even tinier keys? This idea is courtesy of a Delta ticket agent (as related by my husband Mel). Head on over to the local home improvement store and buy cable ties. If you're unsure of where to find them ask a helpful hardware guy. They're usually in the electrical supply area -- you know -- they're those plastic things that have a pointy end that slips into a hole on the other end. Sort of like a flexible needle. Once they're attached, you'll need scissors or a nail clipper to remove them. Take extras for the trip home. Another benefit of cable ties, they keep sticky-fingered airline baggage handlers (and others) from riffling through your things.

With today's updated airport security procedures, you may not be able to lock your luggage until after it's been screened-- if you can lock it at all. Ask at check-in if it's possible to use cable ties. If your luggage requires hand-screening, a new cable tie will usually be affixed and you will find a note inside the suitcase indicating that the contents were examined. If you use a combination or keyed lock, it will be cut off and discarded.


Tape, tape, tape...

Duct tape -- is it really a necessity? Judging by the number of people who ask to borrow it? YES! For added security, there's nothing like duct tape. Wrapped around suitcases, it keeps them relatively secure in worst case scenarios, such as zipper blow out or broken hinges and clasps. Tape also discourages random pilferage by baggage handlers. Why would anyone bother with your taped bag when others are not even locked? Plus, it gives your suitcases a bit of frequent traveler panache 'shabby chic,' if you will. For an emergency repair, there's nothing as handy as duct tape. Have DUCK Tape, Will Travel highlights a new cruising travel necessity... it's NOT your father's duct tape and it no longer belongs in the garage.

Again, with today's updated airport security screening, the duct tape might be cut to enable hand examination of suitcase contents. Just as effective are brightly-colored luggage straps with quick release buckles such as those available from eBags and Magellan's.

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Bon Vivant Travel





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