With more and more airlines charging for baggage handling, ‘Packing Light’ has become a hot topic.
After the distress of the airlines losing two of my bags in the last two years, I now try to travel with only a regulation-size carry-on. Believe me, the hassle of arriving somewhere without your personal clothing as well as the hassle of getting the insurance to pay for your loss just isn’t worth checking bags (whether there is a fee or not.)
Now, the only time I take a chance on a checked bag is when I absolutely have to. For instance, trips to the Arctic or Antarctic require heavy expedition clothing that just doesn’t fit a mini bag. That’s the time for a large bag that requires much extra lugging.
The 10 Facts that guide my decision
1. I don’t need to be a fashion plate. Ideally we travel to observe not to be observed.
2. Especially as a woman who travels solo, plain clothes in plain styles allow me to fly under the radar and not stand out in a crowd. Social deviants and criminals are attracted to ‘glitter.’
3. I know the feeling of fumbling with a purse and backpack, trying to pull a large bag along the uneven cobbled streets of Europe.
4. Ditto, I know the feeling of shlepping a heavy suitcase up and down the stairs of subways and guest houses.
5. I understand how quickly passengers must climb unto a waiting train while trying to gracefully bring the heavy suitcase on board as well.
6. For safety sake I want to always have one hand free and be able to move quickly and easily. I learned this when a group of street urchins in Florence surrounded me trying to get at my belongings. I shouted and used that empty hand to swat them away. They quickly disappeared and I didn’t lose a thing.
7. I know that as long as you are clean and dressed modestly you can fit in anywhere. You don’t need countless changes.
8. If you are on a multi-city itinerary you can rest assured that one city doesn’t wire ahead to the next to describe what you wore. You don’t need a different outfit for each event you attend.
9. Pack light and you will have room in your suitcase to bring back a few small souvenirs.
10. Pack light and you won’t need to spend a fortune on taxis from the airport. You will be able to use public transport. Bonus tip: See www.ihatetaxis.com
BONUS: Pack carryon luggage and save on baggage fees that will otherwise probably pay for five glasses of red wine in Paris or five cups of coffee elsewhere in the world.