I am fundamentally opposed to paying to check luggage on a flight. I’m just old enough to remember free baggage, taking water bottles through security, and even accompanying travelers to their gate without a ticket. Ah, the good old days. However, my stance on checked bags creates obstacles as most of my trips are long. Since I’m generally traveling to the east coast, I try to take advantage of my expensive plane ticket by planning longer vacations. I’m also an advocate of longer vacations because it’s healthy. Americans not only take fewer vacations than the rest of the world, we take shorter vacations that don’t allow your body enough time to decompress and get into relaxation mode. As a naturally high-strung person this definitely affects me and I prefer week-long holidays to weekend getaways.
Now, a little on my travel preparation. Given my anxious ways, traveling brings out the worst in me. I need to check in to my flight early in order to get an aisle seat close to the front of the plane allowing me to quickly board and exit. I have my studio quality headphones and an iPhone full of Podcasts (my favorites are This American Life, The Moth, and Freakonomics) ready to go in my backpack, which serves as my personal item. Here, I keep my computer and all chargers, my purse, liquids in a Ziploc, and jewelry that I don’t want to leave my possession during travel.
My carry-on bag is pink, my favorite color and an easy bag to find on those occasions when they won’t let you take it on the plane and you must check it at the gate. It is also incredibly lightweight so that I don’t struggle too much when putting it in an overhead bin. Let’s face it, chivalry is dead and no one is going to help me—air travel is the most dangerous game and it’s every man for himself.
As you can see, I’m an advocate of the rolled clothing technique. Rolling takes up less space than folding and helps minimize difficult creases. I also utilize the netted pockets above, the straps inside to minimize everything shifting, and grocery bags for my shoes. Keep heavier items, such as toiletries and shoes, at the wheels end of the bag. Also, if I’m planning on doing some shopping I include a few pieces I’m planing on getting rid of. If necessary I can abandon them to make room for new purchases I’m bringing home!