My wife and I travel a lot. Recently, we've been to Hawaii, Europe, on Caribbean cruises and to cities on both coasts. We dread the usual airport hassles with increased security concerns. But we've figured a way to make most of it bearable. It all stems from the amount of luggage you bring. And that is determined by knowing what to take and how to pack. We went to Europe with a single 22 "carry-on bag each and that that included a tour of the Mediterranean over ten days. machine would you believe me? Okay, I'll come clean.
My wife and I got smart. We did not want to have to check bags through the system at the risk of them being lost, broken, or stolen. And we both already own wheeled, carry-on luggage, with multiple compartments that have the expandable feature. So we decided to re-think what we really need for our travel. And that's the operative word: 'need.' Now my wife is a lovely lady with a pinchant for shoes and handbags. She also has a sizeable wardrobe. But, when considering the requirements for a week and a half trip, she has become ruthless in her decisions. For instance, does she 'need' five pairs of shoes and five matching handbags? How about five or six complete envelopes?
So, instead, she starts with the absolute essentials. It begins with toiletries and cosmetics and the very basics of each. Toss in any hair care devices and we have a foundation. Of course, we now have to remember the TSA exceptions like toothpaste and liquids. Then she considers the weather and what is appropriate. I must add that we went in the spring when the European temperature was in the low seventies. Otherwise, we might have bought coats as well, but they would have been worn onto the plane. Continuing, she picked several mix and match tops, pants, and skirts that could be used several times. Finally, she finished with undergarments and any small extras that could be squeezed in. The bag and compartments were full, but not bursting at the seams, either.
It takes courage to weed out the non-essentials and force yourselves to live with the same clothes for that long time. But, we made the choice and were happy with the result. Just learning which shoes, are both practical and comfortable, makes a huge difference as they take up so much space. We try to keep the clothes equally appropriate to our needs and pack the bare minimum. Our only exception is a small tote that can carry purchased souvenirs and our portable DVD player for viewing our own movies on the plane. It also accommodates our his-and-hers MP3 players and earphones, that can also be used with the DVD.
Having one piece of luggage per person makes getting through security a breeze. We also have the peace of mind that all our possessions are with us at all times. We've even thought of washing some things if necessary, because every hotel has facilities available for that very purpose. But the convenience of carefree travel is the reward.
So, the next time you plan your vacation, consider how much better it might be with single carry-ons. Otherwise, you're back waiting by the luggage carousel expecting to spot that bag of yours. Because, in that case, I can almost hear you say, "Is that the right one coming up over there? Gosh, I hope it's not the one that's already popped open."