Thursday, February 17, 2011

Packing Light

We all know that packing light is one of the keys to travelling well on a budget. Usually I do a pretty good job of it, but I always have to check a suitcase. I just don't understand these people who claim they can travel around the world with just a carry-on bag. They are almost invariably guys, but still. I have lost too many precious items to over-zealous security personnel to consider it. And what do you do if they change the rules while you're travelling, as seems to happen a lot?
I try to apply the budget concept to luggage as well as other travel costs. For about 15 years I have been travelling with a big sturdy turquoise tote bag that cost $10 at Macy's. I use it as a carry-on bag. Ir is almost infinitely expandable, a virtue if you want to bring anything new home with you. The problem is that with the length of airport corridors now and the often tight schedules, it can be hard to carry this bag when it is fully loaded. I almost fell over on my side when running between planes in Toronto last summer. A computer plus all the important papers one needs along with essential cosmetics etc. made it too heavy and bulky for easy carrying, so the time has come for its replacement.
The replacement, I have decided, will need wheels. People zipping around airports with their wheeled carry-ons usually look quite relaxed and unburdened. I checked a couple of Website for recommendations for the best wheeled carry-ons, but most were $50 or more, sometimes much more.
. I think I will go with my usual luggage supplier, a dollar-type store run by Chinese people in my meighborhood. I have bought two wheeled bags that I check there for about $25 each, and they have stood up well to years of wear. In fact, I may convert the smaller of them to a wheeled carry-on, thus getting still more use out of it. I'll probably fold up the turquoise tote bag and carry it inside one of the other bags in case I buy more than I can carry in the wheeled bags.
And if I do need to ship more than one bag, I will check with companies like FedEx or UPS, who will ship bags door to door often for less than the airlines charge.



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