Daily Archives: December 18, 2008

In The Suitcase: packing light

I am absolutely determined to go to Thailand with one carry-on suitcase and one “personal item” which sometimes can be a daypack as large as my carry-on. I usually travel with a carry-on because it takes forever to receive my bag at the baggage carousel. If it even makes it there, which in recent times when I’ve been forced to check my bag, it does not.

Granted, my carry-on is a dubious measurement just barely making the maximum size limit, which is 45 inches, and mine is 47. Part of the reason is because I purchased the suitcase in Beijing for a well-bargained $20 where it is likely to not really be the brand it claims to be, but it’s been an excellent suitcase that only required one handle repair. All domestic airlines don’t care or notice that I’ve exceeded by a couple inches, except British Airways caught it and made me check it in, and then it didn’t arrive until a couple days later, of course.

Yes, it helps that as a female not living in the 1980’s anymore, my clothes are little. One of Jon’s t-shirts equates five of mine. It also helps that I am not huge into toiletry products, so I travel with my 3 ounces of Pantene 2-in-1, a bottle of body lotion (which I use on my face, something I recently learned is supposed to be a no-no, but I still look 10 years younger) and use the hotel soap to stay clean. However, through all my travels, domestic and international, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way.

1. Really, reduce your liquids to 3 ounces or less. If you run out, which you probably won’t, because I never do, there are stores in other cities that sell American products.

2. Stuff socks and little items into shoes.

3. Pack for five days. Do laundry.

4. Don’t bring an umbrella. If it rains, postcard vendors have a neat habit of turning into umbrella merchants immediately.

5. You’re really not that dirty. You don’t HAVE to wear a clean shirt every single time. The shirt you wore for 12 hours, as long as you didn’t sweat profusely into it, is not going to burn acid through your skin. In fact, it smells better than other people wherever you are, because only Americans require a biohazard suit around day-old clothing. (I would suggest changing your socks, however). Besides, most Americans don’t shower until morning, which means if you’re willing to sleep in your own filth all night long, and not wash your sheets every single day, your day-old shirt will suffice.

6. If you’re finding you have a few items that just won’t go into the suitcase or your bag, here’s a handy trick. Carry your large sweatshirt/ sweater and books in your arms when you go through security. As long as they are not “in” a bag, it won’t be counted as a third carry-on. After you pass through security, stick them into a plastic bag and pretend you just purchased them at the airport gift shop.


Filed under In The Suitcase, Wanderings