March 30, 2009

My Do's and Don'ts of packing...

I read this article in USA Today on the way from Boston to DC. I felt the need to give some of my opinions on packing since I feel like I am a traveler turned flight attendant. :) (And a seriously good packer.)

In "Airport Check-in" section
-"Lambert-St. Louis Airport police have uncovered a theft ring involving baggage handlers who were allegedly stealing from Delta passengers. The investigation has led to eight arrests; six suspects worked for contractor Huntleigh USA. Nearly 900 items have been recovered, including laptops, game consoles, camera's and firearms. Delta passengers who think they might have had items stolen while traveling through St. Louis in the past 12-15 months can call a police hotline: 314.890.1822."

So, if you want some advice on packing for your next on!

First, I always recommend traveling as light as possible! If you can avoid checking a bag, do! You will avoid lost luggage your bag will have minimal contact with baggage handlers. (Note that some of the smaller jets, like the ones I work on, do not have overhead bins to accommodate rollarboards and have to be gate checked. This means that it will go through a baggage handler. Not a good idea to stick your wallet or any thing else you care to have in the front pocket.)
IF you have to check a bag- when packing I have always asked myself "will i need this if they loose my luggage?" I avoid packing any camera's, laptops, id's, money....(you get the idea) in my checked luggage. If you must, I suggest digging deep into the middle of all your clothes to hide it. I have always thought that the harder it is to get to it, the safer it is. This also keeps the objects safe from all the bumps and tosses your bag will take.
Also, check with your airline, a lot now charge for checked luggage. Make sure you know that you will be spending an extra $15 or $25 for your extra things.

When I am traveling for fun, I always pack one suitcase and one carry on item (with my purse jammed into it last minute). My carry on is usually my trusty back pack and I fill it with anything I can not live without. (Wallet, camera, ipod, book for flight...) and a few essentials. If I pack a bag, or even gate check one, I will add in a toothbrush, change of clothes (usually just a top that goes with my pants) and an extra set of underwear. If you are heading somewhere tropical, its never a bad idea to pack in your swimsuit as well.
When Geoff and I went to Cancun two Decembers ago, we got cleared at the end of boarding and all the overhead space was full. They had to check our carry on rollarboards through Atlanta to Cancun. Wouldn't you know it, we had a ground delay into Atlanta and ended up sprinting through the airport barely making our flight. We thought there was no way we would see our luggage when we landed. I was happy knowing I at least had a swimsuit with me to enjoy the pool. (btw. our bags made it, but I wasn't worrying the whole flight because I was prepared.)

Third, a nice sturdy suitcase does just fine. My mom used to be one of those voices over the phone you would talk to when her airlines (one different from the one I am employed with) would loose your luggage. She has told me many times that the most "misplaced bags" that got checked were expensive Louis Vittion luggage. I highly recommend saving the expensive bags to purses.

A few packing tips that help me pack a lot of stuff into a little bag...
-Pack clothing that goes together and you can layer.
-Roll your clothes, I practice this everytrip and am a firm believer that the roll saves space!
-Save room for souvenirs. My friend Courtney and I forgot this when we went to China and had to buy an extra small suitcase just for our goodies. Again, I packed the important ones in my carry on.

My last tip that my mom taught me but I am really bad at doing...
Pack your bag, then take everything out and leave 10-20% of it at home. It's probably clothes and you probably wont wear it all anyways (unless you are a pro packer and if you are, what are you reading this for?) It helped me pack like an expert for China! I would of been fine if I had bought less stuff. :)

Anyways, hope this helps the next time you have to pack for a trip, and lets hope its vacation!


Meekiyu said...

great tips! I only went on an airplane once to California and I only had one duffle bag full of layer - able clothes/shorts etc. I had all my important stuff in my carry on. I've never fathom the thought of people stealing tons of stuff from passengers. Though it makes me wonder why anyone would pack a game console in their luggage?

where'veyoubeen said...

you know, i was trying to leave all my sarcasm out of the blog but I wonder the same things. I have seen passengers put their wallets in a bag and hand it to the baggage handler. Why would anyone think thats a good idea?

Glad to hear that you are a flying pro already! :)

GirlonTour said...

Nice post! I am completely terrible at packing! You think I would know by now, but seriously, I think it is something you just have or you haven't. And I sadly I don't.