Airline Luggage & Travel has gotten complex and the rules are constantly changing.  It’s always been my policy, even 20 years ago NEVER to bring carry on luggage, I want what I have with me and don’t want to have to wait after a long flight to pick up something that might not be there and add to my stress or aggravation.  Its really not hard, you just have to give it some thought.  For example, if you are flying from a cold region to a hot region, its fine to dress in jeans, t-shirt and another shirt over it.  If you are going from a hot region to another hot region, shorts and shirt are fine.  However, if you are going from a hot region to a cold one, dress in clothes which are fine for cold/hot and bring a jacket once you land.  When I fly, I tend to fly in jeans, black t-shirt I am happy to discard, and a top shirt I plan to wear on the way back.  Understand, flight travel takes several hours if not a day or 2, so best to travel in comfortable, practical clothes.  If you wish to wash them, fine, but its also fine to fly back in those same clothes if you don’t really care.  The other tip is to wear clothes that you don’t mind discarding once you arrive.  It does make sense… those socks with a hole, those undershirts and underwear you were going to throw out or donate, no one sees those, so why not use those which you can toss out and use that room in your luggage for souvenirs and/or packing more lightly?  I am not saying wander around as a slob, but if its fine with you… wearing old, worn out, slightly torn undergarments and socks you were going to discard anyway, why not use them on vacation?  You wear them once, throw them out and you really don’t need to check any luggage.

Now, if you absolutely must check luggage (which you don’t), remember your rights, and you have rights.  You are entitled to compensation, in some cases up to $3k, of course they will not tell you this and if you bring it up you must file a claim, at the airport and somehow keep a copy, and who wants that after a long flight?  Avoid all this. Check stuff you know you will never miss, like that extra pair of socks/jeans/shampoo/t-shirts, etc.  Let’s face it, if it does get lost you don’t need these things, and you can just as well buy them when you land at your destination.  Hair dryers, irons, shampoo, slippers, soap, these are all things you can purchase once you arrive. Sure, they might cost more, but certainly not as much as the stress, aggravation and time it would cost you to wait around for a piece of luggage that might never get there.

So here you go: wear what you would be comfortable wearing for the flight there and back and maybe once during the week.  Carry on ONLY essentials you cannot live without, like medicine, laptop, camera, cellphone, personal things like ID, Passport, credit cards, cash/currency, etc.  Anything else like toothpaste, mouthwash, etc can easily be purchased at any local store when you arrive in any city.

For me, I learned a great trick & tip.  iPad.  Sure, it may sound trendy, but I was going to Brazil and about to spend 21-24+ hours in transit in airports and planes.  How do you pass that time if you are not one that can easily fall asleep?  Well, get an iPad, something the size smaller of a magazine can hold the 2-3 dictionaries and phrasebooks I would have carried, novels for fun, newspapers and even books of interest — all of those would require me to either put them on carry on and/or check in luggage — I eliminated that by using the technology to download eBooks, iBooks, Kindle books, etc… they are now all something I can carry an entire library on a single device smaller than a National Geographic magazine.

Toiletries:  You don’t need a full tube of toothpaste which airport security will mostly discard anyway.  Get a small tube for less than a dollar.  Same as shampoo, but remember, all hotel rooms have free shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc.   If you must carry your own, carry just a small few days worth in a small tube.  Get a compact toothbrush and you are all set.  Remember, you are not compromising on comfort and/or things you consider things you absolutely need, you are just finding a way to travel lighter and less complex. And if you give it enough thought or do enough research, you will realize you need half of what you would normally travel with.  One last tip are universal chargers.  You have one for your phone, one for laptop, one for something else, but find a universal charger that will work for all 3 so you are only packing one instead of several.

More tips to follow….

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