Eight Summer Packing Tips: How to Bring Less and Enjoy Your Trip More

By Jonathan Spira on 30 June 2013
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The last time an agent asked me if I had any bags to check, DSC_4328I explained that I suffer from separation anxiety and therefore only had carry-on luggage.  That rather meager attempt at humor notwithstanding, avoiding the checking of bags when flying makes for a vastly better travel experience and makes it possible to quickly make last minute changes that travelers whose bags were already checked could only hope for.

With the exception of gate checking a bag when flying on a small regional jet, I have managed to travel roughly two hundred thousand miles in the past two years without checking a bag, be it a two day trip or a two week journey.

My distaste for checking bags sometimes pales in comparison to what some travelers suffer from when it comes to packing light enough to avoid checking a bag.  Most people still check bags and an informal survey of travelers at airline check-in counters reveals that many check more than one bag per person.

The fact is that almost the world’s airlines lose roughly 3,000 bags each hour (which translates into over 25 million each year) should be a wakeup call (and a decent reason to experience separation anxiety when it comes to one’s luggage) but the convenience and time-savings that not checking bags brings makes it worthwhile to invest time in planning to pack lighter, better, and smarter.

Meanwhile, heavy packers feel they need to be ready for any and all occasions – including the need for redundancy (two blue sweaters, check!  two pairs of shoes, check!  four ties, four belts, check!) and sometimes a rather literal belt-and-suspenders approach.  All of these extra items will take up more space than is available in a bag designed for carry-on. The result could be your standing on line to check your bag while I’m sitting in the lounge relaxing and your waiting by the carousel for your luggage while I am already en route to my hotel.

There is, however, hope.  Simply follow these eight tips and you’ll be on your way to what can only be described as a truly liberating experience.

Click here to continue to Page 2Eight Tips: Everything From Choosing a Bag to Packing It

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