- PACK LIGHT: With baggage fees as they are, packing lightly saves money. Consider taking fewer clothes and doing laundry on your trip…coordinate colors so your can mix and match to form multiple outfits. Take travel size items when possible. On a recent trip to Hawaii, we took 5 flights (including inter-island flights). Our total baggage fees/bag were $151. I quickly saw the value of compact packing!!!
- Cross-Pack: When packing multiple suitcases for a family, put items for each family member in each suitcase. Airlines handle a LOT of luggage every day and the vast majority of it gets to its destination; however, if you do happen to be one of those unlucky ones, having items for all family members in each suitcase minimizes the impact of a misdirected suitcase on your family. You may not have exactly the item you WANT, but at least every family member will have SOMETHING to wear while you wait for your missing bag to be delivered.
- Take a photo ON YOUR PHONE of the contents of your suitcase AND your closed suitcase — before leaving home. This will be invaluable if your luggage is lost. Not only can it help to ID your suitcase (the airline will want to know what your suitcase looks like) but will also help with the claim filing process if it never reappears.
- Put a business card (name/cell no./address) and a copy of your itinerary on top of your clothing inside EACH suitcase. This will be the ‘last resort’ to get your bag back to you if the name tag is torn off or lost.
- Use a ribbon/luggage strap to ID your suitcase: This is not a new idea to most travelers, but I take it a step further. Do NOT choose red…or yellow… or blue. Those are very popular colors….so is not very ‘distinguising’ as you try to figure out WHICH ‘black suitcase with red ribbon’ is yours. Instead, choose an unusual color or pattern (orange & yellow polkadots, Candy canes, little black and white kittens….you get the idea) 🙂 Get unusual ribbon at fabric or craft stores or find full rolls on clearance racks. 🙂 Recently, we have begun using luggage straps – ours is NEON GREEN! 🙂 Red just doesn’t distinguish things much. 🙂
- Bring An Extra Bag: If you think you might make purchases that will take significant space for your return flight, take an extra folded bag/duffle in your suitcase. If you need that extra space, you’ll be glad you brought it.
- Attach MORE Than One Name/Address Card to Each Bag: When filling out airline name tags at check-in, grab TWO per bag. It will take more time, but if one is torn off in transit, you’ll be REALLY glad you attached an extra. Another option is to purchase a vinyl luggage tag. One that I’ve found that I really like is at Favors by Serendipity. http://www.favorsbyserendipity.com/cruise-accessories/index.html They cost $2.50-$3 ea and they have a pocket to put not only your contact information but your travel itinerary as well. If traveling, you want your luggage delivered to you at your hotel etc rather than to your front porch while you’re vacationing without your clothes. 🙂
- Take an empty water bottle through security: …and fill with water on the other
side. (liquids can’t go through security) The pressurized air on the airplane is extremely dehydrating –and you need to be hydrating. My preference is the Brita bottles with a filter in the lid.
- Take a dry wash cloth (or two) in a Ziploc bag in your carry on bag. Before landing, ask the flight attendant for a cup of warm water (or cool water??) to wet the cloth and freshen up. This is great if traveling with children who may need a ‘clean up’ at some point during the flight. The damp cloth goes back into the Ziplock bag, then can be rinsed out (or washed with bar soap/shampoo) in the hotel and hung to dry. Return to the bag and it’s ready for your return flight. Some people like moist towelletes or baby wipes for this, but I’ve always preferred actual wash cloths as they are more durable for cleaning up messes. You can purchase cheap washcloths from Dollar Tree – 2 pack for $1. You don’t have to bring your nice cloths from home…and these won’t get mixed up with the white washcloths at the hotel. 🙂
- Decongestants or Saline: This may be a controversial subject, but decongestants taken before flying (non-drowsy formulas) will help with the stuffiness produced by the dry air on the airplane….and might help if you have problems with your ears and the air pressure at take off and landing. A less invasive idea is to use Saline mist (just salt-water).
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