(+) Essential Things I Never Travel Without – Part #1

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

I travel a lot. It is only April, and I have already been overseas twice this year. In a 12-month period I am visiting Iceland, Denmark, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, and China, two trips to Salt Lake City, multiple trips to Massachusetts, and one trip each to Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as several Caribbean islands. I may add some more trips to the schedule before the year is over.

Some of these trips are for business, but quite a few are for personal reasons. Several trips are to attend genealogy conferences. I also get to spend a bit of time researching my own family tree occasionally. Whenever possible, I try to combine business trips with a few days of vacation, especially when I have an opportunity to go to places I have never visited before. That includes most of my trips overseas.

I have become a fanatic on lightweight packing.

Most of the time, I can squeeze all of the needed items into one carry-on suitcase that easily fits into an airplane’s overhead compartment plus an “over-the-shoulder” bag that fits under the seat in front of me. With today’s price-gouging by airlines for checked bags, use of carry-on luggage saves a lot of money. Besides, I don’t like dragging all that heavy luggage with me. In past years, I have wasted far too much energy wrestling with heavy suitcases on shuttle buses, taxis, and in rental cars. Never again.

On the few occasions when I do need to check a bag, I try to fly on Southwest Airlines (which offers two checked bags at no additional fee). Besides, Southwest seems to offer better service than most of the other U.S. airlines. However, that airline isn’t available on many overseas flights.

For overseas trips, most airlines allow at least one checked bag at no extra charge. However, I still fly with only a carry-on. I simply don’t want to be encumbered with lots of baggage.

Another benefit to traveling with only a carry-on bag is that it saves a lot of time. I no longer wait at the baggage carousel upon arrival at the destination airport. I am usually out the door at the airport much quicker than the majority of my fellow passengers.

I have had checked luggage damaged by baggage handlers a number of times over the years, including once when my checked suitcase arrived on the baggage carousel split wide open with underwear and other clothing spilling all over the place. The hinges on the almost-new suitcase had been ripped off. That never happens with carry-on luggage.

Finally, the odds of losing bags are almost zero when the luggage never leaves my possession! I have never lost a suitcase when I carried it on board the plane.

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