How To Pack For a Flight: DON'T BOTHER

Seasoned air travelers have always known to pack light, but now it's more important than ever to consider what NOT to take on your next flight.

It wasn't enough when full-size containers of favorite toiletries were banned from the passenger compartment, and TSA decided 3 ounces would be the maximum allowed, in ONE one-quart-size Ziploc bag per passenger.

I don't know about you, but even using 3-oz sizes, the liquid and gel items I absolutely have to have will not fit into a quart-size Ziploc bag. As the photo shows, that's 8 inches X 7.5 inches. Puhleeeese... The logical solution being to take full-size anyway, in checked baggage.

Well, thanks to rising fuel and other overhead costs, most airlines now charge for checked bags...at $100 per.

You're still allowed one "personal" bag such as a purse, laptop or tote bag, plus one rollaboard, as long as its total linear measurements (length + width + depth) don't exceed 45 inches. My own trusty rolling traveler, "Little Blue", is in that range: 22 inches + 13 inches + 9 inches.

Unlike a certain daughter who shall remain nameless - she knows who she is - I'm not the type to haul my entire wardrobe onto a plane for a four-day vacation. (Okay, I confess. Once, I pretty much did take my entire wardrobe...in five checked bags. But I was moving, not vacationing. That trip, of course, is the only time I and my luggage did not arrive at the intended destination on the same plane.)

When I bought Little Blue prior to my first trip to England, I thought 'no way' will everything I absolutely must take fit into that.

And it didn't...

The rest was stuffed into a tote that slipped over Blue's handle, and one collapsible nylon shoulder bag that would double as a day bag.

Oh, and I was carrying an enormous striped, supposedly wind-proof brolly... umbrella to you non-Brits...which a rather puzzled airline CSR assured me was not on the Banned Items list. Things such as knitting needles, nail clippers (since un-banned) and manicure scissors were on the list, but a near-beach-size brolly containing a dozen 3-foot-long wires easily removed for garroting flight attendants and the cockpit crew wasn't.

Go figure...

Well, everything I'd soon learn I truly needed would've fit into Blue, with plenty of room left for the day bag and the tote. Since then, it's become a game to see how much more empty space might be hiding there.

Travel catalogues like Magellan's exist to sell you anything you might possibly need - or think you need - while you're away from home. For instance:

Feather-light clothing that doesn't wrinkle no matter how you pack it.

Undies that can be washed in a hotel sink and dry almost instantly.

Socks that wick moisture away from your feet while you trek around the city of your choice, and dry almost instantly when hand-washed.

Undershirts that wick moisture from the rest of your body...which I suspect is also why they dry so fast after hand-washing.

Soap to wash said socks and undies, and a nifty clothesline to hang them on.

Tiny towels that "grow" to absorb as much moisture as that full-size bath sheet you left at home, and dry almost instantly. (Do you notice a pattern here?...)

Special Zip-loc bags to compress non-wrinkle clothing to a fraction of its uncompressed size.

Shoes for all occasions that weigh next to nothing but oddly, cost twice as much as any pair you'd normally buy.

Travel alarm clocks.

Travel alarm clocks with built-in radios and world maps, in case you forget where you are and want to dial up a local station to find out.

Collapsible hats and walking sticks.

Cases for jewelry and prescription meds.

Inflatable hangers.

And my favorite...the triple-fold toiletries bag with compartments for full-size containers of shampoo, etc. that you can only pack in checked luggage - with a hook for hanging in the hotel bathroom that has a shower but no towels.

If you buy all the recommended items for "savvy" travelers, besides spending as much (or more) than the cost of your lodging for the entire trip you certainly will need to check a bag or two.

But more importantly, wearing clothes that only "savvy" travelers buy, you'll be instantly recognizable in any major city on the planet as a T-O-U-R-I-S-T.

Might as well wear a sign saying "Pick my pockets".

If you're naïve enough to think professional pickpockets and theives don't know how to separate you from your "theft-proof" wallet or purse, don't leave your hotel room, because they do and they will.

Truly savvy travelers don't draw attention to themselves.

Don't advertise you're a tourist by wearing "touristy" clothes or trying to manuever several large bags to another hotel "only a couple of blocks away" after being told your hotel "lost" your reservation.

If you stick to a rollaboard and a tote, you'll minimize the chances of becoming a target for pickpockets and muggers.

First, only pack a couple of outfits, say two pairs of slacks...one khaki-ish and one dark for dressier occasions...and a few tops (shirts or blouses). The most comfortable but sturdy pair of shoes you own...which for me is Crocs...and one dressy pair to wear with the dark slacks. A pair of silk pajamas or robe, because silk doesn't wrinkle, takes up no space, and adjusts to the climate...i.e. cool in warm temps, warm in chilly climes. Crocs, which weigh nothing, can double as shower shoes if the shower is down the hall. A flashlight in case the power goes out. Labels pre-printed with friends and family's names and addresses for the postcards you'll inevitably buy...don't forget to print a few with your own name and address.

Underwear and socks from home are optional. Unless you're traveling to a third-world country that has no stores, shop local. Assuming you're already wearing one set on the plane, you only need a couple more of each no matter the length of your trip, meaning you'll never have to hand-wash more than 3 pairs of anything. Toss the newbies before going to the airport for the return flight home.

As for new clothes, why bother?

Unless you've been invited to dine with the Queen...not very likely...or have a reservation made months ago for tea at the Ritz...sucker!...who'll know or care if your clothes are new or ten years old, or that you picked them up at a charity shop or a thrift store or a weekend street market.

Who knows, you might even find something you like well enough to take home in that half-empty rollaboard.

But if you absolutely must buy new, wait until you get to your destination and buy locally.

This doesn't mean over-priced boutiques catering to tourists. Find out where the locals buy their clothes. This is a wonderful way to see parts of a city that most tourists never do.

As for the full-size toiletries at the beginning of this hub, buy those locally too, and then toss them before leaving for the return flight.

Most American chains now have branches all over the world. Americans visiting England will find familiar brands at any Marks & Sparks...uh, Marks & Spencer...or Boots the Chemist ("chemist" being Brit-speak for drugstore). Of course there are others...ask a local. Europeans visiting America: look for a CVS. If you happen to be a Wal-Mart fan, in England look for ASDA stores.

If for some reason you can't find your favorite brand, again, be adventurous. Try a local brand.

You're on this trip to experience new cultures, right?

Rollaboard: $50

Nylon collapsible day bag: $30

Over-the-handle tote: $60

Never having to wait at another baggage carousel: PRICELESS!

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Comments 86 comments

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 8 years ago from Sydney

Buy local - good tip! I never take toiletries or makeup if I'm going to Europe. It gives me a great excuse to spend hours trawling through the local stores (in the UK, it's Boots) and finding all kinds of exotic creams and potions we don't get in Oz.

I used to then haul it all back to Australia with me, but I can't do that now, so I have to be satisfied with smaller sizes these days - but it's still fun!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

We're so CHAINwashed in America that it never occurs to most to leave home AT home and explore local shops...even a Boots!...and restaurants in other countries. Hence, a McDonald's at the entrance to the Tower of London. Gawdforbid we or our kids should have to step out of the hallowed comfort zone.


Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia

Great hub full of ideas. Good idea to buy local and avoid the excess frieight costs.

Oh boy how can you go to macca's and eat that dog food. Haven't you any respect for your stomach. Sorry (my opinion only) I cannot believe how people eat that.....st....f.....I had a job where I was supposed to eat it so gave up the job. yuk..

Sorry gone off track, great ideas buying from the thrifty shops. Lots of times you can by new articles there too. Crocs thats what I have to buy before we go travelling again.. Thanks for sharing


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Hi Eileen. I should probably stop writing comment when it's past my bedtime! Guess I didn't make it clear that *I* was mortified to find McD's at the entrance to ToL...in one of ITS 1,000 year-old outbuildings no less. Good grief! Silly me for thinking the reason for visiting ancient historical landmarks is to forget the present. Guess not. I'm surprised McD's is on the grounds at all, considering ToL has (three?) restaurants/cafes of its own.

The "we and our kids" in my first comment meant the collective we, not me personally. No way would I let my own kids or grandkids near the McD's at Tol!. But alas, since they're grown and the grandkids are theirs, can't keep 'em from stopping at one here in the States, but would think they know better. Thanks for dropping by!


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey

Oh Jamagenne--good advice. The world is so small and homogenized now that buying local in a language you don't understand, with products that are totally unfamiuliar is pretty much a thing of the past. Why anyone would lug a suitccase full of stuff abroad at $100.per checked bag(ouch!) is beyond me.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

So many good ideas here. And your brolly ideas are inspired. I have a nephew who is a Continental pilot-- even they were not able to to have nail clippers that might be weapons -- but -- as he says--"We do have a fire axe in the cockpit."

(new fan)


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Glad to see you here, Rochelle, and thanks for becoming a fan. I'll be hopping over to your hubs in a bit. As for even pilots not being allowed to have nail clippers, but CAN have a fire axe, that and the beach brolly are perfect examples of how illogical TSA "security" is. btw, tell your nephew Continental was my airline of choice for years and still would be except they don't service the places I need to be. boo-hoo.


jimcrowthers profile image

jimcrowthers 8 years ago from Port Charlotte

Hi, JamaGenee!

I bought a somewhat expensive piece of luggage to try to keep my dress shirts unwrinkled, and the last time I traveled, put my shirts in it in the most careful way. By the time I got to my destination, the shirts looked like they were strewn across the runway and shoved back into the luggage! I wish someone would teach a class on how to pack dress shirts. Right now, I just try to make sure they have washing machines werever I go, or plan to stay up late (or wake up early) ironing.

Great hub, and thanks for sharing!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

If the piece of luggage was an Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder, then airport security may have opened it to inspect the contents and then put the shirts back in any ol' way they could.

It it WASN'T a Pack-It Folder, then that's what you probably need. See here for how to use the Pack-It to keep dress shirts (relatively) wrinkle-free:

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/packing-...

Also see the reviews for the Pack-It Folder here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00007FB59?ie=UTF...

Note the second reviewer says they've been using the same one for years and it's well-worth the initial price.

Do you check the bag the shirts are in? If so, you might pack just one dress shirt in your carry-on (or roll-aboard) to have for the first morning at your destination, and shower-steam the rest as needed. Just a thought.

Also, Febreez makes a great spray-on de-wrinkler that a friend uses regularly. Hang the garment, spray entire garment VERY lightly with the de-wrinkler, wait a few minutes and voila!...no wrinkles. In a pinch, I got the same result using regular Febreez, but it was on dark slacks and dark jacket, not a white or light-colored shirt, so can't say if it'd work as well. Just be sure the container is no more than 3 ounces!


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

Great tips... I always hear of little toiletries being confiscated at airports, and it sounds like something I don't even want to bother with.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Precisely, glassvisage! Not packing toiletries at all eliminates having to worry if any or all will be confiscated, in which case you'd have to buy replacements at your destination anyway. Thanks for stopping by!


Cailin Gallagher profile image

Cailin Gallagher 8 years ago from New England

Great hub for parents who are traveling this summer. Super tips for we ill-informed travelers.


Cailin Gallagher profile image

Cailin Gallagher 8 years ago from New England

Excellent article for travelers...especially now that summer is approaching for the parents with kids out of school.


terenceyap07 profile image

terenceyap07 8 years ago from Singapore

I am terrible at packing for trips, (LOL) so this hub is especially useful for me. Thanks for these very good tips. The part about "savvy travelers" is hilarious. Thank you, JamaGenee!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Cailin and terence, glad you found this helpful as well as entertaining! I used to buy new clothes and such FOR a trip...half of which ended up not being worn at all...then not have money to buy the clothes and such I saw ON the trip. So in a way, airlines charging for baggage and TSA tightening the rules have done us "problem packers" a huge favor. The one thing we often forget to pack is *common sense*!


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

I love your line of packing the common sense LOL oh my, that's me, I always take too much. I've gotten better, but normally don't fly places, so the baggage ends up being only slightly less of a problem.

Again, I'm amazed at the fullness of your information. You know this stuff! I see a travel guide being published? Lists of Europe, pack this; US leave this at home...it could work!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Nice to see you here, Marisue! We're ALL guilty of taking too much! Unless we travel often, common sense somehow goes out the window when we start packing! Now that you mention it, the tips in this hub tend to go by the wayside if I'm traveling by car. I'll have to work on that!

Thanks for the encouragement about travel guides. Alas, my expertise is limited to the UK and roughly half the U.S., but "Cultural Oddities State-by-State" has possibilities. =)


rockinjoe profile image

rockinjoe 7 years ago from Standing right behind you!

Great hub. We're going to try to get away this winter (hopefully) and I don't want to end up carrying an entire closet for the both of us for 4 days in the sun. Thanks for the tips.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

rockinjoe, a rollaboard for each of you should be *more* than sufficient for a 4 day trip! How much clothing does one need to lie around in the sun anyway? A few days before departure, lay everything out *both* of you *think* you'll need, then put half back, then put half of *that* back, and pack the rest. Even then, you'll probably take more than you need! Have a great trip!


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

You see, JamaGenee, I use those bags discussed in your other hub for my packing. That and A lot of Duct Tape.

I like to think of myself as "original". That is until I find out the rest of the redneck clan has booked my same flight for the convention. Oh well. Better to travel in packs.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

PM, I used to work with a lady who didn't have to work thanks to be born a "trust fund baby".  So we used to crack up when she'd show up at the airport with the absolute ugliest, most gawdawful-ratty luggage.  Her rationale?  Thieves and untrustworthy luggage handlers wouldn't bother breaking into it because they'd assume there was nothing inside worth stealing!  Also, at the other end of the flight, it was easy to spot on the baggage carousel!

But the bag-and-duct-tape thing *would* be useless on a flight with the redneck clan. I do give 'em credit, tho, for trying to move up in the world by calling the purpose of the trip a "convention" instead of *family reunion*. LOL!


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

WHO is giving you all of this inside information?  Or are you one of us? :-)))))


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

My information is coming from a kid in a hot pink hat who looks amazingly like your avatar.  If you know her, you should let her parents know (and the rest of the neighbors) that she's only *pretending* that she can't talk.  So be careful what you say around her from now on.  (Pssst...she CAN be bribed with a KitKat...two if ya want the really good dirt...but you didn't hear that from me, okay?)  ;D


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

If she has anything on you, I'll want to buy stock in Kit Kat.

Really, JamaGenee, I'm not that funny. You just give me GREAT material!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

I'm not normally all that funny either. Ditto on the GREAT material!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

Lovely hub - couldn't agree more! I once spent nearly 3 months in Mongolia with 2 pairs of trousers, 3 tops, 3 sets of underwear and a jumper, but I was heartily sick of them by the end, couldn't wait to wear something else!Marks and Sparks is a really great shop, but it sells its own stuff, not other brands. But it's fantastic, their underwear is without par.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Nice to see you here, LondonGirl! Wearing the same 2 pair of trousers, 3 tops, etc for almost 3 months would get tedious! I'm guessing there wasn't a M&S in Mongolia, but couldn't you buy other clothing while you were there? Yes, M&S only sells its own stuff, but I do love their knickers!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

there is nothing in Mongolia! That was the reason we took so few clothes, because we had to take absolutely everything with us, including a stove, cooking equipment, tent, all the rest of it.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

I rather suspected that was the case. Well, not the livng in a tent part. Were you on a dig?


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

Hey JamaGenee! On a trip, so my internet usage is limited. Need some humor, so I'm headed to find some of your comments or a new hub! Have a great evening!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

No, we were taking photos for guidebooks and various other assorted purposes. So we had 2 tripods, 4 cameras, extra lenses, and a load of film, as well as living equipment.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

LondonGirl, other than the same-clothes part and living out of a tent, that *sounds* like an interesting trip.  But I'm sure a lot of it was tedious - hauling the equipment and supplies from place to place, waiting for Mother Nature to provide the right conditions for a "perfect" shot, etc.  But still An Adventure!  Not many non-Mongolians can say they've been there!

Proud Mom, I'll email you ASAP!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

It was an absolutely wonderful journey. However, after that long camping, washing in rivers, digging to go to the loo, etc, it was also great to come home!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

LG, you have my admiration (and sympathies) for hanging in there through all the camping out, washing in rivers, etc. The longest I ever camped out was 3 days - where we didn't have to dig a hole to go to the loo! - and from that I know I could never have been a Pioneer Woman!


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

I tried Martha Stewart's tips on packing once but the problem was, I didn't have most of the things she recommended should be brought along when traveling! So I ended up pulling my hair for not bringing an extra bag for wet clothes (the destination was a day at the beach). But that did not make me love her less! Thanks for these realistic and practical tips - specially about buying locally - that somehow lessens the load! :D


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Hi Cris, nice to see you.  Any waterproof bag will do for wet clothes - I have a nylon "day bag" that fits into its own tiny bag and takes up no space in my rollaboard, but a couple of kitchen-size trash bags, one inside the other (preferably the kind with ties), works well too.  In a pinch, several of the dreaded plastic shopping bags (but you didn't hear that from me).  ;)

I once enlisted the help of an ex-Navy friend to pack for a trip. He did fine until we got to the skirts and heels I *had* to take (was going to a wedding)! He had no clue what to do with them!  


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

Hey JamaGenee! I'm finally back. It's been a hectic week and a half, and I have a lot of catching up to do. Hopefully, within the week, I'll be caught up and back on schedule. I'll email in a bit! Missed your hubs, and looking forward to some good laughs!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Hey, Proud Mom! Glad to hear you're back home in one piece!


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

I''m waiting for the dryer to buzz, so I thought I'd check out what you've been up to. Can't wait to read Clydene's recipes. :-)


Scott757200 profile image

Scott757200 7 years ago from Somewhere New Everyday!

Hey I should have read yours before I wrote mine! Love the "priceless" bit...great minds think alike...LOL


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Thanks, Scott, and welcome to HubPages! When it comes to packing light, great minds DO think alike! Your hub chock full of tips for travelers too!


Guru-C profile image

Guru-C 7 years ago

Whenever I travel I tend to overpack and then still wear the same two items over and over anyway. I really like the tip about buying extra undies locally, and one of my great pleasures when traveling is to buy toiletries wherever I go. I love Boots! Thanks for all the great travel tips!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

You're most welcome, Guru! As for wearing the same two items over and over, it's funny that you know this and take everything else anyway! So here's another tip for you - on your next trip, write down what you actually wear (and any items you brought that you use), then leave this list in your bag for when you open it to pack for the following trip. A memory jogger that'll perhaps end the overpacking for good!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

that's a very useful idea.

When I'm packing, I tend to make a list of what I've already assembled, want to get, etc. My other half thinks that's funny (-:


Eric Graudins profile image

Eric Graudins 7 years ago from Australia

I ALWAYS take too much stuff when I ttravel - even when I have thought that I had cut it down to the bare minimum.

I always take books and magazines that I never read, clothing that I never wear, and essential stuff that I never use. (Although at least SOME of the electronic cables, adapters, plugs, etc I take turn out to be essential geek travelware)

So thanks for this hub. I'll print it out and put in in my suitcase.

Never thought of the cheap undies/socks thing. Thanks again JamaGenee.

Eric G.

 


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

LG, making a list of what you've already assembled, etc makes perfect sense to me.  If you update it as you pack, then put *that* list with your travel documents, you'll have an accurate inventory of the bag's contents if gawdforbid it's lost or stolen.

Hi Eric! Isn't it funny what we consider "essential" before we leave home, but never use on the trip??  I can think of tons of stuff I've hauled to various destinations that only took up space I could've used for souvenirs and such!  On the other hand, adapters, plugs, etc *are* essential, because when ya need it ya need it.


Eric Graudins profile image

Eric Graudins 7 years ago from Australia

JamaGenee.

I like your new enigmatic avatar :-)


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Why thanks, Eric! Always good to shuffle things up a bit now and again.


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

Wonderful advice and nicely written hub Jama. This is a keeper for anyone who travels.

You're right about those pickpockets. I've only traveled out of the country once and that was to France in the mid 80's. Regardless of my attempts to NOT look like a tourist (no camera, low-key clothes, keep mouth shut!), and I still got my purse grabbed by a thief. Fortunately, a very nice Egyptian man saw it and grabbed my purse back from the bandit then shoved him away and handed my purse back to me. I've always depended upon the kindness of strangers. (I love Streetcar Named Desire.) :D

Great job!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

the only thing it's good to take and not use is your first aid kit (-:


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Thanks, Pam!  Great to hear you knew not to look like a tourist, but glad the purse-snatching had a good outcome! 

LG, good point!  ;D I always keep a few Band-Aids tucked into a pocket of my purse.  Anything that requires more than that would mean a trip to the ER, so I don't bother packing a first-aid kit on trips  Just one more thing for TSA to quibble about and probably confiscate!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

When travelling to western countries with a proper health system (and with travel health insurance!) we tend to just take plasters, aspirin, antisceptic cream, that type of thing.

When going to Mongolia and India, we took quite a lot more, incl. sterile needles, antibiotics, all the rest of it.


2patricias profile image

2patricias 7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Just found this! I travel a lot, and your advice is spot on. I tend to wear a lot on the plane, partly to avoid packing it. Also because the temperature can vary a lot and I reckon I can always take off a layer or two.

I also wear my heaviest shoes, and take them off on the plane. I have a pair of disposable slippers in my carry on. Although there have been some long haul flights when I wished I had wellies (rubber boots) for trips to the lav (yuck).

Generally, as my travelling has increased, the volume of my luggage has decreased.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

2patricias, great advice about wearing lots of clothes and your heaviest shoes on the plane!  Personally, I don't - for no particular reason, now that I think about it, just never do.  Guess I'll change that next time! Thanks!


Eaglekiwi profile image

Eaglekiwi 7 years ago from -Oceania

Great hub. Practical ,no nonense language.I like that.I learned the hard way although I did get some things right, like I was leaving a southern hemisphere summer to enter the northen hemisphere, and while the stores were brimming with summer fashion , I ended up going to a thrift store ,wow I bought 6 garments for under $10, and left 4 of them behind when I returned home, I needed the room for all the extra tidbits Id bought from Walmart lol..( NZ doesn't have one)...how sad is that !...

Security ,boy they must go home most nights pretty stresed and shake there heads at government too huh. My silly ( funny now) story is being held up and further searched after security found two pencils in my handbag ( actually they weren't concealed) but they made me feel they had been..grrr..anyway I said sure ok keep them ,they were going to be for my kids had name of zoo splashed all over them ,you know the kind, no biggy ( just wanted to be done) then the older guy gave me a wink and slipped them in my bag...yea whatever lol.........anyway here I am ,Ive boarded my flight ,a national flight and 20 mins into the flight the lady beside me pulls out her knitting and proceeds to click clack away on STEEL freaking needles.....I just smiled and said nice seater, hahahaha


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Eagle, isn't that a riot that steel knitting needles are OK, but nail clippers aren't (or weren't). Same for the big umbrella I took onboard. All those wires that make it an umbrella weren't potential weapons? Hello. ;D


Eaglekiwi profile image

Eaglekiwi 7 years ago from -Oceania

oops typo back there 'sweater' I meant to type (dyslexic keyboard)

nother story...flew International from NZ via Tahiti to LAX, transferred over to Southwest onto National Flight who took out hubbys aeorsol shaving cream ( his bad) and asked about our movements......geeze louise!!.....you have our data in front of your eyes! ..Im sorry the other airlines let it through ,and Im sorry they are International Airports ,Im just sorry ,sorry ,sorry lmao...

Here's the thing ,I think Customs have some damn good perks...


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Eagle, I didn't notice the typo! But think you're right about Customs!


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

You see what you are doing here? Your refusal to write something new in order to satisfy my Jama craving, has got me going back in time in search for my Jama dose :-))


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

DG, it's how I ensure you read ALL my hubs, even the really horrible ones. And then you can start on the 150+ posts at Sat's Child. ;D


4FoodSafety profile image

4FoodSafety 6 years ago from Fontana, WI

Delightful! The challenges of traveling. Loved your sense of humor - I am hoping for lunch with the Queen so I can pack!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Well, 4FS, travel is supposed to be an adventure. What's adventure without challenge? ;D

btw, I just read Helene Hanff's "The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street", in which she chronicles her 1971 dream-trip to London, back in the days when airlines pampered passengers. The suitcase she borrowed sounds like a small steamer trunk. She never did see the queen, or any member of the royal family for that matter, but British fans of "84, Charing Cross Road" treated her to lunches and dinners in the best restaurants in London as well as entry to many "great houses" in the countryside. Hence, she was made to feel like a duchess.

Despite the book being written several decades ago, her experiences would be quite helpful to anyone visiting the UK today.


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 6 years ago from Florida

I have been enjoying your comments on various hubs and decided to read this one because I am the world's worst packer. Quite a few years ago, I studied at Oxford for six weeks, and we had to dress for dinner every night. I packed practically everything I owned -- and then some! I even packed a jar of instant coffee. I had more luggage than I could handle.

In London I had no problem because there were red caps (or whatever they were called), but when I got off the train at Oxford, there was no one. Suddenly a young man appeared. "May I help you, Luv? he asked as he grabbed one of my bags and flew up the stairs. I really thought I had lost half of my wardrobe. I pulled and tugged the remaining luggage as I struggled up the stairs, and my other bag was waiting for me at the top. How lucky I was!


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JamaGenee 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

mysterylady89, I'd say luck had nothing to do with it! I found Brits to be exceedingly helpful and courteous (even in London), so I'm not surprised a White Knight came to your rescue in Oxford. That said, I'm still laughing you packing your own instant coffee! As you probably found out, instant coffee in the UK is *wonderful*. If the same quality was available in the States, I'd toss my coffeemaker in a heartbeat! ;D


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 6 years ago from Florida

I packed as if I were going to a third world country. I did have some terrible coffee in England and ended up preferring their tea, but I definitely did not need to pack instant coffee. Woolworth's was just a short walk away from campus.

You are right about their helpfulness. If I looked at my map, someone would try to help me. The same thing happened in Paris.


Loveslove profile image

Loveslove 5 years ago from England

Some very useful tips for travellers here !! Thanks

I don't fly anywhere ( im scared ..lol!!) so the outlined problems and their solutions don't concern me BUT I found it a good read..I don't think I would ever make an air traveller,I cant dilute my luggage no matter how I try ..even with your tips I don't think I would be succesful,My hubby always says ''Just put a tow bar on the wardrobe '' its easier than packing !! and it probably would be.

Great Hub


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Thanks, Loveslove. "Just put a tow bar on the wardrobe." LOL! But now that (some, most?) airlines are not only charging for all checked bags but carry-ons too, lots of Americans have also stopped flying altogether.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Well, I'm flying the friendly skies 1 week from today and your helpful hub has really given me some good tips. I'm staying in the U.S. so it will be an easy flight. But this is the first time I have had to change planes. Hope I don't end up in the Bermuda Triangle. Great hub!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Thanks, vocalcoach! My sympathies, though, for your flight next week. Changing planes means an additional trip through Security. Other than that, have a great trip! ;D


SlyMJ profile image

SlyMJ 5 years ago

Lots of useful advice, especially as my checked luggage almost always goes missing. I've learnt to pack essentials like medicines in my hand luggage. Laughed aloud at the garroting flight attendants quip. Excellent links, too.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

SlyMJ, meds should *always* go in your hand luggage. Anything else that can't be replaced also. One of my daughters lost the scrapbook containing the ONLY pix of an awards ceremony because she packed it in a piece of checked luggage that was never seen again.

As for the quip, it's scary how many TSA-allowed hand luggage items *could* be used to harm us once a plane is in the air.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Great article. Let me add that what the TSA has on their website may not be what the airline you choose allows. I flew Southwest earlier this month to northern California and was told I could take fingernail clippers if they didn't have a file or knife. They confiscated them and didn't tell me not only that they took my USB and didn't tell me so now I have lost work.

What on earth could I do with a flashdrive on an airplane that would be considered dangerous? BUT, I saw a little old lady with knitting needles. I'm quite sure those things are more dangerous than a measly little pair of fingernail clippers. I'm still livid, can you tell?

I took a few polyester tunics and leggings, they wad up, don't wrinkle and are comfy.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Pamela, you should be livid! How could *any* airline *legally* justify confiscating a flash drive? Did you ever find out? (I won't ask if you got it back because I'm guessing you didn't.) This is one more reason I choose other forms of transportation to get from Point A to Point B these days. "Security" at airports these days has little to do with making flights safer, but how much can we intimidate and inconvenience *paying customers*. Passengers on trains, buses and subways aren't subjected to the same scrutiny. Why is that?

As for the knitting needles, who's to say that little old lady won't hand them off to a terrorist accomplice? That knitting needles are "okay" but fingernail clippers aren't has never made sense to me. And now flash drives. What's next? Cell phones and iPads? Very disturbing.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Great travel packing tips! We recently heard another one which my husband recently utilized when he went to Italy for a week. Pack your oldest and worn out undies and discard them each day after wearing. That way you have a little extra room for something you might purchase and wish to bring back in the same bag. Normally I use his old cotton undies for rags, but I had plenty. We actually heard this tip from a saavy female friend of ours who does a bit of traveling. That is wear all her older worn out bras and panties end up...in trash cans in hotels all over the world. Wonder what the maids think? Ha!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Peggy, I've heard that one too, but have never been able to make myself use it thanks to the admonition drilled into me in childhood to avoid the embarrassment of being found wearing ratty underwear if I were in an accident! I have, however, jettisoned plenty of "just in case" clothing that should've gone to Goodwill before leaving home. Clothing "too good" to get rid of until I was hundreds or thousands of miles from home and needed the space in my luggage for souvenirs and such! ;D


Melovy profile image

Melovy 5 years ago from UK

Great hub, lots of fun to read. Though I think that ex-Navy friend of yours must be my husband, as I am never allowed to take the suitcase I plan to - he insists on one half the size. But now I think about it, it can’t be him, because I always repack the tiny suitcase after he has tossed few things in and my rearranging fits in at least as much again. I cram underwear into shoes, little tops between the ridges on the bottom of modern suitcases…


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Melovy, I'm happy to know you found this hub "fun". Traveling should be fun, too. As for the Navy method of packing, I think it has more to do with avoiding wrinkles that conserving space. I can't picture my ex-Navy friend, Mr. Fussbudget, EVER shoving his just-ironed skivvies into shoes. lol! But I sure do love the *extra* space between the ridges in the bottom of rollaboard luggage. That's where I stash guidebooks, postcards and such I buy during the trip but know I'll never look at again until I'm back home. ;D


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Haha! So you also grew up with that admonition of wearing good underware "just in case" of an accident or other happenstance. In truth, if the accident is bad enough the last thing the medical people are concerned with is the state of the underware. They might even be using a scissors to cut the clothing off! So much for that warning! :)


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

True! The morning the railing on our second-story porch gave way and I (miserably) failed the unexpected flying lesson that resulted, I happened to be wearing a pair of hospital scrubs I was particularly fond of. In the ER, out came the scissors, and those scrubs were history in no time.

Even one's best underwear can shock ER staff. A carload of women dressed to the nines was in an accident one night near my hometown. Only when they began snipping off the victims' rather-expensive undergarments did they discover the "ladies" were a bunch of gay men in drag! ;D


daisynicolas profile image

daisynicolas 4 years ago from Alaska

My favorite part of traveling is being in the actual place as opposed to commuting and worrying about things. I learned to pack light and empty, and so when I get back to Point A, I got new stuffs.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Exactly, daisynicolas! Packing light is the only way to go. Less (or no) hassle at airports and new stuff to enjoy once you're back home. What's not to like! ;D


Ciel Clark profile image

Ciel Clark 4 years ago from USA

Great post JamaGenee

a couple of times I was able to travel just with a purse, and loved the free feeling of it. I think three outfits per week is plenty... I like to fill up my bag with books I will read and leave along my travels--this frees up some space for things I buy along the way.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

Thanks, Ciel. Just a purse, huh? A round of applause for being able to do that! Personally, I'd love to take nothing but a purse and the clothes I'm wearing, but airport security being what it is these days, I'd miss the flight because they'd detain me. No luggage? Must be a terrorist planning to blow up the plane. So I'll make sure to take just enough not to keep 'em happy. Three outfits should do it!

I'd be careful about the books, though. Too many and you'll be paying extra for the weight. ;D


Ciel Clark profile image

Ciel Clark 4 years ago from USA

I have to admit, I was taken aside "For random screening" a lot more often than seemed random. Up until I was about thirty, I would get stopped about 75% of the time. I must look more respectable now that I travel with kids and more (much more) than a purse.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 4 years ago from Central Oklahoma Author

The TSA is finally acknowledging "random screening" apparently isn't as "random" as it should be. That some screeners are abusing the system and choosing only well-built women (or men) to screen for their own enjoyment. People who otherwise would never be taken aside. But I think you have the perfect solution - kids and lots of baggage!

I was almost taken aside one morning at the KC airport. It was the 6 a.m. flight to Chicago, which meant I'd left home at 3 a.m. and the trip on the shuttle to the airport was one disaster after another. Everyone on the shuttle was taking the same flight, and we barely got there in time to board. Meaning we were all frazzled and freaked out that we'd miss the flight. I just happened to get to the gate first, and being frazzled made me a "person of interest". I only made it worse by asking the screener: "Do I LOOK like a terrorist?". Plus, I had one bag to check AND a round-trip ticket, but the woman ignored that bit of information. Luckily, the rest of the shuttle passengers were as frazzled and anxious as I was, and Her Highness decided it wasn't in her interest OR United's to make all of us miss the flight. Normally I fly American, but for some reason took a United flight that day. First time and never again! (Not "just" because of the screener, but what happened once we were in the air and then at O'Hare during what was supposed to be a 2-hour layover.)


Ciel Clark profile image

Ciel Clark 4 years ago from USA

A person of interest! That reminded me of one time recently when I was pulled out of the line for extra screening. I was seven months pregnant and had my belly felt up by a female guard as the people in line tut-tutted in sympathy. Very strange experience.

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