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PEOPLE Magazine Article


Your Luggage - Tips, Tricks and Tales

I like a big suitcase…

Last summer I traveled to Spain with friends for a 2-week vacation. Two of our friends insisted on carryon luggage, while the rest of us packed enough for the entire trip. They said it was easier at the airport. We flew all together, so they had to wait for us to get our luggage anyway. We were staying at a relative's condo (which they loaned to us) and it had a washer and dryer, but they were tiny, and didn't work exactly like the ones in the US. Not even halfway through the trip, they needed to do laundry, having run out of clean clothes. They needed to spend several hours doing laundry while the rest of us were at the beach, sipping our Tinto de Verano's and enjoying the Mediterranean. I'll stick with my large almost oversized suitcase and the luggage carousels at the airport.
Anne, Deerpark, USA

Zip ties come in handy…

Instead of luggage locks use zip ties to secure your luggage. Customs can open your bag easily if they need to. But best of all, it makes it easy to see if anything has been tampered with enroute!
Tara, Ireland

Pack a bath towel…

When I was traveling around the world with a single suitcase, my most versatile article was a high-quality beach towel. It served its intended purpose, but it also functioned as a bath towel, a blanket, and a pillow. Nowadays you can probably get a microfiber towel that will serve the same purpose and not take up nearly as much space as my beach towel did.
Mary, Burke, USA

Save those receipts…

Here's a tip for dealing with the receipts you will need when an airline does lose your luggage. I do most of my shopping online, and I keep electronic receipts in a folder in the e-mail account I use for shopping. I can access this account from anywhere there's wifi, so I can get and print the receipts if I need them. Even toiletries can be ordered online, but if I do happen to buy something that I don't have an electronic receipt for, I can just pop that receipt in the pocket in the back of my journal--along with a list of everything I packed for a trip. Another option is to scan receipts for items you often use for travel and store them in the cloud.
Paula, Altoona, USA

Go to the craft store…

I have a solid color bag and since there are always lots of other bags the same color, I go to the craft store or dollar store and buy iron-on decals. Some will be Canada flags, etc and others will be flowers or whatever catches my fancy. One large one goes on the back and one on the bottom (because when the bag comes down it is always upside down and backwards!) Then a few more on the sides and the front. This way, I can always spot my bag as soon as it comes out of the shute.
Mary, Sundre, Canada

Hot pink luggage tags…

In order to make it easier to identify my luggage at the pick-up carousel, I use vivid, unique luggage tags. I'm happy to pay more for the gorgeous tags so I can spend less on the suitcases themselves. And just to be a little cautious, I write my contact details on the back of the slip-in card and draw an individual icon for the side that peeks through the window of the luggage tag. P.S. Tags can fall off. Put your name and contact information inside your bag, too.
Joanna, Melbourne, Australia

Travel for business…

As an international "road warrior", I soon learned the essentials of what to pack in that all important carry-on bag. With the spectre of lost checked luggage, it's important to carry on business appropriate clothes to get you through at least two days of meetings. I would wear my suit coat and pack a black skirt, blouse, cardigan, hose, heels, and a t-shirt to sleep in. I would take a make-up bag including compact, eye liner, mascara and lipstick as well as travel size toiletries. With this versatile combination of items, I was ready for every contingency!
Georgina, Baltimore, USA

I was mistaken for a drug smuggler…

I live in Costa Rica and I'm quite used to traveling throughout Central America. Sadly, our countries are used to drug smuggling, and I wasn't prepared for the extent of this, until I was sent to Customs several times in El Salvador. The culprit? my luggage was wrapped in plastic; I did it to protect my bags. However, for Customs that meant that I could be carrying drugs, because "smugglers don't want their drugs wet". Therefore, if you want to go as fast as you can through Customs, never wrap your luggage in plastic.
Catalina, Costa Rica.

How to roll clothes…

Rolling clothes is the best way to pack your suitcase. It is the most efficient use of the space in your suitcase. Follow these easy steps to pack quickly and efficiently.
#1 - Tightly roll all clothing and set it aside.
#2 - Begin packing by putting shoes in first, along the edges of the suitcase, then put in jeans and pants to form the bottom layer
#3 - Form the next layers by adding rolled up clothes, packing them in tightly, putting the lightest items in the top layer of clothing
#4 - Put toiletries on top Close the bag, and you're ready to go! You have saved space, and won't have to wait in line to check a bag!
Barbara , Lancaster, USA

Two travelling together…

When my husband & I travel we check in a suitcase each but we divide our clothes in half between the two suitcases, that way if one is lost we each will still have at least some clothes.
Valerie, Toronto, Canada

BONUS! Older adventuress packs nothing...

express package

An ighty-eight-year-old woman who rides the buses regularly mails her clothes to the friend she's visiting. That's right - mails her clothes. Isn't that marvellous? She has no luggage to wrestle with or keep track of or wait for when it doesn't show up. Only a small purse goes with her.

(Source: The Girls With The Grandmother Faces, Author, Frances Weaver)


BONUS! Is carrying a backpack safe?...

Doesn't it unnecessarily advertise your presence and indicate your vulnerability to every passing thief? The answer is, surely, no more than a suitcase. The main difference between them is that whereas backpacks are associated with budget travellers who are going to be walking to their hotel, suitcase are associated with those who can well afford a taxi. Unless you can take the taxi as well as the suitcase, carrying the latter will not make you any less inviting a target. In fact if anything it probably increases your chances of being robbed. It is easier to snatch a suitcase from your hand than to run off with a backpack attached to your back.

Source: Handbook for Women Travellers, Maggie and Gemma Moss

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