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Your Luggage - Tips, Tricks and Tales

Use your phone…

When you check your bag at the airline counter take a photo of it with your phone so you'll have it for ID if necessary. It might also be an added help to take a photo of the agent ticketing it. Should your bag get lost, both might help in finding your lost luggage via computer records.
Merrell, Montreal, Canada

That's it! …

No more traveling with three pairs of shoes, an umbrella, or extra jacket if I'll be rolling luggage up hill in what was described as a "short walk from the Metro." Now I pack tight and let go, day by day, giving things away. If I buy a sweater, I leave an old one behind. Books go with me, but don't return home. I leave old shoes behind for the housekeeper to give away. Shedding my baggage creates room for more. My teapot collection reminds me of my purchases on foreign travel, and my sweaters and silk scarves are all unique travel treasures.
Helen, Glenview, USA

Pack a foldable bag in your bag…

If you travel with a carryon, remember to put another empty mini foldable bag into it. This way, on the way home you have something to carry your new purchases in.
Evelyn, Toronto, Canada

One black cashmere shawl…

I try to travel light therefore I now use a backpack with wheels. The one I have has a small backpack attached which I use for a carry on bag.
Inside my carry on bag is a Kindle, underwear and a selection of toiletries just in case if luggage loss.
Clothing is enough for 3 days only, one black cashmere shawl. There is always somewhere to wash even if its hanging overnight in your room.
Denise, Bellingen, NSW, Australia

Roll your clothes…

The best thing you can do in general is to roll your clothes. This is much more practical and effective than packing cubes. Do not underestimate the value of extra-large ZipLock bags; they prevent spills in your suitcase and they can help you do your laundry in the shower (fill bag with soap and clothing item, swish around, let sit, and then empty and rinse at the end of the shower). Lay out your clothes on the bed before packing and colour/style coordinate. You can cut down significantly on items you end up taking. Never pack bulky sweaters, unless it's for a darn good reason. They take up far to much space.
Sherry, Ottawa, Canada

Only two pairs of shoes…

My first trip overseas to London was in 1996. I packed my largest suitcase (and I do mean large)…it had rollers… perfect…NOT! I had to roll (lug) over cobblestone streets, through the airport, and upstairs at a darling little boutique hotel in Bath..did I forget to mention it didn't have a lift and we were on the fifth floor! I packed every single thing I thought I needed for a one week trip. Never will I do that again.'s carry-on only. Two pairs of shoes work perfectly well. Take a few neutral color pieces with you and accessorize! Lesson learned!
Phyllis, St. Louis, USA

30 year travel veteran…

I have carried on my luggage for over 30 years. I found out early on that checking luggage was a great big hassle. It saves you time and energy when you carry on. Being a light packer helps as well. When you fly for a number of hours you are ready to get going and have some fun. You don't want to wait around for your luggage. Also, carry on's don't get lost. Your stuff is safe because it is there with you. Helps to pack light as well; who needs to have to decide what to wear while on vacation. With limited outfits you take that away and enjoy your trip more. I once went to NY for eight days (funeral clothes included) with just a backpack. I usually have a tote with me as well. I carry my purse, toiletries, and book/magazine, even food in there. My toiletries are travel size so on the way home I am much lighter since most are used up.
Karen, Phoenix, USA

Four luggage tips…

1. Have a name tag affixed to the inside of your luggage, in case the tag on the outside falls off.
2. Invest in medium sized luggage. The larger your luggage, the more likely you will over-pack which could result in extra charges if overweight.
3. Pack a small duffel bag. It compresses easily, can be used for a short trip and could be useful if your need extra space.
4. Take a picture of your luggage in case it gets lost. (when it comes to remembering what your luggage looks like, saying it is black with a piece of ribbon tied on probably isn't helpful)
Katherine, Mississauga, Canada

Lobsters in luggage…

Here's my baggage handler's point of view. It was a rainy day at the Vancouver airport. I was in the bag room, loading carts to go out to the plane, when a cardboard box came down the conveyor belt. We prided ourselves in treating customers' bags carefully, but cardboard and rain don't mix very well. As I lifted the box, the wet, mushy bottom fell out, along with 10 live lobsters! I had no other choice but to pick them up with my bare hands (good thing their pincers were tied!) and find them a new, safe place to continue their journey.
Claire, Toronto, Canada

I favour a canvas bag…

Just back from a bus trip in Morocco and this time around I decided to only take a canvas tote bag as my carry on. I still had room to pack that extra pair of underwear and a fresh top along with essential cosmetics and the usual stuff you want to "keep an eye on". I found that this tote bag came in handy on a daily basis during our tour. Each day I was able to pack the small rolls of toilet paper (thanks Journeywoman for the tip), water bottle, umbrella, extra jacket or sweater and leave it on the bus where it would be secure but readily available. This was in addition to the small wallet type handbag that held my money for the day etc. The usual carry on bag with wheels etc. would not have given me this flexibility and the canvas bag was sure easier to store in the overhead bin.
Bev, Toronto, Canada

BONUS! Backpacks - a female invention?

We're so smart!

..The backpack is probably the most practical piece of luggage ever invented by man. Or more likely woman, who probably devised the first one to lug babies around in. Consider the advantages of a backpack:

  • It leaves your hands free so you can fumble around for your tickets and passport more easily.
  • It usually has neat little pockets that are ideal for hiding dirty socks.
  • It can often pass the carry-on-luggage test at airports.
  • And you don't have to put it down on wet dirty floors whenever (and however) nature calls
(Source: Paul Waters, Travel Editor, Montreal Gazette, May 1998)


BONUS! Pack your condoms...

Beside their primary function, condoms can come in very handy when you're travelling. Infantrymen (and women) as well as seasoned jungle travellers use them to carry suprisingly large volumes of water among other things. They are also good waterproof covers or containers. They can be used as temporary fan-belts in cars, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Condoms can be filled with ice and placed on swollen painful joints to decrease inflammation and discomfort.

(Source: Bugs, Bites & Bowels, Dr. Jane Wilson Howarth)


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