Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tips on How To Pack (1)

Having appropriate luggage can make a world of difference. It may mean the difference between carry-on and stowed (which may mean the difference between lost and not lost!), health or a hurting back, and damaged vs. undamaged belongings.

Note: This article assumes that you are packing for a plane flight; traveling by train, bus, or car may be slightly different.

Garment Bags
Garment bags can be exceptionally nice for short business trips. Most airplanes have little compartments with a bar that you can hang them on. Be advised, however, that those compartments fill up pretty quickly, and you may have to jam it into an overhead bin, wrinkling your suits and dresses.

However, garment bags are not particularly easy to carry if very full or for a great distance. (Note: I have never been a broad-shouldered, narrow-hipped, tall, strong man, so perhaps there is a class of people for whom this assertion is not true.)

Wheeled Luggage
If you must take heavy items (like, for example, six computer manuals and a replacement power supply), seriously consider some sort of wheeled contraption. One can purchase carts that can fold up and go inside the suitcase or suitcases that have wheels and a handle built in.

Suitcases with stiff, center-mounted racks are much more manageable than suitcases with "leashes". The leashed suitcases have a tendency to wobble, tip, get stuck, fall over, etc. The leash is always too short for your height, so you end up walking hunched over anyways. Leashed luggage is exceptionally ill-suited for those lovely, picturesque cobbled streets that your charming little pensione with no elevator is on.

A good, hard-sided suitcase with a rack can be a bit pricey. However, consider that this is much, much, MUCH cheaper than back surgery.