Luggage and Packing Tips
We just returned from Florida which was a wonderful break from the cold. It was 75-85 degrees and sunny every day. I highly recommend taking a winter vacation even for a few days. My son who is at the University of Miami really made a wise choice. He gets to swim, go to the beach or play golf and tennis when he has time off.
Anyway, as we were traveling down to Florida see him lugging golf clubs, tennis racquets and suitcases it made me think about streamlining the packing process. I have never been a light packer, but as we were putting all this on the rental car shuttle and off carrying it all through the airport I see the advantage of improving on our packing system.
I did a little research and here are some ideas I thought I would share.
1. Ship skis and golf clubs ahead of time.
This seems to run around $75-$95 which is more expensive than the airlines, however it eliminates the hassle of carrying them through airports when you have a family traveling. We sometimes have 3 sets of clubs and other families have 4 sets of skis so this is definitely something to consider. Check FedEx.com, LuggageForward.com and Lugless.com
2. Carry-on instead of checking at least some of your luggage. This will save you fees for checking and eliminate having to wait for luggage as well as eliminate your risk of losing luggage. The newest trends in carry-on suitcases and the features to look for are
a. Light – under 7 pounds
b. Dual wheel systems – allows you to push your luggage in any direction
c. Hard shell – makes it very durable
Some of the favorite brands are: Tumi, Briggs & Riley, Travel Pro, and Samsonite. I also like LL Bean for duffels.
3. Tips for Packing so that you can fit it in that carry-on
Roll rather than fold your clothes
Use packing cubes to organize all your items
Don’t pack shampoo, soap or other things that can be found at your hotel
Don’t pack every medicine you might need, just pack what is essential and buy the rest if needed
Bring clothes that can be used in a variety of outfits
Use a list and stick to it
Pack only things you absolutely need, not things you might want
Other things I recommend considering:
If traveling to Europe or any place where you have a small car with little trunk space, consider using duffel bags which can be smashed into little corners rather than hard sided luggage. Rolling luggage is ideal, but heavier so figure out how far you will be walking with the luggage and whether carts are going to be available.
My final piece of advice is to make sure kids can carry their own carry-ons on the plane so you are not trying to American Girl dolls, teddy bears and other stuff.
If you check my website, TheFamilyOdyssey.com I have a packing list you can download and my book is full of more tips on traveling and packing.
Liz and Mike Kohler