July 21, 2022
Travel news from Charting Memories Travel
Travel rules continue to evolve. The news keeps focusing on problems, but they are ignoring all the positives.
- Multiple cruise lines have updated their pre-boarding testing. Most of the major lines are no longer requiring COVID-19 testing of vaccinated guests unless it is required by one of the porting countries.
- This does NOT include sailings departing from the United States, Canada, or Greece but we are moving in the right direction.
- Sandals – one of the best all-inclusive couples only resort brands – has opened bookings to their new resort. Sandals Dunn’s River will be open on the North coast of Jamaica. Book now for travel starting May 24th, 2023
- Amtrak Becomes Official Partner of Philadelphia's Harry Potter: The Exhibition. It is now possible to board a train in places like Florida, Chicago or Vermont and travel to the Franklin Institute to visit the immersive interactive exhibit featuring the world of Harry Potter.
PACK YOUR BAGS
In the last issue of the ChartRoom (https://chartingmemories.com/2022/06/29/destroy-my-luggage-please/) I wrote about the type of luggage to purchase and provided some tips to keep your bags and belongings from being damaged.
This week I give some hints for the inside of the bag. Packing seems like a simple task, but it can be complicated. We want to make sure that we have all we need while avoiding lugging around the things you don’. No one wants to drag around a giant bag, but we want to make sure that we don’t overfill a small one.
Here is an example of the type of bags that I use.
Rule number one when packing a bag that you will check or hand off to a porter is to make sure that you don’t pack valuables or things that you need close at hand such as medications or travel documents. You could be in a mess if your boarding documents are in your checked bag on the way to the airport bag room and you are trying to get through security.
Avoid packing fragile items whenever possible. Everyone is short staffed and even in the best of times moving hundreds of bags in a short time can lead to some rough handling. Keep your laptop and nice camera with you. Make sure that it is easy to access electronics. Depending on the security line you may have to take all electronics out of the bag and place them in a separate bin to be screened.
Valuables such as jewelry or money should always stay with you. It is amazing how often zippers fail or get damaged. When this happens, your stuff will spill out. Check out the number of zipper parts I picked up in just three shifts at the airport.
Now that you know what to avoid, here are some ideas of what you will want to do.
Every trip will be different and require you to pack different garments. Plan for the likely weather and your anticipated activities. Start out by laying out all the things that you think you will need. The pile is going to be bigger than your bag so put about half of it back. You are on vacation, so no one is looking to see if you wore the same pants multiple days or if your shoes don’t match your outfit.
Nearly everywhere you go will have some type of laundry service. It may seem expensive, but it is worth the convenience. Doing laundry one time during the trip can cut your packing needs in half. I have discovered that I love to have laundry done near the end of my trips so that almost everything is clean when I get home. When the trip is over, everything goes right back into the closet.
Bottles of wine have become part of many of my trips. Glass wine bottles are fragile and can’t be carried onto a plane. I found inflatable bottle protectors from Amazon that work great. Click here to see it on Amazon
The slips into the sleeve which is inflated using the included air pump. I inflate the protectors at home so that I know that there will be room in my bags on the way home.
Bring large plastic bags or small kitchen trash bags. These are a great way to separate dirty or wet clothing from the clean ones. Fold up the dirty clothing and slide the items into the bags. Put your wet swimsuit into a zip-lock bag but remember to dry it out as soon as you can.
Conserve space. Fold or roll items neatly. Change the way you fold so that the item fits into the available space. Use the space inside your shoes for smaller items such as socks or semi-fragile items. Place shoes around the edge of the bag for extra protection.
If you have expandable bags do not pack more than they will hold at their smallest size. As your trip goes on you are going to purchase items. You will have a mixture of clean and dirty clothes and you won’t feel like being as careful with your packing as you were at the start of the trip. Keeping your bag small at the beginning will allow you to buy souvenirs and be a sloppy packer on the way home.
Efficient packing is challenging. Each trip and person is different. Pack less than you think you will need. Do a practice run and don’t overload your bags. Keep valuables, fragile items as well as travel documents and medications with you at all times.
Do you have favorite packing tips? Share them in the comments.
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