I always pack a small rolling suitcase that fits in an overhead compartment plus a bag that fits under the seat. In addition, I pack a small purse, for personal items, and put it in my under-the-seat bag. I take the small purse out when I get settled into my seat and wear it when I get off the plane. Neither airline staff or airport security have ever stopped me from doing this. If anyone does I can just pop it back into my under-the-seat bag.
My one and only suitcase measures 13 x 21 x 9 inches. When I leave the United States I put this suitcase in the overhead compartment of the plane. When I return to the United States I usually send it through as a checked bag. Yes, my suitcase is red. It is easier for me to see a red suitcase on the airport conveyor belt.
Even though I lift weights I try to keep the weight of my bag manageable. I carry my own bags on and off planes, buses, trains, and boats. Although people have occasionally helped me with them I want to know I can do all this carrying myself.
I pack all of my clothes on one side of the suitcase. There are many different techniques for packing a suitcase. Some people roll up their clothing. Other people bundle their clothes together. Both of these techniques are supposed to save space in your suitcase.
My preference is to fold each garment individually and lay one on top of the other. I have tried folding, rolling and bundling the same amount of clothes. All three of these techniques took up the same amount of space in my suitcase. Also, if I am asked to do a spot check the security person can simply run her hand between each garment. However, if I am required to unpack my suitcase it is easier and quicker for me to repack layers than roll each garment individually or bundle all of them together again.
I do bring along a collapsible travel bag. I use this for shopping or picnics when I reach my destination. When I pack to return to home I use this as my overhead compartment bag and send my suitcase back as checked baggage. Doing this gives me more space to take home both my valuable old possessions and newly purchased items. I also have all my overseas purchases in one place in case there is a question in customs.
On the other side of my suitcase I pack personal items. Some of these items are obviously necessities like my hair blower and brush. Into a purse I pack my costume jewelry, a little office for creating my travel book and thank you notes, tape measure with both inches and meters, and more personal intimate items. I also pack a small umbrella and plastic poncho. I grant you there is nothing glamorous about a plastic poncho but it is the only thing that will keep you dry in a downpour.
It may seem odd but I travel with some of my own kitchen articles and cooking items. I usually stay in a studio apartment instead of a hotel. This kind of accommodation is usually not stocked with equipment to make good filtered coffee, wine glasses, or the basic flavorings necessary to make a tasty meal. I find it easier to bring my favorite coffee, tea, and hot chocolate and small quantities of the spices I use most often.
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It is imperative you check each transportation website you are using before you pack. Each one has specific baggage rules based on government regulations, the kind of ticket you bought, and your special benefits. The website will also give you information about baggage measurements and weights, packing procedures for particular articles, and costs for transporting other items you may want to take on your trip.
The website will likely provide additional information about items you can bring along free. This may or may not include a book, umbrella, or pillow. A neck pillow is usually acceptable and free on most American planes but generally not allowed on foreign airlines unless it is packed in your suitcase. However, they are often acceptable on trains, boats, and buses free-of-charge. Guidelines for mobility devices, strollers, sports equipment, and musical instruments are frequently provided.
In the United States the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulates security procedures on public transportation. On the government website (tsa.gov) you will find traveler updates about new procedures and rules. Click on Traveler Information for details about guidelines for acceptable identification, prohibited items, and taking medicine and liquids onto the plane. There is even a religious and cultural and transgender section. I check this site often and find it informative and helpful.
MY OVERHEAD COMPARTMENT SUITCASE
Collapsible Travel Bag
Hairblower/Brush - 120/220 watts
Necklaces/Bracelets/Earrings - gold, silver, bronze
Art Supplies - color pencil, water colors
Paper Clips/Tape/ Tube of White Glue
Thank You Cards
Tape Measure- inches and meters (for shopping)
Intimate Personal Articles
Umbrella - 4 inch
Wine Glasses - plastic is better than nothing
Melitta Cone - one cup coffee maker and filters
Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate - my favorites
Salt/Pepper - small quantities
Blouse - black/grey , long sleeve, peek-a-boo chiffon
T-shirt - black, sleeveless for under blouse
Turtlenecks - black, grey, cream, long sleeve
Crew neck - black and silver knit
Pants - black casual, gray casual, black dressy
Skirt - black and gray plaid, knee-length, flannel
Bras - white, nude, gray, black
Undies - 4 white, cotton
Socks - 3 black, 1 gray cotton
Hose - black opaque
Scarf - pattern in black, tan, red, and gold
Belt - black leather
Flats - black ballerinas
Computer Power Pack/Cord
Clock - battery powered
Intruder Alert - for door
Compass - hand-held
Medicine/First Aid Supplies
Pain Releivers/ Cold Meds
tooth brush/ floss
brush/ hair rollers
pajamas -leggings and T-shirt
Extra Glasses/Sun Glasses
Eye Shades/Ear Plugs
In the United States the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulates security procedures on public transportation. It recently established new policies for scanning computers through airport security. You can now purchase a laptop bag which allows you keep your computer with your other belongings. To see the types of bags that are acceptable go to tsa.gov and enter 'checkpoint friendly laptop bags' in the search box.
You will see drawings of the bags and TSA guidelines. No bag you purchase is endorsed or approved by TSA. You may be asked by security to remove your computer from the bag for any reason. Please note that these bags and this policy is only for the United States.
All of my technology is packed in my under-the-seat bag. It is red and measures 14 x 10 x 9 inches. The one I use meets TSA guidelines as a checkpoint friendly bag. One side has a zippered pouch that flips down for my computer. On the other side there are several pockets. There is a large center compartment with interior pockets. So far, in the United States, I have been able to get my computer through just fine in this bag. Outside of the United States I have always had to put my computer in a separate bin.
On the other side of this bag are several pockets. In these pockets I stash a flashlight, empty water bottle, small notebook, crossword puzzle book, pen, pencil, and a hands-on activity. Last year, when I flew from the states to Europe, I met some women who were attending an artisan workshop in France. Airport security had allowed them to bring circular knitting needles and yarn into the main airport terminal and on the airplane. Flying back home from Iceland the woman in the seat next to me was busily knitting scarves as gifts for her Canadian relatives.
So I think airport security may have revised regulations about these kinds of projects. This year I am bringing along a small embroidery project. I have a 6 x 6 inch square collapsible embroidery frame, pattern, fabric, needles, and thread. The cutter I use has an enclosed blade (made by 3M). It all goes into an adorable bag a dear friend gave me as a gift. I am looking forward to taking it on this trip.
I store my work documents and other technology in the center compartment. This includes my high tech equipment like a computer power pack and cord, flash drives, copying wand, cell phone, digital camera, translator, and all the necessary chargers. My low tech equipment includes electric adapters and plugs, a battery operated alarm clock, battery charger and batteries, and a hand-held compass.
Electrical adapters are often different for each country and come in grounded and ungrounded versions. If the plug on your equipment has three pins you will need a grounded-type adapter. These examples are grounded:
FRANCE UNITED KINGDOM ITALY
Much equipment these days uses isolated power supplies and therefore will only have two pins on their power plugs. These are fine for use with the less expensive ungrounded adapters.
Electrical adapters do NOT change the voltage! European power outlets provide 220 volts at 50 Hz. This is twice the voltage of the outlets in the United States and can destroy equipment if it is not rated for it. Check your equipment labels! The power packs for my computer, cell phone, and battery chargers all have labels which say 100-240 volts, 50-60 Hz, and so can safely be plugged into 220 volt European power outlets. My hair dryer has a setting on it for 220 volts which I switch on when I am overseas.
I once brought a tiny portable printer to Paris which had two (past tense) power packs and I mistakenly had brought the one for USA only. When I plugged it in it burned up with smoke and loud noises. It turned out the printer survived, but needless to say nothing was printed on that trip. Check those labels!
Most people use their cell phones for listening to music but I like to take along my Coby. It is a small electronic device, 2 x 4 inches, that I can use anywhere without an internet hook-up. It has storage for music, photos, and video plus a radio. Of course, I also bring a charger, ear buds, two pair, and a fold-up headset.
The center compartment of my under-the-seat is my catch-all. Just in case my suitcase is lost, confiscated, or stolen or I am delayed when I travel I pack a change of clothes (undies, socks, and pajamas - leggings and a T-shirt which double as day wear) and snacks in this bag. I pack my medicines, first aid supplies, extra pair of glasses and sun glasses, cosmetics, grooming articles, eye shades, and ear plugs in here too.
The Transportation Security Administration requires all airline passengers to remove liquids from their carry-on bags when going through airport security so I put all my liquid toiletries in my under-the-seat bag. Regulations for bringing liquids on board the plane are available at their website. I put each one of the 3.5 ounce liquid containers in a small plastic bag. Then I put them together in two larger plastic bags to reduce the chance of messy spills. Both the inside and outside bag have the zippers on the top. I take along only five liquids. This includes toothpaste, shampoo, styling gel, hairspray, and hand lotion.
It is usually fall when I travel. So I wear a two-piece sweater set, pants, socks, easy to slip off shoes, and a pouch with my important documents. Since I often travel by myself I wear a bracelet with a microprocessor chip that contains medical information about me. I also wear a coat with zip-out lining and big pockets. In my pockets I put a knit hat and gloves, and a book.
As you can see I try to pack simply and efficiently. Perhaps you have some additional helpful packing tips you might like to share. Would you tell me some of yours?
Water Bottle - empty
Crossword Puzzle Book
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