Monday, January 30, 2012

Travel, for real.

So, despite a truly ridiculous amount of sulking when I found out I would not be going to AWP this spring (alas, I want to pout afresh! but no, I shall bravely carry on--), I am in fact traveling across America this spring. Just not to AWP.

I will be traveling with a large and representational and therefore perhaps high maintenance? group from my college to a large and official and therefore perhaps a bit high stress? conference in Philadelphia. We will be taking off at a ridiculous hour on a Saturday morning, have brief layovers--what I would, if I had booked the travel myself, have decided were unrealistically, terrifyingly, connecting-flight-missingly brief layovers--read "dashes through unfamiliar airports"--going both directions, and I will be staying four nights.

In my travel algorithms, this means

  • clothes that will make a possible nine point five outfits, because sometimes you need to choose.
  • six pairs of shoes, because you can't possibly accurately predict the precise shoes you might need, when in a foreign land such as Philadelphia.
  • various grooming products that I cannot live without I am so not joking!
  • scarves, obv.
  • pocket money to run to the drug store (oh, I have already researched the drug store nearest the hotel, yes I have.) for stuff I will have no doubt forgotten, such as my toothbrush perhaps.
  • important reading material, plus
  • magazines.
  • laptop,
  • iPod,
  • chargers galore, and
  • other stuff I can't bring to mind right now, but any one of which forgotten might make the trip an utter disaster.
Oh, and also I still have to put together my presentation.

So the real question is this: carry on? or check?

I am, as the above list no doubt screams  implies, a checker. Yes, I know you have to pay the fee. Yes, I know they lose your luggage sometimes--indeed, my luggage has been lost once or twice. Yes, I know it adds time (which is money!) to the torturous hours you have already spent in airports.

But I loathe the wrestling of luggage in the tight space of the aircraft. I loathe other people doing it around me. And honestly, I loathe the idea of doing without a single thing that I may need to feel comfortable, put together, myself, when I am so very far away from home. It is already making me a little crazy. Currently, I am considering the following options:

Plan A: carry on. For this eventuality I bought a bunch of little empty travel containers of various shapes/sizes/capacities. Pare down my clothes, etc. to the bare minimum. Try not to act squirrelly and rookie-like at the TSA security extravaganza.

Plan B: carry on. Buy almost all grooming products when I get there, at the drugstore I have researched. Wasteful, but you don't have to struggle with the little bottles, quart-size ziploc bag, the suspicious grillings of the TSA personnel, etc. Worth it, possibly?

Plan C: check. Like a sane person. Seriously.


  1. Pack light. Re-read all mighty girl posts about packing light. You can do this. Then carryon!

  2. Check. Like a sane person. $25 to check (outrageous. Unjust. A fee against all which is good in the world) and yet cheaper, probably, than all new toiletries. These fees. I don't fly anymore unless I absolutely have to. Take that US Airways.

  3. No checking. Hate to pay the fee, plus the worrying about the lost or the other would be possibly acceptable, but both? No way. Get a good carry-on with wheels. Show them what's what.

    Although it is nice to drop it all off on their little scale/tag attaching place and just walk through the airport with your tea, book, and laptop bag/purse...

    The real issue here is the flight changing--more risk of lost/delayed baggage, but also more irritation with the overhead stowing...ooh, I totally see the dilemma.

  4. I'd carry, not check. But it sounds like you have better shoes than I do and it would be a shame to leave them out of the adventure.

  5. I haven't checked a bag since we moved to Finland in 1985. I am a traveling minimalist. Also a clothing minimalist. I only have three pair of pants, and I don't say that proudly



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