If you think my weight issue has anything to do with physical weight, you are barking up the wrong tree. The issue lies with my suitcases and not with fat. The latter, though not a desired lifestyle attribute, is a challenge that can be remedied with diet and regular exercise. However, the same cannot be said about the weight requirements for baggage by major airlines today.
I recall not so long ago when airlines allowed passengers to check two pieces of luggage, each weighing a whopping 70 pounds. That heft dropped to 60, and now we are eeking by with 50 pounds. In some cases, depending on the airline that number can drop lower still even to the teens (last year, my bag did not meet the weight rule, and I incurred an extra expense I did not like). These days carriers insist passengers pay for every piece of checked baggage. The current weight measures have been accepted without much ado from travelers but puts many vacationers, especially those returning to their homeland and families in a stressed position. Packing the gifts in their bags for their loved ones, plus their personal items and maintaining the required weight is a stress the exuberant traveler would prefer to do without.
To say this weight issue is a nuisance for the expat traveler would be the understatement of the year. Especially during the holiday season, the strain of trying to stay within the baggage guidelines is keenly felt when you try to take special tokens of appreciation to your friends and family. You pack, unpack, roll, tuck and flatten. Then you drag out the bathroom scale weighing and re-weighing hopeful your bags are near or on the weight target. Frustrated, you give up, all the while praying and hoping your gifts and or personal belongings are not in jeopardy of being confiscated and dumped.
Over the years, I have found ways to deal with the weight issue. Of course, I want to share the tips with you. They will not alleviate all your weight fears but I hope they will help to ease some of them:
Check-In – Arrive at the airport early. Not just within the required two-hour time frame, but three – four hours ahead of your flight. While this plan may not always work, it is still worth a shot. Often, I’ve encountered ground staff who will overlook one – five pounds over the limit. If you are late, your excess pounds may become a glaring violation that cannot be ignored. So, in order to comply with the weight condition, the check-in agent may ask you to re-pack excess pounds into other bags, or dump stuff which is never a predicament you want to be in.
Luggage – Choose the right kind of luggage. Backpacks and large purses for the women are all you need to carry your essential items. Most backpacks have many pockets and can be extended or reduced in size. They are made with light, durable material which is flexible and easy to manipulate. The backpack or large handbag stores easily by fitting into the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.
Clothing – Wear your heaviest items such as sneakers, jacket, sweater and jeans. You will never look out-of-place wearing these items on board. The cool temperature in the aircraft is always on full blast (to me it is, 😊). You can always peel off the jacket and sweater before arriving at your destination. Choose to pack clothing made of these fabrics: silk, chiffon, polyester and rayon. The lighter the better. Always seek to eliminate carrying bulky or heavy clothing.
Round-trip Packing – When traveling, don’t pack only for those at your destination, but for those at the return point too. After all, it is highly likely that you will have friends and family on both ends of the spectrum for whom you will want to bring a souvenir or two. Choose to pack old pieces of clothing you are willing to part with and toss once on location, and which after use, you can make room for new items/gifts you may purchase. Also, leave clothing behind every time you visit. This will allow you to have two wardrobes, at home and abroad, besides you would not have to worry about toting your clothes back and forth on future trips.
Community Peeps, it is never easy deciding what to pack. However, having two wardrobes in two different places has lifted much of the anxiety I used to suffer whenever I traveled home. This winter’s holdalls were merely a carry-on and a large purse (backpack), but no checked luggage. Admittedly, the one caveat to having no checked bags is, no wait time to pick up bags from the conveyor belt. I was able to clear customs and exit without delay to begin a great vacation in the Caribbean. Peeps, what has been your experiences with overweight bags? Fill me in by commenting in the box below.
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