I am personally thrilled that Delta decided to stay through the winter. During our dark, wet winter months a lot of people look for an escape to sunny, warm climates and the competition for airfare makes those trips much more affordable. On the other hand, Delta seems to be having a hard time getting planes into Juneau during bad weather. They have already canceled some flights and shuttled passengers over to Alaska Airline flights. So your best bet for winter travel is to drop the heavy check-in bag and opt for a carry on, that way even if you have flight delays and rescheduling, at least you won't lose your luggage. Here are a few ways to optimize what you take, so you can fit everything into that carry-on.
1. Choose the Right Bag
On the road, your bag is your life, so choose wisely. The better it fits your needs, the more pleasant the journey will be. There are numerous reasons to purchase a bag specifically for travel: durability, zip on suspensions or extensions, wheels and more. NAO has luggage (Eaglecreek) and packs( Deuter) that meet the carry-on standards and if you just can't justify carry-on alone, we have larger bags as well.
2. Lose the Bulky Wallet
Locks and under-clothing solutions, such as a money belt or neck wallet,
give you peace of mind when exploring new places where pickpocketing or skimming can be a problem. Before you leave, clean out your wallet of all the useless junk (old receipts, grocery store cards, business cards, and random foreign currency from past travels). For security reasons make sure all of the credit cards you take, have a chip in them and that you have a wallet with RFID-blocking. The chip makes sure that your credit card information is encrypted, so it can't be stolen by (POS) skimmers. Drivers licenses, passports and club cards may have RFID chips that store important data and photos and these can be easily scanned, if you are unsure about your cards a RFID-blocking wallet is a great idea.
3. Buy Toiletries When You Arrive, but Pack Enough to Survive
If you're traveling with another person for over a week, or by yourself for more than two, consider buying toiletries at your destination. The money you save by avoiding the cost of checking your bag far exceeds the cost of buying shampoo at your destination. If you're worried about going product-less while you locate a drugstore, bring travel-sizes that can last you a few days. Eagle creek offers small (< 3oz) bottles that are perfect for the small amounts TSA allows you to carry on.
4. Choose the Right Shoes
Shoes take up a lot of space, so wear your heavy boots during the journey there. Try to limit yourself to only a couple pairs, this will make hauling your bag much easier. Depending on where you're going, hiking boots can be substituted for a more backpack friendly pair of walking shoes. Try to go for one casual pair and something that can pass for fancier occasions. If you're not doing anything fancy, don't bring fancy shoes. Pack your shoes in a shoe sac, so you can place them wherever you want without having to worry about getting your stuff dirty.
It's a good idea to pick clothes in neutral colors that match with everything. You can even color coordinate your clothing so you can mix-and-match your tops and bottoms to give yourself some variety in your wardrobe. Versatile clothing options will help you get the most out of your wardrobe and prevent you from being weighed down by clothing you can only wear once (or end up never wearing). You might also want to think about bringing clothing with fabrics that don't need much care. But if you do bring anything that needs some TLC, be sure to pack it in a way that will protect it. Try using a garment folder for items prone to getting wrinkly or a packing cube for items you don't want getting damaged in your bag.
Before filling your suitcase, think about your travel plans and pack accordingly. Hitting the beach for one day? Only bring one swimsuit. Going out for a single fancy dinner? No need to pack three dresses or dress shirts. Be realistic in your clothing choices. After all, the joy of traveling is in meeting new people-and we bet no one is going to notice (or care) if you're wearing the same outfit twice.
Making sure your bag is organized before a trip will most definitely save your sanity. There are many ways to organize the inside contents of your bag. One eco-friendly option is to organize and protect your clothing with reusable storage. This can be in the form of packing cubes, sacs, pouches, garment folders, and compression cubes. For a pack you might want to choose waterproof compression bags.
7. Roll Your Clothes
Okay, so it doesn't always save weight, but by compressing your clothes, you can conserve a lot of room-meaning you may be able to get away with a lightweight carry-on rather than a big checked bag. To keep your gear from shifting, invest in a
Pack-It™ Starter Set
. These ingenious little bags compartmentalize your rolled and folded clothes, ensuring your bag stays organized.
8. Set Everything Out First
When getting ready to pack, first lay out everything you think you'll need for your trip. If you rush right into throwing things into your bag, you won't have the opportunity to "edit" what you are taking. It's much easier to take an aerial view at the big picture to determine what you really need. Also, you'll be able to easily take away items, instead of having to pull everything out and start over again. Take half of what you've laid out and organize it in a way that makes sense. Don't forget to make a list first so you don't forget essentials like chewing gum and a tooth brush.
10. Bring a Packable Tote for Extra Carrying Needs
This is a lifesaver for grocery stores and markets abroad. Many stores around the world require you to BYOB (bring your own bag) so you'll be glad you did. Plus, it's ideal to carry souvenirs with you on your way back home. Most importantly, you'll have the easy convenience of a bag without the hassle of storing it. When you don't need it, simply pack it back up and stash it in your luggage. (Eagle Creek fans can check out the different options for packable bags
10. Minimize Your Extras
If you have to take a computer, consider a tablet, they are much lighter, smaller and easier to protect than a bulky lap top. Take your cell phone and charger and leave behind the travel books, reading books, newpapers, and paper tickets. Most smart phones have apps that allow you to check in, and get a boarding pass freeing up storage and the possibility of losing that pesky slip of paper that allows you to get on the plane. You also have all the entertainment possibilities you need in your hand, such as music, books, email, and videos. Make sure your phone is charged and all your goodies are uploaded before you depart. I always carry a small bag to hold these extras, so I can put them under the seat and get to them during the flight.