Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saving dinero-checking baggage

Good morning and welcome to the weekend!  As you read this over your cup of coffee, I am somewhere over the Atlantic right now, on my way to Jamaica.  Let's hope the hubster still has feeling in his hands when we land...I'm not the best flyer!  Something about not having control over the plane and being confined in a small space = freaked out Rae.  I tried to talk him into driving to Jamaica, but there was that little pond in the way....darn ocean!  S'ok, though.  5 hours of flights to get to vacation?  I'll deal!
Even though the flying thing kinda sucks, it's not my least favorite part of traveling. Nah, I'll save that one for the airport.  You all have heard about my debacle with TSA last month (no, I did not pack Nature's Seasonings or my runner's stick this time!) but what I hate MOST?  Baggage policies.
$20-$30 to check one bag.  Times two.  Times two flights.  $120 to fly my luggage?  Seriously?  That's half the cost of a people ticket!  No thank you.
I'll pack my carry on.  According to airline policy, you can have one carry on bag and one personal item.  One Ziploc quart baggie with liquids, not to exceed 3oz for each liquid.
Deep breaths.  How does one pack for 8 days with such small confines?  With a little bit of ingenuity, planning, and sharing.  Here's how I get around the airline policies and save that dinero for souvenirs and fun outings on vacation!
Cats-can't check those guys :-(
1.  Know the airline policies-  check them out online before even packing.  Usually you can have a standard carry on piece of luggage and a personal item (laptop, purse, backpack, etc.)  The hubster and I each pack a carry on sized 'case and a backpack.  You get the most bang for your buck that way!  One word of caution-make sure you don't over stuff the suitcase-it has to fit in the overhead bin or people will give you the stink eye for being THAT person.
2.  Call/Email/Facebook the hotel-What do they offer for free toiletries?  If you aren't too picky, you should never have to pack shampoo, conditioner, body soap, or lotion.  Don't waste your valuable space on what you'll get for staying there!  (Of course, the hubster really worries about the shampoo  It would make packing so much easier if I was bald, too!)
2.  Check out freebie sites! - Have some time before your trip?  (2 months or more).  Check out  I know I've touted this before, but it is awesome.  You can get free samples quite often, and if you visit once a week for about 6 months, you get quite a variety!  The result?  Free face wash, deodorant, sunscreen, cologne, laundry detergent and a first aid kit (to name a few).  Into the suitcase, no messing around with finding mini's at the store.
3.  The Dollar store is your friend-  As much as I like to play the free game, I haven't found aloe vera, face lotion, styling creme, or a few other things for free.  So I bought a 7 piece travel set from the dollar store and poured some of my big bottles into smaller ones.  Bonus-it came with a pill bottle for vitamins, Ibuprofen, Tums and melatonin.  I'm gonna look like one rockin' senior with my pills.  Hubster, can you add some Metamucil to my cocktail, please?
5.  Work together-  2 people = two suitcases and two backpacks.  Do you need two of everything?  Nope!  The hubster and I share contact solution, deodorant (get over it, we're married), toothpaste, sunscreen and a few other things.  Whoever has space, packs it.  Don't worry, I made him pack his own toothbrush :-)
6.  Pack smartly-  This is hands down where my S.O. is a genius.  He packs like no one I've ever seen-the car, the grocery cart, a suitcase.  No complaints!  Put the bulkiest in the bottom and work your way up.  Belts fit in shoes, underwear and socks fill in crevices.  Roll up dress pants and skirts so they don't wrinkle.  And put all your liquids in a baggie in your backpack-they make you take them out, so if you have to do the whole sit on a suitcase thing so it closes, this is helpful for your sanity :-P
7.  Be creative!  As I noted in #1, we both pack a suitcase and backpack.  Backpack is for kindle, netbook, magazines, snacks, liquids, wallet, camera, etc....but wait, what about my purse?  Well, I carry a little Vera Bradley.  I'm not wasting my personal item on a bitty purse when I have a backpack!  So I empty the purse, fold it up, and stick it in the front compartment of my carry on.  Take that, airlines!
8 days.  7 nights.  2 carry ons (with a bit of room for souvenirs!) and two backpacks.  And yes, I have an Ironman backpack.  I have no shame.
Jamaica, here we come! Do you have any cool packing techniques?  Or am I completely ridiculous?  (Don't answer that one).  See ya from paradise!


  1. Hey, he may not worry about shampoo but for the folicularly challenged sunscreen takes on new extra super important meaning. HAVE FUN!

  2. It can be cheaper to ship stuff to your destination (provided you trust that the destination will keep it safe and sound for you). You can get quite a bit in one of those if-it-fits-it-ships boxes. Haven't tried this myself (I'm a light packer) but seems like a good idea.