Different airlines have different charges for baggage. These fees can range anywhere from $100 to $500 depending on the carrier and the route. Getting a cheap flight ticket can seem like a blessing, but one of the biggest hidden charges through which these companies earn money is baggage fees. Unfortunately, that is one of the areas that most of us tend to slip upon.
Needless to say, one should do whatever they can to avoid falling into such traps. In reality, what you leave behind matters more than what you take with you. Here are the things you should and should not pack.
Don’t Pack This
Firearms or Explosives
Obviously, no one would pack any of these in their bags – on purpose. However, the number of times that people claim that something from the forbidden items list ended up in their bag by accident is more than you may think. In just two weeks of June, the TSA reported finding 185 firearms in carry-on bags, including 170 loaded guns and 66 that had rounds chambered. They also found live smoke grenades, replica weapons, and all kinds of fireworks. Most of the offenders said they had forgotten the items were even in their bags!
The obvious solution is to thoroughly check your bags before you begin piling them with clothes and shoes. Other than the clear no-nos, you should also avoid realistic fake weapons, toy guns, paperweight hand grenades, etc. Not only do you risk missing your flight in the time you spend explaining it to the authorities, but you could also even end up in jail or fined up to $14,000!
Apart from these, check the list of forbidden items and make sure that you’re not carrying any of them, such as liquids in containers larger than 3.4 ounces.
More Shoes Than You Need
You don’t need to take your entire shoe cupboard with you when you go on a trip. Think of the purpose of the trip and pick one or two (three, at most) pairs of shoes. You will need one, nice-looking pair of shoes that are comfortable to walk in and another pair that can be dressed up, if needed.
If you are traveling to a formal event, you can add another pair – but only if necessary. The point is to reduce the load. Another tip to lower the weight of your luggage is to wear your heaviest pair on the plane and pack the lighter ones in your bags.
Things of Value
When you’re packing for a trip, evaluate each item and think of how much it would hurt for you to lose it. Not just those things that are expensive, but also those with an emotional value like a meaningful piece of jewelry gifted to you by someone important. It is very common to misplace things when you travel. They may even get stolen! But, if you leave them back home, there’s no chance of that happening.
Even if you do something with you, like your wedding ring, which you wear constantly, never take it off! There have been many who’ve taken things like that off and forgotten to put it back.
Things like maps, guides, books, movies, address books, etc. are all things people used to need back before this wonderful thing called a “smartphone” was invented. Why would you want to bulk up your bags when you can get all the information you need from a gadget that can fit into your pocket? Reduce the use of paper and save a few bucks by refraining from purchasing any of these in the first place!
Now that we’ve talked about what you shouldn’t pack, let’s look at some of the things that are definitely worth taking along on your trip. Here are some things you should pack.
Do Pack This
Electronics & Accessories
We already mentioned how your phone is the most valuable source of information you need when you’re traveling, and we don’t think we need to remind you to take it along. You should also take other electronics like your laptop and camera, depending on the nature of your trip.
Don’t forget to pack all the essential electronic device accessories like charger cords, portable chargers, headphones, earbuds, etc. If you are traveling to a foreign country, you may also need to carry an adaptor plug. But don’t worry if you forget, hotels usually have lots of adapters left behind by previous guests that they’ll be happy to lend you.
Here’s a handy trick: take a picture of bags once they are packed so you have something to refer back to in case they go missing and you have to fill out a lost-bag form. Take pictures of all the other useful/essential documents as well, such as your driver’s license, passport, plane/train tickets, eyeglass prescriptions, medical prescriptions, etc.
If you’re traveling to a foreign country, carry a few passport-sized photos of yourself too, they will come in handy if you ever lose your passport and need to get a replacement quickly.
Emergency Medical Kit
You don’t need to have a large kit, but having things like adhesive bandages and aspirin can come in handy. Sure, you can buy them anywhere but having them on hand definitely helps. Plus, if you are in a foreign country, you may run into language issues or not be able to find the medication that you are familiar with. Along with bandages and aspirin, make sure to carry some pills for stomach issues like diarrhea or indigestion.
Airplane food (including snacks) costs way too much and tastes way too bad. You can pack some of your favorite snacks in your carry-on to help you get through the flight. If it’s going to be a long journey, go ahead and throw in a sandwich or two, along with some energy bars as well.
Bringing some familiar snacks from home can be a great thing when you’re in a foreign land with unfamiliar food. A good tip to saving money on meals while traveling is to maximize on the free breakfast buffet offered by hotels. Fill up in the morning, get yourself through lunch with the help of an energy bar and some fruits, and then you can splurge for dinner with the money you saved!