Travel begins with preparation, and although it is taking years I’m still learning and reinforcing to myself that packing light is important. There is always the urge to take extra things that I think I might need. The key is to only take things that I will likely need.
I have heard that there was a French philosopher that said, “He who would travel happily must travel light.”
It has taken me years to really understand this. Even on short trips, I often used to take many heavy bags, and when I returned I sometimes found myself unpacking stuff that never even came out of my bag on the trip. Then after getting charged for an overweight bag overseas, it was time to rethink my approach.
Finding baggage that is really light empty has helped me pack what I need without being over the weight limit. This year, even with several back-to-back trips overseas where I needed to be ready for any situation or occasion, I have been able to successfully get down to one larger checked bag and a carry-on with my computer, camera, power adapters and other gadgets.
I have already been through a couple of bags this year and have found that the lightweight bags with four spinning wheels that allow 360-degree upright movement are the best and easiest to maneuver.
I also usually go with the wire framed ones with the fabric exteriors, as opposed to the hard-sided ones, so that they conform better if they need to be stuffed. I usually can find an inexpensive one that is on sale and that way I don’t have to worry about durability as much. I can just replace it when it gets worn and still come out ahead money-wise.
Another part of travel that is a challenge, especially when traveling for long periods of times, is Internet connectivity and power. Many carriers are installing Wi-Fi in their planes because travelers today want in-flight connectivity, not just for business but also for personal use. By 2015, my favorite carrier, Delta, plans to have Internet connectivity on its entire fleet.
With smaller laptops and iPads these days it is easy during a coast-to-coast flight in the U.S. to read your incoming email and respond while in flight. No one would even know you are actually emailing from 30,000 feet. I’m hoping that at some point Internet connectivity is expanded to international flights. It sure would have been welcome on the 141/2-hour flight that I took to Shanghai last month.
Finally, one last part of travel that I wanted to mention is hotel loyalty programs. Much like airline frequent flier programs, I have really found value in the loyalty programs from organizations like Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Carlson and Wyndham hotels.
Their programs allow you accumulate benefits for free upgrades on rooms, free Internet and more. You have to stay somewhere, so you might as well join and enjoy the benefits. They continue to expand. Some of them are even linked with airline loyalty programs for an added bonus of frequent flyer miles.
Happy travels in 2013.
- Consumer Corner: 2013 travel trends include increased fees, better WiFi, higher ethics (upi.com)
- Travelers get stingier with their loyalty (usatoday.com)
- Travel rewards becoming a bigger concern (lexingtonlaw.com)
- United Airlines begins offering Wi-Fi on international flights (denverpost.com)
- Southwest Airlines And AirTran Airways Increase Flight Schedule For Football Fans Traveling To The Big Easy For The Big Game (prnewswire.com)