TRAVEL THERE: GETTING IT ALL IN THE LUGGAGE
One of the worst things about this trip was packing for it. Along with everything else you need for a 16-day trip in a third world country, we needed room for formal wear and lots of gifts. I needed conservative arm- & leg-covering outfits for the cities and resort wear for beaches. I got everything in the bags pretty early on the day before we left, but my husband didn’t join me for the weighing ritual until evening. The lights stayed on pretty late that night.
The Midnight Hysteria
If you have a luggage scale then you know the weighing ritual. You put everything you need in the bags, strap on the scale and then weigh. It takes awhile for the scale to register the weight, so I need my husband to hold up the bags while we wait for the scale to do its thing. Then you know how much you have to take out of the suitcase. We hate this, but as you know, it has to be done.
I started out with one bag weighing right at 50 pounds, but the other bag was more than 10 pounds over. The first step was to cram even more into the carry-on bags, which were already full of the gifts. On our last trip to Egypt, our luggage had gotten lost and we’d arrived without any gifts – bad form for Egyptians and I wasn’t going to repeat that mistake. If nothing else got there, I was going to have the appropriate gifts and because my husband believes presentation is everything, we had gift bags, tissue and ribbon for each one.
To me the greatest weight offender was the three gift-bottles of scotch. I wasn’t only worried about the weight. I envisioned suitcases full of scotch-soaked clothing waiting for us on the conveyor belt in Cairo. I had suggested we pick these gifts up in the duty-free shops of the airport before we ever bought them, but Bill was having none of it.
The main problem with the scotch was that the bottles had to go in the checked luggage, which was already heavy with toiletry bags. I have to admit that my husband, who packs light anyway, was very generous about giving up items I thought were vital for him, like that second pair of jeans, but I resented those bottles of scotch every time I had to remove another item from the suitcase.
There were tears before we were through, but we got it done. Does anyone besides me remember when you got TWO checked bags per person – even in economy? The airlines may have downsized their allowances, but my needs have not been reduced.
The Final Verdict
The packing experts brag about cramming everything they need for a month-long trip into a carry-on, but while that method sounds like a good idea to some, I have to remember I’m married to a guy who thinks presentation is everything. You would not want to travel with me if I had to keep juggling the same two yoga pants and three t-shirts around day after day. I sort my pictures by what I’m wearing!
There’s one more thing I have to tell you. I was right about the scotch. Hubby had been convinced the duty-free shops wouldn’t have the right brand and if they did, the prices would be prohibitive. Wrong on both counts. They had exactly what he wanted and the price was good. So, if you need liquor gifts at your final international destination, go with the duty-free option. And come back next week for the next step in our jouney.