Since I made the shift, Gentle Reader, from archaeologist to author I
have traveled more, not less. True, those travels are now for shorter
lengths of time, but still this was an unexpected (if welcome) change in
my life. I thought that the thing I would miss most about archeology was
traveling to exotic lands. More fool me.
I travel as an author
about 12 times a year. Some of those are overnight jaunts, some are long
weekends, and a few last a week or more. In addition, I travel to
visit friends and family (generally longer drives and stays of three or
I didn't realize how many packing foibles I had developed
until the AB and I packed together for Comic Con 2012. The AB is a well
traveled beastie, but there were a few moments of shock on that adorable
face as I twirled and stuffed, rolled and folded, tucked and pocketed. I
whipped out checklists and specialized zipper baggies. I produced shoe
holders and sock strategies. Items were shelled in sequences by weight,
fragiles inside shoes and other odd occurrences.
So I thought I might share some tips with you Gentle Reader. First up, luggage!
have a lot of luggage, (a family of four just borrowed mine for a jaunt
to Hawaii). If you don't travel as much as I do you probably don't need
it all, but here's what I keep on hand.
3 Piece Soft-side Rolly Set
are grey pinstripe I purchased at Ross for c. $30 each (here's an American Tourister set for $120). I suggest
buying an actual matching set (thus they shell into one into the other
for storage) and NOT BLACK (easier to spot on the conveyer belt). I
don't believe in shelling out for expensive luggage unless I'm after
specific features ~ it's bound to get destroyed or lost in transit eventually.
Also, while avoiding black I also avoid pale colors ~ they get dirty
fast. I go for plastic-ish lining or simulated leather outer, to protect
my stuff from moisture.
The small is my least used
because I already own one of a similar size from my archeology days.
Stefano is a black (I KNOW) Eagle Creek that converts into various different backpacks but is also a rolly. By far the most useful and
adaptable piece of luggage I have ever owned. Not pretty, but if you
only get one, this is the one I suggest. Mine has lasted 20 years. The redesigned Switchback 22 is how I would design the ideal bag from the ground up. A bit ugly, but utterly functional.
the times when I do use the small grey are when I want to take two
small cases because one is for events only and will, essentially, go
into storage for half the trip. I did this when I went to New Zealand
and Australia. It isn't ideal, as it's hard to pull two rollies at once.
Ones that stack are better.
use the medium for most events where I'm not going to carry-on only. It
holds just the right amount of shoes along with one hatbox. It's the
one I usually take to WorldCon, for example. It generally weighs in fine.
large I use mostly for steampunk events, because I tend to have big
boots, multiple hat boxes, and floofy skirts. Also, I don't like to
crush my gowns. However, I have to make certain not to pack it too heavy
or I have an overweight fee.
spent hunting and I finally settled on this burgundy basket weave set,
again cheap from Ross. It's not ideal, but it does the job admirably.
Unfortunately, I use it so much it's already starting to fall apart, only
two years in. And now I've structured all my travel around it and I'm
so afraid of change.
- Both are semi waterproof.
- The tote stacks on the rolly for running through airports.
have "handle sleeves" on the back so that when I meet up with my
checked suitcase the carry-on rolly can stacked on it and the tote
thrown over my shoulder.
- I suggest tote/carry-on/both with
outside pockets for toiletries and computer, if possible, for easy
access at security. However, outer computer pockets can be dangerous
when bag is banged. So . . . .
- Bonus points for a shoulder strap on both, see later major tips.
- Both should have a zipper top for security. No flaps.
tend to pack one with all the things I'll need during the flight and
the other with all the things I can't live without once I land. Thus the
second can go safe up in overhead for the duration.
carry-on rolly design is a matter of preference. Mine is a wide, rather
than tall, with tons of pockets both inside and out. I went with squat
for stacking reasons, but it means I can't roll it through plane isles ~
a bit annoying.
- Some way to strap a jacket to the top is good.
- I use outer pockets for weather-safe needs: umbrella, gloves, hat, scarf and the like. This also adds outer padding.
- I require a tote big enough for my purse, reading material, and food
plus any extra items like a head pillow, for weekend events my entire
clothing roll actually goes in my tote.
prefer a tote that has some shock resistance and structure to protect my computer, but I've sacrificed that because this one is so very big
and floppy. Deceptively big. We like that.
- One strap is better than two, grippy leather-like material is better than slippery.
checking in or boarding I make certain to shell everything: pillow
(don't latch it on the outside of bag), purse in tote, and any other
items like computer tucked away. Also, if it doesn't fit in either bag, I
wear my jacket and scarf no matter how hot. I want to look like
everything is in place and I really only have two items. These days I
can't tell you haw many times I've seen people stopped while boarding to
have items taken away.
Even more major tip:
PICK UP AND CARRY my rolly as I stand in line to board the plane. I
shoulder my tote firmly under the opposite arm. Psychologically, these
items look smaller and lighter if I am carrying them. Ergo, they are
much less likely to be taken away from me. I also keep a neutral face,
if I look weighed down, authorities will be suspicious.
The Tote Ready to Fly
Includes my purse, a magazine and/or itinerary zipper envelope, and the roll of clothing (either all of it or just the one emergency outfit).
The Carry-on Rolly Ready to Fly
in its place and a place for everything. Room to transfer the
toiletries in once I've cleared TSA. Water bottle will then take its
place. This bag is still awaiting computer, computer kit, and food. But
otherwise is ready to go.
Usually it takes me about an hour to pack. Time well spent, if you ask me. It's taken me three times that to do this blog post!
P.S. You don't have to take my word for it.
always plan on getting stranded. It happens at least 1/4 of the time.
So I take the most vital things for my event and life (extra glasses,
itinerary, money, emergency toiletries, make up, medical needs, computer
and charging cords, corsets, emergency kit, jewelry) in my carry-on. I
also include one full event outfit and extra socks and undies. When
traveling carry-on only this isn't a problem.
- I suggest
printing out a piece of paper with name address and contact information,
plus the words "reward if found" for every piece of luggage and thing
- Food for plane: Good protein is always hard
for me to find as I don't eat a lot of meat, so I like to hard boil
eggs to take with. My best plane food is a veggie heavy burrito from (ah
hem) Chipotle. I know, but hear me out. I can supervise them making the
burrito and get them to do it as dry as possible. I can get lots of veg
and beans, no dairy or avocado (goes bad easy), and the fresh salsa
(drained as much as possible) and it actually keeps well in the fridge
overnight and packs easy for the flight the next morning. It doesn't
matter if it gets squished. And I don't know about you but one of those
suckers feeds me three meals if necessary. Add some OJ in flight and
it's a nice balanced meal.
- Drink for plane: I used to
buy water on the other side of security but now I carry a filtered bottle through TSA and fill it from a fountain by the gate. Sometimes I try to find/buy something with
electrolytes, because flying is dehydrating. I carry tea bags, as I can
usually get hot water and creamer on the plane.
- Which brings
me to one last thing: flying is not the time for me to booze or
sugar-up. Sugar lowers my resistance to all those rampant germs. Much as
I love it, I save my candy pennies for after I land.
GAIL'S DAILY DOSE
Your Moment of Parasol . . .
|1905 Betaille The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Your Tisane of Smart . . .
|3-Way Over The Door Mirror $200|
Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
13 Things You Can Learn from Things I Learned at #RWA2013
PROJECT ROUND UP
Waistcoats & Weaponry ~ The Finishing School Book the Third: Editing draft 12.
Curtsies & Conspiracies ~ The Finishing School Book the Second: Release date Nov. 5, 2013.
Etiquette & Espionage ~ trade paperback will be available in the US October 13, 2013.
Manga ~ Soulless Vol. 3: (AKA Blameless) Available serialized through YenPlus. Print edition Nov. 19 2013.
Prudence ~ The Parasol Protectorate Abroad Book the First: Delayed. Why? Begin rewrite in 2014.
BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT on the Parasol Protectorate series!
Please DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first!
The Parasol Protectorate
omnibus hardback editions
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels
Curtsies & Conspiracies goes on sale November 5, 2013 in hardback & electronic form. It's available for pre-order and Tor.com has posted an excerpt.
Quote of the Day:
“And so my dear Arthur, are not just a little bit pleased to see me?”
“Oh, my dear woman, possibly even less than that.”
~ Oscar Wilde
Labels: event, packing, travel