5 Pieces of Luggage For the Traveling Author Beast

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.
via FB

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 four days).

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!

I 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

Mine 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.

Small Matched
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.
Thus, 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.
Medium Matched
I 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 Matched
The 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.

Carry-on Set

Years 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.
Rolly Tote
photo 4
Carry-on Rolly
Major tip:
When 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:
I 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


Everything 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!

Last Thoughts
P.S. You don't have to take my word for it.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1905 Betaille  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Modcloth Feline Organized Door Hooks $15

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

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

~ Soulless Vol. 3: (AKA Blameless) Available serialized through YenPlus. Print edition Nov. 19 2013.  
~ The Parasol Protectorate Abroad Book the First: Delayed. Why? Begin rewrite in 2014.

The Books!

The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
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!
Boxed set of all five!

The Parasol Protectorate omnibus hardback editions
Volume 1 (Books 1-3), Volume 2 (Books 4-5)
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels
Soulless Vol. 1, Soulless Vol. 2 (book 2), Soulless Vol. 3 (book 3)
The Finishing School Series: Etiquette & Espionage, Curtsies & Conspiracies (Nov. 5, 2013)
 $0.99 ebook only short stories: Marine Biology and My Sister's Song

Book News:

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

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