How To Navigate The Packing Costs Of Air Travel

One of the things I’ve missed the most over the past couple of years is travelling. If money was no object and I had no environmental conscience I would happily get on a plane and head abroad every couple of months. Earlier this year I took a long weekend to go and visit one of my friends who lives in Stockholm and it was the first flight I’ve taken since January 2020 and I won’t lie, I’d almost forgotten how to pack. Carry on only bacpacks or checked luggage? Are there extra costs now for checking bags not included in the ticket cost? Are airports so chaotic at the moment that checked bags may not even arrive at the destination anyway? Being organised is definitely key!

A Carry-On Is More Than Enough

Airline tickets can be costly enough even flying economy and it’s not always the most comfortable experience for the majority of us. I’ve definitely learned that for a short break, taking a carry-on suitcase is so much more convenient and cuts out those extra charges and waiting time to both check in on departure and retrieve luggage at the other end. It would also be best to buy Fiji dollars online and any currency depending on which country you travel to lessen the hassle.

Just remember that the carry-on bag should be the right size for fitting in the overhead storage provided by the airline. Other than a carry-on bag you will be allowed a personal item to carry such as a handbag or laptop bag and also a clear toiletry bag in which all the liquids must be under 100 mls. A little tip I had from my last flight to Sweden – I’d already pre-packed my toiletries in a small clear wash bag but T5 at Heathrow wouldn’t accept it and made me use one of the little plastic bags they provide so I’d recommend making sure everything you need can fit in one of those.

Flying Longhaul

If you are going for a longer trip and must check in your luggage, find out beforehand how to measure the luggage dimensions for the airline you have chosen. That way you can pack accordingly and make sure you don’t go over on size or weight. The first holiday Pete and I went on to New York we even bought a suitcase whilst we were out there to bring back shopping – it was a long time ago when the exchange rate was crazy and US shopping was incredibly cheap.

Bear in mind that each airline may have a slightly different policy on personal items and liquids. Razors and batteries are usually not allowed, however, some varieties may be passable if they are kept in the carry-on and not admitted into the general luggage. Basic makeup items and toiletry items are allowed in the carry-on especially if they are not liquid and are travel size.

Packing A Personal Item

A personal item is one of the two bags you can carry with you during a flight, the other being the carry-on bag or suitcase. The personal item bag can be packed with toiletries, small clothing items like socks, electronic items like tablets, travel documents, and medicine packs that may be needed for the journey.

Another additional cost that has arisen on some flights in recent years is food. What used to be supplied as standard on some shorter flights you now need to pay for so it’s definitely worth taking food items in your personal bag if needed. I’ve had some questionable experiences flying as a vegan in the past, when the soul food item served on a 10 hours flight was a bag of apple slices. If you do have any dietary requirements, including for religious reasons, you will need to be even more prepared as airlines may not cater for your needs. Use items from your Rosh Hashanah gift baskets such as diced fruit, dates, nut mixes, and cookies to keep energy levels up during the flight.

Packing For Comfort

I’m seriously in awe of the expert travellers – you know the ones who seem to have multiple outfit changes, blankets, pillows, neck support and enough skincare to rival a cosmetics counter. I get it though – from air pressure to over-zealous air conditioning, flying isn’t always the most comfortable activity. It’s definitely recommended to pack a good quality travel pillow (inflatable varieties take up minimal space in your bag) and an eye mask if you plan to try and get some sleep. I always like to take a thick pair of socks too for longer flights because it can get really cold. If you’re traveling with your pet, you don’t necessarily have to bring your pet’s things. For instance, if you’re traveling to Texas, you can book your stay at a Houston pet friendly hotel and use their amenities, such as blankets, towels, and beds (instead of packing your own).

If you’re an anxious flyer or someone who can suffer from travel sickness, essential oil roll-ons for aromatherapy can often help to soothe the nerves. I also always tend to wear trainers – they’re comfortable but are likely to be my bulkiest footwear then I’m not taking up unnecessary space in my luggage. Don’t forget good quality headphones if you’re an entertainment addict and some ear plugs if you’re hoping for shut eye.

Lastly but just as importantly, a large part of packing for comfort includes making sure we can keep entertained, particularly during a long-haul flight. Pete gets onto a plane no matter where we’re going and goes straight to sleep whereas I find it impossible. So I rely on my iPad or in-flight entertainment and books.  And don’t forget to have all your arrangements sorted for the destination too – is a car collecting you from the airport, do you know how to navigate public transport? Don’t leave those details to the last minute. Make sure any apps that may be useful for your holiday are downloaded including maps and short-term rental software which is often used by rental property owners to communicate with guests and receive payments.

That’s it, bon voyage and remember alas, at some point you’ll need to come home…!

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