Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Traveling right

Growing up at a boarding school, packing and traveling have become second nature to me. We were allowed only 2 piece of luggage, a trunk and a hold all with our linen, until the 10th grade, when we were allowed one additional bag. With great joy and anticipation, I was bought a wheeled luggage set, even though I could only take one to school with me.

When I got admission at Kansas State University, I again purchased new luggage, this time an expandable luggage set with a rather stylish tweedy brown finish. I had a ton of things that I wanted to take with me, clothes, books, photographs, things to remind me of home etc. I also managed to pack in a beautiful old namda, a Kashmiri crewel work tapestry that I thought would be perfect to make any place I lived in cozy and remind me of home.

We had very little weight restrictions those days, the airlines didn't even bother with the weight, only counted number of pieces. The luggage set I took wasn’t too large as I felt I should be able to carry it all myself, if need be, without looking like I'm lifting Mt. Everest. There’s nothing quite like a traveler who is not able to handle their own luggage.

On our trip to the US this summer, I had a really tough time packing as we had several different agendas on the trip. One was a wedding, meaning we had to carry 6-7 outfits, with shoes, bags and the rest of the wedding paraphernalia, and the other was a driving trip along the eastern coast, stopping at a number of places with luggage that would fit along with us in our rented minivan. We took along a number of smaller bags to take with us for our trip.

With all the shopping we did, we got stuck with overweight bags at the airport on our return journey. American Airlines was very strict that bags could not exceed 50 lbs. Our saving grace was that although our bags were overweight, we had a lesser number of bags, so we bought 2 expandable bags at the airport store and re-distributed the contents to thankfully arrive at the right combination of weight and size.

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