The Importance of a Carry-On

by Saturday, September 08, 2012
As a kid who great up the daughter of a commercial pilot, we flew standby all my life. That meant often times you would be waiting for a seat on a plane, and you would get "bumped"--meaning people with more seniority or paying passengers took the seat you would have gotten had it been empty. But your luggage still goes on that flight without you. And sometimes you got bumped for a day or two. I remember one harrowing time in Honolulu where we got bumped for a few days, and all our luggage was safely back home in Seattle by then of course...and Mom had for once not packed an overnight bag for all of us kids. Sleeping in our undies was no big deal in Hawaii, but would have been another story had it been a colder locale.

So the importance of a day bag or carry-on was instilled in my early on, and I still think it is a vital practice every traveler should make a habit of. In your carry on should be the minimum you would need to get by for the next 24 hours. So that includes change of undies, something to sleep in, and some basic toiletries. I also include a change of clothes, a book or some other entertainment (like my iPad), and in the case of going to a sunny vacation, my swimsuit. That last one is a definite MUST now since our bags didn't follow us on our honeymoon to Jamaica, and I didn't pack the swimsuit in our carry-on since it wasn't part of my "vital list". Our swimsuits were in the suitcase, it took a few days before they arrived, and we ended up buying gift-shop swimsuits ($$$!!) to tide us over.

I will also note that a bit of care goes into choosing my travel outfits for the same reason. I wear something that is comfortable and modest--I have slept on too many airport chairs or floors in my life, so if I am wearing a dress, I have leggings under them. In fact, my favorite travel outfit is a jersey dress with crop-leggings and some low-heeled walking sandals. And a sweater either on or in my carry-on. This is something comfortable to wear for long periods, I can hoof it all over the place without too much fatigue, can sit or lay in positions without being immodest, can be easily washed and dried in a hotel laundry or sink if I get stuck overnight and feel a need to refresh my outfit, I can take off the leggings if it gets too hot, put on the sweater if I get too cold, and can dress it up** or down depending on where I am going or what I am doing (**I also pack any favorite jewelry in my carry-on, because I don't want them walking off when going through security, or having my heart broken if the whole suitcase gets lost--my favorite necklaces and bracelets are in my possession at all times during air travel! So that means I have "dress up" options should I get stuck without my main luggage for a day or two.)

Hubby has a similar combination with dressy jeans (yes there is such a thing) or slacks, and a graphic tee under a button up shirt, his Fluevog Super-Angels (dressy-casual shoes with very comfortable walking soles). He can button the overshirt up and tuck it in for nicer stuff/colder weather or airports, just wear the tee to dress down/for warmer weather, etc.

A carry-on/day bag with a few essentials doesn't take up too much room, and gives you options if your regular suitcase is delayed for any reason. I'd suggest that if you feel stressed about your luggage arriving late, then a small, thoughtfully packed carry-on my be the peace of mind you are seeking!


On this blog I share my personal posts about cooking and knitting, travel and other musings; while I will blog about dance-specific topics over on the Deep Roots Dance blog:

I hope you will enjoy both my sites. Thanks for visiting!
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