I assume then, I am not alone when I watch enviously as fellow airline passengers disembark and stride smugly past the luggage consol, their one carry-on bag slung snugly over their shoulder or wheeling smoothly behind them. What are their secrets?
• Size is critical. Carry-on baggage must fit under the seat or in an overhead compartment. Confirm the airline’s baggage policy, including the number of pieces you can bring, and size and weight limitations, with your airline or travel agent ahead of time. Carry-on luggage is generally limited to one carry-on bag plus one personal item. Personal items include laptops, handbags, small backpacks, briefcases or camera cases.
• Pack carefully, placing all travel documentation in an accessible place so that you do not have to mess up your neatly packed bag at the airport. For the same reason, do not pack any prohibited items or wrap gifts, as they may need to be opened for inspection.
• Consider the clothes you are travelling in as one third of your wardrobe. Be tactical in selecting other items, basing your wardrobe around one core colour, and one skirt, a pair of trousers and ideally, one pair of shoes. Build your outfits around these basic items and remember accessories do not take up much room but can transform an outfit.
• Roll your clothes. Do not fold them, as that takes up more space.
• Put beauty products in small-sized plastic bottles or purchase travel-size items.
• Think carefully about the personal items you place in your carry-on baggage, in case your bags are opened for examination. Consider putting personal belongings (such as toothbrushes and combs) in clear plastic bags lest they have to be handled.
• Place identification tags with your name, address and telephone number on all baggage, including your laptop computer. Place an identification tag inside your baggage as well and tape your business card to the bottom of your laptop.
There you go. Sounds simple enough, don’t you agree? Now to get it right just once…