1. Your carry-on is your best friend.
- Let me introduce you to SPACE BAGS. These are the best travel invention since rollers on your suitcases. Stuff them full, roll them up to get the air out, and voila! You can get at least two outfits in the space of a half an outfit. I often use them for organization purposes as well. For example, I put all my swimsuits and swim accessories in one bag, so I can pack them while wet, if needed.
- Use all available space. I find that the insides of shoes make a good place to store underwear and socks.
- ALWAYS pack all your undies in your carry-on. Nothing is worse than being in Egypt without underwear. Trust me, I know. And ladies, make sure you pack some emergency "products" if you get my drift. European "products" are not like American "products." My friend found this out the hard way when her "aunt came to visit" while we were in Italy and our luggage was still on the runway.
- If you take medicine, make sure it goes with you at all times. Either put it in the carry-on or in your "personal item."
- You're going to need at least one, if not two outfits in your carry-on.
2. Use your partner like the mule they are.
- For checked bags, have your travel partner pack some of their things in your suitcase and pack some of your things in their suitcase and do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around. But seriously, if one bag gets lost, you have at least some items in your partner's bag.
- Use that "personal item" loophole. For example, the BF doesn't carry a purse (thank goodness) but he only takes his carry-on bag on the airplane. THIS time, I'm going to make him take a backpack. If he doesn't want to fill it, I will. :)
3. When your bag goes AWOL:
- First, go in the bathroom and have a good fit. Get it out of your system, cuz now you have to catch flies with honey.
- Report it at lost luggage. And be nice. Most major airlines will at least give you some supplies, like a t-shirt and a toothbrush. Get the process started to get your bag back sooner.
- When you get to your hotel, let the concierge/front desk know what happened. They can help you by calling the airlines while you at least try to enjoy your destination. They'll also be expecting the bag when it arrives and can bring it to your room.
The strategy that I'm still unsure about is to mail your checked bag to your destination. It's pricey (expect about $40 each way for each bag.) The benefit is that your bag actually arrives, and if it doesn't, it's insured. Plus, the ability to not have to drag several bags through a busy airport may be worth the price of admission. Not having to wait at the carousel might be the biggest bonus in my book for this. I haven't tried it yet, and not sure when I will. Think I can talk my frugal BF into trying it for our Vegas trip?