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The Luggage Challenge

Many travelers fall into two categories with regard to their luggage.  The first category is the traveler who over packs for every trip, the one who takes a winter coat to Hawaii just in case it might be needed.  The opposing traveler elects to purchase their entire wardrobe and toiletries when they arrive at their destination, carrying only a fanny pack on to their flight. 

Most of us likely fall somewhere in the middle, struggling not to pack that extra pair of shoes or extra pair jeans and yet remembering an additional pair of socks or underwear will likely be a good decision.  In most cases you can buy whatever you forgot when you arrive, but that uses up valuable vacation time or precious overscheduled time if you are a business traveler. 

There is a great service that only a few travelers are aware of which eliminates the hassle of luggage.  Imagine door-to-door luggage delivery to more than 200 countries.  Whether you are shipping golf clubs or excess baggage, your bags are guaranteed to arrive safely and on time.  This service is definitely for total travel convenience.  While it is not inexpensive when you consider the additional charges now being imposed by the airlines, the fee becomes more palatable.  Luggage Forward’s website www.luggageforward.com will provide you pricing and determine what travel time is required to have your luggage waiting for you upon arrival.

Luggage restrictions and fees for air travel change so frequently it is nearly impossible to keep totally informed.  The carry-on restrictions remain fairly constant, however.  Liquid and gel toiletries must be in 3 ounce containers or smaller are allowed if they are contained in a clear plastic, quart-size or smaller ziplock bag.  Larger containers that are half-full or rolled-up toothpaste tubes are not allowed.  And only one ziplock bag per passenger please.  Any amount of eye drops, saline solution, prescription and nonprescription medicine are allowed.

Current rules for carry on luggage include drinks, liquids and gels purchased in airport stores inside the security checkpoints can be carried into passenger cabins.  Baby formula is allowed if a child is traveling.  Lighters are banned in carry-on bags and in checked luggage, unless they don't have fuel or are in a case approved by the Transportation Department.  Laptops, cell phones, pagers and personal data assistants are allowed.  You can always consult the Transportation Security Administration’s list of prohibited items at www.vacation-lists.com/luggage-restrictions.html.

As airlines become more strict about size and weight limits, travel experts say it's more important than ever to pack lightly -- preferably in one carry-on bag. Luggage manufacturers are responding with new bags that weigh significantly less than older models, meaning you can pack more and still avoid weight surcharges, or avoid checking a bag at all.  But please be cautious with over stuffing your back pack.  Forgetting the space filled behind you, as you turn around you are likley to strike one of your fellow travelers in the head.  Courtesy is still in fashion, be considerate of others when you enter an airplane. 
 
If you are considering purchasing new luggage you might want to check out www.ConsumerReports.org where you will find reports on dozens of carry-on luggage with simulated durability testing on an obstacle course.  “Outside Magazine” tests mostly larger luggage.  If you are a frequent traveler, most travel experts will say it’s worth investing in durable, well-tested luggage, preferably with a lifetime warrnty that also covers accidental damage. 
If you are traveling over the holidays, I encourage you to ship your luggage ahead.  Whatever the price you will be pleased with your decision by eliminating the inconvenience of checking, carring and waiting for your luggage. 

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