To Check or Not To Check – tales from the road

DSCN0114I don’t quite qualify as a road warrior (I have to pay for drinks in airports), but I do spend a fair bit of time flying hither and yon (I have sufficient cachet with my airline that I can call a different number for reservations so I don’t wait on hold with the general public).

Further evidence of my non-supermegaflyer status is the mere fact that I considered checking a bag for a 3 day trip. Checking a bag is simple, just toss everything in a medium sized suitcase and don’t worry too much about space, or how big a tube of toothpaste you pack. Truth be told, I feel strangely superior when I line up to board with nothing but my little backpack and see those obnoxious business travellers with laptop bags and a suitcase that “clearly” would not fit in the little wire rack on display prominently beside the gate. I feel downright smug when they get on the plane only to find that all the overhead compartments are full knowing that that *I* took a bit of extra time and checked my suitcase. *I* am not holding up other passengers and taking up entire overhead bins with my suitcase, laptop bag and coat. But the more I travel, the more the dark side beckons…when you land on Friday and leave on Sunday, with the magic of online check-in, you can go straight to security! That means an extra 15-20 minutes on the patio sipping a glass of wine. We’ve all had that moment, standing at the luggage carousel wondering just how long it can possibly take to unload the bags, where we find ourselves thinking, if only I hadn’t checked a bag, I would already be on my way.

DSCN0111With the new job, and the increased number of trips, I took the first step, I went shopping for a suitcase specifically to use as a carry on. It has a zip up pouch in the front that is perfect for holding a ziploc bag of liquids and gels, Heck, it even came with its own ziploc bag! This week there is a possible strike by Air Canada customer service, so Air Canada is actually recommending that you avoid checked bags. So the time has finally come. Packing took longer than usual as I carefully rolled up each shirt (Yes I am roller not a folder!) and patted myself on the back for wearing sandals so I didn’t need to pack socks. Then I had to pack my running gear, wow running shoes take up a lot of space! Luckily you can jam running shorts and a pair of running socks into each shoe. Now time to pack up my bathroom bag. I had no idea how many things I usually pack that exceed 100mL! Toothpaste, facial cleanser, shampoo and conditioner, and I usually use a leave-in conditioner as well (have you seen my hair? and that is with the conditioner to keep it getting out of control, trust me you don’t want to see it without), even my deodorant is a gel! Digging through the bathroom drawers and cabinets, I managed to find a toothpaste sample the dentist gave me last year, a deodorant that is a solid instead of a gel, and travel bottles for my hair products. Now I just have to put this in the handy dandy little ziploc bag that came with my suitcase. Hold on a second! This bag is one of those little sandwich size ziplocs! There is no way my moisturizers, hair products, make-up (I have a liquid foundation and concealer), will fit in this tiny bag! I am convinced the person who made up the rule about the tiny little ziploc bag was a guy! They can get away with packing a mini shaving cream and toothpaste and use all the free goodies provided by the hotel. I suppose I can use the hotel shampoo, as long as I have my own conditioner, and I suppose I can skip the leave in conditioner for 2 days (so no making fun of my hair at Prairie Dev Con this week if I look like the wicked witch of the west after walking through a wind tunnel). Now if I put the big things in first, then I can just make it all fit! DSCN0113

I glide expertly through security, casually putting my laptop and clear plastic bag of liquids and gels into the tray, and efficiently putting it all away again on the other side. Looking like a pro! George Clooney would be proud. But now I sit at the gate, glancing surreptitiously at the little display that says “Your carry-on must fit in this bin”, and my flight originated in Montreal, so it’s possible that when I board there won’t be any room left in the overhead compartments.

But on the other hand my first flight was delayed which would have caused me to miss my original connection. Because I hadn’t checked a bag, I was able to just rebook on a later direct flight. Now my direct flight is delayed, but I know when I land I can just walk out the door as soon as the plane lands and grab a cab to my hotel. Apologies to my fellow passengers, but I think I am converted.

Safe travels!
Susan

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