I am finally getting a little better at traveling. I have been traveling domestically and internationally for the past 40 years. I have traveled as a child, an adult, and a family with kids in and out of diapers. I feel like I can pack appropriately for both checked luggage and carry-on luggage. However, I am finally starting to appreciate some conveniences and am investing money in making travel more pleasant.
Over my traveling life, I have seen the deregulation of the airlines and increased airport security. That has changed the way I pack.
I have made a few purchases recently that I am extremely happy with. I tried out ebags packing cubes for a trip overseas. The primary motivation was being able to find my stuff as we were going to be living out of two shared 27 inch bags for two weeks. These things were amazing and we ended up buying sets for my wife and the kids.
Another key purchase was the Scottevest Travel Vest. I hate having a lot of stuff in my pockets when I am sitting on an airplane seat, driving a rental car, and on the go at attractions. I used to use a hip belt to decrease the strain, but that is not organized or fashionable. The Scottevest is both. While it is a little pricey, I have used the vest on 3 different trips with and without family and I love this thing. It is somewhat overdesigned, but it flat out works.
Recently I also picked up the ebags TLS mini 21” carry-on bag. I bought this, because our current carry-on bag kind of sucks. It is pretty small and the outside pockets don’t leave a lot of room for organizing stuff. With the extra fee for checked bags, I thought it was important to have a carry-on that I could pack for a 3-4 day trip solo. When traveling as a family with a stroller, we carry-on backpacks for obvious reasons. We will always check at least one bag when traveling as a family. The TLS mini is pretty nice. It is feature rich and slips right into the overhead bins. It appears reasonably durable, but time will tell. Like the Scottevest, it is overdesigned, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.
I also own a Kindle. I find that I use this as much at home and while traveling. I don’t think it is a big leap forward over paperback books, but it is pretty convenient. When we traveled overseas, I downloaded 3 books and managed to get through two of them. I have also used apple nano devices for in-flight entertainment and have been really happy with these as well. The biggest downside of most apple products is battery life. The monochrome Kindle has great battery life.
I need to get a little more organized when I am actually on the plane. The seat pocket and open drinks are just a pain. Going forward, I want to have a jacket, entertainment and snacks under the seat in front of me. I will either bring a beverage container from home or buy a water or soda at the terminal for a couple of dollars rather than deal with spills and fiddling with that useless tray. I also need to experiment with neck support devices and pillows so that I sleep better on planes.