Thursday, 16 October 2008

#41 – Pack two changes of clothing in your hand luggage

Or damage limitation for when airlines bungle.

Flight from Guatemala City to Panama City
This entry comes to you straight from the glamorous locale of Guatemala City Airport, where I am waiting around for my flight to Panama on an airline I’d never previously heard of.
If ever there was a prime candidate for losing luggage, this is it.

Lost luggage
Fortunately, I have never endured an airline losing my luggage. That I haven’t is something of a miracle given the amount of flying I end up doing, but – touch wood – my lucky streak will continue.
Other people I know have not been so fortunate. They have had a hellish time trying to get their bags back, and enduring a holiday with no fresh clothes.

Change of clothes
One of those people once said something I’ll never forget - “I just wish I’d got a change of clothes in my hand luggage.” He’d packed everything, and was left with what he was standing in when the plane arrived and his bag didn’t.

Extra drying time
My advice would be to go slightly further than that, and pack two changes of clothing. That way a bit of extra drying time comes in if the worst comes to the worst and you’ve only got your hand luggage for the rest of the trip.

Buying a new wardrobe
As a travel writer, you shouldn’t have too much free time in which you can stroll around the shops buying a whole new wardrobe – you’ll probably be chasing down story angles as soon as you land. If you don’t have the clothes in your hand luggage, it’s not only costing you to replace them, but costing valuable time.

Wash in hotel room sinks

But if you’ve two pairs of underwear, a couple of shirts and a spare pair of trousers in your bag, things aren’t so dire. OK, so it’s not going to be a comfortable trip, but you can wash in hotel room sinks as you go along, and probably get away with it.

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