January 10, 2012
Pack Smart and Leave the Powerbars at Home
In the summer of 2008, a friend and I spontaneously decided to go on a three week backpacking trip of London (3 days) and Egypt (18 days). When packing the night before we left, I had to constantly remind myself that we were going backpacking, which I had never done before, so I made up my own interpretation of what to expect: no hotels, no laundry, and sometimes no showering. I also realized that I had to pack three weeks worth of stuff, which I would then be responsible to carry myself. After joking to my friend that all I would bring were powerbars to barter for goods and supplies, I successfully shoved three weeks worth of clothing and gear into a single camping pack. I had no idea how much the thing weighed and figured I would just get it checked at the airport. The following story, though funny at my expense, could have been avoided if I had planned better and had the EatSmart Voyager Luggage Scale amongst my travel gadgets. At check in, I knew that I would need to check in my bag because it was too big due to all the stuff I had in it. What I didn't realize was that it was slightly over the 50lbs limit due to a 2lbs box of powerbars. I immediately moved the powerbars into my day pack and my bag was checked without incurring extra fees. Only my pride was slightly bruised when I had to unpack and repack my bag in front of people waiting to check in. On arrival at London Heathrow, I couldn't find my pack at luggage claim. As I cleared customs, I met up with my friend, who looked perplexed as to where the rest of my stuff was? . I calmly replied, "Well, remember how I told you all I was going to bring was powerbars? That's exactly what I have in my daypack and nothing else." My friend didn't seem to appreciate my sense of humor at the time. I later found out that my bag had misconnected in Rome and was to be re-routed to London in the next day or two. Fortunately, I was reunited with my bag the day before I left for Egypt. I arrived in Cairo with all of my belongings and had quite arguably, the best trip of my life thus far. Since hindsight is 20/20, I concluded the following, “ So if I had purchased the EatSmart Voyager Luggage Scale and packed half the amount of stuff, I would have theoretically had a 25lbs bag, which would have been acceptable to carry on the plane. I would have saved myself the aggravation of a misconnected bag, would have avoided lugging around a 50lbs pack everywhere I went, and would have been able to bring back more souvenirs." I know this sounds pretty ridiculous, but I chalked it up to a learning experience. The lessons I learned were: know the airline rules for luggage weight and dimensions, and know where your luggage measures up against their regulations. I recently received the EatSmart Voyager Luggage Scale as a present and have both domestic and international trips planned in the upcoming weeks. Thanks to my new travel gadget, I'm already confident that I won't have another episode of an overweight bag. Would a Luggage Scale have come in handy during your past travels? Story By: David Wu is an Operations Management Consultant for a Fortune 500 company. He is an avid traveler and flies weekly for business and pleasure to both domestic and international locations.