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Packing Light for a Long Vacation

Sorry to gloat, but I have a much-needed two-week vacation coming up and I’m starting to think about how to pack for the trip. My suitcase, you see, isn’t very big. In fact, it’s what you might call downright small. For the first part of my trip I’m going to be moving around from one place to the next, and so I want something light and versatile, that’s easy to carry up and down steps.

So how to pack two week’s worth of stuff into my small but well-worn suitcase? I’m going to have to be creative—and just accept that I’ll be doing laundry once or twice while on the go. Since I don’t know when or where exactly I’m going to be able to find access to a laundromat, though, there are two areas where I’m definitely not going to skimp: socks and underwear.

As for the rest, my motto’s got to be, “less is more.” I plan to employ the following strategies:

Do’s and Don’ts of Traveling With Food

Last time I visited home, I had been away too long and missed my mother’s cooking. So she insisted on packing my bags full of home-made pork buns, sweet bread, chocolate chip cookies, and chicken noodle soup so I could bring them back east (I didn‘t have the heart to tell her that I now get my cookie fixes from Rocco’s).

Many people heading back after the holidays have to figure out how to schlep their home-made goodies and gifts all the way back while trying to deal with the complex security restrictions on food. For this reason, it’s no surprise that according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the number one question travelers have for the TSA Contact center is, “Can I take my pie with me on the plane?”

Wish You Were Here, Travel Gear

I don’t think I’m particularly vain—I clogged across three continents in Crocs, for goodness’ sake—but I really hope I look a little different in everyday life than I did when I was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. You know, just…not dirty?

Maybe, though, the difference between mountain me and city me isn’t as apparent as I would hope. The other night I—wearing a dress, heels, and jewelry—met up with some friends who’d hiked the mountain with me, and we found ourselves in need of a corkscrew. “It’s okay,” one of them said, “Michelle has one on her Swiss Army knife.” I had to explain that I do not, in regular life, hook a Swiss Army knife onto a carabiner and attach it to a daypack before setting off to dinner. And, I added, not only was I not carrying a daypack et al, I didn’t even have pockets, let alone giant stow pockets in which to stuff gadgets.

Photo courtesy of IgoUgo member 80 Ways Tim

Jet Blue To Charge for Pillow Kits

Add another cost to the increasingly long list of fees. Jet Blue will begin charging passengers $7 for a pillow and blanket. Now, this is a fee that makes sense. I much rather pay for a new, clean pillow and blanket than use one that someone else has drooled all over.

A la carte pricing seems to be the way of the future for the airline industry. The Wall Street Journal writes that Jet Blue says “it is on track to collect about $60 million this year from customers’ purchasing extra legroom and paying an extra $15 to check a second bag. The company says it will also bring in an additional $50 million in revenue after doubling its ticket-changing fees to $100.”