Luggage Stories

Ever since Murray and I have been traveling, we have endeavored to only take carry-on bags.  It has become part of the philosophy of how we travel for two reasons.  First, it limits what we take to only what we really need, and second, our luggage arrives when we do.

Small luggage

For me, carrying small luggage started many, many years ago, when I traveled with my family.  The summer between my grade 9 and grade 10 school years, we went on a 6 weeks trip through Europe.  My father was Greek, so Europe was very comfortable for him and we had been there before.  This trip was slightly different as my Dad, Mom, Sister and I all had smaller suitcases which we had to carry ourselves.  I remember that mine was bright red, soft sided, with outside pockets, lots of zippers and no shoulder strap.  It wasn’t too big or heavy for a 14 year old to carry.  I remember trying to decide what to take and how to pack it all – should I put my underwear in an outside pocket?

One summer between university years, I went to Europe with a friend for a couple of weeks. My small suitcase one of the new styles with wheels on the bottom.  It was sort of like pulling a wagon with a leash.  It worked not too badly, except on the cobblestones.  I remember my friend packed all the heavy items, like shampoo bottles, on one side of his suitcase, and it kept falling over. It was rather comical, because the suitcase would be rolling along just fine, then suddenly hit a rock, or uneven pavement, and just…plop…fall over.

Lost luggage

We have experienced anxiousness while waiting for missing bags.  R&D, Murray and I traveled to Ireland to do a bike trip.  We all had riding specific clothing for the bike trip in our bags.  R&D had checked their bags, Murray and I did the carry-on thing.  Our connection in Toronto was very tight.  When we got to Dublin, we had our bags, but R&D did not.  We had 3 days in Dublin before connecting with our bike tour, and by the end of day 2, R&D were making a list of clothing they were going to have to go out and buy for the bike trip.  Fortunately, their bags showed up that night.  PHEW!

One trip, we had to check bags as we were going scuba diving in Victoria and had too much gear to do all carry-on.  It was a long weekend and flights got messed up right from the start.  Needless to say, we arrived in Victoria with no checked bags, and we were going scuba diving the next morning.  There was not much we could do, so we went to bed and in the morning, our bags were sitting outside the B&B.  PHEW! Again!

Luggage that arrived safely

A good story….two actually….We have traveled with bike boxes twice now – once to Paris, France and once to Charlottetown, PEI.  When we went to France, we purposely planned a few days in Paris, for sightseeing and for bike boxes to catch up with us in case they got waylaid somewhere. Fortunately, the bike boxes arrived when we did.  HURRAY!  When we went to PEI, we played the game.  We booked ourselves on a Westjet flight through Toronto that had the same plane carrying on for the Toronto – Charlottetown leg.  So, once the bikes were loaded, they stayed on the plane right through, even though there was a stop.  I thought that was pretty astute of us! The bikes arrived when we did.  HURRAY!  Again!

Carry-on luggage

A few years ago, R and I went to Hawaii for a week.  We had carry-on bags, because all we really needed were swimsuits and a few street clothes.  We flew into Vancouver and had to clear US customs and our connection was tight.  Carry-on luggage meant that we did not have to wait for our bags to come off the airplane only to be rechecked.  We cruised through that section and got to the boarding gate with time to spare.

In 2000, R&D, my two children, Murray and I were in Belize heading to Guatemala to see the ruins at Tikal.  We had all taken carry-on bags.  The bus we were on was stopped about one and a half kilometres from the border due to a dispute with taxi drivers.  So, there we were out on the road walking towards the border crossing in the heat.  It’s times like these that I appreciate a lighter bag that is easily carried as a backpack.

It’s interesting that I have embraced the small bag concept, as I got introduced to it when I was 14.  Murray and I have experienced both checked luggage that has been lost and checked, and carry-on, luggage that has arrived safely.  Now, don’t get me wrong, we still do travel with checked bags when we have to, but carry-on ensures that our bags arrive when we do and we only take what we really need.

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