Updated on March 26, 2014
Updated on March 26, 2014
Yesterday I had the good fortune of hanging out in NYC with a miles and points collector who really knows his stuff when it comes to packing light (and turns out to be really good company as well!). As we chatted I told him about this stupid box Drew and I have been carting around the world.
I travel with a small backpack and a handbag and Drew travels with a small backpack and a rolling brief-case. That’s almost always it. And somehow when we take discount airliner flights, we can manage to consolidate everything into three pieces of luggage instead of four.
I live by the light-travel rules because I believe it makes both budget travel easier as well as off-the-beaten-path-travel easier. And I love both. If you only pack what you can carry yourself and only what you can carry onto a plane, you can walk, hitch-hike, take a public bus, hop on and off subways, carpool, take discount airline flights- you can do all of these things more easily than if you weigh yourself down.
Anyway, Drew and I broke our rule when the InterContinental Johannesburg gave us a welcome gift of wine. We get bottles of wine quite frequently as a welcome gift but for whatever reason, we decided this bottle was worth keeping. So we bundled it up in some shirts and stuck it in a small box and checked it on a series of 13 flights.
Ever since, this stupid box of wine has been a headache.
Let me recount the ways…
1.) When we were in Chicago about to head into the ice storm at Dallas Fort Worth, we were worried our outgoing Dallas flight would be canceled so we tried to see if we could change our flight to go directly from Chicago to Puerto Vallarta Mexico and skip Dallas all-together.
Well…the stupid box would be sitting at baggage claim in Dallas without us, so we couldn’t change our ticket. That, and a desire not to pay change fees got in our way.
2.) By flight 11 of 13 we were exhausted of flying and we were just ready for a break, so we looked into changing our Dallas to LaGuardia flight to an earlier one that would cut down our airport time. Well, the agents were happy to change our flight, but again, we’d have to wait at the airport anyway when we landed because our stupid box was already loaded onto the plane flying the later flight.
1.) Carry-on only is the way to go if you want any kind of flexibility.
2.) There is such a thing as too frugal.
You see, we knew that wine had some kind of value, so we didn’t want it to go to waste. So we stuck it in a box. Then, in Dallas we bought some pasta to do some cooking in our hotel and again, not wanting to be wasteful, I stuck the leftover bag of uncooked noodles in the box….(in case I wanted to make pasta in Mexico?). Then, in Mexico we realized that buying a giant thing of sunscreen was a better deal than a small one, so we bought a giant thing of sunscreen and, not wanting to waste it, stuck it in the box too when our Mexico time was done.
It’s like that closet you don’t ever organize, but stash all the extra only half-wanted things in. The game closet. Somehow even though we don’t have a home…we have that closet in the form of a box.
So now when the check-in staff asked us “What’s in the box?” we said “A bottle of wine…some sunscreen….” and we trailed off before we could explain that there was also a half bag of dry pasta.
That stupid box has followed us on 12 flights and is about to follow us on a thirteenth…hopefully its last.
It has overstayed its welcome and it’s time someone consumes this wine.