Bad Girl, Good Business

Do You Carry Excess Baggage? (Fun #4)

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We’re talking about luggage here.  Not psychological issues.

Although your inability to travel light may be a sign of emotional attachments, this is strictly a business blog. Part of the “business of fun” (our August content theme) is packing for trips. Knowing what to lug in ones luggage is an important skill to develop.

Yesterday, I boarded the Hamptons Jitney with two light bags. Had my trip been in winter, they would have been only slightly heavier and I would have worn boots. Few of my fellow passengers carried big suitcases. We live in a world of backpacks and wheeled microfiber totes. This week, we wrote about casual attire and make-up. How do you pack these things when you leave home? First, some history…

The modern suitcase is a mere 120 years old. Here’s a fascinating history of luggage. (But please be sure not to travel to far and to return to this page!) Prior to that, the rich were the travelers and they had trunks — lots of trunks. The poor folks carried them around. Even when I went to college in 1974 I had a big black trunk. It was not as elegant as these, and I didn’t have a porter to carry it around. In fact, I have no recollection of how it actually got to Ann Arbor…definitely not on my flight. The rolling suitcase didn’t become a thing until 1970 and it didn’t really start to sell until 1987. My kids went to summer camp with big soft duffle bags. I re-purposed them many years later to carry my trade show stuff into a convention center and it was even written-up in Exhibitor Magazine.  My daughters (now grown) used the same duffles to move homes. The right kind of baggage lasts a long time, is easy to schlep, and travels far.

In 1956, a mere 60 years ago and the halfway mark in luggage innovation, luggage had frames and was sometimes heavier than the contents. Because clothes were more formal, packing light was virtually impossible.

Today, unless you’re a rock star and need multiple costume changes and assorted guitars, packing your things in a light bag or two is a breeze. In fact, fast airline travel requires us to all become minimalists if we want to speed through TSA lines and airports. When I launched my speaking career a few years ago, my business/branding coach also guided me how to dress for gigs which, in turn, trained me how to pack lighter. I can now leave town with 30 minutes notice (although my life is not that exciting; I haven’t gotten a call yet begging me to drop everything and fly to someplace cool). Lightweight fabrics and micro-electronics mean that I don’t strain myself carrying my own bags. Easy on…easy off…easy work and play.

Speaking of technology, I make my packing lists in ListMaster on my phone, and they usually look something like this:

  1. Tunics & leggings
  2. Boots or sandals (depending on the season)
  3. PJs
  4. Make-up, jewelry, and toiletries (the ones under 4 ounces, of course!)
  5. Electronic devices, earbuds, chargers (ESSENTIAL), and business cards
  6. Paper notebook and gel pen (One can’t rely on wifi)
  7. Ultralight sneakers & gym clothes
  8. A book and/or magazine (see #6)
  9. A relaxing craft project and snacks (which are great for long airport delays)
  10. Passport

If it’s a play trip, I simply swap out 1 and 2, add a dressy outfit, a bathing suit, and sunscreen to take to the beach (unless, of course, it’s winter…that makes things a bit more cumbersome). I wear a tee shirt, sweat shirt, and jeans to fly. No porter required!

What does the future of luggage look like? Here are some great predictions from Expedia.

Be sure to subscribe to my blog for more fun facts and business tips. Feel free to borrow my “Minimalist Packing Guide for 2016” and share your thoughts on travel essentials and packing tricks!



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