Summer holidays are looming and thus also looming is the annual family row about the luggage. Hand luggage or checked in bag? Large bottles or small? Handful of paperbacks or downloaded novels? Let the battle commence.
No prizes for guessing who in the family prefers which option, but you see packing for the men is vastly different from packing for the women of the family. Men pack what they need. Women pack what they think they might need. Plus there’s the small matter of the fact that the menfolk just pack for themselves whereas the women tend to pack for the children too. This of course means also packing the plasters, antiseptic and eye drops as well as the tea bags, tea towels and good old Cadbury’s chocolate too. Let’s face it a holiday wouldn’t be a holiday without a piece of home coming along too.
There is a logic and wisdom to going with the hand luggage option to be sure. The queues at the check in desk are avoided, the wait at the other end for the return of the bags is removed and the frantic hunt for the tiny keys used when locking the bags is also completely unnecessary. Those blessed things never stay where they were put anyway.
However, some very obvious restrictions come with the hand luggage option. The teeny tiny clear plastic bag that has to fit all your multitude bottles of lotions and potions for a start. I mean seriously? That’s a colossal challenge. Between contact lens solutions, toothpaste, sun cream, particular shampoos and conditioners, perfumes and non negotiable cosmetics, my bottles alone could fill the allowance for all five of us. But, yes we are not going to deepest darkest Peru, there are regular shops in mainland Spain or southern France, so there is always the option of stocking up when we arrive at our destination, but really, could you be bothered? The very last thing I want to do when on holiday is shop for essentials on the very first day.
Then of course there is the small matter of lugging said wheelie bags all around the airport with you. Wherever you go, they go. Whether that’s the cafe, the duty free shops or the toilets, the bags must accompany you. I would prefer my hands free to hold coffee or a sandwich or browse the jewellery and make up but it’s difficult unless one of your party offers to mind everything which is unlikely. I love the freedom to roam without wheeling a bag behind me. However, I also enjoy knowing that my suitcase is not getting beaten up by stressed baggage handlers or getting an all expenses paid holiday to somewhere exotic without me.
Then of course there’s the rush to board the plane first because those precious overhead bins fill up alarmingly quickly and despite your very best efforts to stay connected to your belongings there may well be no room and they will be put in the hold anyway.
So what to do? I guess there are pros and cons for both options. It comes down to personal preference, cashflow of course, as checking in a bag comes at a price and the much underestimated ability to travel light. A skill I have yet to develop despite my years and years of experience. I mean you just never know right? This particular trip could be the start of something fantastic and it would be a shame to be wearing the wrong shoes. Try explaining that to the men in my life though..