It might seem like a simple task, but grabbing a bag and filling it with the things you’ll need on your holiday can be a high-stress situation.
After all, which bag should you actually be packing? How much baggage allowance do you have on your flight? What about if you’re flying on multiple airlines on a complicated itinerary around the world? Will you be allowed the same amount on each flight? Do you really need checked luggage? Or just carry-on?
See? High-stress indeed.
After all the consideration and decision-making that can go into planning and booking a holiday, packing really should be the easy part. But at some point in the last few decades, luggage went from a small-or-large? situation to Do I need two wheels? Four wheels? The hard case? The soft one? The duffel? The backpack? The satchel? Or the messenger? Which is right for you?
Well, that can get very specific and personal, but you can narrow things down by considering:
- Are you packing things that need the protection of a hard, outer shell?
- Does it need to be waterproof?
- Are wheels practical for this trip?
- How long are you travelling for?
- What season will it be in the destination you’re travelling to?
- Will you need room for souvenirs and gifts?
This last one is important, because often the bag you need on the way home is not the one you set out with.
ATAS accredited travel agents are typically passionate, regular travellers who know a thing or two about luggage, packing, checking and carrying-on. Be sure to raise it with yours when you book your next holiday. Use our handy pre-departure checklist to make sure you depart without a hitch.
It might seem like an exaggeration, but getting that decision right is really important and can make a significant impact on how smoothly your journey goes. Ask your ATAS accredited travel professional for details of the baggage allowances along each section of your itinerary, and for advice on the type of luggage that might best suit the requirements of your trip.
For example, if you’re flying across the Pacific, you may be entitled to an enormous allowance of 2 x 23kg bags, but your onward flight from the US to, say, London might permit similar luggage allowances. Your ATAS accredited travel agent can provide those details to make sure you comply with the most restrictive conditions and don’t get stung by hefty excess baggage fees. All of a sudden that low-cost airline pricing might not look so attractive.
One thing is for certain, however, the worst kind of luggage is lost luggage. And while airlines do their best to tag, track and deliver them, bags do go missing. But there is something you can do to avoid that ‘I’m never going to see my bag again’ sinking feeling: GPS-enabled luggage.
Manufacturers are now making bags with tracking technology built into them. There are also clever devices that help you to keep tabs on your bags. Just pop one in your luggage, launch the app on your phone, and away you go. It won’t stop your bags from landing in Paraguay instead of Paris, but you’ll be one step ahead of the airline and its baggage services team when it does. And with an ATAS accredited travel agent in your corner, working hard chasing updates and a resolution from your airline, you can be on your way again in no time.
What kind of a packer are you? A detailed planner or more a toss-everything-in-and-hope-for-the-best type? Are, importantly, you a roller or a folder?
Don’t answer that. That’s as divisive an issue as window-or-aisle, or to recline or not to recline, and something that deserves to be addressed in a future column. Watch this space. Use our handy checklist guide on how to pack like a pro.
Whether you’re planning a quick weekend away with your nearest and dearest, or a multi-generational special occasion chat to your favourite ATAS-accredited travel professional – experience you can trust.
Looking for more insights from ATAS-accredited travel agents? Try these on for size: Is a White Christmas the right Christmas for you?; Family holidays that won’t send you (or the kids) around the bend; and A world of festivals in 2020.
Don’t miss our information for travellers, for tips and advice on what to do before you depart on your holiday.
ATAS travel agents recommend that Australia passport holders register for travel alerts before they travel.