When I was young, my mom had an eccentric Jamaican friend who would occasionally come to live with my family in California. Antoinette was a character in every sense of the word, but what I remember most vividly about this woman is the way she packed. She was a master at the art of avoiding extra bag fees, and while I was mortified to watch her dress her children in five layers of clothing and string pots and pans from a rope around her waist as a way to lighten the luggage (pre-9/11 mind you), now that I’m an adult who has moved internationally on a regular basis, I find myself thinking, “Hey, that’s actually a great idea!”
Although I still can’t imagine a frying pan dangling from my belt loops, on my current move from Mexico to South Korea I did bring myself to wear my Hunter boots (they’re so big to pack! No matter that I have sweaty legs for the entire 39 hour journey—I saved three pounds!) My carry on bag is bursting with a frying pan, bags of coffee and assorted cutlery in preparation to stock our Korean apartment. I’m a bit toasty in four layers of shirts, but I’m happy to sacrifice my current comfort in the present for more clothing in the coming year or two as due to my monstrous American size, I cannot purchase clothes or shoes in Korea (aka the land of tiny women). Two large suitcases, two backpacks, one small suitcase a tote bag and a purse may sound like a lot of luggage, but when moving countries for at least a year, Steve and I feel we’ve done quite well—even without the kitchen utensil belt.
Have you ever gone to great lengths to avoid baggage fees? Share your best packing tips in the comments below!