The littlest things can trip you up when you’re traveling. A few extra ounces in a suitcase, for instance. With airlines getting stricter about every aspect of flying, that tiny detail can turn out to be a hassle.
My husband and I usually travel with only one suitcase apiece, and we make sure to weigh what we’re taking before we leave. We don’t buy much on the road, either. We may pick up a few nice foreign nibbles, or some small gifts for relatives, but that’s about it. So, in theory, our luggage shouldn’t weigh much more on the return trip than it did on the way out.
But theory is not reality. Purchases are sneaky. They can accumulate quietly and then BAM, they tip the scales.
Consider our Hawaii tale—
We had taken a nice, long cruise from New Zealand to Honolulu. The islands en route didn’t sell a lot of must-have stuff, and we had been to Hawaii enough times that we didn’t feel like we needed to bring home pounds and pounds of anything in particular. But in New Zealand, at the very start of our voyage, we were inspired to shop. We bought a load of manuka honey products, opossum wool gloves and socks and sweaters, cool T-shirts, interesting note cards, and—well, I don’t know what all. It added up.
We acquired so much stuff that we had to break out our auxiliary tote bags at the end of the cruise. And that’s where we stumbled. We now had our two normal cases, plus the two totes, and we could only guesstimate how much weight each was carrying.
Airlines flying out of Hawaii pay close attention to weight because their planes have to fly over so much empty ocean. Too much tonnage and everyone on board will be swimming with the fishes, not flying with the gulls.
So when our big bags weighed in a teensy bit over the limit, my husband and I were pulled out of line to repack or jettison or do what we had to do to make the weight right.
Red-faced, and dripping with sweat, we tugged at balky zippers. When we got the cases open and started to dig through our tangled things, dirty laundry spilled over the airport floor. Other passengers stared. Their eyes said, You are SOOO pathetic. Our hands shook as the minutes raced by, because we still had to get through security. Finally, we were able to shift items from the big bags into the smaller ones so that all were in compliance. We convinced the zippers to behave. Closed up everything. And then said, Never again.
We’re packing for another trip now, and we’re taking the luggage scale with us. It’s small. It’s light. And it will save us from a bit of airport aggravation on the return flight.