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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, December 7, 2003

Words from well-traveled

By Chris Oliver
Advertiser Staff Writer

 •  Experts share their packing tips

Scanning online sites devoted to travel, especially those devoted to traveling with a single carry-on bag only, we found these ideas for packing well and lightly.

Remove old airline tags and label bags inside and out; for safety, use business address, P.O. box or travel agent's address. Do include cell-phone number, if you have one.

As you pack, make a list and keep it in your carry-on; makes claim-filing easier if bag is lost.

Keep all money, jewelry, tickets, valuables or prescription drugs in your carry-on.

Clean out purse or wallet: Take only necessary documents and credit cards; get dollar bills for tips.

Make copies of key documents (passport, itinerary and e-ticket, driver's license, health-insurance card, family phone numbers); carry one in carry-on bag, one in checked bag, leave one at home with a friend.

Build a travel wardrobe around one or two colors and no more than 10 items that can mix and match.

Fill bag bottom with heavier items like shoes and books.

Pack tightly to reduce wrinkles and save space.

Roll small, wrinkle-resistant items (pajamas, sweaters, socks, nylons) to fit small spaces.

For maximum space savings and minimum wrinkles, bundle wrap (see graphic) or interweaving. To interweave, drape longer garments across suitcase with ends hanging over sides, fold shorter items such as shirts and blouses on top, then fold ends on top. Tissue paper between layers helps, as does plastic dry-cleaner bags.

Use transparent plastic organizer bags, zip freezer bags or mesh bags to corral small items. Carry extra zip bags.

Miniaturize with travel-size toiletries and cosmetics.

Pack a light collapsible bag for carrying home gifts, souvenirs.

Sources: suzidavis.com; on linebags.com; onebag.com; theglassceiling.com; afn.org/~afn11300/packing.html.

Inside Denver International Airport last month, travelers moved slowly through the security checkpoint in various states of undress. Beneath a "Got Laptop?" sign, transportation security officials worked tirelessly to keep the line moving.

With outside temperatures in the low 40s, hats, coats, scarves, jackets, and shoes had to come off inside the terminal.

The biggest holdup? Shoes.

If you're traveling through an airport this holiday season, whether it's Neighbor Island or to the East Coast and beyond, wear easy-to-remove shoes. They do have to come off at security.

What else can make your journey easier and reduce stress? We asked some of Hawai'i's frequent travelers for their best holiday travel tips:

Kent Keith, lecturer and author:

"Electronic tickets save a lot of time. E-ticket machines (where you can check yourself in) often mean you can get boarding passes quickly and be on your way while those with paper tickets are still waiting in line."

"When going through security screening, keep your eye on personal items, especially laptops. I carry my laptop serial number in my wallet and mark my initials on the bottom of the laptop to make sure I can identify it as mine."

Airports are so noisy now that I look for a gate that does not have a departing flight for a couple of hours to sit and enjoy a little quiet."

Frank Brandt of Phillips Brandt Reddick & Associates, landscape architects:

"I always dump everything into the baskets, including my shoes, when I go through security. It saves time and avoids a search," said Brandt, who travels inter-island twice a week.

Sharon Weiner, vice-president of Duty Free Shoppers:

"I travel with my own mini toy box — an array of things to amuse myself with: one 'dumb' book that's a page turner, one serious book that's good literature, several pieces of work reading and a needlepoint project. For a long trip, I'll add an audio book and player. Great for listening to while needlepointing and enjoying during long layovers when my eyes are tired of reading. Books on tape are ideal for long cruises, especially when one is prone to seasickness as I am. I listened to Paul Johnson's 'History of Christianity' and his 'History of Judaism' (not in that order) on a 19-day Antarctic trip. Classical music is also good for seasickness, especially Mozart. Cheery and soothing at the same time."

James Dannenberg, retired state judge and freelance writer:

"My one indispensable item would be earplugs to screen out the engine noise. Also, I never, ever check a bag. If you can't fit it in a carry-on, you should not be taking it on a trip.

Paul Hughes, photojournalist and travel writer:

"Pare down your wallet before leaving. Take only credit cards you'll absolutely need. Make copies of everything you're taking, including passport, ID, plane tickets, credit cards (including numbers to call if lost/stolen). Take one copy with you, leave one copy at home. Comfortable clogs are easy to slip on and off at security checks and stay comfy even if your feet swell during long flights.

Review guidebooks and make a list of things to see/do for each place you're visiting. This enables you to carry a few sheets of paper rather than heavy guidebooks while sightseeing."

Jeanette Foster, travel writer:

Foster, who is updating Frommer's Hawai'i guide for 2005, travels inter-island twice a month, to the Mainland six times a year, internationally two or three times a year. "I try not to check baggage and always prepare myself for delays with a bottle of water and reading materials," she said.

To save space in her bag, Foster intends to leave her laptop at home and take instead a Migo, a tiny device that contains software which allows the user to copy the contents of a PC — e-mail, Web-page favorites and key files or folders. "When you get to where you're going, at a hotel business center or Internet cafe, you plug in the Migo, enter your password and you're all set. It's a godsend for business travelers," Foster said.

Melanie Marshall, ex-flight attendant:

"Don't wear metal at AT ALL and you won't be frisked." Always have with you a bottle of water, snack, light sweater, earplugs, eyeshades and extra Ziplock bags."

The Yancey family, Daphne, Don, Sean and Richie, veteran travelers to seven continents including Antarctica, now planning a trip to Rome, Naples and Pompeii:

"Travelling is serious business; prepare and train your kids to pay attention to what is going on around them and to stay with you at all times. Safety is the first issue, any family trip will become easier with well-behaved kids. Take minimum stuff: carry-on bags only, a 20-inch roll-on bag is ideal. Don't expect things to go smoothly, and build in some extra time just in case things go wrong. We take a Global Positioning System and always try to learn a few phrases of the country's language ... it really helps."

Nancy Peacock, Honolulu architect, heading to Morocco and Namibia in 2004:

"Most important is to travel light. Streamline and organize everything in a carry-on, only. Shoes take up so much room so I take one pair of good, comfortable shoes that I dress up or down and no others! I color-code little zip pouches for medications, toiletries, extra pens, business cards, and these are always ready before the journey. Also, I always take a collapsible bag that fits inside my carry-on for goodies to bring home. I take only one main outfit and accessorize. I don't care too much about how I look; I'm not going for a fashion award."

Pam Chambers, Honolulu presentation coach:

"My best travel tip is to put like items into large transparent Ziplock bags. These keep clothes wrinkle free and protect from any spillages. T-shirts in one, underwear in another, toiletries in a separate bag. This really helps you be organized about packing."

David Cheever, traveler and freelance writer, hoping to "paddle the Pacific" in 2004:

"Take less! Laundromats are really easy to use when traveling. They're are in most hotels and take at most an hour! In Hawai'i we often get on the plane in shorts, but it really makes sense to travel in the clothes you plan to wear on the trip. Also, I always take my bicycle. Getting around San Francisco, for instance, is so much easier."

Hob Osterlund, clinical nurse specialist in pain management at The Queen's Medical Center:

"Don't be in a hurry. Start the day with plenty of time to get to the airport, and don't let delays or long lines destroy your peace of mind. If you start out with a relaxed tempo, the whole day has a chance to go well."