When you’re packing to travel, there are some things you can pretty much just throw into your suitcase – socks, underwear, chip clip to keep the edges of the window curtain together, etc. You might pack other things with a little more care – clothes so they don’t wrinkle as much, glass bottles so they won’t break, plastic bottles of liquids and creams so they don’t open and get all over everything, and so on.
But there’s one thing you want to pack especially carefully – your toothbrush. Specifically, if you use an electric toothbrush. I discovered this the hard way.
Nearly 30 (Thirty? UGH!) years ago, comedian Jeff Foxworthy released a comedy album called, “You Might Be A Redneck If…” It peaked at #38 on Billboard. The album included a segment of examples of how you might be a redneck if you do these things. Here’s a TV spot with the routine from 1989:
It’s happened to a lot of people – they bring their carry on onto the plane and when they try to put it into the overhead compartment, it doesn’t fit.
So they have to take the walk of shame back to the gate so they can gate check their bag. For others, you have a crabby gate attendant who insists your bag won’t fit in the overhead, even though you know darn well that it will (this one happened to me. And then it happened another time.). Either way, if you have to gate check a bag that you weren’t planning on checking, you run the risk of their breaking your stuff in it that you packed with the idea that YOU were going to handle it, not them (that one happened to me, too. It didn’t end well – I had to vacuum glass shards out of my suitcase).
But travel search engine KAYAK may have invented the solution for this problem, utilizing augmented reality (AR), with an app that measures your bag before you board, which can then be compared to the exact size requirements of your plane. Take a look at how it works:
It’s happened to everyone at some point. You arrive in Austin on American Airlines, while your checked luggage arrives in Boise (that really did happen to us, several years ago. They got the bag to us about 12 hours later). Or you arrive at JFK on United and your 4-wheeled bag now has 3 wheels…or a rip…or a dent (that happened to me too, 20+ years ago). Or you arrive in San Francisco on SouthWest and your bag just…disappears. Forever (Well, eventually they’ll find it, but if they can’t figure out who it belongs to, like if your luggage tag broke off and there’s no airline sticker on the bag, it’ll eventually wind up at this place. You don’t want it to go there.).
As it turns out, there’s a group paying attention to, not only how often peoples’ bags are lost, misdirected or damaged, but also which airlines do the most and least amounts of losing, misdirecting and damaging. Of course, trying to figure out the U.S. Department of Transportations’ (USDT) info is like searching for a needle in a haystack, but luckily another group has done the hard work for us.
When Joe and I travel, there’s a rare occasion where he’ll have to bring a suit. We may be going to a wedding, a funeral or (humblebrag alert) we have this cool gig where we sometimes have the opportunity to sing in a choir at Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall (yes, really!).
Anyway, Joe always brings his suit with him as a carry-on, because it’s the only one he’s bringing and we can’t risk it getting lost. However, if that wasn’t the case, he’d be happy to pack it in his checked luggage. Well, except for the fact that it’d get pretty wrinkled. But now that doesn’t even have to be a factor. Take a look:
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