Monday, July 8, 2013

Time Has Come to Sing a Travelin' Song

Time is getting us closer to boarding our flight to Frankfurt.  Tonight is our last true meeting with students, so tonight we focus on one of the most important parts of travel....luggage.

To help us get ready, the meeting we are going to focus on what goes in it and how we lug it around.  We will take that bag for a little walk around campus and up a few stairs. Ok. More than a few stairs.  Last year, we had a couple of kids completely repack their bags because of the staircases we climbed at one of our last meetings.  Since kids are totally responsible for loading their luggage on and off buses and into hotels, one staircase can bring that fact to a cold reality.  The suitcase has potential to cause some problems during our 17 day trip.

Used with permission by geishaboy500
We often have a good distance to walk from our bus to our destination.  This isn't a big deal with wheels on a bag.  The issues come when we get to a broken escalator deep down in the subway or when the hotel elevator is the size of a 10 year old child.  

Students should focus on getting that bag as light as possible while packing essentials. Remember that we discussed the baggage allowance allowed by American Airlines.  For the airline's official rules, check out their website.  The maximum weight of a checked bag without a charge is 50 lbs./23 kgs. At the start of our trip, bags should weigh much less than that to allow room to pick up souvenirs along way.

Think about what needs to go in it.  Start by taking a look at the EF Tours packing list.  If you are interested in more reading about packing, checkout these packing tips: part one and part two.  On their website, EF Tours even points us to a website to create your own personalized packing list at

One of most important things to consider about what to pack is the weather.  Kids should go ahead and use their smart phones to check out the weather patterns at our destinations.  Italy will be hot. Switzerland will be cool.  France should be pleasant while London will be cool and potentially rainy.  A couple pairs of long pants will be enough since most of them will want to wear warm weather bottoms (aka shorts and skirts).  They should pack a bunch of light shirts that cover shoulders.  Tank tops can be ok for some of the days when we have some free time.  We let everyone know if a church is in the itinerary that day.  Also, don't forget a rain poncho (dollar store!) and/or a small umbrella.  We will cover this in more detail tonight, but for other things that I recommend, check out our own website here.  

How to pack those clothes can be an whole differnt story.  I have been working on that story for years.  Youtube offeres a wide range of advice on how to pack a bag.  Try this simple Youtube search for some ideas.  I like to use a combination of packing cubes and this:

Lastly, students get to carry another bag on the plane (aka a carry-on).  EF Tours gave us their infamous backpacks that we will hand out tonight.  It is small and lightweight enough to fit under the seats on the plane.  If they choose not to use the EF Tours bag, they are welcome to bring along their own. Don't bring along another suitcase!  Just have them bring their own backpack or messenger bag.  This is the bag that they bring on the bus everyday and could easily be lugged around on walking tour
days, if needed.  Airlines also allow for a "personal" bag on the plane.  This usually means a purse.  Since I don't carry one, I bring use the bag allowance to bring my camera shoulder bag.  I don't recommend students bring a large camera, but this allowance does allow them to bring another small bag, if needed.  Avoid that if you can because the more you bring equals the more you carry.

Double check the TSA carry-on policy to make sure students don't have their carry-on items confiscated:

This should help us start the meeting of right tonight.  Be sure to bring along a packed suitcase for our little workout.  After tonight, you have look at your bag in a whole new way.  Just remember that no one ever thinks back on the trip and wishes they had packed more in their suitcase.  

See you soon.


No comments:

Post a Comment