Jul 31st 2011, 11:36 by N.B. | SAN FRANCISCO
VETERAN business travellers do not like to check bags. It inevitably slows you down, and you run the risk of losing your luggage entirely. But sometimes (if you’re travelling somewhere for an extended period of time, for example), it seems unavoidable. Even if you do end up checking bags, though, it is still important to think carefully about how you pack your carry-on.
A checked bag full of suits and shirts should not be an excuse to leave your usual carry-on bag at home. Checked bags do get lost in transit, and it’s terrible to be stuck in an unfamiliar place with just the clothes on your back. Unfortunately, some business travellers (including several of your correspondents’ colleagues) do not normally carry changes of clothes in their carry-on. That seems like an unnecessarily risky travel strategy. A good carry-on should have toiletries, a change of clothes (or two), and everything you might need in case you have to replace everything that was in your checked baggage.
Of course, carry-ons get lost sometimes, too. That can be costly. Earlier this month, one of my colleagues noted a Hotels.com survey that found the average carry-on contains 12 items “with a combined cost of almost £1,500 ($2,340).” The list was suspiciously brand-name heavy (“If the average business traveller has a Mont Blanc Rollerball (as opposed to a biro from the stationery cupboard), then things really are looking up.”), and contained very little clothing: a shirt and socks. You can probably get away with wearing the same trousers for a few days if absolutely necessary, but you’re definitely going to want some extra underwear if you lose your checked baggage and get to your destination after the stores are closed. I usually also carry a fleece jacket, which can double as a travel pillow in a pinch, and more than one extra pair of socks.
If you desperately want to avoid bringing a carry-on and don’t mind looking somewhat less than fashion-forward, you could always try the Rufus Roo travel jacket:
Like a kangaroo, the Rufus Roo has big pouches which travelers can stuff with clothes, toiletries, books and even a laptop before wearing the jacket and boarding a plane.
Adrian Oates is the co-founder of Rufus Roo. He says, “It’s airports, it’s trains, it’s wherever you need to go and carry stuff and it just so happens that at airports, people are being expected to pay obnoxious fees for extra things and we think well hey, if you can carry it on your person, they’re not going to charge you.”
Adrian says the jacket can comfortably carry around 10 kilograms, and he hasn’t any problems from airlines when wearing it to fly. He says, “Even if you’ve got 10 kilos, you don’t always have to carry it. We tend to fill the pockets and just use the arm holes as a shoulder bag. You just use it like that.”
You may look and feel silly cramming a change of clothes into the oversized pockets of your novelty travel jacket. But at least you’ll be more prepared for lost luggage than the folks who pack a £230 pen in their carry-on instead of underwear.