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Monday, August 6, 2012

Packing Panic!

Hi all-
We’ve talked with several of you this morning – and it seems that a lot of you spent the weekend trying to figure out how to cram a lot of stuff into a floppy duffle. Before you give up – here are a few suggestions to help you get your gear in your luggage – and get you to DC to meet us in a few weeks!

First – check your duffle size. Did you buy one that is big enough?

One large duffle bag:  We suggest a large duffle bag, between 4,500 - 5,000 cubic inches. It is helpful if the duffle bag has duffle-style handles and haul-handles on each end. This will make it easier for loading and unloading from the truck. Also, it is helpful if the duffle bag has shoulder straps which can be used for carrying the bag for short distances as a backpack. Double-zippers allow you to lock your possessions.  The duffle bag should be constructed of water- and abrasion resistant fabric to withstand the abuse of travel. Please do NOT bring one with wheels or a telescoping handle.

Second – check the weight of your bag

As you can imagine, we are used to flying with a lot of luggage. When our teachers leave Bozeman, we all have multiple duffle bags, both personal and for group gear. We arrive at the airport well in advance of our flights and weigh bags, shuffle items, and eliminate last-minute items before getting on the plane. We also mail boxes to the hotel well in advance. So, we are very familiar with the packing list and the luggage restrictions.

 Checked Baggage for Economy flights:

·         First checked bag: $25 when paid at the airport / $20 when pre-paid using EasyCheck-in Online at within 24 hours of your flight

·         Second checked bag: $35 when paid at the airport / $30 when pre-paid using EasyCheck-in Online at within 24 hours of your flight

·         Maximum Weight: 50 lb/23 kg total

·         Maximum Size: 62 linear inches/158 cm

 Overweight Baggage Fees

·         Fee for any bag weighing 51-99 lb for economy passengers: $100 per bag

·         Bags weighing more than 100 lb/45 kg will not be accepted. If a bag is both oversize and overweight, passengers will be charged both fees.

 Oversize Baggage Fees

·         Fee for any bag between 63-115 linear inches: $100 per bag

·         Bags with a single dimension more than 62 inches, or overall dimensions exceeding 115 linear inches will not be accepted. If a bag is both oversize and overweight, passengers will be charged both fees.

 Specific Traveling School Suggestions

·         Put your Crazy Creek/ camp chair outside of your duffle, and strap it on the outside. When you check-in at the airlines, request a plastic bag for the outside of your bag.

·         Wear your hiking shoes.

·         Carry-on your jacket.

·         The place where girls usually go over is in the toiletries department. Remember that you can re-supply during the whole semester – there are grocery stores, markets, and drug stores where you can buy a second tube of toothpaste or a new bottle of shampoo.

·         Ensure your sleeping bag is in a compression sack – and cinch it down tightly! If you want to watch someone compress their bag – Teton Sports has a good how-to video:

·         And, make sure you have rolled your T-shirts, and packed as many items as possible in other bags. This video promotes Eagle Creek, and while some of the Eagle Creek products work well for us (the packet folders do not), the video has some good suggestions about utilizing your space well:

Packing Duffle Bags and Travel Packs – A few more words of advice…

Soft sided duffles are great for expanding around a load, but they are usually one big compartment that gets packed in one position and carried in another. Things tend to move around inside, and the larger the bag, the more likely it will be that smaller items will become lost in the pile. And, as you are living out of this bag, you want to ensure that you don’t dump the whole thing upside down in your tent every time you are looking for your math homework! Get organized!

As I mentioned above, roll your clothes into cylinders when you pack. That isn't the most wrinkle-free method ever devised, but wrinkles are really part of life at The Traveling School. The next trick is to make gravity work for you to keep everything in place. Pack heavier items - like shoes - at the bottom of the duffle (the bottom when it is being carried). Remember to label your bag on the inside, as well as on the exterior luggage tag, and sew on your Traveling School patch!

 And, we are going to help you learn how to organize and pack your bag – so just concentrate on getting it to DC, and we’ll help you from there!
If you are still stuck…

Text me a picture of your bag and your pile of stuff - I’ll see if I can help!

 Good luck!

Gennifre and The Traveling School

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