Monthly Archives: June 2016

Pros and Cons of Carry-on vs. Checked Baggage

airportgroundtransportationFactors to Consider Before Packing for Your Next Flight

Most travellers I know aim to travel with just carry-on baggage but most often end up checking their bags because it takes far too much time and effort to pack smart and efficiently. Most of us pack far too many clothes than we will ever need because doing so requires much less thought when packing. Just throw everything in that suitcase and don’t worry about it right?

Although there may be several benefits to travelling with just carry-on, in my personal experience it may not always be the best choice.  In fact, it may end up causing you more headaches throughout your journey.  Before I divulge why it may be less convenient to not check a bag, lets explore some of the benefits to travelling with carry-on alone:

Pros of Travelling With Only Carry-On Baggage:

No extra baggage fees


The typical airline charges $25US per checked bag and up to well over $100 for bags that are overweight.  By keeping your personal articles to a minimum, you can save up to over $200 per return flight. Recently however, due to long TSA wait lines, some airlines are dropping baggage fees in order to expedite the security wait times.

Save Time by Avoiding Baggage Drop-off Lines and Waiting to Collect Your Baggage at Your Destination

Businesswoman walking with luggage in airport baggage claim area, rear view (tilt)If you are checking a bag, be prepared to add at least 1 hour minimum to your transit time.  Instead of simply printing off your boarding pass and proceeding through security, you will have to tag your bag and line up to drop off your bag. This process alone can take an hour so if you are planning on checking a bag, be sure to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours early for domestic flights and 3 hours for international flights in order to ensure you have enough time to drop off your bag and go through security.

Furthermore, when you arrive at your destination, typically you will have to wait an additional 20-30 minutes for your bag to be available for pick-up at the baggage claim carousel. For international travellers, this wait may be even longer given that customs agents may be searching your bags prior to putting them on the carousel.  What better things could you be doing in those 20 minutes? Be at your hotel, sipping on a nice glass of chardonnay? Sign me up!

No Worrying About Lost Baggage

lost baggageI don’t know about you but every time I’m waiting at the baggage claim, I always fret over the fact that my bag might not make it.  I neurotically think of what time I checked-in for my flight and what order my bag should be in as it was loaded and unloaded on the plane.  Fortunately, I have not ever had one of my bags lost but one time I had to wait almost 3 hours after returning on a flight that arrived at midnight.  I was not a happy camper by the time I claimed my bag at 3am but nonetheless, I was pleased that I did get my bag!

Save Money at Your Destination

suitcasefull It’s quite simple: if you have limited or no space in your bag to put anything else in it, you don’t have the option to buy things and bring them home, well unless you buy another bag!

 

 

Cons of Travelling with Only Carry-On Baggage:

Not All “Carry-on Approved” Bags Will Fit in Overhead Bins 

Can't fit much more than a laptop case in this bin!

Can’t fit much more than a laptop case in this bin!

Ever go to a luggage shop and see luggage labelled as “Carry-On Approved Luggage”?  Or even try out the airline’s “Carry-on Approved Luggage Sizes” bins at the airport?  Well sorry to disappoint, all that is meaningless and rather completely dependent on the type of aircraft you will be flying on.  Each aircraft has VERY different overhead bin storage space and there are some aircraft such as the dash series which won’t fit much more than a laptop case!

 

IMG_20160505_200803Travel Tip: I always travel with an extra small bag/purse within my larger carry-on which contains all of my electronic devices (cell phone, chargers, etc).  Note the small purse in the left of this photo which I store in my larger carry-on below.  This way if you are on a small aircraft where your bag won’t fit and you have to use the sky-check service, you can quickly remove any articles which cannot be checked (i.e. anything containing a lithium ion battery).

 

Additional Scrutiny at Customs Checkpoints

customs nothing to declare

As I mentioned previously, if you are just travelling with carry-on, you have limited space in which to place any additional articles which ultimately limits you in terms of what you can purchase throughout your travels.  Several times, well more often than not, I travel with only carry-on and do not purchase any items while abroad and therefore have nothing to declare at customs.  Apparently this must be some sort of red flag or perhaps a red flag only because I am a female and I should be bringing multiple bags and shopping everywhere I go? I have wound up in secondary screening almost every time I travel with carry-on only and have nothing to declare. Being subject to secondary screening is time consuming and anything but fun.  At minimum, it may add 1 hour to your journey and if you have been travelling for a long time, this is the last thing you want to have to go through! As a side note, if you are travelling internationally, ALWAYS DECLARE EVERYTHING HONESTLY and IF IN DOUBT, DECLARE IT! Not properly declaring items is a serious offense!

Limited Quantity of Items (Liquids and gels, clothing, shoes etc.) 

liquids and gels

This is probably the biggest challenge for most travellers; Being able to pack all of your necessities in such a way that it meets carry-on requirements.  Liquids and gels are limited to a maximum of 1L total comprising of bottles that contain a maximum of 100 ML each and that is very difficult to do, especially if travelling for more than a few days at a time.  Clothing can be packed minimally especially if your hotel has laundry facilities but shoes however cannot.  If you are planning on travelling with just carry-on, I recommend wearing all of your bulkiest items (boots, jacket, etc.) during transit.

In reading this, I hope that my points will better prepare you for your next trip.

Looking for tips on how to travel more efficiently? Contact me at thetravellingsaleswoman@gmail.com

Safe travels my friends!

TSW

 

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The Top 5 Most Awkward Job Interview Questions I’ve Ever Been Asked

job interview… and My Equivocally Awkward Replies

In this modern day politically correct society, we can only expect that potential employers will ask us questions in the interview process that will be of utmost professionalism and they will never ask anything that may be in violation of the Human Rights code. Although this practice is expected, it is most certainly, not always practiced.  Throughout my career, I have been asked a variety of wild and awkward questions to which I had no choice but to reply in an equivocally awkward manner.  These are my top instances:

Q1: Are You a Vegetarian?

vegetarian or carnivoreA1: “No, I am a carnivore.  Well, more precisely, an omnivore.” This was in an interview for an animal health company which entailed selling products to veterinarians who catered to all species .  Although I feel that this question wasn’t particularly relevant to the position I was applying for,  it actually can be in some positions.  For example, one sales representative that I knew got a job at a large animal health company that sold vaccines for cattle and he was a vegan.  Needless to say, the company never asked him about his dietary preferences and the situation arose where his clients (cattle veterinarians) invited him to their dinner table and let’s just say that didn’t go over so well.  So that being said, In spite of this awkward question, one’s dietary habits may actually be quite relevant to the position.

Q2: “Are You Jewish?”

Star_of_David.svgA2: “Just because my last name is Goldman, it doesn’t mean that I am Jewish.  Why do you ask?”.  Apparently they asked because my interview was scheduled just before sunset on a Jewish holiday (Shabbat). When they told me that, I replied, “If I was Jewish, why would I schedule an interview minutes before I had to leave and be home before sundown? That isn’t professional is it?” They explained to me that they were asking me out of politeness because they knew a lot of Jewish people. Uhhh..ok??

Q3: “Is family important to you?”

womanhatekidsA3: “Yes, absolutely, but if you mean to ask if I want to have children, I do not.”  When they asked me that question, I knew precisely what they were REALLY asking and I knew if they asked me that question outright it would be illegal.  Regardless, I answered honestly and perhaps if I didn’t get the job, it may have been an issue. The primary reason I decided to answer this question is because I am of the belief that women often don’t make the same pay as their male counterparts and it is simply because they take years off at a time to raise children and I wanted to make it clear that I do not fall into that category and should be considered in the same light as a man for the position.

Q4: “Wow! You were responsible for so many roles in your past job. Why don’t you go into business for yourself?”

wtfA4: “I have considered it but for various reasons, it is simply is not an option at this time.”  This interview got awkward very fast.  They knew I was a highly skilled individual who was accustomed to regularly undertaking multiple tasks within a small company vs. a very specific sales role within an massive corporation.  I ultimately left the interview prematurely upon realizing that this company did not want someone of my skill set but rather a cookie cutter sales person.

Q5: “We require 5 employer references at a minimum, but in your 10-year career you have only worked for two companies.  Are you able to provide this?”

divorcemiddlefingerA5:Since I am currently employed for one of the only two employers in my 10 year sales career, no, I cannot provide a reference from my current employer who is my only supervisor.” I couldn’t help but laugh inside thinking that it is a good thing that I have only worked for two companies in 10 years given that the average sales person changes jobs on average every two years but I suppose because of that precise statistic, the HR person specifically asked for one employer reference per two year period.  Can you say closed minded? Being on the receiving end of this question can be a potential death sentence especially if you are currently employed and your employer does not know you are looking and in my case, I worked for the same company for almost 9 years.  So I said, “If you ask any of your sales representatives across the country to ask any of their clients if they are using my products (since I was the only national sales representative), I am 99.9% certain they will inform your representatives that they are using my product. There is no better reference than that.”.  Unfortunately, my response rubbed these folks the wrong way and they told me that was in no way sufficient. As a result, I had zero interest in working for such a company.  As far as I am concerned, if you can’t judge a sales person on their results, but only on references because your company has such a rigorous “process”, then good luck finding a stellar sales representative and running a successful business.  Needless to say, I rescinded my application for this particular job.

All and all, in spite of how politically correct our society is supposed to be, when we are conducting business or involved in the interview process, sometimes things simply just slip.  As an interviewee, although it is great to be aware of what a potential employer legally can or cannot ask you,  if you are interviewing for a job you are at a disadvantage.  You are at the mercy of a potential employer and you want a job or perhaps a career.  All I can say is, keep in mind that you don’t have to take just ANY job.  Just like you don’t have to settle for an inferior romantic partner.  If you ever feel uncomfortable in an interview, stand up for yourself and say so, regardless of how awkward it may be.  Heck, even walk out of that interview if you feel that it is a waste of your time! I have done that many times.

Remember, you are looking for a job that suits your needs too, not just your potential employers.

Good luck out there my friends.

Cheers,

TSW

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