Tag Archives: airline

Pack Your Carry-on Luggage Appropriately or Risk Not Flying at All

If you’re travelling for business and your briefcase containing all of your portable electronic devices doesn’t conform to your airline’s carry-on standards, you can forget that business trip!

In this post I will provide some general airline travel tips and provide suggestions on what types of baggage you should travel with and the contents each baggage type should contain.

How many times have you packed for a trip only to end up using half if not less of what you packed?  We have all done it at some point.  As we become more seasoned travellers, we learn how to pack more wisely.  In the US, more and more people are travelling (see infographic from Hudson News below), and most of whom (I say from experience), do not know how to pack appropriately.  Now, airlines are beginning to crack down on these passengers and you need to be prepared for it the next time you fly.

BusinessTravelInfographic

Last week Air Canada announced that they will begin strictly enforcing their carry-on allowance at Pearson International Airport (YYZ) in Toronto effective this past Monday and they will begin doing so in other international airports across the country over the coming months.  This means that at all check-in and security check points, Air Canada will be checking passengers’ carry-on baggage to ensure that it meets their specifications.  If it does, each bag will be tagged with a “Carry-on Approved” tag.  If the bag does not meet the airline’s specifications, passengers will be required to check their bags before proceeding through security.

approved carryon bag tag

When I heard this news, I thought “This is great news! It’s about friggin’ time!!!”.  For those of you who read my article “The Top 10 Worst Airline Passengers I’ve Encountered”, you will recall me mentioning my frustration with the “Carry-on Cow”. You know, those passengers that have multiple and/or oversized bags and who naturally board the aircraft before you and then there is no room for your appropriately sized carry-on.  Or those who deliberately try to sneak on baggage that they know is oversized so that they can avoid the baggage check fees.  When this happens, the flight attendants then have to make arrangements to check their baggage and do that at no additional fee.  My neighbor who is a baggage handler for Air Canada informed me that this is the reason for 95% of flight delays.  That’s insane!!!  So I’m extremely relieved that Air Canada is taking the lead in doing this, especially because that is the airline I most frequently fly on.  I presume other airlines will follow suit shortly.

If you’re guilty of being one of those Carry-On Cows or just uncertain about the size of your carry-on bag, here are some helpful hints:

1. Research your airline’s baggage allowance policy BEFORE you PACK and plan what you will bring accordingly. You may have to buy new luggage.

TIP: Many companies sell bags with labels describing the bag as “carry-on size” when that is not the case at all.  Bring a measuring tape with you and measure the luggage dimensions before you buy!

2. Wear you bulkiest items (largest shoes/boots, coats etc) on the plane.

3. Leisure Travellers: As long as you have your PHOTO ID and CREDIT CARD EVERYTHING ELSE CAN BE REPLACED. If you try to pack everything as carry-on because you are afraid of the airline losing your luggage, you won’t be able to get away with this anymore. Either pack less or just commit to packing a checked bag and don’t put any real unreplaceable items in it.

4. Portable Electronic Devices Can NOT be CHECKED. This is because most of these devices (laptop, chargers, batteries, GPS, mobile power inverter, etc) contain lithium ion batteries which are classified as dangerous goods. Their improper storage on an aircraft may result in an explosion, fire or short circuit, all of which will not only destroy the device but may pose a flight hazard.

This can pose a dilemma for business travelers who usually must carry several if not all of these devices.  They take up half of my briefcase and they are items I cannot do my business trip without.   So if you don’t pack them appropriately in your carry-on, you won’t be able to check them and therefore won’t be able to board the aircraft for that important business trip.  Try explaining that to your boss!

To help you decide how to pack appropriately for your next trip, I have laid out my packing suggestions in the table below:

BaggageTable

What’s in my baggage?

Small Purse:

WhatsInMyPurse

  • Photo ID/Passport (You can’t board without it!)
  • Wallet (Relax– you can always buy whatever you forgot!)
  • Pens (Yes pens –If you are travelling internationally you will have to fill out customs immigration forms)
  • Cell Phone and charger
  • Travel documents (Yes I still keep paper copies of everything. After all you never know when your phone or tablet will die
  • iPad and charger
  • Personal articles such as liquids and gels (-moisturizer, hand sanitizer, lipstick, lighter), hair brush, gum, kleenex.

TIP: The best way to relieve pressure in your ears due to altitude changes is to blow your nose

Large Purse or Laptop Case (same dimensions):

  • Same as above except my laptop instead of iPAD (that’s just a toy!)
  • Small detail binder including literature

Small Carry-on:

IMG_1082

  • Chargers, adaptors
  • Camera
  • Clothes – only enough for my trip. It is OK to wear something more than once!
  • Toiletries (that are less than 100mL each and total no more than 1L) in a TSA-approved bag

Briefcase:

TIP: Be sure to use a hardside briefcase to prevent yourself from over-stuffing it and making it oversized!

samsonite

  • Laptop and charger
  • GPS, cable and mount
  • Phone charger (for wall and car)
  • iPod and aux cable
  • Power cord (most hotel rooms NEVER have enough outlets!)
  • Detail Binder
  • Literature (sell sheets)
  • Schedule/ Calendar for all of my appointments – Yes I’m old school! I prefer a paper back-up
  • Sales Reports (paper copies for handy reference)

Yes, believe it or not I squeeze all of this into my little briefcase!

TIP:  If it gets full, I either put some literature in my checked baggage or arrange to have it shipped to me at my destination.

Checked Baggage:

  • You can put anything in here, except something that you cannot replace (i.e. family heirloom etc) or that is very heavy as most airlines will charge you an additional $100 or more if your back is over 50lbs.

I hope you find some of these tips helpful for when you are preparing for your next trip be it for business or pleasure.  If you would like any more specific advice, please feel free to contact me at thetravellingsaleswoman@gmail.com or provide your questions in the comment field below.

Safe travels my friends, and just as a reminder, don’t be that Cary-on Cow. You won’t get away with it for much longer and certainly not if you fly with Air Canada.

Cheers,

 

TSW

Please follow and like The Travelling Saleswoman:
0

How to Maximize Your Travel Rewards Benefits

 

Are you travelling for business or for pleasure? Do you use a company credit card? Or do you use your own personal card and submit expenses?

credit_cards.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterbox

Regardless of how you travel, there are several ways to take advantage of the many travel rewards available to you.  That being said, there are so many travel rewards programs available on the market that it can be overwhelming and outright confusing to select the programs that work best for you.

If you follow my simple guidelines below, I assure you that you will get the most benefits from your rewards programs.

  1. Keep it Simple: Select One(1) Airline Travel Reward Program

Every airline has its own reward program however they are not all created equal.  The trick here is to stick to a reward program that is associated with an airline AND shops that you frequent (i.e. gas stations, hardware stores, grocery stores etc.). This way, everywhere you go, you are gaining valuable points.  For example, I chose a rewards program which is associated with the airline which I most frequently travel with as well as many other retail partners so that wherever I am shopping, I am gaining travel rewards and getting closer to redeeming my rewards.

If you select a reward program that is associated solely with an airline or general travel rewards, it will take you much longer and/or require that you spend much more money to obtain your rewards.  For example, if you only use a rewards program associated with your airline, you are limited to gaining and using rewards through the purchase of airline tickets and using their rewards based credit card. If you only use a reward program that is associated with retail shops, it will take you YEARS or a spending a significant amount of money to gain any true travel reward.    So unless you spend $100,000 on your credit card every year, these options will not work for you.

 

  1. Choose the Right Credit Cards

Now that you have decided which travel rewards program you will stick to, it is time to select the credit cards which will allow you obtain the most benefits.  This is the most efficient way to double-up or even triple-up on your points.  It is my opinion that everyone should have at least 2 credit cards.  Whether it one for business and one for personal use or one for personal use and one for family expenses, it is always a good idea to have a credit card as a backup in case the other is not accepted or is compromised . When you select your credit cards, make sure that both of them are associated with the same travel rewards program.  This way, whenever you spend any money, you will gain valuable rewards points.   

Furthermore, get out of the habit of paying in cash or with debit.  Use these credit cards for every purchase and then pay off your balance in full each month.  This strategy will not only help you gain maximum travel rewards points but it will also boost your credit score.

  1. Shop Selectively at Recognized Partners

When you enlist in a travel rewards program and receive your rewards based credit card, you will likely receive a list of all of the recognized partners which will provide rewards points on your purchases.  Make a legitimate effort to shop at these places on a regular basis using both your credit card and showing your actual rewards card to double up on points.  For example, the rewards program I use offers rewards at selected gas stations.  These gas stations will prompt you to enter your rewards membership card, then your credit card.  If you use both cards, you will get double the travel points on a single purchase and it doesn’t cost you a dime.

  1. Enlist in Hotel Membership Programs

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, whenever you stay at a hotel, spend the minute or two to sign up for the hotel rewards program.  They are free to join and the points don’t typically expire if you gain them at least once a year (i.e. if you stay at that particular hotel chain once per year).  Even if your company makes your travel arrangements or you have to use a company credit card, you can personally register for these programs and gain valuable points towards your own personal hotel stays.  If you are responsible for making your own travel arrangements, try to select hotels that belong to the same chain or rewards program in order to maximize your points earnings.

  1. Register with Car Rental Agency Membership Programs

Similar to hotel membership rewards programs, car rental agency programs can offer you great rewards if you register personally.  Again, even if your company makes these arrangements for you, sign up on your own time and simply present your membership number when you pick up your vehicle.  Many car rental agencies will give you the option to gain points towards a future rental or to gain points with your favorite travel rewards program.

 

If you follow these simple steps and keep organized, you will be able to take advantage of your travel rewards in no time.  Last year alone I took advantage of 6 flight rewards and 5 days worth of free car rentals.

What will you do with your rewards?

Think of the possibilities fellow travelers!

Bon Voyage!

Please follow and like The Travelling Saleswoman:
0