Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Suitcases are inefficient. That’s right, they’re only good for casing suits. Three giant black Plano storage boxes consume most of the available floor space in my living room along with the content they will eventually contain. They may exceed the allowable dimensions for airline travel…on the outside. I figure measuring from the inside and subtracting the angles should count. After all, that’s the only space I get to use.

Notice the yellow sticker on this stock photo.
My boxes don't contain a tackle box or extension cord,
although at some point I may wish they did.
The boxes came with a bright yellow “Airline Approved” sticker that made me think the airline would approve the boxes without charging me $200 for being oversize. After measuring, I decided to contact the company and ask exactly what “Airline Approved” meant. They said the sticker indicated that a lock could be put on the box. Really? This revelation raises questions in my mind about “low fat” labels. Perhaps they really mean skinny animals were used to make the food. I left that yellow sticker in place in hopes the person at the Delta counter would think the same thing I did.

Carryon luggage is another story. I bought a carryon suitcase to use for hauling the video projector, speakers, screen, films, computer, and other related paraphernalia around East Africa. Until I arrive, though, this carryon will serve as my…carryon. Travel advisors recommend including a change of clothes, a toothbrush, and other essential items just in case the checked luggage doesn’t make it. Airline attendants don’t question the content of such bags based on that premise alone. Since I have those things in Uganda already, I have a different strategy.

My carryon contains all of the heaviest non-liquid items slated for travel. 24 Business Plan in a Day books, 14 Surprised by Hope books, a small pile of books needed for teaching, and some of the heaviest miscellaneous items to fill in the cracks. Okay so the bag is STUFFED. Thing is…it weighs almost 60 pounds. I don’t plan on putting this bag in the overhead compartment; I couldn’t lift this bag for a flight of steps let alone get it above my waist. All I need to do now is try not to grunt when lifting the bag to the security conveyor belt.