I am preparing to leave on what I feel is a well deserved vacation. My sister, two of my best friends in life and I are all going on a one week cruise together. We have been paying for it for a year, so when we step on board it will feel good to know that the trip itself is completely paid for.
I pulled out my luggage to prepare for the tedious job of packing. It's so much fun to pack to go on a ship because most everything you wear is comfortable but there is also a serious fashion show that goes on among the women passengers. It starts for me weeks before we leave. I have to get myself ready, but I am also my sister's "stylist". Before she retired and came to work with me at Lovefifi.com, she wore a dark blue police uniform for a couple of decades. Now that she is free to channel her inner fashionista, she worries constantly about what she is going to wear for everything. It took me years to get her to loosen up and wear color. She has progressed to letting her hair down considerably and even has a bit of a funky streak now and then. I am very proud. The trouble is that she has no faith in her own taste and makes me yay or nay every item she plans to wear on the trip. Our vacation is only a few days away and sister is now in the packing stage. Thank goodness!
I have done so much business traveling that I am a whiz at packing. Packing for cruise is easy because there is no limit to how many suitcases you can take. The only challenge comes with trying to put everything away in a tiny little room, with an even teenier closet. Then you have to multiply that amount by 2 for sister's stuff. Thankfully the suitcases fit under the beds, but space is limited.
I won't lie to you, I am a heavy packer. I bring the absolute most I can and still manage to have places to put it away. I am not one of those people who brings exactly the same number of outfits as there are days with a few additions for night time. I don't know what mood I will be in when I wake up. I need to go to my part of the closet and have choices. I always bring home lots of clothes that I never wore. That's OK with me. I'm happy the whole time knowing I could go with most any fashion whim and change several times a day if I cared to. Unfortunately, my sister has learned this from me and usually we have enough clothes to stay for a month.
So, I don't pack light. Shoot me. I am not changing. I am, however, very smart about luggage. I don't believe that people put any thought into luggage when they buy it. Just look at the carousel at baggage claim the next time you fly. You will see a preponderance of black suitcases going around interspersed with about a dozen Louis Vuitton bags. The rest are often gray, brown or navy with only a handful of distinctive bags that are easy to identify. This is so stupid to me. As prestigious and expensive as the Vuitton bags may be, they still look alike. If you're intent on having a brown suitcase with initials, why not stencil your own damn initials on it? OK, your name is not French and probably won't impress anyone, but you will probably be able to find your luggage without a hitch. They don't check you at the door anymore to see if you have the right bag. What do you think is the most stolen item off of luggage carousels? Louis Vuitton.
It is a mystery to me why people buy black luggage, or even gray or navy. Some of it is very expensive and high end. What is the point in spending a fortune for luxury luggage when you have to hang homemade yarn pom pom from it show that it is yours?
I have been in the lost luggage booth at the airport many times. They always show you pictures of different shaped bags and ask you to point to the one that is most like yours. They ask you the color and if there are any distinguishing features of the luggage to make it easier for them to find it. Knowing full well that what I see at the baggage claim pretty much all looks the same, I set out years ago to make my life as stress free as possible when I travel.
I buy new suitcases every 5 or 6 years. When I shop I always imagine what it will look like going around in circles in the sea of plain dark suitcases. I like to shop online and find the most attractive set I can that will stand out in the crowd. My current set is very handsome, but I don't think there are a lot of people who truly understood it's unique beauty like I did. It's navy blue with a snazzy contrasting trim and it has Indian Elephants printed on every square inch of it. When I wave down a porter to help me with my baggage and he asks how many bags and what my bags look like, all I have to say is that they are 2 and that they are navy blue with elephants. The minute they come out of the shoot, my elephant print bags are rock stars among the rest and I am out of there in a flash. If, heaven forbid, my luggage never comes to the carousel, my time with the lost luggage people is short and sweet. Navy blue elephant print. My cases are never lost for long because they are easy to spot even if they went to Cleveland instead of Chicago.
Now, imagine instead of 250 people on a flight with luggage waiting at baggage claim, you are on a ship with a couple of thousand over-packers at the terminal baggage claim. My luggage is never where it is supposed to be but it never takes long to find it. Those sweet elephants never fail to find me, one way or the other.
So, the next time you are in the market for a set of luggage, consider buying something that stands out. They still sell my set on wayfair.com. It's called Budapest, by American Flyer and I won't mind if you have a set a too. I always get super excited when I pull out the elephant bags and get ready for a trip. My pretty little pachyderms give me style and flair and let me know that we are going on an adventure. And the best part about it all? No yarn pom poms required.