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Packing Essentials

Riki Goldstein

You’re off to your parents, or children, or sibling for Yom Tov. You may have been spared the cleaning, but you still face the dreaded packing. Seasoned travelers share their wisdom about what to take and how to take it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

It was 4:40 a.m. We rubbed our eyes as we stood in the check-in line in the brightly lit airport. The five of us girls were traveling through Europe for a week’s vacation. Since we needed to take everything, including food, we’d reckoned menus and apparel exactly, limiting ourselves to one book or game. Our suitcases also carried disposable pots, frozen and dried foods, can opener, knives, and dishes. At the front of the line, we relinquished the first of those carefully calibrated cases to the scales. A kilo overweight. The lady with the tight bun glared. We smiled sweetly and thanked her. She grudgingly sent it on. Another suitcase passed, with a doubtful look. We studied our shoes. Then the third was two kilos over. “But we weighed it at home,” we said innocently. “Your scales are broken then. This one’s not going.” So there, on the graying airport floor, one unlucky girl unpacked her personal possessions, as the rest of us stood around to form an ineffectual wall. Finally, Ms. Very Tight Bun let the suitcase go, and we took our boarding passes, thanked her, and ran. But what do you do with the shoes, socks, and tights you remove from an overweight suitcase? Stuff them into hand luggage, of course. When we came to that wire basket for measuring carry-ons, we were in deep trouble. While aircraft seats have remained more or less the same size, baggage allowances are being cut faster than you can say, “Fasten your seatbelts.” Whether you’re traveling for Yom Tov, vacation, family simchahs, or seminary, packing all you need in the limited space and weight available has become a science.

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