My recent post on overweight luggage prompted several comments from readers who have found themselves in similar predicaments and from Todd Ariss, founder of Tarriss Travel Gear, the manufacturer of the luggage scale I purchased to avoid future airport debacles.
Todd started the company because he was dissatisfied with existing products on the market. Since its debut on Amazon 5 months ago, the Jetsetter Luggage Scale has generated 96% favorable reviews and become the #1 rated luggage scale. I asked Todd to provide some insight about his travel tips and habits. He graciously accepted my invitation and, as an extra bonus, he is offering THREE (3) free scales to lucky readers and a 25% coupon. Details are at the end of the post.
TOS: More and more people refuse to check bags to avoid baggage fees and luggage loss. But that’s led to overload in the cabin. A recent twitter campaign with the hashtag #CarryOnShame asks for photos of passengers sneaking over-sized bags onto airplanes. Are you a carrier or a checker?
Todd: I’m definitely a carrier whenever I can be. Having said that, if there’s one thing I dislike more than waiting to collect my bags is having to lug a lot of over-sized bags around airports all day. So if my trip has long layovers and my bags are over-sized, I’m more likely to check them out of sheer laziness of not wanting to drag them around the airport for extended periods of time.
TOS: I’m always on the lookout for items that can serve two purposes to cut down on my packing. For example, the right pashmina is a travel blanket and a beach towel. What are your favorite multi-use must-packs?
Todd: My favorite multi-use travel item is definitely the Travel Vest from ScotteVest. This unassuming vest has a buffet of inside pockets that will seduce any gadget junkie in mere minutes! With this vest on hand I can often leave my small day pack at home.
TOS: I’ll leave behind all of my clothes and shoes to squeeze in souvenirs from my journeys. I schlepped a 5×8 rug from Morocco to Spain to the US and affectionately dubbed it “The Albatross”. What’s your favorite souvenir story?
Todd: Back in the 90’s I befriended a man who worked at the Spirogyra Butterfly Garden in San Jose, Costa Rica. As I was about to depart Costa Rica, he presented to me as a gift a rather large butterfly artwork he had made himself. It was beautifully painted with a wingspan of about 2 feet, but unfortunately it was also very fragile and I had no idea how I was going to get it home. Since it didn’t fit under the seat or in the overhead I was left having to carry it home on my lap the entire way. Fifteen hours and three airports later I finally arrived home only to have some overly excited kids crash into it while waiting to collect my checked bags. I was ultimately able to repair most of it and, although it’s not quite the same as it was, it does make for a more interesting story.
TOS: Can’t live with ‘em. Can’t live without ‘em. Any tips for managing an oppressive collection of gadgets?
Todd: If you can’t live without them, then the Travel Vest I mentioned will certainly help you carry them around with ease while you’re mobile, but as far as packing them goes, I recommend getting more organized. When I’m disorganized with my packing, it’s sometimes easy to feel overwhelmed and just about anything can feel oppressive at that point. I’ve personally fallen in love with packing cubes, those little rectangular bags that let you organize the contents of your suitcase. With everything well-organized, the multitude of gadgets seems a little less oppressive to me. In fact, I love them so much that we’re currently working on our own packing cube design to be rolled out later this year.
TOS: Experienced business travelers are pros. What distinguishes them from harried vacationers and what habits can we adopt to make our travels smoother?
Todd: Business travelers are pros at traveling lean and light. They’ve figured out, through a lot of practice, how to pack just what they need and no more. Casual travelers on the other hand are still packing like they’re expecting to be stranded for weeks on end and usually end up wearing only a fraction of what they actually packed. A great habit you can adopt is to plan your travel wardrobe and then drop at least one outfit from the collection. If you return from your trip with any unworn clothes, then make a note and perhaps drop 2 outfits the next time. This iterative approach to downsizing can have anyone traveling lean and light like the business pros in no time.
As a special offer to readers of The Open Suitcase, Todd is offering several great promotions. Enter my Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win one of three luggage scales. The contest runs through August 12. But if you just can’t wait, you can purchase one today through Amazon.com. Enter the Coupon Code: SUITCASE for an additional 25% off the current sale price. The code will be active until midnight August 31, 2014. When you enter the code at checkout time, the discount will be applied.