The Great Luggage Wars of 2011

K-man and I are departing these drizzly shores for seven days.

We need a rest and a change of scenery, and are consciously avoiding any self-imposed pressure sight-see.   We briefly contemplated Egypt since it’s so cheap, but rejected it.  Not only because it’s unsettled, or because everyone I’ve ever known travel to Egypt (even an Egyptian) has contracted a vile stomach bug and if K-man loses much weight there’s a danger he’ll no longer exist in three dimensions, but also because there are ancient sites aplenty.

This trip is of the budget Holiday Resort variety, so we can save up our pennies for our dream trip to Bhutan.  For now, we will gladly take our sun in the Canary Islands even though we have disparaged it in the past as being boring, high-rise, and full of people like us.

I won’t utter one word of complaint if there’s a cockroach in our room.  I won’t raise an eyebrow if the sound of the flatulent beer gut of a pasty white prison-tattooed oaf assaults my ears.  Have hire-car, can drive to tiny hilltop authentic Spanish village if it’s too uncomfortably Brits Abroad.

There is one thing I won’t do, and that is set foot in any bar with Sky TV blaring football.  K-man won’t cross the threshold of any Irish themed pub.  We’ll be drinking alone in our hotel room, I fear.

The week’s accommodation in a 2* apartment is less than the price of three tanks of petrol.  I can only imagine that this is because the building is a 15 minute walk to the beach rather than being situated practically in the surf.  Many Brits abroad apparently find holiday accommodation unsatisfactory unless they can flollop to the beach in less than 30 seconds, via a cafe serving ham, egg, and chips.

I might be being unfair.  I’m probably not.   Maybe it’s super-cheap because it’s dreadful.  I looked it up, and the Honest Traveller Reviews tell me it should be OK. hasn’t failed us yet.

We are flying a bargain basement airline: one of those which charge per piss.  Well, not that one.  But almost as bad: checking in a bag is costing the GNP of our household, and it had better not be even 100g over the weight limit or there will be serious fiscal repercussions.

This means I am sharing a bag with K-man.

While I might be said to be the queen of packing light, agonising over whether 1ml of moisturiser per day is a sensible allocation, K-man will cheerfully pack the kitchen sink and all the dirty dishes.   If I told you that after the Luggage Weight Dispute of 2010, I bought him a digital luggage weighing device, it might give some indication of the dread with which we both view sharing a bag.

Paying for another bag is against both our principles.  We cannot give extra money to an airline that calls itself budget but is just as expensive as a scheduled flight once fees, charges and the luxury of taking some possessions with you has been factored in.  Even the hand luggage is restricted to 5kg, the bastards.

I piled everything I thought I’d realistically need on the bed.  Then I removed one day’s worth of clothing, and a book.  I wasn’t even going to take a jumper: it’s warm where we’re going.  I left K-man to his packing.  When I returned, things were straining at the seams.

That’s odd, I thought.  My stuff hardly takes up any space.

Actually, I said it out loud.  I described how I’d carefully assessed the need connected with each item, rather than the desire, and that if he’d demonstrated the same spatial frugality perhaps we would be able to actually close the bag.


His arguments don’t evolve from one year to the next.

The bag weighed 18.7kg, which is one inaccurate check-in scale away from serious fiscal repercussions.

Upon careful inquiry and some forceful inspection, it transpired that K-man had packed three jumpers and two pairs of jeans.  My Mancala game was accused of weighing a fucking ton.  I laid down a cunning rearguard action of advanced martyrdom.  A short period of negotiation later, the bag weighed 17.1kg, which gave enough room to buy a couple of souvenirs.

K-man doesn’t know it yet, but his subsequent smug assertion that losing one jumper and one pair of jeans was his pre-planned compromise position has cost him two totally unnecessary shirts.  That’ll teach him to refuse to use the same toiletries as me.

Next time I will make him put all his stuff in the bag and weigh it, and I’ll do the same with mine.  And whoever is over 10kg can either sacrifice some of his own stuff or beg on their hands and knees for me to benevolently add some of his stuff to my allowance.

That ought to ease the marital strife associated with sharing a bag.

If anyone has any more conciliatory solutions I’m all ears.


5 Responses to “The Great Luggage Wars of 2011”

  1. 1 Jenn @ Juggling Life February 27, 2011 at 1:13 am

    No advice from this quarter.

    I did find on my recent trip that the airlines were resorting to forcing people to check their bags at the gate because they were out of overhead compartment room–which, I’m sure, is directly related to the fact that they charge for checked bags. At least the gate-check was free.

    Have a great trip!

  2. 2 trash February 27, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Many long-haul flights now restrict hand-luggage to 5kgs. I know, I type as the woman sent back to check-in from customs to get my h/l weighed. It seems carrying a small dinner service over one’s shoulder makes one walk funny!

  3. 3 cora February 27, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    haha, just been through that ourselves (also went to the Canary Islands, loved it: La Palma, very few tourists, just a couple of Germans). Do pack a sweater though, it can be chilly at night time.

    And I just packed enough clothes for half the amount of days we would be there: when I’m on holiday I don’t care much what I look like. I did bring some liquid soap to wash a couple of socks and underwear when needed.


  4. 4 Jen on the Edge February 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Don’t even get me started on how much airlines drive me crazy.

    I usually do share a suitcase with my husband, but luckily he’s not an overpacker — if anything, I’m the guilty party.

    Have a great trip!

  5. 5 Bella Rum March 2, 2011 at 9:02 am

    We’re both terrible packers and I hate to fly. My son and his wife have two children, and it amazes me how my daughter-in-law manages to pack all their stuff. She’s a genius. I’d never get out of the house.

    Have a wonderful trip.

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