American Air Lines has introduced its Basic Economy Fare. Other airlines, except Southwest, are charging for checking, carry-on, and for anything that you can’t stick under the seat.
This is great. I am cheap. Now I am forced to travel as a minimalist, which is better for me. I can enjoy the journey; and, not worry about dealing with luggage.
Have you ever seen an old person trying to hoist their bag into an overhead bin? Not a pretty sight. Have you seen an old person dragging a large suitcase through the airport? Do old people really need to dress up when traveling?
I have written on this before. But now, I am forced to take a new look.
I like Rick Steves and have taken 4 trips with his organization. He sells the Euro Flight Bag (14 x 13 x 8) and it fits under the American Airlines seat with room to spare. I don’t need as much seat room since I have lost an inch or two in the last few years, and expect to lose a bit more as my pending osteoporosis develops. This bag should fit under any airline seat.
For any length of trip:
The jeans that I wear. Acceptable anywhere I might go, if clean and neat. Better than the checkered pants with the zipper that didn’t work of previous generations.
7 black t-shirts
7 pair of socks
Shoes that I wear
Light weight travel pants.
Light weight pants that I can sleep in, or use informally.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, aspirin, ibuprofen
Tai Chi slippers
I-pad with over 500 books, NY Times, Albuquerque Journal and magazine subscriptions’
Pack-It Jacket with internal pockets.
Emergency rain jacket -ScotteVest
Notebook and pens
Glasses and hearing aid
3 shirts – long-sleeved or short-sleeved depending on weather.
Cell phone with camera and Google Maps
Questions to ask:
- Can I wash my clothes for the cost of checking or the carry-on fee?
- Can I lift a bag into overhead by myself?
- Do I have to pack anything different from what I wear at home?
- Will anyone laugh at me? Do I care?
- Can i wear this on a cruise ship?
- Will this work in winter? What do I need to add, besides a heavier jacket and gloves?
- Am I going to a place with stores?
- Do I need anything else?
Airline baggage limits are a positive. Like a lot of parameters they benefit you in unintended ways. There is a lot to be said for not traveling with a lot of stuff that you don’t need when you are over 75. Keep moving, but reduce your load.
I am still driving; however, I am more and more uncomfortable driving on freeways, especially through unfamiliar cities. And, at my age, the journey is more important than the destination; I am aware of the ultimate destination, and am not quite ready to arrive. I am curious and have exhausted my interest in freeways. I don’t need 70 miles an hour, irritable drivers and large trucks.
I drive frequently to Tucson; grandchildren, you know. I am a member of AAA. Last Saturday I asked for a “TripTik” from Albuquerque to Tucson without driving on freeways. AAA and their skilled staff provided a “TripTik” route with only 14 miles of I-25 or I-10. It tracks the Mexican-US border and takes me to new places. My journey will take 10.3 hours instead of 7.5 and will be 126.9 miles longer. It may require an overnight stay; however, AAA provides a list of motels and restaurants. I also got an electronic version of the “TripTik” which is on my i-Phone.
I can afford the extra time. I can use the stimulation. I need a topic of conversation other than aging.
It’s the journey, not the ultimate goal, even though, I am statistically 20 years away from my “ultimate goal.” I will let you know how the trip turns out.
Another simple way to plan your trip is to go to Google Maps, click on “show options,” check “avoid highways,” and print out a map that avoids freeways.