By Mary Barberio
ARE YOU PLANNING a long weekend at
the beach or two weeks of backpacking
throughout Borneo? No matter your destination, it’s a drag to arrive and realize you’ve
packed the wrong clothes, forgotten your
meds and can’t remember if you unplugged
the iron. Take a tip from Ben Franklin. He
realized a long time ago that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” What’s the
key to prevention here? Plan ahead, organize
and make a list. Then check it twice.
Start with the proper luggage.
Look for durable yet lightweight luggage.
You don’t want to strain your back, nor do
you want to resort to duct tape if the zipper
breaks. Go for quality, as much as your budget
can afford. According to ConsumerSearch.
com, “Most complaints about durability
involve handles and zippers breaking, bend-
ing or sticking.” If you are choosing a wheeled
bag, they suggest looking for “encased wheels
set widely apart.” Most frequent travelers
agree that the best handles stay firm and
steady when pulled out and retracted, and
zippers should slide easily around corners.
If you’re traveling by plane, remember to
check with your airline in regard to luggage
and carry-on restrictions. To check the
Transportation Security Association guidelines, go to www.tsa.gov.
Whether you travel by plane, train, automobile, bus or mule, consider a backpack to
carry your necessities. It’ll sit nicely on top of
your wheeled bag; it can be worn on your
back, thereby freeing up your hands; and it
can serve as a handy tote for the beach,
museum, zoo or just about anywhere.
Fold, roll or bundle?
There has been much discussion on the
best way to pack a suitcase; each has pros
and cons. What’s right for you? It all
depends. Among factors to consider are the
destination, purpose, length of stay and climate. Are you packing sweatshirts or fancy
dresses? Experiment by laying out all the
items you intend to take on the bed and try
What’s in your bag?
I can tell you what’s in mine. For a recent
one-week volleyball tournament (I flew), I
packed everything into a carry-on bag and a
backpack. With no checked bags, I didn’t need
to worry about my uniform and deflated vol-
leyball ending up in Timbuktu. The soft-sided
bag was forgiving, allowing me to stuff lots
inside. I chose only clothes that could mix and
match and be worn in layers. I stuck to a basic
color (navy) and lightweight fleece jackets.
My backpack fit easily under the seat in
front, giving me convenient access to my nec-
essary provisions, including bottled water,
snacks and noise-blocking earplugs. It also
contained a small first-aid kit (for me, mostly
for sport-related injuries). Since it’s always a
good idea to travel with some kind of kit,
check out the American Red Cross website
( www.redcross.org) and search for “Anatomy
of a First Aid Kit.” The Red Cross also offers
kits for sale, with some priced as low as $3.
That’s all it takes: a bit of planning, some
organizing and your list. Follow it carefully
and you can eliminate a lot of stress. You’ll
feel confident that you’ve packed the right
clothes, brought enough medicine and
unplugged the iron.
Enjoy your trip. C
Costco member Mary Barberio is a freelance
A little prep can help ease your trip
The Costco Connection
Costco members will find luggage, clothing,
first-aid kits and other travel-related items
at Costco and on Costco.com. Costco Travel
offers a wide variety of vacation options (see
Before you leave home
; Check expiration dates on your
driver’s license and passport.
; Check your cellphone and medi-cal/emergency coverage.
; Have enough prescription meds to
last a few extra days.
; Alert your credit card company.
; Prepay all bills that aren’t paid
; Stop your mail and newspaper.
Visit www.usps.com for the form to
; Clean out your refrigerator and
dispose of all perishables, and ask
a neighbor to set out your garbage.
; Give a house key to a neighbor.
; Make a plan for pets.
; Turn off the water.
; Lock doors and windows, and
notify your local police department.
; Adjust the thermostat.
; Unplug electrical devices, except
; If driving, check road conditions
online or call 511 from your
phone. Consider a GPS system or,
at the very least, a compass.—MB