Packing for a vacation? Here are some suggestions

Prepare a vacation packing list

Packing for a vacation can be a maddening experience. You spend hours digging through your closets, chests of drawers, and other storage spaces looking for all the right clothes. Then comes the fun part: Trying to pack it all into a suitcase while staying under the weight limit. You surely don’t want to get socked with a surcharge once you arrive at the airline ticket counter.

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Throughout that maddening exercise, it’s easy to overlook some very important steps that can help make your vacation go smoother, especially if you suffer a loss. Create a vacation packing list (or checklist). Here are some suggestions for your list. (I include others in this column.) Note that I include both items and actions.

1. Buy a backpack. Talk about versatile baggage. Forget that small piece of luggage that comes snuggled inside your main suitcase. A backpack has multiple storage compartments that secure with a zipper, and it easily stores in the overhead bins. Best of all, you can sling it over your shoulder for easy transport.

2. Store valuables in the backpack for flight. This will keep them in sight, but also protects them. A 35mm SLR camera and a handheld transceiver (H-T, to you ham radio ops out there), bit the dust on separate trips because I stashed them in the suitcase. Even though I wrapped them in clothing, they still got jostled enough to break. A very costly learning experience, indeed!

Another bit of advice from a travel agent: Place a book or other thick object at the bottom of your backpack. That will stymie thieves who try to slice open the backpack while walking behind you. Some thieves are smooth enough to pull that off without the tourist knowing it.

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