Sunday, July 27, 2008

Measured out in cardboard boxes.

I am becoming very familiar with the following terms:
  • volumetric weight
  • minimum edge crush test
  • baggage weight fee
  • extra baggage charge
I am extraordinarily pleased to report that though US Airways has now instituted a first checked bag fee of $15--something of which I'd never even dreamed--both that fee and the $25 second checked bag one they instituted earlier this year do not apply to flights originating in or traveling to Europe. Thus, it's only the third-to-ninth baggage checked bag charges I'll be worrying about.

Ninth checked bag? For real?

Suddenly I have a fantasy about taking four or even five bags on the airplane, not just three. The costs are much lower than shipping, goodness knows, even at $100 for each extra bag: to ship 50 lbs. costs about £142 (=$284). At some point, the only question would be: how on earth does one get that many bags to the airport in the first place? I'll already be carrying more than I can actually carry--which is its own embarrassment, frankly, because I've grown used to being able to do things like manage my own baggage. And the amount I already know I'll have (and possibly exceed) is more than the coach company actually guarantees being able to accommodate--something that I'm simply hoping a great big American Girl Abroad Smile™ will help me to bypass. At 5 a.m. Actually, I have no sense that a smile will help me at all. I'm just counting on the fact that the bus is often not particularly full at 5 a.m.

The moral of this story so far would seem to be that if you have too much stuff to carry in an appropriate amount of luggage, you might find yourself thinking or even doing peculiar things to accommodate all that stuff. The bigger moral, I suspect I don't need to add, is that you might find yourself realizing yet again that you simply have too much stuff, wherever you go. And by "you," I obviously mean "I" but am trying to include other people in my sorry state just to keep myself from feeling like a schmoe.

All of these calculations make me glad that I had those two summers of not-moving, in 2005 and 2006, since I'd moved in 2003 and 2004 and now, it seems, will be pulling a relocation each summer for the next half-decade. And at least this one doesn't involve all my worldly goods, the way the next two will.

Let's just look at this lovely flower together, shall we?


Blogger Gryphon said...

Oh, yes. I'm completely there with you. And I think it's an excellent idea to pay for excess baggage rather than shipping, if you can figure out how to maneuver said baggage (remember that you'll have to pick it up and take it through customs in the US before your connecting flight. But one can pack a surprising lot onto those baggage carts. Also remember that out of certain airports in the U.K. you're now allowed only one carry-on, including a laptop or purse).

BTW, Does the Royal Mail still have a certain class of mail that has to be wrapped in brown paper and tied with string? I always liked that one.

6:45 PM, July 27, 2008  
Blogger Boricua en la Luna said...

Well, and then there's also the fact that 9 pieces of luggage won't fit in my little car along with 3 people. ;)

6:57 PM, July 27, 2008  
Blogger Notorious Ph.D. said...

Ugh. Moving.

I'm moving back to Job City the same way I moved out here: via UPS. But I *am* tempted to just take everything that won't fit into the two suitcases, pile it all up, and set it on fire.

BTW, my secret word that I needed to type in this time was "shtfjdm," which looks to me like a whole row of profanities, but with the vowels removed. Appropriate.

7:15 PM, July 27, 2008  
Blogger Dr. S said...

@Gryphon: aren't you in labor yet? (I know: that joke has to be getting old.) Anyway, it's a good thing you're not, since you've been able to remind me about customs: I've been thinking that all I have to do is get my crap to the first airport, and then everything's done until it makes it to my home airport (and it might even be better if one bag, or two, or all of them, go missing, since then someone will have to deliver it to the village the next day), but you remind me that when I hit PHL, I have to reclaim and clear customs. Which presumably is a more persuasive experience if you don't come in lugging eighty bags.

I suspect that the book post is still wrapped in paper: I forgot that that was the last step in the "does my box only weigh 5 kg?" process, and that it was the step that nearly made me crazy back in the day. This whole process blows. I'll let you know later if I have to wrap up any boxes.

@Boricua: haha! Um, I keep forgetting that there will be three of us in that car. I think that everything will fit. If not, you can tie me to the roof and drive carefully. I'll be so tired that I won't really notice. I suppose the police might, though. Maybe if you just put a little American flag in my hand, we'll get away with it.

@Notorious: I love the idea of the burning pile of stuff as moving strategy. My strategy, though, seems to be to distribute my things everywhere--now on two continents! I seem to be founding my own personal libraries wherever I know people. Which means that anyone who knows me should probably watch out.

8:05 PM, July 27, 2008  
Blogger Poking-Stick Man said...

You might want to consider picking up something like this:

Cheap, light, and pretty sturdy -- but potentially quite useful!

1:48 AM, July 28, 2008  
Blogger Dr. S said...

Ah, the luggage cart. I had one of these (possibly even this very model) for my first international trip (to Greece), way back in the day, and the trouble with it is that A) you have to stash the cart itself somewhere, which means that you have to leave room for it in your luggage or carry it as an extra carry-on and B) the wheels on a model like this one tend to be so small that the whole thing is not as sturdy as one would hope. It was better than dragging, back in the day when none of my luggage had wheels. But with most of my stuff wheeled now, I'll just figure out a way to pull more than one thing with one hand. (Like herding inanimate sheep!)

I have a really wonderful one of these carts, with great big wheels and big capacity, but it's at home.

3:29 AM, July 28, 2008  

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