Packing for a trip isn’t rocket science, kids. (Otherwise, I sure as hell wouldn’t be writing about it.) But if it was, I’d let Commander Chris Hadfield write this post. Come to think of it, that wouldn’t be a bad idea, really?
How about it, Chris?
You couldn’t possibly know it, but the space between paragraphs and the sound of crickets that no doubt filled your head just now was meant to signify the time that burned up while I waited for a response from Commander Hadfield. A response that, much like the drunken hotel guest that lost his wallet after ordering two prostitutes, never came.
I recently served a ridiculously ignorant, inbred (I’m assuming), mid-Western, cornbread-eating, Duck Dynasty-worshiping, schmuck who expected me to load the following items onto my luggage cart:
- 2 filthy pillows, rampant with germs of every variety, no doubt.
- 6 toddler-size winter coats – that had been dragged through the rain and mud, ‘natch.
- 4 giant, ripped plastic bags of birthday presents with tattered wrapping. (Use quality paper if you plan on transporting your birthday gifts, folks.)
- 1 fold-up child’s camping chair. Pink.
- 3 toddler-size Disney suitcases that appeared to have been mauled by the snow monster in Frozen.
- 1 vintage Eighties boom box.
- 2 playpens.
- 1 garbage bag/suitcase.
- 5 duffel bags of varying sizes.
- 2 large, damaged boxes (without lids) of insanely cheesy birthday/Christmas ornaments and tinsel.
Just to provide you with a frame of reference (because that’s what I do), here’s what the average luggage cart looks like.
See my issue?
Well, okay, that’s far from my only issue, but we don’t have the necessary time and space to discuss my issues.
Or even a tenth of my issues.
But at least now you have an idea of some of the challenges facing a modern bellman. Fortunately, two decades (nearly) in the hospitality trenches have left me with uncannily-brilliant packing skills.
Which I will now share with you for the bargain-basement price of… absolutely nothing. Which no matter how you slice it, is a helluva deal.
As I said before, packing for a trip isn’t rocket science, but from what I’ve seen in eighteen years, it’s not common knowledge either. So let’s scratch the surface together, shall we?
1) Purchase actual suitcases! I’ve said it before, yes, but whether you like it or not, I’m saying it again: Suitcases are ridiculously-expensive but worth their weight in gold. Yes, you could borrow some but if you plan on taking more than one trip in your lifetime you really need to do your homework online, find some bargains and buy your own set of luggage.
Laundry baskets, coolers that look like they lost a fight with God, Hefty garbage bags, Home Depot shopping bags, none of them hold a candle to an actual suitcase.
But be beware: Not all suitcases are constructed to the same standards; the extendable handles usually malfunction before you can put them back down. The same sort of thing happened to a colleague once and he was left with an extendable “handle” that he couldn’t get back down no matter how much effort his girlfriend put into it. (And from what I was told, she really tried.)
2) Pack clean pillows – and pack them in plastic sleeves! I suppose I can understand why some people would be more comfortable with their own pillows rather than the hotel variety but I’ll never understand why someone would willingly expose their pillows to innumerable forms of bacteria during transport. You put your face on your pillow, folks! Keep it clean! And for Pete’s sake, wash the sucker before it leaves your house!
3) Contrary to popular belief, here’s nothing wrong with using bags to transport your belongings/food/spirits/sex toys. Just use strong cloth bags with long handles rather than those of inferior plastic design. High-end luggage carts have hanging bars that allow a bellman to safely transport over a dozen bags, depending on the size – and whether or not the bellman is a complete tool, of course.
But a word of caution: Never pack sex toys in a plastic bag or a bag that cannot be zipped up. I don’t wear gloves, so if your vibrator, butt plug or any other item that is designed to be inserted into your body falls out? Well then you’re on your own, you sexy freak.
4) Boxes are fine – if they’re stronger than Kris Jenner’s grip on her sanity. Make sure the flaps can be closed. (That reminds me of another Kris Jenner joke… on second thought, never mind.) Ensure the box isn’t going to open from the bottom when I pick it up. Never use a box that’s been sitting on your porch in the rain for weeks. Do all of these things and you’ll live to see the end of your check-in experience.
5) Garment bags actually exist, kids. Although for some inexplicable reason, people seem to dislike them intensely. And so they transport their clothing on flimsy hangers that fall off my cart and land on the dirty ground. Then people seem to think they can blame me and get away with it. Stupid people. If you can afford booze and sex toys, you can afford a few garment bags, kids.
6) Shoes belong in boxes or strong bags! I have colleagues who refuse to handle a guest’s loose shoes. I certainly don’t blame them; I nearly passed out while handling a pair of Nikes last week. We lose more good bellmen that way…
7) Pack what you need – and only what you need! Don’t go crazy with the notion that you need to bring everything you own with you on vacation. That’s just crazy talk, man! I realize it’s no fun but be rational when packing. The life you save could be your own.
8) Don’t pack like you own a cube van… when you actually own a Honda Accord. If you can’t fit it in, no amount of pushing, grunting or thrusting is gonna help. Wait, that’s what my father told me before my first date… What the hell were we talking about?
Oh yeah, packing your luggage into your vehicle. Sorry about that. Anyway, be sensible and pack according to the amount of space you have available.
And speaking of space…
9) Clean your car out before leaving your driveway – especially your trunk! Seriously, get the garbage, the plastic bags, coffee cups, dead hookers, live hookers and whatever else you have festering in your trunk out of there. STAT!
A clean car makes for a more enjoyable trip and provides extra space you’ll desperately need. So get cleaning, baby!
10) Take your time! Don’t race around like a Kardashian with its head cut off. Catch your breath, make a packing list and don’t rush when it comes to preparing yourself for travel. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway to your destination or worse, arriving at your vacation spot and realizing you’ve forgotten your phone, your favorite outfit or even your favorite child.
I hate when that happens.
And that’s it. We’ve officially scratched the surface of the packing enigma. I’ve kept you long enough, you may go now.
See you in the lobby, kids…