The Hook’s Guide To Packing Like A (Fake) Pro.

As a bellman every day I see just what can happen when a traveler approaches packing with all the care and consideration Donald Trump approaches a run for the presidency of the United States.

Sure, on the face of it, packing seems pretty easy, right? Most men reading this are thinking, “Packing’s a piece of cake, Hook! The wife never seems to have any trouble!” Be that as it may, most guests I meet could use a little help in the packing department. Lucky for them, The Hook, the world’s greatest amateur travel blogger, is here to help. 

10)  Recognize any transportation limitations you may have.  If you’re driving a Honda, don’t pack like you own an eighteen-wheeler. I’m guessing you’re chuckling right now, but most people just don’t get it; they really do drag everything but the kitchen sink out to their trunk and hope for the best.

Hope is a fragile thing, kids, stretch its limits and it’ll snap like a Kardashian in a public school. And wishing won’t make the amount of space you have available to you double instantly. So be realistic and most of all…

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9)  Prioritize!  Let’s be honest, self-control really isn’t easy to master, is it? But when it comes to packing you have to separate the “Needs” from the “Wants” – especially if you’re flying. Charging extra for heavier cases is a dick move on an airline’s part, but it can work out well if you’re a traveler who can’t leave anything at home.

I’m not singling out the ladies – I’ve seen plenty of guys who bring a dozen pairs of sneakers with them to Niagara Falls – but regardless of your gender, you need to bring only what you’ll actually need with you while traveling. The consequences can be mentally – and financially – impairing.

And yes, your kids will want to bring all their toys – and in some cases this may be a good way to occupy the little devils – but you have to draw the line somewhere, something most parents refuse to do these days, sadly.

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8)  Buy an actual suitcase or two!  Yes, I’m a broken record, but this is important, people! Repeat after me…

A laundry basket is not a suitcase.

A bag – plastic, shopping, garbage or otherwise – is not a suitcase.

A basket of any kind is not a suitcase.

Duffel bags are not suitcases. Close but no cigar, bunky.

A cooler is a cooler, Styrofoam or hard plastic, not a suitcase.

Get my point yet?

I realize suitcases aren’t cheap (then again, what is these days?) but they’re a necessary investment for any serious traveler. And if you don’t ravel much you can always borrow a case or two from friends or family. Just be sure to treat them with care or you’re going to regret it, trust me. My cousin, Randy, still won’t talk to me after I “scratched” his beloved “Samsonite original”.

Thank Dog he’s a raging drunk anyway…

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7)  Learn to pack!  Again, it may seem simple, but trust me, it’s not. The average guest just jams everything in their bags and hopes for the best. If it didn’t work on your honeymoon…

Follow these steps to pack an actual suitcase and you should be good, though I don’t offer money-back guarantees.

  1.  Gather only what you need! (I’m serious about this.)
  2.  Roll your clothes like they’re a drunk during Mardi Gras.
  3.  Ironing on vacation sucks, so place folded items on top. …
  4.  Spread out longer pieces like pants and skirts as though they were a two dollar hooker. (Yes, I paint with words.)
  5.  Wrap your belts around your clothing like your wife used to wrap herself around you right before she… Sorry, I got carries away there…
  6.  Put a reasonable number of shoes in a medium-sized cardboard box.
  7.  Pack watches, rings, jewellery – if you really want to risk bringing them along – in a cloth bag and tuck them away.

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6)  Use plastic bags for garbage or vomit only!  Honestly, using plastic bags in place of suitcases or even duffel bags makes you look like white trash – even if you aren’t white. Opening a trunk and discovering a dozen bags where two would do makes me feel sad for humanity.

As a bellman I’ll admit bags are better to hang on my luggage cart’s crossbar, but only when they’re quality bags, people.

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5)  Clean your trunk!  I’m not being dirty; your vehicle isn’t just a mode of transport when you’re on vacation… it’s a rolling suitcase. So keep it clean and you’ll find it unbelievably-easy to fit everything you need – and only what you need – in there. So gather those coffee cups, fast food wrappers, sporting equipment, loose tools, ammunition, (seriously), and put them in the garbage or the garage.

And a quick sweep with a vacuum and an air freshener or ten couldn’t hurt. Many trunks smell like a body has been rotting away in them for weeks…

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4)  If you’re bringing a furry friend… be prepared!  To be clear, I’m referring to a pet not an actual Furry.

I’ve seen pets arrive at the hotel in cardboard boxes, duffel bags, cracked/broken carriers, even beer coolers! Okay, the cat who arrived in the cooler was dead so that doesn’t actually count, I guess.

My point is, just because someone isn’t human doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be treated with respect and care. Take the proper steps to ensure your pet enjoys the journey – including ensuring your destination accepts pets in the first place.

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3)  Be discreet.  I cannot stress this enough; packing sex toys, sexy outfits or any form of sexual accessory in plastic bags is not cool. Discretion is a lost art these days, especially in the age of social media. Even in real life, people share the most intimate details of their lives openly by either discussing salacious matters in earshot of bellmen or by packing bondage gear in open plastic bags.

This needs to change.

Yesterday.

So knock it off, people. Otherwise, you’ve earned yourself a spot on the blog…

break2)  Try to think ten steps (or so) ahead.  I realize this isn’t always possible (not with a million thoughts running through your mind) but try to picture just what will happen when you arrive at your destination with your clan and a million bags. Ask yourself this question: 

“How on earth am I going to get all this shit up to the room?”

Always remember…

A baby stroller is not a luggage cart.

A wheelchair/walker is not a luggage cart.

Kids are kids, not bellmen.

Your kid’s little red wagon belongs at home; it is not a luggage cart.

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This brings us to our final point. A detail that isn’t necessarily a part of packing, although it can make all the difference in the world…

1)  Use a bellman!  No, I’m not giving you permission to ravage your local baggage handler, all you cougars out there. No, I’m referring to the service bellmen such as myself provide to travelers. We certainly can’t help you pack at home but we can show you how to prepare yourself for the next leg of your journey. 

Getting to the room is a snap when you’re not schlepping a dozen bags while scrapping it out with your spouse and rugrats. And I’m not just a pretty face on a body the David would be envious of; I guarantee you won’t find a smartass bellman who goes by the moniker, The Hook, anywhere this side of Neverland, folks.

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This concludes today’s lesson. (Always quit when you’re behind, kids.)

See you in the lobby, friends…

Hook and SmithKevin Smith followed my tips. Now he has more room for his “medicinal herbs” while traveling…

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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33 Responses to The Hook’s Guide To Packing Like A (Fake) Pro.

  1. Paul says:

    Who is that classy looking guy on the left? Great post Hook – love the tips.

  2. You look like you’ve got the killer attitude on! Haha!

  3. 1jaded1 says:

    Yay, a welcome surprise in my inbox for Thursday evening! I drive a Honda Fit and you’d be surprised how much does. That said, I don’t pack my house when I travel or why bother to travel?

  4. renxkyoko says:

    Is that you, Mr. Hook? The one on the left ?

  5. You’re so cute, Robert. And smart too. And funny. and you’ve got good tips. Just sayin’

  6. Tara says:

    And you have hair! (I don’t know why I imagined you being bald.) However, you singlehandedly shamed, er, inspired me to buy new luggage (though we don’t travel much) – as I imagined pulling out my husband’s (HE has all the luggage – the cat urinated (yes, he DID) on my last good piece – old bags that, while not held together (yet) with duct tape, just wouldn’t pass Hook’s inspection. I did though, on a recent family beach trip, use a reusable grocery bag to house the kids’ games. And I’m not ashamed.

  7. List of X says:

    “Use a bellman” – so that he’ll judge the way I pack and then write about it on his blog? No, thanks.
    🙂

  8. Informative post, Hook. I would use shoebags. They are cheap and keep the shine on the shoes and off the shirts.

  9. You’ll be pleased to know that when my wife and I went to China for 3 weeks, are total luggage weight was less than a single person’s allowance. China has laundries. Everywhere you go in the world somebody will be willing to do some laundry for you.

    My aunt and nephew, back in the early 60s, travelled all the way from New Zealand to England, by sea, with only carrier bags… She was mental mind you. She used to eat soft boiled eggs on a plate with a knife and fork.

  10. Doug in Oakland says:

    As someone who has had to train people to do shipping and receiving, I’m here to say packing skills are fairly rare in the wild…

  11. Mrs Fever says:

    I have a couple general rules I follow that helps me pack light:

    1. Stick to one color pallette, with interchangeable pieces.

    2. Plan to wear a couple pieces more than once to layer for different looks.

    3. Only two pairs of shoes allowed. One pair on my feet, one in the suitcase.

    Most of my trips are five days or less, and I’ve found these to be reasonable rules. If I’m traveling for longer, I plan for two color pallettes and occasionally allow myself three pairs of shoes. But mostly I just mix and match and take advantage of hotel laundries.

  12. curvyroads says:

    I am sorry you have to write things like this, Robert. What’s wrong with people?

  13. Growing up, we had to pack carefully. The army surplus floorless tent, cots, and cook stove took up most of the room and dad was not putting one of those flapping car top carriers on the car. Clean underwear and clean socks, but the rest you wore multiple times until we found a laundry mat. Hey, it was still better than staying home – except when the skunks ran through the tent. Having the skill to be very still and very quiet took on new meaning.
    Hotels – a reason to work hard in order to be able to afford that luxury as an adult!

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