Packing and Travel Hints

This next item is primarily intended for those who will be traveling to DLV by commercial air. If you’re local or driving your own vehicle with lots of space, you can most likely skip this part. :)Some pack for DLV by just throwing things into a suitcase and taking off for the airport. Others plan their outfits for the various activities in great detail, while some try to bring EVERYTHING, so they will have every possible option.

Limits and restrictions:

Most airlines allow two checked bags and one carry-on bag per passenger. Many now charge extra for checked bags and some are even charging for carry-on bags. Size and weight restrictions of check-ins and carry-ons vary from airline to airline.

Most airlines still allow one carry-on bag, which must fit into the particular airline’s “sizing box”, plus one “personal item”, such as a purse or briefcase. Experience has shown that even a fairly large tote bag will be accepted as this “personal item” by most airlines.

One hint for stretching this limit a bit more was discussed recently on one of the travel boards. The trick involves carrying a somewhat large shopping bag as that “personal item”, one that obviously can’t be checked.

Most airlines do allow extra bags for a steep fee per bag.

Security and inspections:

Yes, there will be some kind of inspection process for both checked and carry-on bags. For those concerned about this, the bottom line is:


If you’re uneasy about airport security, please read the above line again. :)

They don’t care about frilly unmentionables. They only care about a specific list of prohibited items, and items that cannot be readily identified.

In recent months it’s been observed that they are paying less attention to which bag is whose as the bags enter the scanner, but in many cases more attention to specific items. Some days it seems to be laptops, other days, cameras. Very seldom will any significant attention be given to clothing, toiletries, cosmetics, etc.

Packing tips:

You will definitely want to carry important things such as medications and anything that can’t be readily replaced in your carry-on bag. If you consider the fact that bags are occasionally delayed or misrouted, and in some cases actually lost, you can make plans so that you don’t put all of your eggs in one checked basket.

One suggestion is to carry a “minimum compliment” in your carry-on, of just enough to get by for a day or so, but enough so you won’t have to go into panic mode should your checked bags get misrouted. (And again, those people at the checkpoints have seen it all before, over and over.)

The percentage of bags lost or misrouted is actually very low. However, speaking from experience, when it does happen, don’t expect your airline to bend over backwards to locate and deliver your items.

Yes, some of the airlines may be able to track your bags through the system and tell you exactly where they are, however, once that bag is on its way to Guam, it will take some time to get it back. Others like Southwest don’t really have any automated baggage tracking system in place.

If your bags aren’t there at the carousel for you, don’t panic. First look at other carousels that serve your airline, even though one is marked for your flight. I’ve seen this happen several times at various airports. Specifically, for McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, the posted flight numbers on the baggage carousels can be inaccurate.

If you had a tight connection or missed a connection, it’s very possible that your bags may not come in on your flight, or may even be there already. Check with the baggage office that serves your airline. These are located around the perimeter of the bag claim areas. You may find that your bags beat you to Las Vegas! You may also have to wait until the next flight comes in from your intermediate stop.

In a busy airport like McCarran, expect to deal with an attitude somewhere between casual concern and downright indifference should you report missing baggage. About all the local baggage agent can do is take a missing item report and enter it into their reporting system. Don’t expect them to immediately drop everything and scour every aircraft, baggage truck, and conveyor belt looking for your bags.

If your bags were “interlined” (handed off from one airline to another), be prepared for some back and forth finger-pointing.

Bags that are totally lost, never to be seen again, are very rare. Misrouted and delayed bags are much more common.

No matter how carefully you fold and pack, it’s inevitable that some of your items will show some wrinkles and/or creases. Some of these can “hang out” after a while just by hanging them up in your hotel room, but two very handy items to have are an iron and a garment steamer. Many hotels now provide irons in rooms (Sahara does, check with your hotel for others), and those that do not have them available for loan, but the steamer is very handy for items that are difficult to press or those that cannot be ironed. You can get a steamer at most department stores for $10-20 or so.

A folding garment bag is great for dresses, but still, you will find that some creases and wrinkles may occur.

Extra hangers! Yes, the hotel will have some hangers, but knowing how many outfits our people tend to bring, you will need extras. They don’t take up that much room, so if ya got ‘em, bring ‘em. :)

“Space bags” can help for bulky items. These are available at any department store. Some compress by rolling up, squeezing the air thru a one-way valve. Others compress by connecting them to a vacuum cleaner.

These are very handy for bulky items that don’t wrinkle, such as sweaters, and also very useful for saving space by compressing and confining dirty laundry on the way home.

If you *absolutely* have to take more than the airline allows (or if you’re really shy about security and inspections and such), you do have a few options.

Most hotels will receive packages for guests. Phone your hotel for the address and how to label your packages. Many hotels charge for this service, and some hotels handle this in their “business service” center which may not be open weekends. Many of these business centers are closed on Sunday and some are closed on Saturday, so if you arrive on the weekend, you may not be able to claim your stuff until Monday.