packing a suitcase

Are you a savvy traveler looking for packing tips and airfare strategies?

I’ve just returned from an incredible 10-day yacht cruise in Croatia, and I’ve got some fantastic packing and airfare tips to share. What’s even more incredible than the trip itself? I managed to pull it off with just carry-on bags. Why, you ask? Well, it’s all about those tricky flight connections.

My journey involved two different airlines on the way there and back, and checking in a bag would have meant retrieving it at the stopover and rechecking it, which felt risky given the limited connection times. Plus, traveling in warm weather makes for lighter packing, but it was still a bit of a challenge.

The Secret To Packing Light

So, what’s the secret sauce to my packing success? Packing cubes!

I know, I know, you’ve heard all about them in travel blogs, and I used to think rolling clothes was enough. But this time, I had to be a packing ninja to fit everything into a carry-on and tote bag.

After diving into some serious research, I discovered that compression cubes are the way to go, and the set of three from REI came highly recommended.

REI Compression Bags

What’s a compression cube?

A compression bag is essentially a bag with zippers on both the top and bottom, with a gusset (or pleat) like an expanding suitcase. You open both zippers, stuff your clothes inside, and then re-zip both – one to close the bag and the other to seal up the gusset and compress your clothes. It’s like magic!

So, what did I manage to squeeze into these three cubes? Brace yourselves: two swimsuits, a rash guard, a coverup, two pairs of shorts, six tops, three sundresses, and two nightgowns. Yep, that’s more than I ended up needing. On the way back, I even managed to fit in the two additional sundresses I couldn’t resist buying on Brač Island.

What about toiletries?

Go for solid options whenever possible to avoid those pesky oversized liquid limits. I found shampoo and conditioner bars on Amazon that worked like a charm. Also, opt for solid sunscreen. Oh, and if you’re a fan of using washcloths in the shower, grab a pack of cheap ones from your favorite discount store and bring one with you. Trust me, at least 50% of the places I’ve stayed in Europe don’t have washcloths. It seems to be an American thing.

plane in the sky

Airfare Strategies

Now, let’s chat about the flights. I flew with Norse Atlantic, a relatively new Low-Cost Carrier (LCC), and I must say, it was a pleasant surprise. They operate on shiny new Dreamliners and offer two classes of service: Basic and Premium, which is akin to premium economy.

With Basic, well, pretty much everything comes with an extra cost – checked bags, carry-on (with a 22-pound limit), seat selection, and meals. I opted for a seat, my carry-on, and one meal, which set me back an additional $135.

But here’s where it gets interesting. I received an email inviting me to bid on a Premium seat, which includes all the things I had already paid extra for, plus a second meal, drinks, and a headset. Intriguing, right? I threw in a bid of $330, the lowest bid they considered “fair” – meaning there was a reasonable chance of it being accepted. The catch is that once your bid is accepted, you can’t get reimbursed for the services you’ve already paid for.

Experience Norse Atlantic

The Premium seat turned out to be wider, with a better recline and footrests. Sipping a glass of wine with my not-too-bad dinner was a nice touch too. But if I had to do it all over again, I’d probably stick with Basic and make my bid. If it gets accepted, you’re ahead of the game, and if not, you can always add the services you want before departure.

So, there you have it, my efficient packing tips and a little insight into airfare strategies. Travel light, travel smart, and here’s to more incredible adventures on the horizon with Wine Lovers Travel.

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