I fly from DC to the Netherlands next month via Wow Air. Wow is a bargain no-frills airline where you can get fairly cheap air tickets, but then have to pay extra fees for absolutely everything else. And I mean everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if you have to buy a ticket to use the toilet in flight. A base ticket includes *one* carryon item (not one carryon bag + personal item, just ONE carryon period), of up to 11 pounds/5kg. That’s it.
I’m traveling for work and have a tight budget, so I grabbed the cheapest ticket and figured I would make the best of it. I bought a ScottEVest QUEST vest with 42 pockets so that I could shlep whatever wouldn’t fit in the bag on my person. I made list after list after list of different combinations of clothing that would take me through the somewhat unpredictable Dutch summer (rain? sure! hot? probably! But maybe also sixty degrees or thereabouts! whee!), *and* let me have options for both touring the city and sitting in work meetings/trainings for hours on end. Plus, hopefully I’ll have time to ride a bike if I’m lucky. Oh! And my iAmsterdam card comes with a free canal tour so I’ll also be on a boat part of one day.
One dry run and I realized that my awesome carryon isn’t actually a bag of holding. Not the best plan I’ve ever had. I love my QUEST vest and will likely wear it regardless, but I’m not sure I want to try to lug around 20# of gear on my person across four international flights and two layovers. (Although if I decide to, I totally can – you should SEE what fits in this thing!) I also decided the sacrifices I would have to make to pull it off suck. I don’t want to only bring one small Midori A5 grid notebook to take me through four days of sightseeing and six days of training and note taking. I’m a journaling/planning/scrapping/note taking beast, and I should have known at the outset that was never going to work.
But the final straw? Shoes. Did I really want to walk all over Amsterdam, Bruges, Den Haag, and Rotterdam in one single pair of shoes and hope for the best?
Yeah. No way.
So, congratulations Wow Air! You win. I went back to my reservation information, logged in with my confirmation number, and purchased both additional weight for my carryon AND a checked bag. *And, since once I start spending money I’m like a monkey on a Mai Tai bender, I went ahead and reserved my seats too and picked nice ones that were either aisle or window. Two are even “extra EXTRA legroom.”
Tickets aren’t so cheap now. Meep.
But. But. I will be more comfortable both in the air and during travel. If I had to make do with just the one bag while sitting in the middle of two other people in a tiny squished row I could have, but I didn’t have to and decided it was worth it to me to make the switch. My back will thank me for having a change of shoes and for being able to get up and move around. I will be able to bring a laptop now instead of trying to do all work on an iPad.* * If I want to pack some of my safe core travel foods I can. I don’t have to worry about cracking the mask to my CPAP from trying to cram everything into one single bag the size of a reusable grocery tote. I can bring one set of workout clothing, so that I can keep up with that aspect of self-care. Win, win, win.
DH thinks I’m trying to talk myself into being happy with the decision, but I think I made a wise choice given my resources and the situation. I can do frugal with the best of them, but austerity for the sheer sake of austerity? Not a fan.
*I don’t know that I will end up bringing the checked bag, I dread having lost baggage during overseas travel – it has happened to me before – but now if I deicide to it’s no big deal.
**I may still decide to just bring the iPad. I’m torn. Work is easier on the laptop, but boy is security easier without. What would you do?