8 Steps For When Your Bag Gets Unexpectedly Checked

I always pack for trips in a carry on size bag. I’ve written about what I pack and why I pack lightly in a plethora of past posts, so you know by now that I’m a fan and I’d rather forgot an item or two than have to check my luggage.

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So, I was gutted when El Al told me on my way to Israel in February that I needed to check my little rolling bag. I guess they didn’t believe that I’d packed my bag and that it’d been with me the entire ride to the airport. Side note: El Al’s security checks are fucking crazy. But hey, they’ve never lost a plane, so I guess it’s working. But anyway, I digress.

It was annoying, but I was fine with it as long as they didn’t lose it because if I got to Israel and had no clothing, there would’ve been hell to pay. (Another side note: Always make sure your luggage tags are up to date in case it does get lost!)

Anyways, I thought I’d packed my carry on efficiently so I wouldn’t need to take anything out of my suitcase but I was wrong and I’d only realized it after my stuff was check and I was seated on the plane (again, with extra leg room, and please upgrade if you can if you fly El Al!!). So, I wanted to take my contacts out for the 10 hour flight and I realized I didn’t have my contact solution. So: no glasses for me. I immediately started getting nervous that my contacts might glue themselves to my eyeballs if I couldn’t find someone on my trip with contact solution. I sent out a message to the WhatsApp group and someone responded that they didn’t have any contact solution but that they had a curling iron (this was a guy, too). Super helpful, but also funny.

I admonished myself for not properly repacking my carry on and then started eating dinner and watching Crazy Rich Asians because there was nothing else to do.

So here’s what I think you should do if you unexpectedly find yourself having your bag checked:

  1. Look at everything in my carry on.
  2. If you wear glasses, make sure you have your glasses case and your contacts and contact solution.
  3. Make sure you have snacks.
  4. Take a quick peek through your suitcase before they take it, just to be sure you’re not forgetting anything.
  5. Make sure you have a toothbrush and toothpaste (or just mouthwash for the lazy route) in your carry on.
  6. Do you have your neck pillow? Eye mask? I have to say that packing a little satchel full of all of that stuff is pretttyyyy handy.
  7. Pack an extra pair of underwear.
  8. Take a breath and check your stuff.

I think that’s the best advice I can offer that would’ve saved me from having to sleep in my contacts on my way to Israel. And in case you were wondering, my contacts didn’t stick to my eyes! That’s a win. I also only got 4 hours of sleep. But you win some, you lose some.

Hopefully, this helps you win everything while you’re traveling! Happy carry on packing!

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