29 September 2009

Bare essentials

I just breezed through security with a full bottle of water in my backpack. Hm. I have yet to go to the gate so perhaps there's another security check-point. One hopes.

It's not that I think bringing a bottle of water is bad. I prefer to be able to keep it. But I went in knowing full well I would have to toss it if I didn't get thirsty first.

As a frequent traveler, I have the dilemma of trying to figure out what to carry on and what to check in. I long gave up on solely carry on, especially with the liquid restrictions and my tendency to bring some forbidden object such as tweezers, a pocket knife, or a leatherman.

Some seasoned travelers such as my father have it down to a science. I don't.

At the very least I will have on my being:
- a travel journal and pen,
- travel wallet with all necessary papers and documents
- cash in US dollars
- two credit cards
- chapstick
- two packets of tissues
- a point-and-shoot camera
- an iPod and headphones
- a sweater or jacket
- dental floss

For trips where I don't trust my suitcase to get there with me or where I know I can't get an easy replacement in the hotel:
- Base basics in toiletries
- Set of clean underwear and socks
- Fully charged mobile
- Writing paper
- Reading material
- SLR camera

A lot of it also depends on which airline I fly. I have huge confidence in Thai Airways. Singapore Airlines I know I don't have to even think. United is quite good with providing basic amenities to a business traveler.

With all the flack about air travel, the fact is airlines providing international travel so still provide an excellent level of provisions, all things considered. Blanket for the cold, shower facilities for long layovers if one has enough mileage status to access the lounge. Plenty of water refills in flight to the point I have to plead them to stop refilling so I don't have to keep going. (if you must ask why I feel obligated to drink it's because they top off the glass to the point it will spill when the plane hits turbulence.)

I consider it a matter of pride that I know and do go through the metal detectors without a beep. Some security checkpoints now ask us to not only lay out our laptops apart from the bag, but also our mobiles. I have yet to do it. From my engineering standpoint, I fail to see the difference between an mobile from an iPod or camera. And with all the times I passed through, they never called out my bag to dig out the mobile, validating my belief that the pointless exercise would not be worth my hassle.

Back to my bottle of water. I wonder if it will fly with me this afternoon. It's my first time departing from this particular airport, so I'll have to report back once I get through this leg of travel.

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