airlines

Why I never check bags and why you shouldn't either

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You know those people. 

They're at the ticket counter, screaming at the agent to let their oversize bag for a three day trip on the plane without paying extra for it. You know those people, don't you? I do, too.

Unless it's absolutely necessary, (like I'm leaving the country for weeks at a time) I try to never check a bag. I don't even want the gate agent to "complementary" check my bag to its final destination. I'm good. Let me keep my bag, fam. 

I like to pack light. I hate digging in suitcases for things and I have a tendency to lose stuff when I'm unorganized. 

I just wrapped up a three-day stay in Los Angeles — more on that later — and I took only a backpack. I stuffed three days worth of clothes and toiletries into two packing cubes (which I highly recommend! They're great) and used my backpack as my personal item. It's a Burton backpack. I think I got it from Urban Outfitters a few years ago. It has a bunch of pockets to keep things like your wallet and passport in. I have two packing cubes, a pair of Vans, a pair of flip-flops, my Beats by Dre headphones, and my glasses case all in this backpack. I'm able to quickly reach for whatever I need without tearing my bag apart. I don't have to fight my seatmate for overhead bin storage because my bag goes under the seat in front of me. 

For short trips like the one I'm on, I recommend a backpack. If you're going out of the country for less than a week, then a small suitcase is fine. I still prefer carry-on sizes to avoid having to check a bag. There's no better feeling like getting off of a flight, grabbing my backpack, and heading for the exit. No waiting at the baggage carousel, or, God-forbid, searching for a bag because it didn't make it on the flight. Save yourself some time, if you can, and pack lightly. 

ICYMI: What you should know about the #electronicsban

The U.S. announced new measures to ban large electronic devices on airplanes bound for the United States from airports in eight predominately Middle Eastern nations. 

The new measures come after the U.S. says it's responding to intelligence saying that al-Qaeda is plotting potential terrorist attacks using electronic devices.

What does that mean? Passengers on U.S.-bound flights will not be permitted to carry an electronic device larger than a cell phone on board. Laptops, iPads and many electronic devices will have to be checked. The ban does not include cell phones and medical devices.

Airports included in the ban are:
United Arab Emirates: Dubai Airport, Abu Dhabi Airport
Jordan: Queen Alia Airport
Egypt: Cairo Airport
Turkey: Istanbul Ataturk Airport
Saudi Arabia: King Khalid International Airport, King Abdulaziz Airport
Kuwait: Kuwait International Airport
Morocco: Mohammed V International Airport
Qatar: Doha Airport

In a press release the Department of Homeland Security said the measures were enacted in response to a 2015 plane crash in Egypt, the attempted downing of a jet in Somalia, as well as terrorist attacks at airports in Brussels and Istanbul. None of the attacks on the airplanes or airports took place on U.S.-bound aircraft.

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Will I be able to carry my laptop or iPad on the flight?
No. All electronics larger than a cellphone will have to be placed in your checked baggage prior to flying. 

Are U.S. carriers impacted?
No. 

What carriers are affected?
Royal Jordanian, Emirates, Etihad, Royal Air Maroc, Egypt Air, Turkish, Qatar, Kuwait Airways, and Saudi Arabian. 

Should I insure my valuables before traveling?
Probably. Baggage carriers are notoriously known for being – less than gentle – with luggage. 

The Trump administration hasn't set a timeline for how long the ban will be in place – or if other countries could be added to the list.