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Carry-on only for the holidays... with gifts.

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    Carry-on only for the holidays... with gifts.

    Hi friends,
    This year for the holidays my family (me, partner, daughter) are traveling from the MN to NJ to be with my family. A friend turned me onto Skiplagged and the one big catch to our travels is that we cannot check bags. The way SkipLagged works is that it gets you cheaper direct flights by booking you onto a connecting flight itinerary, you just get off at the connecting city, since it's your intended destination. If you check bags they wind up in the ticketed destination.

    I'm a one-bag traveler, I'm working on getting my family converted (they are heavily on the way) but for this I am making an exception as we will be transporting all of our gift-giving things, too. Any tips out there? Shipping on the way there is out of the question, simply not on the table. I won't risk having packages stolen or misdirected or late for Xmas morning.

    What are your pro-tips for traveling with gifts? I know we cannot pre-wrap but beyond that... any suggestions? I want security to go smoothly and to ensure our bags don't get gate-checked (no rollers.)

    Help!

    #2
    This late in the year, I assume they're already purchased, but if not, gift cards aren't such a bad idea.

    Seriously though, I think it's going to depend on the particular gifts. As long as they fit the standard carry-on regulations (i.e. no sharps, no liquids over 3oz, fits in the carry-on sizer, etc...) you should be fine. So, that hand knitted scarf isn't an issue, but that new 60" plasma TV might be, you'll just have to drop that off at my place instead.

    The other concern I'd have is your plan to jump ship mid itinerary. Over on some frequent flyer forums, I've seen talk that this kind of move can jeopardize your return trip. They know whether your boarding pass for the second leg is scanned, and if it's not, they cancel your ticket.

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      #3
      Holy moly -- you are brave! Some airlines flag the worst offenders and threaten all sorts of nastiness on them (like cancelling your return segment). You can google "Skiplagged reviews" or "Skiplagged horror stories" for some anecdotal stories. I think they might only go after the most frequent offenders, though. So if you just do it periodically hopefully it goes under their radar!

      As for tips for gifts, your BEST tip is to buy SMALL gifts, or flat gifts that are no larger than the size of your carry-on. It's similar to my general philosophy for souvenir purchases; I avoid buying anything big that I'll have trouble carrying home.

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        #4
        Originally posted by SarahJaneMakes View Post
        A friend turned me onto Skiplagged and the one big catch to our travels is that we cannot check bags. The way SkipLagged works is that it ,gets you cheaper direct flights by booking you onto a connecting flight itinerary, you just get off at the connecting city, since it's your intended destination. If you check bags they wind up in the ticketed destination.
        Skipping a final outbound flight sector seems a risky thing to do. Some airlines could then automatically cancel the subsequent flight sectors including your return flights - presuming you have purchased a return ticket and not two single tickets. That could prove to be an expensive situation, especially over holiday period, which you may only find out you have a problem when you try to check in for the return flight.

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          #5
          On this trip we have separate, one-way tickets outbound and returning. Different airlines, too. So this time I’m not worried about getting flagged. It’s definitely not an every trip idea.

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            #6
            Originally posted by SarahJaneMakes View Post
            On this trip we have separate, one-way tickets outbound and returning. Different airlines, too. So this time I’m not worried about getting flagged. It’s definitely not an every trip idea.
            Great. One way tickets and different airlines seems to address any likely risk. Enjoy you trip.

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              #7
              It’s never a bad idea to have enough time to allow for security to inspect your bag again. If the gifts meet the carry on rules you should be fine to carry them on, but they may do a second look if they look odd on the xray. For example, a peppermill shows up as a mysterious metal rod; a gift box of soap can look like a mysterious dense block of maybe-explosives. Sometimes if I know I’m traveling with potentially oddball items, I arrange my bag so that i can remove them quickly and “declare” them on their own tray at security (like removing one’s laptop). TSA might not have cared if I left them in my bag, but this way I feel like I did my part to minimize the hassle to myself and others in line.

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                #8
                Originally posted by SarahJaneMakes View Post
                On this trip we have separate, one-way tickets outbound and returning. Different airlines, too. So this time I’m not worried about getting flagged. It’s definitely not an every trip idea.
                I have a colleague that does this regularly to avoid a certain well-known gouging airport monopoly that rhymes with 'barlit', he hasn't suffered the wrath of the airline yet. I'd buy the tickets using a travel site you don't normally use, without any FF info associated. Not sure if a TTN for Precheck would potentially flag you.

                If you can't wrap gifts at the destination, you could partially wrap them in such a way that they could be removed from the wrapping for inspection, and have some tape on hand to finish the job after.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Fluff View Post
                  It’s never a bad idea to have enough time to allow for security to inspect your bag again. If the gifts meet the carry on rules you should be fine to carry them on, but they may do a second look if they look odd on the xray. For example, a peppermill shows up as a mysterious metal rod; a gift box of soap can look like a mysterious dense block of maybe-explosives. Sometimes if I know I’m traveling with potentially oddball items, I arrange my bag so that i can remove them quickly and “declare” them on their own tray at security (like removing one’s laptop). TSA might not have cared if I left them in my bag, but this way I feel like I did my part to minimize the hassle to myself and others in line.
                  Oh man, that reminds me of the time my sister gave me loose tea in pretty ceramic tea canisters. I was pulled aside for a special search at the airport before my flight home. (I think the TSA agents may have been bored, it was a very small airport. I had plenty of time for the search, though; that flight was delayed due to snow and ended up being cancelled. I was glad that the cancellation just meant spending another night with family, instead of having to figure out a hotel!)
                  I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos include Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV, Original Halcyon/Wasabi, Cloud/Viridian... and now also Seapine/UV!

                  I've fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.

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                    #10
                    Got my check through "inspected" (pre-packing cube discovery) for a Walt Disney World tin of fudge on its way to Grampa for Christmas.

                    One of the main concerns would be weather, or any other delay, especially during the holidays, as well as all the other things mentioned here. Especially traveling the northern route.

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                      #11
                      Short trip. My Western Flyer has all my clothes and personal things, and the Night Flight Travel Duffel the gifts. Admittedly, it's a bit heavy as there are books and ceramics inside, but I keep falling back to using this bag because it is so wonderfully efficient to pack and travel with. No issues with the TSA, either due to the gifts (which will be wrapped at their destination) or the oranges in my bag.

                      This duo got me through my long trip to the airport, which involved a Lyft, a commuter train, a walk, and the bus. And I've already been mistaken for an airline worker! This has happened before and I credit it to traveling without a huge rollon.

                      Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
                      ----
                      All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
                      Edmund Burke

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by bchaplin View Post
                        Short trip. My Western Flyer has all my clothes and personal things, and the Night Flight Travel Duffel the gifts. Admittedly, it's a bit heavy as there are books and ceramics inside, but I keep falling back to using this bag because it is so wonderfully efficient to pack and travel with. No issues with the TSA, either due to the gifts (which will be wrapped at their destination) or the oranges in my bag.

                        This duo got me through my long trip to the airport, which involved a Lyft, a commuter train, a walk, and the bus. And I've already been mistaken for an airline worker! This has happened before and I credit it to traveling without a huge rollon.
                        @bchaplin, I am very impressed you were able to pack the NFTD with all your gifts that include books and ceramics. The Night Flight looks so tiny, but that is deceptive since it can pack a surprising amount. I am always shocked how much I can stuff in the side pockets. And it also makes for the perfect underseat bag on the plane. I think of it as my baby Aeronaut.
                        Seeking Solar shop bags and Solar packing cube shoulder bag Also coveting an Iberian Synapse or Copilot

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