Managing your own stuff takes work, but it’s worth it
When you are new to vision loss, a member of your family may offer – almost insist on packing for you. Anyone with good sight might be quicker, and you will probably feel cared for. But it’s much better to manage your own stuff. You choose your bag, choose what to pack, and where to place each item. You do it your way, and you will be in control.
Choosing your luggage
Try to choose cases you can manage yourself. At least be there to claim them at the end of the journey. Your friends or a driver may say, “You stay here, I’ll get them.” This can sound like a service, but it isn’t, unless you have marked and labeled your bags clearly. A former client once allowed the Greyhound bus driver to move her beige bag from one bus to another without checking. You can imagine the rest of the story. It took weeks of calling and detective work to track her bag to some far-off Lost and Found.
Identify your bag
It’s worth identifying your bag by marking it with a long, high-contrast tape, or a mascot which you zip-tie to the handle. Attach a name-tag as well. You might want to take one bag for clothes and one for your phone, magnifier, etc. Try to keep one hand free for opening doors or using a cane. Choose bags that can be fastened. An open tote is a bad idea unless you are traveling all the way by car. Things can fall out and with less sight you may not notice till it’s too late.
Which way does your bag open?
This sounds so obvious, but once your sight isn’t too good, it’s not so easy to tell . When you are deciding where to put the identifying tape, make it a twofer by placing it on the front of your bag. That way you avoid a distressful time searching from the wrong side. The zipper tags on your luggage can be hard to locate also. It helps to park them next to the handle each time, or attach something bright or jangly to them.
Knowing your bags – inside-out
Have you checked out the slots and pockets in your case? Where they are and how many? As you know luggage these days may has zippered pockets and slots. If you’re buying something, some separate pockets are helpful, but too many gets confusing.
A packing system makes your life easier
The first time you pack your new bag, decide on the best place for documents, best outfits, toiletries, shoes and so on, it will take you a few minutes. But for future trips you just use the same system. It’ll be quicker and easier on your memory.
Keeping track of your stuff
Here’s another obvious point. Before you leave home count the number of items you are carrying – a jacket over your arm, a hat and maybe a cane, plus your two bags – that makes five to check off as you enter and leave your transport.
What are your tips for identifying and keeping track of your bags when traveling? Post a comment below
Next blog post:
How and what to pack for a weekend when you have vision problems.