To dismantle the contents of your suitcase in the middle of San Juan airport and redistribute your dirty laundry among your carry ons requires a prodigious lack of shame. My husband meekly suggested that I leave behind the wine. “Why don’t I just get rid of THESE!” I hollered, brandishing his size 13 EEE slip-on mocs like a ramper parking an airplane at the gate. It wasn’t my finest moment. I got the checked bag down to 48 pounds but we lumbered through the airport laden with bags heavier than 5-year old twins.
I choose my splurges carefully when traveling. Hire a local guide to show me the sights? Yes. Enjoy an extravagant meal at a legendary restaurant? Yes. Buy a unique piece of art from a local crafter? Yes. Pay overweight baggage fees? Never!
Since I’m a light packer and not a big shopper, I don’t usually land in that particular circle of Hell. However, at the end of my Caribbean adventure last year, my suitcase was busting with 3 bottles of superb French Meursault, Portugese cotton towels, and a hardcover coffee table book commemorating Les Voiles de St. Barth. The scale registered 62 pounds and the desk agent growled, “That’ll be $200.” “Over my dead body,” was the response.
I may be stubborn as a stump about some things. For example, never, ever suggest that I’m driving in the wrong direction. If I’ve set a course, it’s the one we’ll follow until I drive off a cliff. However, the Luis Muñoz Marin Airport Incident taught me a lesson and I purchased a luggage scale for my trip this year. I chose the Tarriss Jetsetter (currently $19.97 on Amazon).
I weighed my packed bag when we arrived and as I purchased my booty (3 Longchamp bags; assorted perfumes and anti-aging serums; and more linen, because I’m an addict) I put them in my empty suitcase and checked the weight. I arrived confidently at the counter and smiled smugly as 3 of the 5 couples in front of us battled with the agent and each other over excess baggage fees. I guess I could have bought another suitcase and paid $25 to check the extra bag, but I saved myself a bit of buyer’s remorse when the AmEx bill arrives next month.
Tarriss is one of several brands of digital luggage scales; Camry, Balanzza and Air Weigh are others available on Amazon, priced in and around $20. All work in the same manner – you connect an attached strap to your packed bag, reset the scale to zero and lift the bag. Hold it steady and the weight appears in the window. Et voilà!