RT Cunningham


Packing for our Trip Back to the Philippines

cardboard packing box - balikbayan boxes Packing is always a pain, even more so when you’re leaving for good. When traveling internationally, it’s best to be ready well ahead of time and that includes shipping the things you’re not carrying with you. With airline luggage restrictions, it makes sense to ship as much ahead of you as possible. Freight can take up to three months to get to the destination, so that delay need to be factored into everything. Packing as much as you can in your luggage (what you’re not going to wear) should be done ahead of time as well.

Packing and Shipping Freight to the Philippines

The most common method of getting freight from the United States to the Philippines is the balikbayan box. We’ll be shipping out six of them next week and we’re not even done packing them.

We have some extremely heavy things to ship, mostly the stuff my wife (Josie) accumulated over the last few years. We have a video projector (we’ll be using it for karaoke parties once I figure it out), toolboxes of tools and things I don’t even know about since Josie’s done most of the packing. We’re using towels and clothing (to be given away as pasalubong) as padding. We have boxes within boxes.

I’ve yet to meet anyone outside of the military who knows how to do the packing properly and I’m not even sure about the Army and Air Force people. I can take two boxes of things and make them fit into one box, which makes it extremely heavy. But that’s okay because there’s no weight limit on freight transported by ship.

Packing Luggage for Airline Travel

With carry-ons, they should be packed loosely so you can get to what you need to get to, either on the flight or as soon as you arrive. I’m talking about laptop computers, tablets, sweaters, etc.

Packing the luggage to be checked is different. You want to get as much as you can into the two bags you’re allowed and still keep each one under 50 pounds. It’s easy to do if you don’t start shoving the things in there that should have been shipped ahead of time. It’s not a good idea to put pasalubong items in them because they’re usually heavy.

I learned how to pack a seabag (duffel bag for the Army and Air Force folks) when I was in basic training and I’ve never forgotten. Trousers should be folded in half lengthwise and then rolled from the bottom of the legs to the waist band. Socks should be shoved inside of shoes and boots. Things like that.

There aren’t any travel packing tips available to make things easier on us. It’s a slow and tedious process to be followed by a slow and tedious airline flight (with multiple stops). There isn’t much more I can say about it.

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By RT Cunningham
October 24, 2014