To check a bag or to carry on

To bring a checked bag or to not bring a checked bag. That is the $30 to $50 question. Should I pay as that much to check a bag or fill my carryon as full and heavy as I can. There are many different options and opinions but what is right for you on your trip.

There are three ways to bring your essentials with you on a flight.

A checked bag gets taken at the ticket desk. It will cost between $30 and $50 depending on the airlines. There are weight restrictions; generally, if a bag weighs over 50 LBS there is an extra fee. Large items such as skis, golf clubs, surfboards, bikes, musical instruments, fishing equipment, and any other large items can be transported but have an additional cost. Denver International Airport for example has a baggage claim just for oversized items because of the amount of ski and snowboard equipment traveling with passengers. The restriction for a checked bag is far less strict. You may be surprised what can be packed, from ammunition to throwing stars that are approved to travel under the plane.

Carry on Luggage is much more strict and can be tricky. Carry on bags go in the overhead bin and most airlines De must be 22 by 14 by 9 or smaller, or it will need to be checked. Cost varies by who you fly with. Low-cost carriers will charge for a checked bag and carry on while larger airlines let you take a carry on free of charge. Some airlines also have weight restrictions for carrying on items also, so be sure to read the fine print of your ticket before you head to the airport. There is a long list of restrictions for carrying on baggage. TSA.gov has a comprehensive list but here are the basics. Only three ounces of fluids, no aerosols, no sharp or dangerous items, cremated remains vary between airlines, most construction tools must be in a checked bag, and most electronic items are fine to take with you.

Finally is the peripersonal item. The difference between a personal item and a carry on is size. It must be able to fit under the seat and not take up precious room in the overhead bins. For most females, this item will be a purse or diaper bag. For men, this can be a briefcase or laptop bag. Although if you have a backpack that isn’t completely filled and can fit under the seat it should be alright.

●A few thoughts to consider●

How long and what type is the trip you will be going on? If you are going on a business trip, there are certain items you must bring as opposed to a vacation. Can you or are you going to buy items at your destination? There may be great shopping where you are going and if you only have an extremely full carry on you may be limiting your options. Are you willing to wear the same pair of jeans twice? Think about packing lighter. You do not need as much as you think you do. Anything you may have forgotten you can usually buy at your destination. If it’s an international spot or domestic it can be fun to go to a new store to replace a missing item. There are adventures even doing the seemingly mundane tasks.

Christmas

Fresh cut trees, trees with bulbs to decorate and plant in the yard after Christmas. Palm trees strung with lights down south. Holiday themed music everywhere you go and it will  definitely get stuck in your head. Instagram  worthy wrapped boxes under Pinterest perfect  decorated trees. Some people choose to go all out and pick the perfect gift for everyone others donate their time to the less fortunate at at soup kitchen.

Christmas may bring up thoughts of spending too much money and waiting in long lines everywhere. Its hard to remember the true meaning for this gift giving day. No, I don’t feel that its a religious events, I feel like it is a family day. A day of waking up early to see what loved ones surprised you with and a big family dinner.

Even the furry family members get gifts in my household. My dog could smell the treats inside! This is what its all about, seeing the excitement on loved ones faces as they tear open the brightly colored paper.

Making home made Christmas and holiday season cards if one of my most treasured pastimes. Its a special time of year, and I am spending quality time making these cards for people that I love. The hard work is all worth the love. The excitement of seeing all the presents wrapped under the tree waiting for Christmas morning to come.

Vienna

Austria is a German-speaking country with a charm of its own. Vienna is tucked away in the northeastern section and has all the old world charm. The capital city of Austria was home to famous residents such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Sigmund Freud. The museums Quarters District has a lot going on within a short walking distance. If you need a break there are shops, bars, and restaurants around every turn. Enjoy a local beer and watch the people wander through the square. Vienna is a beautiful destination for solo travelers, families, and lovers.

  • Transportation

Coming into Vienna by plane or train you will most likely start your journey in the city center. Public transportation is clean and well organized with local trains, subways, trams and buses running in a timely manner. Tickets are cheap and are on an honor system. There are no booths to check tickets. if you get asked by an agent to see proof and you do not have any, there are strict fines. Believe me, the officials have heard every excuse. I was on a train and thought my ticket could go on to the next city, but it turned out the first time I saw an agent, my ticket wasn’t good. The only reason I was let go with a warning is that I had just added money to my travel card. Let that be a lesson to anyone who is thinking about skipping buying a ticket and taking their chances. There is a large fee for not having a ticket plus the cost of the ticket you didn’t buy. There are also Vienna city cards for 24, 48, or 72 hours pass for public transportation and hop on hop off bus service which is available at the airport and transit centers.

  • When to visit

Summer is the busiest month with beautiful mild weather and all the bells and whistles for visitors. Followed very closely by the holiday seasons at the end of the year. Everything in the region is decorated to perfection in old world charm.

Offseason is Spring and Fall months where you will find discounted flights and dinners to the most popular tourist locations.

  • Weather

Vienna is a four-season city. In the winter months of December, January, and some of February it can be dry cold and snowing. As long as you know how to dress for the weather and make stops to catch a break from harsh weather conditions then Vienna is still a wonderful and walkable city year-round Summers are usually in the 70s but occasionally can get up to the 90s.

  • What to see

The main city draw to this cultured city is the museum district and the many palaces. The most popular is Schonbrunn Palace which is an easy fifteen minutes away on public transportation. All around the city, there are open-air markets filled with fresh flowers, bread, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. There are multiple restaurants to sit and dine on local favorites. There are many parks with perfect lawns and fountains taking up blocks to get lost in or have a peaceful lunch.

Vienna is a great and walkable city. The locals are friendly and often English speaking for those not willing to test their German. I felt safe walking the busy areas around the city and quiet backstreets where I stayed. Like any good traveler, you should be aware of your surroundings and be careful after dark.

By Heidi Vastag