One bag, one bag

Almost 20 years ago, we rented Las Trementinas, a three-bedroom villa near Chocolate Hole.  The owner, Steve Clayton, lived in Seattle, where he owned a company which provided tropical fish and aquariums to businesses.   He gave us one piece of advice when we decided to build our own house at Reef Bay: "One Roof! One Roof!"

You see, Steve’s house had a main building, and then several little guest houses. The more roofs you have, the more expensive it is to build (because you have multiple structures) and maintenance costs are higher than with just one roof.

On Sunday, the Washington Post published a letter from Rick Garvin in Mclean, Virginia in which he applied this "one roof thinking" to travel.  With United Airlines limiting people to one bag at no cost, isn’t’ it likely other airlines will begin charging for a second bag, too?    Rick said he is "delighted" by the policy.

First, he thinks too many people bring too many bags and slow the check-in process. One free bag, he hopes, will result in fewer people packing for a safari when in fact they’re just going to the beach.

Rick, personally, is determined to travel light between Dulles and St. Thomas. "My family, with two kids can easily travel with one checked bag for all of us," he wrote the Post’s Travel editors. "It’s a vacation, not a migration," he adds.

And, he points out, with one bag, he doesn’t have to que up in those awful lines at he St. Thomas airport airline counters to check luggage.  "We will print our boarding passes on St. John and go directly to immigration/customs when we arrive at the airport."  Brilliant!  If you have  ever survived the wait to check a bag, and then  been told go to Immigration/Customs, where the lines are long and anxiety levels off the chart, you can appreciate how valuable Rick’s tip is.

Here’s Rick’s letter to the Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/15/AR2008021501734_4.html?sid=ST2008021502318

8 thoughts on “One bag, one bag”

  1. I disagree. I have been on way too many flights lately where the overhead compartments are all full. You end up putting your carry-on five or ten rows behind you or have to sit with your winter coat on your lap. Now, on top of the people who bring two huge carry-on bags to avoid checking luggage, we will have people packing extra large carry-on bags to avoid the second bag surcharge. Also, airlines really need to start enforcing the size limits on carry-ons. Just an opinion from a frequent business traveler….

  2. His logic is inconsistent. He says his family still has to pack one bag to check-in due to the restrictions on liquids in carry-on. So he still has to wait in line to check in that one bag. How many of us can go away for a week or two with only one carry-on bag? And here in the VI we like our tourists to come with suitcases with empty space for purchases from our stores.

  3. I completely agree with Island Addict that the airlines _must_ get more strict about the size of carry ons. What irks me most is the nitwit bringing the ‘carry on’ knows it’s larger than it should be but jams it in the overhead anyway. If they get by the gate they figure they’re home free. It’s up to the airlines to stop them before they get on the plane.

  4. As a frequent business traveler, I can understand the frustration associated with watching the tourists trying to cram sofa sized luggage in the overhead compartments. That said, I take a different view concerning air travel for our annual St. John vacation. No disrespect to Rick and his one bag fits all philosophy, but we bring enough supplies to feed the 7 of us for two weeks, and then some. Yes, our clothing consists of a few t-shirts, bathing suits and personal items. But, unlike some other well to do travelers, after air fare, the villa and auto rentals, eating out for two weeks is a luxury we cannot afford. So, we plan 14 dinners ahead of time and pack a cardboard box with the ingredients. Add breakfast cereal, pancake mix, and other hard to find on the island items, and we have fun creating our gourmet dinners in the comfort of our kitchen. No disrespect to the local food stores, but other than the essential perishables, there’s no place like our home supermarket. For our last trip we included a styrofoam cooler packed with high end beef and seafood, sitting on dry ice. (Yes, you are allowed a certain amount of dry ice on an aircraft.) The cardboard boxes provide convenient one way suitcases. We do encounter the occasional hassle moving our supplies (like the fun 30 hours spent in San Juan waiting for the volcano ash to go away) but after a half dozen trips, we seem to have the travel down to a science.

  5. We too check a cooler, although not styrofoam, with the majority of our meals. We freeze lobster tails, shrimp, steak, OJ, carne asada, bacon etc. We cook at our condo most breakfasts, and a few dinners. We still frequent our favorite establishments and end up leaving plenty of food, both cooked and still frozen, for the maid or the neighbors. We then fill the cooler with bottles of Cruzan, tee shirts, spices, hot sauces and more island produced goods than you could imagine. We support the local economy PLENTY!! I s’pose if I had to carry on my swimsuits, shorts, toiletries and tees and check the cooler I’d still do it my way. I’m the paying customer & I’ll bring what I want.

  6. Not for nothing, but I think Jumbie Girl is right on. DON’T GET ME/US WRONG,PLEASE! I’m an obsessed lover of STJ for a long time, as well.I’ve been going every year since 2001,and if anyone thinks that I’m bringing down a cooler of “food-stuffs” to ‘jip’ the local economy, they’re mistaken.I’ve never done it before, but I will this year. Whether camping at Maho, or renting a villa, I wouldn’t pack heavily anyway.I’m sure that I’ll happily spend every other cent I can… we’re on vacation, after all…

  7. Mr. Inconsistent here. Margaret, we take one checked piece down (Polar Bear cooler), but do carry-on only on the way home. It’s the STT airport check-on that is a nightmare, the airport check in at DC are fine. It’s easy, if you think things through. A week or two away with only one carry-on bag? You’re right, that’s too big for one person. We share one carry-on legal travel suitcase between two people. We make plenty of purchases and eat, drink and wear them there on our two trips per year.
    Island Addict, I agree completely with you. Airlines need to enforce the carry-on rules, put the oversized carry-ons in the cargo hold, and charge the person for excess baggage. We comply with all of the rules and use less space than the cruise ship pack animals do for their carry-ons. As a business traveler, I’m furious when the too-large bags have to be turned long-ways and take up the room that two legal bags should take.
    Our one checked bag is a Polar Bear Cooler packed with frozen food, staples, techni-ice and sunscreen/bug spray/shampoo/etc. on top. We love to cook and do a good bit of that at the villa. The cooler folds small for the flight home and the techni-ice stays in the villa freezer for the next visitor.
    Travel smart, travel light, pass the intelligence test which is the STT airport check-in.
    Cheers, RickG

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