7 Unusual Things to Pack For Better Travel

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The travel news this last year (which we cover on This Week in Travel) has been filled with strange and unusual stories. Some of the travel news has been comic and some tragic. Here are some things to pack to prepare for your travel in the coming year.

duct taped passenger

Problem: People Behaving Badly on Planes

Solution: Duct Tape

Every week we hear a new story about someone behaving badly on an airplane. This week’s story was of a man flying from Reykjavik, Iceland to New York City. He downed an entire bottle of duty-free alcohol and became agitated, even going so far as choking the person next to him while shouting “The Plane Is Going to Crash!”.

The unusual part of this week’s story was that fellow passengers duct-taped the man to his seat to restrain him. It seems like a good argument to start packing duct tape.

Problem: Baggage Fees

Solution: No Luggage

Some airlines like Spirit Air will now charge you for checking your bag and also charge you not to check a bag. Some may think that the Chinese man who wore 70 items of clothing to avoid baggage fees or Rolf Potts who traveled around the world with no suitcases but only what he could carry in a SCOTTeVEST Tropical Jacket. may be a bit crazy, but are these just a sign of things to come?

Problem: Cruise Ship Sinking

Solution: Portable Lifejacket

The saddest thing about the loss of life when the cruise ship Costa Concordia sank was how avoidable it was. Most people who drowned did so, ironically, when they returned to their cabin for their lifejacket. Did you know that more than one manufacturer sells an inflatable lifejacket that fits in a pouch that can be worn as a fanny pack? So many cruise chip passengers already wear stylish fanny packs anyway.

Problem: Needles in Airplane Sandwiches

Solution:  Mini Portable Hand Held Metal Detector

One of the weirdest stories all year was the separate instances where sewing needles were discovered in sandwiches being sold on airplane flights. The really paranoid among us may consider a mini portable handheld metal detector for their carry-on bag.


Problem: Invasive TSA Searches

Solution: 4th Amendment Underwear

You may think I am kidding, but there is a company that sells t-shirts and underwear that have the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures) printed on them in metallic ink so that it shows up on the full-body scanners.

Problem: American Airlines Seats Become Loose in Flight

Solution: Wrench

Twice this year people on an American Airlines jet got more legroom than they bargained for when their seats became loose during flight and they fell back on the people behind them. The TSA shouldn’t have any problem with you packing a wrench if you explain that this is the reason you now carry one.

Problem: Plane stuck on the tarmac

Solution: Little John – Portable Urinal

We had fewer incidents in 2012 of planes being stuck on the tarmac for long periods of time which is good news, but we had at least one plane which got stuck in the tarmac during a heatwave. Some say that carrying a portable urinal may be over-prepared but we will see who is laughing when the line for the restroom stretches from first class to the back of the plane.


In reality, although it may seem like air travel, in particular, is getting harder, it may also be getting safer. A report came out this week that 2012 was the safest year to fly since 1945 (which is ironic if you think about the number of planes being shot down in 1945).

I admit that some of this article was tongue-in-cheek. I don’t really think you need to start traveling carrying a wrench (although I still like the duct tape idea). But travel can be uncertain at times. Here is what I really pack. For a major trip consider travel insurance.

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

One Response to “7 Unusual Things to Pack For Better Travel”

Jenny Hayes


Ahh, just flew Spirit air for the first time! They are so crafty with their fees, and I was so happy to still fly cheap after paying extra for my tiny checked bag. Don’t think I’ll be layering 70 items of clothing any time soon.

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