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Did you know that airline companies are now advertising travel wear at check-in? The four-piece, wrinkle-free, mix and match ensemble, plus shoes, which will transport you seamlessly from daytime to evening wear?

What? You didn’t know? You haven’t seen the ads?

Well, neither have I–because they are not viewable. They are only implied. By baggage fees.

It’s 11 at night, and I’m 90 minutes from home on one of those airlines. I was supposed to be home 20 minutes ago. But, hey, when a computer system freezes, I’d rather sit in my seat with no food or water or lavatory than be stranded in a pitch black Caribbean Sea in my orange life vest.

But I digress—I’m traveling on an airplane that now charges not only for checked baggage but also for carry-ons.  I’d not heard of this additional way of squeezing fun out of a traveler’s wardrobe until this fling. And this airline, and all others charging the same, need not worry about hearing from me again.

However, if there is no alternative, I’ve had mucho extra minutes this evening to contemplate a solution.  Since I can still take one “personal item” on the plane free—you know the kind you can completely stow away under the seat in front of you, I will buy a travel wear set and pack it in my backpack from my never-ending student days.

And this is how I will arrange things.

Alongside the rear wall of the larger compartment, I will place a loose, slightly flattened roll composed of the four pieces of travel wear, a flat package of disposable undies, and one each of the following: fabric purse and nightgown and bathing suit and cover-up and collapsible wide-brimmed straw hat.

In front of this roll, I will place a transparent one-gallon zipped bag of 3-ounce bottles and tubes, necessities for globetrotting beauty.

In the smaller compartment in the front of the backpack, I will place one paperback, two magazines, and a flat stack of cash and necessary cards–driver’s license and credit and health insurance and public transit. And a fat stack of business cards for Caring Lessons.  Prorities.

In one of the two front zippered slits will go two pens for use in a midnight attack of inspiration to write a travel piece such as this (written on a newspaper airline ad—it has the most white space), while my fellow passengers shield their eyes from my light and snore.

The other slit will hold lipstick and floss and house keys.

As my head fills with a bulging image of my backpack, I’m thinking that for the cost of my baggage fees on this flight alone, I can buy at least 25% of the four-piece travel wear ensemble. Four trips and I’ll have it paid for.

And now, just as I’m thinking I have this baggage fee problem solved, I’m remembering my baby-blue Crocs I wear to the beach. NO way will they fit in my backpack. I suppose I could wear them. But, if I string them together with a shoestring, string the shoestring across the crown of my head, do you think my favorite baby-blue bouncy shoes could pass for earrings?

Bulky, I know. But, could they?