On Monday, I bought a plane ticket, which is agonizing of course, because there are all these rules, like "If you try to cancel this ticket even one minute after you buy it, even if it's because you got run over by a truck, and your house burnt down, and there's a tornado bearing down on your car at this exact second, and you need a refund because you need every extra penny for truck-injury-repairing surgery, a new house, and tornado restoration services, we will not give you back any money, and we will charge you an extra $250 for even attempting to cancel your reservation. Also, don't even think about spelling your own name wrong, because the airline's penalty for a plane ticket name change is death."
But the thing that I'm all riled up about right now is how much they charge you for baggage. After I went to various travel sites and all of the various airlines' websites to find the lowest price for a ticket, I realized that I had to revisit every site to see how much they charge for checked baggage. Because prices vary from about $15 to $25 for just one bag (each way). So, if you pick one airline because their price was $10 cheaper and then you have to pay $50 for your baggage to come on the trip, too, it kind of defeats the purpose. It used to be that every airline gave you two checked bags for free and then charged you for extras. Then it was one free checked bag per person. Now, most major airlines charge you to check any baggage at all. That's annoying enough as it is, but it gets worse.
On some airlines, you are charged not only on how many bags you're bringing, but also on how much each bag weighs. So, on a US Airways flight for example, you pay $20 for your first checked bag, unless it weighs over 50 pounds, in which case you pay $70 each way. For your second bag, you pay $30, unless it's over 50 pounds, in which case you pay $80 each way. Obviously, they're charging you these exorbitant amounts because of the bad economy, fuel costs, etc, but the thing I'm annoyed about at this exact moment is this - the premise is that the heavier the plane is, the more fuel it's going to use, so the more it's going to cost, right? But... they don't weigh the passengers! So, they can't possibly have an accurate idea of how much the plane weighs, because they don't know how much everyone in it weighs. So, let's say I bought a plane ticket for $200. If I take my 123 pound self onto a plane, and I bring two checked bags, each of which weighs 51 pounds (because I would totally be that unlucky), I'm going to pay $500 to have the plane cart 225 pounds on a round trip flight. Meanwhile, if a 350 pound NFL linebacker flies round trip on the same flight, for the same ticket price, but because he's a guy (and let's be honest, the average guy typically packs less than the average girl), he only has one 25 pound carry-on bag, he pays $200 to fly 375 pounds round trip, while I pay $500 to fly 225 pounds round trip. It's like the story problem from hell!
The long term solution is for us all to write angry letters to the airlines. I'm not saying that they have to weigh the passengers - I'm just saying that weighing luggage is completely useless and arbitrary if they're not going to weigh the passengers. And also that $50 to bring clothes with you on your trip is exorbitant, and it's pretty unfair to charge me more if the combined weight of me AND my luggage is less than the weight of the guy next to me.
My short term solution to this problem is - as this post's title states - tiny clothes and a big purse. I'm going to the beach with my sister, so I feel like it's possible to pack a week's worth of bikinis, shorts, sundresses and tank tops into a carry on bag and a big purse. Can I do it? I think I can, but stay tuned to find out! (Although, when I was in bed, about to fall asleep last night, I suddenly jolted awake when I realized that I can't bring my gigantic hair dryer and diffuser with me if I don't bring my typically enormous suitcase. Sigh. Luckily, my flat iron is small, so I guess I'll just have straight hair all week - which will be challenging when I'm by the ocean...)