I love teaching and I love quilting and I love people and I love travel. So basically the life of a traveling quilt teacher is a dream come true for me. Even if it’s not for you, you might be interested in the hilarious rigamarole that quilt teachers go through when getting ready to head off on their next adventure.
Tips for the Traveling Quilt Teacher
1. Play Tetris, or practice puzzling. You need to fit an inordinate amount of supplies into a infinitely finite space. It isn’t easy. Most of the time you strategically ship boxes ahead.
2. Buy really, really good luggage. It is an investment in your business. I only buy luggage with lifetime guarantee and repair service (Briggs & Riley, Victorinox). I’ve used that repair service. The luggage hasn’t been damaged by the airline – mostly corner stitching has come undone because I stuff them as full as possible. With heavy stuff. Every. Single. Trip. My rolling briefcase that carries my AV equipment (projector, iPad, cables, tripod, video camera) is built like a tank but will fit under the seat of even the littlest puddle-jumper.
3. Spinner carry-on’s are wonderful. You don’t have to lug the thing down the aisle of the airplane. But they aren’t quite so nice on a long carpeted hotel corridor. Pick your poison.
4. You need a luggage scale. Leave yourself half a pound of extra weight in case your scale is off. Put something that weighs a pound and will fit into your carry-on right on top so you can reach in and grab it if you end up overweight at the check-in counter.
5. Make lists. Check them off. Check them again. The minute you don’t look at your packing list you will forget something. Even if you’ve been teaching that same class for years. Ask me about the time I showed up for a paint class without the paint.
6. Give yourself two days to pack… so you have time to remember anything you’ve forgotten. Or run out of. Or added to your supply list at the last minute and you are sure that half your students will not have read the email you sent out last week. And – if there are supplies you can get a local person to pick up for you, you might save some luggage room as well. It never hurts to ask.
7. When attaching a smaller bag to a larger one, hang it low. When you tip it the center of gravity is way down low. Your wrists will thank you profusely. That little guy has a latch to hook it onto the top of the big suitcase but it is HEAVY when I tip it. When it is down low I can balance and pull it with almost no effort.
8. A second bag is far cheaper than one overweight bag. But they rarely weigh your carry-on. I pack my books in my carry on. It is ALWAYS over 50 lbs. I fly Southwest when it goes where I want to go to save the guilds the cost of two suitcases both ways.
9. Exercise. Lift weights. Or get help. Smile nice and ask a stranger to heave that carry-on into the overhead bin. Or, better yet, volunteer to check your bag at the gate when they say they won’t have enough space in the overhead bins. I ask and they often check my bag straight through to the final destination so I don’t have to haul it around during my layover.
10. Learn to travel light on the personal needs (clothes/shoes/toiletries) because you will need every ounce for your supplies. Wear something really comfortable during the flight. Your feet will thank you!