October 19, 2010


Traveling to another country in order to live there for at least 7 months is not an easy feat. Trying to fit everything you want to bring with you in a suitcase is hard enough, but with a limit of one suitcase at 50 lbs, it’s become even harder. I left a lot of my beloved clothes behind in California, not because of a lack of space, but because my suitcase was too heavy.

Another restriction on what you can bring with you for a cross continental move is carry on limits. Most airlines say that you may have only one carry on suitcase and one personal item, such as a purse or briefcase. There is also a weight limit for carry on luggage, even if nobody weighs it (at least not yet). My carry on suitcase was supposed to be only 13 lbs, but after I filled it with all the shoes that made my regular suitcase too heavy, it weighed around 30.

The final way I circumvent airline restrictions is by having a third carry on item. I always carry on my 23 year old teddy bear Snowball. Although he is not heavy, he would definitely add to the weight of my checked baggage. And although he is not gigantic, he would take up much valuable shoe space in my carry on suitcase. My solution to this problem has not been to leave my teddy bear behind as most adults do, but instead to carry him on completely out in the open. This far, nobody has told me I can’t bring my bear with me. It's been an easy way to bring a little bit of home to Europe with me while still being able to pack 5 pairs of shoes. Plus, he makes a pretty good airplane pillow.

My teddybear Snowball!

Although it is clearly a winning strategy in order to maximize the amount of stuff I can bring with me on my move to France, up until my most recent flight, I had yet to see another person of around my age with their bear in tow. Sure, I've seen little five year old children with their bears, but someone who looked college aged or above? Never.

On this particular Virgin Atlantic flight, however, everything changed. I spotted another girl of around 23 carrying a bear on to the plane. After noticing we were both bringing along our teddy bears, we smiled at each other a smile that said "I'm glad you don't care if you're too old for this either!" Unfortunately, we were seated at different parts of the plane, but it was reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who brings along their childhood stuffy when they travel abroad.


  1. Utterly charming. Great way to bear up when you travel.

  2. awww!!!! i'm 25 and i always bring my 11-yr old teddy everywhere i go (trips or even at work--although he stays in the car). and he's not exactly "new and clean" either. i almost always get weird looks. some even ask me why. lol! i'm glad i'm not alone =). thanks for sharing this.

  3. Mike: Punny!

    Ruth: You're welcome! It's always reassuring to know we're not the only one. I have yet to be asked why, what do you say to people when they ask you?


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