Travel fit or else!Travel fit or else!

She fell in the water less than a foot away from shore and couldn’t get back up without help. Those that responded couldn’t help her because of her mass. Gravity won. She did not travel fit.

He fell off the end of his lounge chair in the sand and needed help to get back onto it. He may or may not have been drinking. He did not travel fit.

They delayed a scheduled excursion, much to the frustration of fellow hikers and guides. They were unable to match the pace and weren’t in good enough condition to participate. They are now on the “no fly” list, or should be. They did not travel fit.

I’m not making this up (except for the “no-fly list” part). Those actual events occurred on a recent cruise. I witnessed every incident firsthand. I hear more every time I teach a travel-packing class. In case you missed it, the allotted size of carry-on bags is getting smaller. It’s really a good thing, because that means your bag should be lighter as well, which should mean it will be easier to put in an overhead bin or drag through the streets of Venice. It should be easier to carry up a flight of stairs, too. Not every airline has a jetway.

Of course, you can check your bag. But it may go to “luggage purgatory,” and you may find it after the cruise is over — or never at all. Trust me, it happens. I’m told that “luggage purgatory” is in Atlanta.

So what should a potential passenger do?

First of all, you should not leave home unless you can get yourself off the floor or a chair. You should not go anywhere ever again (just kidding). But I’m serious about traveling. If you can’t get yourself off the floor or chair, you have no core strength and are a contender for assisted living. Forget the cruise; making it to the dining room is a great achievement, which may only exacerbate the problem.

You should be able to lift your bag into an overhead bin by yourself. Some of us are height challenged, but if there is no one to help, you may have to stand on a seat. I speak from experience. Yes, standing on a seat is kind of icky, but believe me: On a scale of 1 to 10 of disgusting things passengers do, it’s a 2. If you can’t stand on the seat and lift your bag, you need upper-body training. Again, I know this firsthand.

You should be able to climb a flight of stairs with your bag and run through an airport. Running through an airport should be an Olympic event. Most travelers have tried it, often not by choice. The airline is not going to hold the flight for you if you are more than a few minutes late. Taking your time to saunter through the airport once your flight has boarded is not an option. Getting there is half the fun.

Prepare to lift, climb, run, and drag. Don’t rely on the kindness of your spouse or complete strangers. Make life easier for yourself, the airlines, and fellow passengers. If you can’t travel reasonably, get help. You may need fitness and travel training. I know someone who does that. Just saying.

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