Preparing for a Space-A trip is in many ways, very similar to preparing for any trip, but there are some unique situations. Since packing is an important part of any trip, let’s go over some packing tips.
What am I Allowed to Pack for Space-A Travel?
First off I’d like to say that the most important things to pack are your patience, your common sense, and your honesty. These things make any trip more pleasant for everyone and Space A travel can definitely be trying at times.
Besides packing for your trip, you must also pack for your flight. Although commercial flights are most often quite a comfortable temperature, when traveling Space A you do not usually have a choice as to which type of plane you will be riding on, if you get a flight. Some planes are cold, some are hot, and some are both depending on which part of the plane you are seated in. If you are going from sunny California to sunny Florida on a freezing C-130, you should at least remember to bring a blanket, or it’s going to be a very long and miserable flight.
If you have children, they usually get bored easily and become very restless. Bring their favorite toys, puzzles, video games or books, anything to keep them busy and keep their mind off the long trip. Some reading material or games might help you out also.
Use your Space
On some Space-A flights, there will be enough room for passengers to stretch out on the floor to sleep. Pack an air mattress or even a cheap pool float mattress. You might want to have one that self-inflates unless you have some good lungs. On some flights, you can even hang up a hammock. Of course not knowing the type of plane you will be on, you need to be prepared the best you can, without getting too bulky. That leads me into the next topic.
Don’t Go Crazy Packing!
Try very hard to limit your packing, bring only the essentials. If your luggage weighs less than 30 pounds, per person, you can get on just about any flight that comes along. The larger planes have a limit of 70 pounds per person, but the smaller ones limit you, and they are very strict about their weight limit. Packing light is the best policy.
Speaking of limiting, you should only bring the electronic devices that you absolutely need for the trip. Remember to bring the correct adapters if going to a foreign country. Plus you will probably need your charger and maybe earphones.
Space A follows TSA requirements so do not pack excess liquids. Everything must fit into a quart-size ziplock bag. Just like at commercial airports, if over the limit they will confiscate it, and it will be disposed of.
Have an under the shirt money belt to carry cash and important documents. Some countries are famous for pickpockets. Most pickpocket experts say to carry a decoy wallet where you normally carry your wallet. Putting your wallet in your front pocket with a rubber band around it (causes friction when moved) is helpful.
Do you take medication and will need it on the trip? Take pictures of your medication bottles. Carrying excess medication in some countries is a problem, so anything that will prove the medication is yours, and necessary, will help.
Remember this is Space A so you could be packing for nothing. Any flight can be canceled or changed at any time. If you don’t have the extra time and get canceled, then you could just end up going home or going commercial instead.
Familiarizing yourself with Space A procedures will make your Space A trip a bit smoother and enjoyable for all involved.
PCSgrades.com is a review platform for military and veteran families. Leave a review of your prior duty station and read the reviews of where you are PCSing to. Home is where the military sends us and together we can make a difference!
PCSgrades Author: John W Jackson Jr. retired from the Air Force in 1993. He’s been married to a Filipina for just over 37 years. They have a son and four grandsons. They’ve lived in the Philippines for the past seven years but frequently make visits back to Texas. John offers sage advice on how to travel using Space-A. For more information about Space-A Travel, visit John’s website UJ Space A Info.