PACKED LIVES

Phil Heinricy (6ft 8in tall) administers the Hereford-based Tall Persons Club which currently has 1,500 members, 30 of them over 7ft tall
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The Independent Travel
"My problems are not what to take but finding space comfort in planes, trains, cars and hotels while travelling in the UK, Europe and the States. Though Maastricht's Hotel Bergere caters for tall people with lengthy beds, adjustable toilets, showers and mirrors and special bricks available on room service to give extra height, the States are the most sympathetic, booking emergency exit row seats and bigger hire cars at no extra cost. In major American cities I request the specially equipped Basketball players' rooms, available when teams are not in town. I'm still looking for a London hotel for the 1998 Tall Clubs of Europe convention: 500 seven-foot beds is a challenge.

I have yet to find a suitcase on wheels with a handle that doesn't tip over when I stand to my full height. Holdalls are easier to carry and can always be worn as a rucksack if necessary. If something doesn't fit in my holdall, I probably don't need it. I do not pack until the evening before a trip, sometimes even later. If I have to ask myself for longer than two seconds whether I really need something, it means I can do without it. Packing takes 20 minutes maximum, any longer and I am taking too much. It's surprising what fits into a holdall; socks go inside shoes, underpants and other small items squeeze into the corners. I don't need three different aftershaves and assorted toiletries, and my dinner suit, in a suit-carrier, lies folded across the bag top. My holdall amount once accompanied me on a six week States trip.

Absolute essentials are just my dual-voltage electric socket and a small inflatable neck support for sleeping on the plane. The latter lives in one of the many capacious pockets of my favourite poacher's-style jacket, a makeshift luggage carrier in its own right. When taking a nap in transit, I use this jacket as a blanket.

I have good cameras, but tend to take my wife's compact camera which goes into the poacher's jacket so it's always handy. My GMS phone, which I would prefer to live without, goes into the same pocket.

My wife has finally converted to my holdall school of thought. She also takes a vanity case containing everything from aspirin to plasters to travel iron, small kettle, screwdriver, sticky tape, her make-up and other female things. It has to be one of the incontrovertible laws of physics that the volume of the contents of a woman's bag will always exceed the volume of the bag - how she does it, I don't know."

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