Ask Ginni, our resident Literary Lady, anything you want to know about reading and relationships! She’ll comb the books and wrack her brains to help you out with your page-turning problems, your wordy woes, and your novel nuisances. Fire away, Bookworms!
Dear Literary Lady,
I never know how many books to bring when I fly. What’s your recommendation for how many books to bring on board?
—BooksOnAPlane, New York, NY
Great question! This is an exacting and demanding science into which I’ve done a lot of research. My tried-and-true algorithm is: Bring 100 pages of reading per hour of travel.
Let me explain. The number of books you bring depends on the length of your flight. For flights around three hours long, one book of around 300 pages will do nicely. Most books are about this length and they all weigh less than 1 pound. That will keep your carry-on light and keep you entertained during pre-boarding time at the gate, during the flight itself, and while waiting for luggage.
For travel over four hours, you will need two average-size books to hold your attention—and if you have a layover, you’ll need to tack on some pages. Aim to have at least 600 pages total so you don’t end up browsing souvenir keychains for forty minutes between delayed flights.
For international flights, be sure to tack on some extra pages because you have to check in early. For a twelve-hour international flight, bring about 1300 pages.
Also, if you’re going to a country where you can’t easily get reading material, always bring extra and always prepare for the flight back. I regularly fly to Japan with 1,300 pages in my carry-on and 1,300 pages in my checked bag. Yes, that’s about 8 pounds of books on board. That’s not crazy, that’s PREPARED.
Now if you don’t have the suitcase space or the inclination to travel with a miniature library, travel with one gigantic, dense book. Something like David Foster Wallace’s thousand-page Infinite Jest or James Joyce’s 700-page masterpiece Ulysses. Traveling with just one literary magnum opus can reduce your luggage and you can conquer a personal reading milestone.
So remember: Hrs of Travel x 100 = Total Number of Pages to Bring So You Don’t Have to Read SkyMall.
Love and Paperbacks,
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