Invention for the economy traveller

Travel has become my middle name over the past couple of months, which always causes a snicker at the passport control. Packing light has always been a skill, thanks to whole Colour Me Beautiful consultancy thing, but economy travel, where every gramme counts has had to become an art form.

Taking the carry-on option only has its upside,sprinting past all the trollies and impatient passengers at the baggage reclaim and breezing out of the airport past all the serious-looking chauffeurs waiting for 'Mr Smith', Monsieur Smith' or 'Herr Schmitt'. But it does mean carrying everything I need, which makes the bag bulky and heavy with essentials, starting with the camera; lenses (one is never enough), books and magazines (two are never enough) make-up, mini perfume and a couple of spare pairs of knickers (one is definitely not enough, I refuse to follow Chris's example and wear them inside out, then back to front to prolong their usefulness).

But the bloomin' bag is always so bulky, getting in the way of serious shopping at the airport, and has to be lugged around everywhere, including prising it into the miniscule toilet cubicles for fear of the threat of destruction of all luggage left for more than a micro-second being blown to kingdom come by controlled explosion at the hands of the nervous security forces.

So I put my inventor's head on and came up with a plan. It needs a bit of work and I'm not sure of the physics, but here we go. The StripeyAnne Shrink-o-Matic. Just think of the compression sack, where the straps are pulled very tight, but instead of straps, there's a miracle shrinky-thing, a bit like how I make Noel's socks and jumpers fit me by washing them. To get them back to full size, just reverse the polarities, and, hey-presto, travelling light can be for everyone.

Just off to the Patent Office……

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