Need to Pack Light for a Long Trip? These Compression Bags Convert Into Backpacks

Packing for a long trip can be quite the puzzle. Even once you figure out what you'll need to bring clothing-wise, the bags you carry through the airport might not be the best option for carrying the necessities around the city once you arrive at your destination, and vice versa. But there's no need to stuff an extra backpack, tote, or fanny pack into your already-loaded carry-on. A new storage solution designed by Revelar Workshop adds room to your suitcase while also converting into a bag you can carry around during shorter trips.

Cubepacks are multi-use travel bags that feature hidden straps that turn them into convertible day packs. You can stuff them with socks, shirts, and other clothing items while packing, zipping the cubes tight to shrink them to a fraction of their original size. Then, once you arrive at your destination, you can unpack your clothes and use the bags as convenient carry-alls.

The three available Cubepack sizes turn into into a backpack, a shoulder pack, and a hip bag (also known as a fanny pack). The large bag has a capacity of about 4.7 gallons, the medium pack about 2.6 gallons, and the small about 1.3 gallons. Each has zip compression, reinforced seams, and mesh for breathability, as well as backpack straps, top carrying handles, and magnetic closures for when you're using them around town.

Cubepacks might useful for all getaways, but could be a major space saver on long journeys, especially if you plan on doing any outdoor activities. They're perfect for any trip where you might end up on a short hike (including week-long backpacking trips when you might not want to lug your full pack around on every outing) or at the beach for the day, as well as for long vacations where you might take a quick overnight trip to another city.

Buy a Cubepack (or several) on Kickstarter starting at $29 for the small size, $39 for the medium size, $49 for the large size, or $89 for all three. They're due to ship in September 2019.

And if you're looking for even more ways to squish as many items into your suitcase as possible, we also recommend Pacum, a travel-sized compression vacuum that promises to double your suitcase space.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

What Do the Numbers and Letters on a Boarding Pass Mean?

iStock.com/Laurence Dutton
iStock.com/Laurence Dutton

Picture this: You're about to embark on a vacation or business trip, and you have to fly to reach your destination. You get to the airport, make it through the security checkpoint, and breathe a sigh of relief. What do you do next? After putting your shoes back on, you'll probably look at your boarding pass to double-check your gate number and boarding time. You might scan the information screen for your flight number to see if your plane will arrive on schedule, and at some point before boarding, you'll also probably check your zone and seat numbers.

Aside from these key nuggets of information, the other letters and numbers on your boarding pass might seem like gobbledygook. If you find this layout confusing, you're not the only one. Designer and creative director Tyler Thompson once commented that it was almost as if "someone put on a blindfold, drank a fifth of whiskey, spun around 100 times, got kicked in the face by a mule … and then just started puking numbers and letters onto the boarding pass at random."

Of course, these seemingly secret codes aren't exactly secret, and they aren't random either. So let's break it down, starting with the six-character code you'll see somewhere on your boarding pass. This is your Passenger Name Reference (or PNR for short). On some boarding passes—like the one shown below—it may be referred to as a record locator or reservation code.

A boarding pass
Piergiuliano Chesi, Wikimedia Commons // Public domain

These alphanumeric codes are randomly generated, but they're also unique to your personal travel itinerary. They give airlines access to key information about your contact information and reservation—even your meal preferences. This is why it's ill-advised to post a photo of your boarding pass to social media while waiting at your airport gate. A hacker could theoretically use that PNR to access your account, and from there they could claim your frequent flier miles, change your flight details, or cancel your trip altogether.

You might also see a random standalone letter on your boarding pass. This references your booking class. "A" and "F," for instance, are typically used for first-class seats. The letter "Y" generally stands for economy class, while "Q" is an economy ticket purchased at a discounted rate. If you see a "B" you might be in luck—it means you could be eligible for a seat upgrade.

There might be other letters, too. "S/O," which is short for stopover, means you have a layover that lasts longer than four hours in the U.S. or more than 24 hours in another country. Likewise, "STPC" means "stopover paid by carrier," so you'll likely be put up in a hotel free of charge. Score!

One code you probably don’t want to see is "SSSS," which means your chances of getting stopped by TSA agents for a "Secondary Security Screening Selection" are high. For whatever reason, you've been identified as a higher security risk. This could be because you've booked last-minute or international one-way flights, or perhaps you've traveled to a "high-risk country." It could also be completely random.

Still confused? For a visual of what that all these codes look like on a boarding pass, check out this helpful infographic published by Lifehacker.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, send it to bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

Taco Bell is Opening a Taco-Themed Hotel in Palm Springs This Summer

Taco Bell Corp.
Taco Bell Corp.

For some, having a Taco Bell and its cheese-filled menu within driving distance is enough. For others, only a Taco Bell destination vacation will do. This August, the popular fast food chain is going to convert an existing Palm Springs, California, hotel into a burrito-filled Taco Bell getaway for a limited time.

The Bell Hotel will have all the usual amenities—rooms, food, gifts, and a salon—operating with a taco-themed cosmetic facelift. The nail salon, for example, will feature Taco Bell-inspired nail art. (Though we're not entirely sure what that consists of—possibly nails that resemble hot sauce packets.) The gift shop will feature Taco Bell apparel. Guests can also enjoy the standard variety of Taco Bell menu items. According to Thrillist, some new additions to their line-up are expected to be unveiled.

The as-yet-undisclosed hotel in Palm Springs will be operating as a Taco Bell partner for five nights total. As with pop-up stores and other publicity campaigns, the expectation is that guests will share their bizarre Taco Bell resort experience on social media and create some buzz around the brand. Taco Bell is no stranger to audacious marketing, as in the case of their Taco Bell Cantina in Las Vegas, which books weddings. Recently, the company also began making home deliveries via GrubHub.

The Bell Hotel website is now accepting sign-ups so fans can be notified when reservations open. The facility is expected to open August 9.

[h/t CNBC]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER