Over the last few weeks I’ve been commenting on this blog about all the wonderful and clever things I did on my May Gibbs Fellowship.

Now I thought I’d share with you something I did that was dumb – well it wasn’t so much dumb as naive and inexperienced.

I wanted to share it on my blog, so that other writers don’t fall into the trap.

At home I plant a lot of trees

I’m afraid I am NOT one of those writers who can edit ‘on screen’. This means I have to print my manuscripts out to edit them – and for this I sincerely apologise to the trees, but in my defence, I do plant a lot of new ones – trees that is.

While I was doing my May Gibbs, I somehow managed to write 56,000 words – the equivalent of a lot of pages. In order to start my edits, I had to print it out.

During my Fellowship I was also contacted by my publisher about doing edits on another ms I had submitted to them – and this meant printing out another lot of pages.

While I was away in Brisbane, I also bought quite a few books – for research purposes you understand?

Now all this added paper ended up weighing quite a lot – in fact a lot more than I anticipated.

So when I got to the airport I discovered my luggage was 20 kilograms over the allowed weight. For this, Qantas charged me $170 – and they weren’t very friendly about it either. I’d anticipated paying for excess luggage, but not that much! Instead of packing my manuscripts and books in my suitcase, I would have been better off buying another plane ticket and having them on the seat beside me – it would have been cheaper.

At the time, it was too late to do any thing about it – I was at the airport about to catch the plane home to my family, so I wasn’t keen to have any delays.

But when I got back I did a bit of research and discovered this:

When I'm away I buy a lot of books

If I had sent my excess luggage via Australia Post, it would have cost me $76. I would have had to split it up into 5kg packages, but being books and paper, that would not have been too difficult.

I assure you I am not a particular fan of Australia Post and I promise I am not in discussions with them about a possible PR role. BUT if you’re a travelling writer, I suggest you check out the Australia Post option.

It would have saved me a lot of money.

Happy writing and travelling.



  1. Ouch! They really do sting you, huh? I’ve been known to post books back home from overseas cause I can’t live without them and can’t get them back home. I had 20 kg in my hand luggage one year coming home from the Middle east – I swear it felt no heavier than my usual handbag, honest! It was the only time I ever got caught.

  2. Thanks for the heads up, Dee. I’m planning on buying books in Scotland especially and was thinking about mailing them home. You’ve convinced me. Lucky with Emirates 30kg economy limit, but weight mounts up ridiculously fast with books. πŸ™‚ Chris

  3. Have a wonderful time in Scotland Chris. I’m guessing it will be more expensive to post books from there, but probably still cheaper than excess luggage.

    Can’t wait to hear all about your trip.


  4. Sounds like you are definitely playing a ‘risky’ game, Scott, lol. Some airlines are starting to measure and weigh cabin luggage, so I think the days of the ‘full’ backpack might be numbered. The upside is, you’ll save your back some discomfort.

    Happy travelling and writing.


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