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Still worrying about luggage!!

Vancouver BC
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500 posts
45 reviews
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Still worrying about luggage!!

Please help solve our arguments! We will be flying in small planes in South Africa and Botswana. As far as I can tell Federal Air, SA Airlink and Air Botwana all have a 20KG allowance but no specifics as to size. We are flying in a Safari Air shared light aircraft from Camp Okavango to Maun which has a 20KG allowance and I think size of 10 inches by 12 inches by 24 inches. I have no problem with the 20 KG but my bag is 9 x 14 x 22. I've read that the openings to the plane are 10 x 24 so as far as I can see my luggage will go in with no problem. Do you think the fact that one size is slightly bigger is going to be a problem?? How picky are they when we are so close to the measurements? Thanks for your help.

South Africa
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1. Re: Still worrying about luggage!!

I have seen huge suitcases go on these small planes so I don't think you will have a problem. The weight is the more important issue. I have never seen the pilot being that picky about the shape or size of luggage. He might mutter something you can't understand, but in the end he will get your bags on board and there will be no problem. With that, I am not advocating people should upsize their luggage. Most people pack way too much. But please don't ruin your safari by worrying too much.

Onne from Wild Wings Safaris

Port Moody, Canada
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for Vancouver, British Columbia
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2. Re: Still worrying about luggage!!

Really depends on the plane.. main thing is your bag squishy? If it's a soft sided duffel type then that's the key... so no worries. .. wild wings is right don't overpack! We were on 4 different small planes on our trip in 2009 and the only one that had a tiny luggage opening was also a plane that only held 6 people.. on one flight bags were also tossed in the back of the seating area

Olargues, France
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3. Re: Still worrying about luggage!!

I worried about luggage as well before flying around Botswana and Zambia in light aircraft, but I never saw anyone measuring anyone's luggage. Just don't take hard-sided bags. And whatever amount of clothing you're planning on taking to the camps: divide it in half.

I bought a lot of second hand & thrift store clothing in pale colors and then dyed it in the washer with khaki-coloured dye. That way everything went with everything else and I was invisible in the bush. Laundry in all our camps was same-day and in the future I will take three shirts, two pairs of pants, under garments, soft boots and a jacket. Period. When you're awakened at 5 a.m., in the dark, for your first game run of the day, you won't want to be agonizing over what to wear.

Vancouver BC
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500 posts
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4. Re: Still worrying about luggage!!

Thanks everyone! I feel like the luggage isn't such a problem now. O.K. Tattnall I'm not sure about dying all my clothes the same colour but I do appreciate the reminder that at 5 AM I don't want to be worrying about what to wear. LOL!!

Olargues, France
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5. Re: Still worrying about luggage!!

Just channel Meryl Streep's character in 'Out of Africa' and you'll be assured of always looking stunning! That's what I did! ;-)

New York
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587 posts
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6. Re: Still worrying about luggage!!

I was having the same issue too.. but my travel agent told me that it really is important that the luggage be soft sided (like a duffle), that if it has wheels that the handle and bars be on the inside of the luggage and that you follow the weight restrictions and not the size of the luggage. I am currently deciding between a 26" piece of luggage or a 30". I actually the 30" may be lighter b/c it's made from nylon vs the canvas of the 26". As for clothing.. i am having a hard time figuring out what to bring when i just went on a weather website and it was going to be 106F, 104F, 109F 102F and the dipping to 100F this week in Chobe (low of 77F at night). Do i really need pants for night? I am going to be sweatin like a madwoman next month if that is the temperature now! ack! I mean.. how cold will it really be at 5am???

New York
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587 posts
59 reviews
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7. Re: Still worrying about luggage!!

I was having the same issue too.. but my travel agent told me that it really is important that the luggage be soft sided (like a duffle), that if it has wheels that the handle and bars be on the inside of the luggage and that you follow the weight restrictions and not the size of the luggage. I am currently deciding between a 26" piece of luggage or a 30". I actually the 30" may be lighter b/c it's made from nylon vs the canvas of the 26". As for clothing.. i am having a hard time figuring out what to bring when i just went on a weather website and it was going to be 106F, 104F, 109F 102F and the dipping to 100F this week in Chobe (low of 77F at night). Do i really need pants for night? I am going to be sweatin like a madwoman next month if that is the temperature now! ack! I mean.. how cold will it really be at 5am???

Port Moody, Canada
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for Vancouver, British Columbia
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8. Re: Still worrying about luggage!!

what to bring.. 2 pairs lightweight khaki travel pants. 2 lightweight long sleeve shirts..1 long sleeve t, 2 short sleeve t, socks,underwear, boots, 1 pair teva type sandals, 1 fleece vest, 1 jacket. 1 sarong ( if you have one) as this will be a great housecoat/aftershower wrap and all purpose item.

you'd be surprised at how cool 77 can feel when you've been used to 100+ I've done 3 trips to Africa and the above has proven to be sufficent.. the reason for long sleeves is bugs and sun.. I use the really lightweight ones (I like ex officio) and layer over t shirt then add vest if it's cool. You really don't need much.. 1 to wear and 1 for spare is a good rule have a great time!

Vancouver BC
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9. Re: Still worrying about luggage!!

Thanks traveller47 (Port Moody) I live in Coquitlam so we're pretty near each other. What kind of baggage do you travel with? We will be away for almost 3 weeks and not always in places that the laundry is easily done for you. It doesn't sound like any dress clothes are necessary thank goodness. You don't mention taking shorts or a bathing suit though. Would runners be good enough as we won't be doing a lot of hiking?

Port Moody, Canada
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for Vancouver, British Columbia
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10. Re: Still worrying about luggage!!

I use a soft sided rollaboard suitcase.. made by Dakin.. been through a lot (including being run over.. the suitcase not me) in 2009 we went to Capetown, namibia, Botswana and then Paris.. in October so needed spring clothes for Capetown, warm weather for Bots and fall for Paris..got it all in the rollaboard. Wear the hikers on the plane.. they take the most room to pack. The duffel I used for the Bostwana part is a canvas one from MEC and it was packed in the rollaboard. When we got to maun we left the larger suitcase ( rollabaord) in storage there and just took the duffel. On return to maun retrieved the larger suitcase. I think most companies have provision for this. Forgot about bathing suit . I prefer ankle height hikers to runners simply because of the stability. You may not be hiking but I simply find them more comfortable and easier for getting in and out of vehicles..(and I have a good pair). You may also be doing a walking safari at some point and again I find hikers better protection against thorns etc. I do know that lots of people simply use runners and are fine so It's really peronal comfort. when are you going?