Following years of travelling to airports, flying, jumping the through hoops set by security and arriving, often with the necessary baggage intact – occasionally without – we thought it might be useful to share some of our experience with you.
If you could also share your accumulated wisdom with us, we might come up with the definitive survival plan – until they change the rules again!
Part 1 – Luggage
We look at the luggage decision as having 2 solutions, depending on what trip you are on: ‘African safari’ or ‘Anything else’.
‘African safari’ requires a soft bag (for loading onto small aircraft), no wheels (there are no polished floors here) and the smaller the better (in the Bush you gain more points for looking amazing with minimal packing).
We would suggest looking no further than Kenyan-made Sandstorm. Canvas and leather with a lining (it reduces dust absorption), Sandstorm is safari classical and you will be greeted with a smile at whichever lodge you arrive. We like the ‘adventurer’ bag although too large in one dimension for international carry-on, it’s a bush pilot’s dream. Dimensions: 65cms x 30cms x 30cms.
‘Anything else’ and you really want to go for a practical, good looking carry-on. One which takes full advantage of the limit on dimensions (international – not just US which is larger), has a jacket/dress hanging system and wheels.
The magic dimensions for International carry-on luggage are: 56cms x 36cms x 23cms
At present we are using the Briggs & Riley 4-wheel spinner , the result of many years’ development from customer feedback, they are a watchword for cleverly thought-out business or leisure luggage. It has outside pockets for quick access, a tri-fold hanging system for smart stuff, lots of room but within the 56 x 36 x 23 international carry-on limit and is narrow enough to go up an aircraft isle on its wheels. Capacity is a massive 43 litres but expands to 55 litres and, depending on what’s inside, you can pack it and then sit on it to re-engage the interior clips and reduce it to the carry on dimension limits once more.
TUMI are excellent manufacturers, perhaps a fraction more expensive. Their Alpha 2 four wheel carry-on is supremely practical and has a really good bi-fold suit carrying system. Again this bag sneaks in under the dimension limits, has lots of room, including quick access outside pockets. Capacity is 30 litres.