Having refined the ability to pack the right clothes for your right destination, spent many years honing my skills by travelling as light as you can and circumnavigating the (ridiculous) liquids restrictions as far as fairly possible, I have come to realize that the single most important part of Africa travel is having a suitable handbag.
It doesn’t help if you are a magician at the art of foldable clothing into crease-free, super-flat and even more super-organized piles when the bag you are putting anything into is a complete dinosaur themed and should have been put out to help pasture with the cretaceous time.
And all of the skilful blends of carefully weighed outfits and cosmetics add up to almost nothing if your bag tips often the scales at more than Ruler Kong with the Empire Status Building in his left hand as well as a distressed blonde in his suitable!
So. Baggage is key to helping successful, stress-free plant travel. Right? Well, the item certainly has its element to play.
The eternal dilemma I am faced with is whether to move for the exclusive luggage go shopping and shell out lots of money over a super-efficient, lightweight as possible, all-singing, all-dancing designer brand or perhaps select the cheapest, most trash piece of baggage I can lay down claim to at the local supermarket. The key reason why I ask this question is the fact when you travel as much as I really do you soon realize that air travel baggage controllers do not identify between designer labels and also care not for prices – your bags acquire completely stuffed up regardless of whether you paid a small fortune on their behalf or got them inside the bargain bin at lower than cost.
So, the query which really needs to be questioned is “will my carrier stand up to the rigours of contemporary airline travel? ” You will discover two answers to that, in my view: “rarely” and “only for a good day”.
Let’s initially assume that your bag finds the same destination as you do, on the exact same flight as you do. These days plainly a lot of major airlines include trouble routing bags into the right place at the right time. Therefore, always be thankful when you see your personal bag on the carousel, if, of course, there is a slide carousel at your destination airport! As well as a word to the wise, tons of00 international safari destination airlines don’t have carousels, but cheerful men literally hurling your personal bags through small cracks in walls onto both the floor or roughly hewn countertops.
Your bag, once you wave it goodbye when you check into your usually first-world departure airport will be dealt with like a bag of taters by the majority of the people who also handle it from that instant on, be they 1st, second, third world or extraterrestrials!
Be warned – fragile peel off stickers don’t work. I have shed count of the number of periods my “fragile” bag provides appeared upside down and battered to pieces on a slide carousel or at the bottom of a large, dangerously teetering pile of bags on the back of a tractor and trailer. Nothing operates, except sheer luck along with the possibility that the person controlling your bag has some fuzzy idea that its contents had been of value.
So. Spending hundreds on Louis Vuitton’s most feasible or the very latest Antler miracle is not a wise matter. I tried the low-priced and cheerful approach although found myself virtually shopping for shares in the local “el cheapo” luggage store so went for a good, middle with the road bag – often the “iSpot” duffel bag range from Travelite.
The first thing you need to take into account for the majority of safaris where modest planes are involved as hooking up flights is that a) they generally have a weight limit regarding around 15kg and b) require soft, squishy handbags which can be squeezed into tiny spaces, not massive, stainless megalodons filled with everything nevertheless the kitchen sink!
My iSpots are usually soft, relatively light and possess a built-in wheely deal which means I don’t also have to search around for a cart. Their zips are invisible, and all have to lock amenities on them (so many lights in weight bags only have to lock Vasque on their main zips instead of on side pockets, which will irritate the hell out of my family! ).
They are rugged, hard-wearing and spacious enough to get two-week trips or modest enough for a couple of days in many places.
Fully packed, I do not usually exceed 15kg on my major bag and take a backpack with me for cameras, binos, netbooks and in-flight essentials. However, in spite of this, our main iSpot duffel bag, which usually cost me in excess of R1500 (around 150 euros or perhaps $200) has been replaced 3 x in the last two years by about three different airlines, thanks to getting damaged by baggage handlers.
So, once you have got a mild, squishy, hard-wearing, rugged adequate and spacious enough carrier, it’s really just a question of the time before it gets broken by an airline or perhaps its handlers.
That besides, the volume of your bag must be taken into account. My big duffel has a 71-litre capacity, which is certainly around average. There are some great duffels out there, especially people designed for diving or venture pursuits, which offer more space, keep in mind that a tightly packed delicate bag is better than an often packed one because it continues your belongings from coming around and getting damaged, including your cosmetics or bath tote from getting a bang in addition to leaking its contents around your clothes.
A wet tote is a great idea for cosmetics and I always take the added precaution of placing the item in a run-of-the-mill high-street superstore bag and tying the particular handles up tight to stop unwanted spillages.
I decant things like shampoo and lotion into small containers, or perhaps buy them in small baby bottles, to begin with (the Body Go shopping, for example, has some great tiny bottles of products which are well suited for travelling).
At the end of the day, your choice of carrier is peculiar to you along with your needs, what you want to put in that and where you are going. Regardless of whether you spend a lot of money on it not really, just make sure that it is secure together with decent locks or, declining that, cable ties. Never ever, ever put anything valuable in it (jewellery, cameras, desktops, cellphones etc) and if the item gets damaged by the airline’s baggage handlers, you should definitely stand up for your rights to get it either repaired as well as replaced.