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What is more important - - - cameras or underwear?

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Ever since I booked my ultimate bucket list trip – Smithsonian Journeys Safari to Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia – I’ve been lurking on this website, picking up lots of tips and ideas. But I have a problem I’d like to share with you. Because of some puddle jumper flights on small planes, I’m limited to 33 lbs of checked luggage. Not a problem; with a light duffle, I’m running about 23 lbs. But South Africa Airways limits me to 18 lbs / 45 “ for carryon. I’ll be flying from Dulles to Jo’burg with the standard stop in Senegal.

After reading many horror stories about late and pilfered luggage at Tambo, I’ve decided to pack my carryon with enough essentials for me to survive the trip if the rest of my luggage disappeared. I think I could do it except for one thing – I’m carrying four cameras with extra batteries, chargers, etc. (it is a bucket list trip after all and I’m bringing home pictures, not “stuff”). A test pack has me at almost 19 lbs, not including a totebag with meds, blanket, pillow, mask and Ipad, which I propose to pass off not as carryon, but flight essentials – so I don’t have to break into the overhead bin. I currently plan to wear a fanny pack and a light fleece jacket and stuff the pockets with whatever I can.

Can you tell me if SAA is strict with carryon weights or is it just the luck of the draw when I board? Do any of you use those jackets with lots of storage pockets? I’m a 66 year old female - too old to be concerned with looking like a dork if these jackets get the job done. Do you have any other ideas or suggestions to help me?

Thank you very much. I’ve already learned a lot from you all.

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