carry on luggage vs checked

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Apr 11th, 2012, 11:55 AM
  #1
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carry on luggage vs checked

counting the days down to my trip to Tanzania in May!
Here is the nitty gritty:
flying Delta/KLM from Phoenix-Detriot-AMS-JRO

Have started packing and am running into a dilemma's/questions.

1. sounds stupid - but as the Detriot flight will be the first international leg - will I have to go claim my checked luggage once I land in Detroit and then go through security or whatever you go through when leaving the US? or will it (the luggage) switch planes like normal US flights with connections?
2. That same question then applies for the plane switch in Amsterdam - do I have to go claim luggage and go back through security/customs/whatever it is there if I am not leaving the airport? or again, will it automatically change planes.

3. KLM has 26 lb weight limit for carry on's. I am currently at about 29 lbs. Am I better off (safer) taking everything as a carry on and if they say too heavy - having them check it at the gate so I know it gets on the plane (and paying a fee I am sure for doing it that way)
OR
packing small carry on with essentials, packing one checked bag and hoping it makes to Tanzania and then back home? (on the trip back home we have 1 hr 10 minute layover in AMS to make our connection - is that enough time for checked bags)?

I feel like this is a rambling post/question, but hopefully someone can help guide me a bit!

thanks for your time
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Apr 11th, 2012, 12:22 PM
  #2
 
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I always take essentials - medications, copies of travel documents, money/cash/cards, few toiletries, and camera gear as carry on. In checked luggage basically nothing but cloths. Any electronic looking thing in checked is an invitation for theft, and or delayed/lost luggage.

regards - tom
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Apr 11th, 2012, 01:40 PM
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When you check in at Phoenix, you'll be able to check your bags all the way through to JRO. On the return flight, the 1 hour, 10 minute layover "should" be enough time for then to transfer your checked bag. If the flight is late, your bag may not make it, but hey, you're headed home!

If you are at 29 lbs, then you might try to "carry on". They allow a regular-sized carry-on case and a smaller bag. You might get by if you have a backpack on and, say, only 20 lbs in the regular case. Still, I'd split it so that you can check a bag if needed in AMS. Just make sure that you lock it if you have to do that. AMS is bad for pilfering of bags. Note what Tom says about what to carry on.

What kind of bag or bags are you using? If your regular case is the rolling type, those usually start at 8 lbs and up. If you use a backpack style case of the same size such as the Rick Steves Convertible Carry-On Bag, that's only 3.5 lbs empty. You "gain" 5 lbs that way.
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Apr 11th, 2012, 03:24 PM
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@Tom and Shay Tay -
thanks for the advice!
I have a duffle type bag and a camera/backpack, so both are lightweight empty.

I am thinking that I will go for the carry on and hope they only weigh the duffle bag.
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Apr 11th, 2012, 03:56 PM
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I'm a carry on girl. I take a backpack, duffel and a cart like this to make my life easier. Carries two duffles and a backpack:

http://www.brookstone.com/compact-lu...ctList|637876p

As long as the duffel will fit in the size-checker, we've never gotten weighed. Brought home a 40 lb wood hippo as carry on.

Wear your jacket and heaviest shoes on the airplane. Put your liquids baggie in your pocket. You'll be fine. Check on the way home (except for electronics, etc). Who cares how long it takes. They'll deliver if it doesn't make it.
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Apr 11th, 2012, 09:28 PM
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I agree. Just pack a few pounds of it in your pockets! Always better to carry on and you know you have it with you!
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Apr 12th, 2012, 04:47 AM
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Make sure the duffle bag meets the size requirements. If it's more of a square shape, that might not work. The KLM requirements are 21.5" x 10" x 13.5". If, for instance, your duffle is 12" x 12", they will probably take it from you. That happened to a fellow traveler of mine. He had a small duffle and KLM confiscated it at the jetway. When he got to JRO, all of his batteries that had been in the bag were gone. Another traveler's bag was checked from LAX and it arrived at JRO 5 days late. If you can carry on, I'd say do it. Just make sure you meet the requirements. As the last two posters note, stuff your pockets! Some Fodorites wear multi-pocket vests or jackets and load 'em up.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 08:00 AM
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My wife and I went to Africa with 2 Patagonia MLC bags (see link) and 2 smaller backpacks...check out these bags from Patagonia...they work great and pack a lot of stuff....

http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/...?p=48107-0-155
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Apr 12th, 2012, 08:39 AM
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... and my favorite:

http://travelstore.ricksteves.com/ca...entId=8&id=139

I've used this for African safaris, European trips, etc.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 10:36 AM
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If you take a soft duffel, you can squish it into the size-checker. Once my husband squeezed his bag into it - by brute force. It made the attendant laugh and he let us carry on. It wasn't heavy, it just had laundry in it, so he could treat it as roughly as necessary. My bag, on the other hand, was heavy but not as full, so no one questioned it. Go figure. The TSA did make us show them the hippo when we went through security. The luggage trolley is my favorite travel gadget.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 11:58 AM
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On the way home from Tanzania, we were told of strict guidelines in London, limiting what we could take on board, so I wore a photographer's vest and stuffed my pockets with lenses and equipment and wore one camera around my neck and my husband wore my backup camera around his neck. I packed my camera case in my duffel and we got through fine. Once on the other side, I repacked my camera case.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 04:22 PM
  #12
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thanks for all the responses and advice!

I think I will go with carry on and bring a lock with me in case they say it must be checked.

my duffel fits the size requirements - that is one thing I did check before I bought it.

I will hope that they won't weigh it if I keep it packed such that it doesn't look stuffed!
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Apr 12th, 2012, 04:41 PM
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Good plan, talkingbirds! Enjoy your safari!
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Apr 13th, 2012, 04:53 AM
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This is a bit after the fact, since you've already got a plan, talkingbirds, but you might want to leave room/weight allowance for any shopping you do in Tz
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Apr 13th, 2012, 06:11 AM
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That's the nice thing about my RS bag... it expands! Talkingbirds can always check the bag on the return trip. It's easy to throw in a small, empty bag that can be used for carrying those souvenirs home.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 07:37 AM
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Having had checked baggage that did not make it to my destination when I did, I now carry one change underwear, clean shirt and socks and necessary daily toiletries in my carry on. It doesn't add that much. Like pattyroth, I also use a photographer's type vest with lots of pockets.
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Apr 14th, 2012, 05:05 AM
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Always a good idea, basingstoke2. I've seen bags delayed getting to Tanzania by as much as 5 days.
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Apr 14th, 2012, 12:44 PM
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My bags were delayed on one of my trips to Tz and I was mighty glad to have packed a change of clothes in my backpack; we were without our bags for 3 days.
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Apr 14th, 2012, 12:47 PM
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ShayTay, I checked out the RS bag and it looks great. I may have to get one for next year. Thanks for the tip.
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Apr 14th, 2012, 01:56 PM
  #20
 
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Thank you for posting this, talkingbirds. I am trying to figure out what luggage to buy for our first trip to Africa. Having all these great suggestions and advice is very helpful!
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