Has anyone taken a rolling duffel to Africa?

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Dec 24th, 2004, 01:30 PM
  #1
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Has anyone taken a rolling duffel to Africa?

We were at Eddie Bauer today and they had a nice rolling duffel for $25 marked down from $50. On a whim I got it because I feel so sorry for Max having to run with two duffels as we change flights. It looks reasonable and only the very bottom is not bendable. It is 23"x12"x12". Does anyone have any experience carrying such onboard an international flight or checking on small planes from camp to camp? I can no longer carry my own bag and this just seems perfect. Anyone? Thanks. Liz
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Dec 24th, 2004, 03:16 PM
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Liz - I think you will love your rolling duffel. I bought a 19" and it is great. I, too, was tired of lugging a lot of extra weight around. When I checked in at B.A. Seattle last year with an 18" regular rolling suitcase I was told I was only allowed 13# and was way overweight - there isn't much you can add after weighing a regular rolling carryon itself. I had just what I needed in case my other bag didn't show up right away. Fortunately, my problem was solved when the wonderful agent gave me an upgrade!! I was so happy with the carryon rolling duffel I now have a 28" rolling duffel. I would think that it should be o.k. in Africa as it can be squashed somewhat but you will have to let someone answer that will know for sure.
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Dec 24th, 2004, 07:31 PM
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Louise-
Where were you going that they only allowed 13lbs baggage or was that just for the carry on bag? We too will be upgrading for the international flight so the weight restrictions probably won't be a problem there.
Have you taken your duffel on a bush plane? Actually that might not be so important since I'm not sure that the planes they use within Tanzania are that small. Does anyone know? Also we may drive instead of fly once we get to Tanzania, don't know that yet. Thanks. Liz
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Dec 25th, 2004, 04:12 AM
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Hi Liz - I love my rolling duffle which goes with me most everywhere I travel. That said, when traveling in Kenya & Tanzania by road, you will have no problem with this bag. However, for any in-country flights from one area to another, ideally, they prefer soft-sided luggage. Though most of these planes are larger then those used in Southern Africa, and might be able to store a rolling duffle, as yours or mine, at times they send out a small plane (4- or 6-seater) and there is no way they will take your hardback duffle. The decision for a small plane will be based on the number of passengers they have to pick-up and you won't know this ahead of time.

We had such a situation our very first safari, when flying back from Amboseli to NBO - small plane - just the two of us, the pilot and Cyntia Moss. No room for our bags. Luckily, our guide/driver was going to be with us our entire trip, so he drove back to NBO with our bags, meeting us at the Carnivore for lunch. We then continued our trip. When we flew back from the Mara, leaving our guide here, with a larger plane, the pilot took our bags - everyone else had soft-sided bags.

Depending on your itinerary, you might consider packing a soft-sided bag for sufficient clothing for a few days when flying between destinations, having your guide/driver return to base in Arusha with the rolling duffle. When finished with your fly-fly safari portion, you can gather up your main bags in Arusha. A lot depends on the order of your safari - which portions are land, which fly-fly.

It's best you discuss with your tour operator - specifics re the equipment used, what will/will-not be accepted; sometimes it depends on number of passengers on the flight and their bags as well.

As to the International (even Domestic in the States) flights and connections, I check all but my carry-on; don't want to be bothered when someone else can be responsible for transferring my bags so they get where they have to be. With "crossed-fingers" I tell you, my bags and I have always arrived together. Regardless your decision, keep the bag you've purchased, it will come in handy for trips elsewhere.
 
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Dec 25th, 2004, 05:59 AM
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Liz - it has been about 4 years since my second Africa trip but at that time I had a large duffel without wheels as requested (don't think they had any with wheels at that time). My BA flight last year was from Seattle to London and 13# is standard for coach carryon. Glad you got some good info from Sandi.
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Dec 25th, 2004, 07:18 AM
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Thanks Sandi, how big is your duffel? This one is only 23" and only the bottom is rigid so it squashes from the top down. I think I'll take it if we end up going. Thanks for all the detail. Hadn't thought about the full plane, I just figured they were bigger in Tanzania. We may be able to drive from Arusha since we'd just be in the southern Serengeti anyhow.
You certainly are a fountain of knowledge and believe me, its welcome. Thanks again. Liz
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Dec 25th, 2004, 06:28 PM
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Liz:

Though I haven't traveled as extensively in Africa as you, I have used a wheeled duffel. I got a Delsey Helium 32" wheeled duffel and it was great. Didn't have a problem on any of the flights with it. Will use it again on next months trip. I used it on Air Kenya to Amboseli and Samburu with no problem.

Jan
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Dec 26th, 2004, 03:51 AM
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Jan-
Thanks for taking the time to answer. Coming from you really convinces me I should be fine. Have you tried to carry it on board the international flight? We usually carry over, check coming home. Too many people don't get their bags and I don't want the worry of having to check them going over. Liz
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Dec 26th, 2004, 04:08 AM
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Liz - My rolling duffel is 28" and also has a hard bottom and soft sides, so easy enough to flatten down. And while it had been accepted on our flight from the Mara with no problem you can understand why it wasn't accepted on the small 6-seater. And, yes, most of the planes in Kenya and Tanzania are larger then those used for Okavango Delta flights - some that hold up to 44-passenger (others 32- passengers). But there's always a possibility the airline will send a small plane if only 2-passengers will be flying. Also, as Jan mentions, she's had no problem, on her many trips in Kenya between Tsavo/Amboseli/NBO, with her much larger 32" rolling duffle.

With a 23" rolling duffel you should be okay if you don't have a full plane, but a back-up plan is always a good idea. However, if as you mention, you're only going as far as the Southeastern Serengeti, the drive back to Arusha isn't that long. In fact, depending on exactly where you'll be located in the SES, you'll either have to drive to Central/Seronera Serengeti (further north) or to Manyara, which is already halfway back to Arusha/Kili.

It's still a good idea, if you decide to fly, to verify specifics with your tour operator so as not to be surprised or disappointed.
 
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Dec 26th, 2004, 07:31 AM
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Good idea, will do. Thanks again Sandi.
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Dec 26th, 2004, 12:15 PM
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My sister & brother in law are in the midst of an Egypt/Tanzania/Botswana/South Afica trip. They were told that on some of the planes there is a 25 pound maximum including carry on. I'd ask travel agent to advise you. You don't want to use up your weight for the wheels & frame.
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Dec 26th, 2004, 04:03 PM
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The weigh limits in Kenya and Tanzania are 33-lbs. and, of course, a not too heavy carryon
 
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Dec 26th, 2004, 06:38 PM
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Liz:

At 32" my duffel is too large to carry aboard. I think Sandi's idea is a great one though.

The only problem I have had, other than being overweight and teased about it, is that on my flight from Amboseli to Nairobi in August the pilot wanted me to check my backpack because it "looks very heavy". Since I carry all my cameras and film in that one I politely declined having it taken from my hands and took it aboard. No problem.

When they have mentioned the bags being overweight I just told them it is a lot of camera equipment and they let it go.
I don't think you should have a problem.

Jan
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