should we stick to carryons?

Jan 12th, 2010, 07:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 46
should we stick to carryons?

We are a family of four (two teen boys)spending 12 days in Egypt in March. I keep reading about lost luggage so I'm thinking of trying to limit our luggage to a carry on bag each instead of checking any luggage. We have flights from Boston to JFK, JFK to Cairo, Cairo to Aswan, then back to Cairo and home again. I try to pack light and usually check two bags for the four of us but have never tried to reduce it to carry on for 12 days. We will be on a boat for 7 of the nights. Is this a good idea?
Karenackermann is offline  
Jan 12th, 2010, 10:44 PM
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If you can do carry on only, all the power to you!!

Just make sure your airline is allowing carry ons for flights leaving the US (based on recent terrorist threat). I know for sure that you can't take carry on for flights going into the US. I find it funny that you can bring carry ons elsewhere though (I am from Canada)!
doctorjohn is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 02:19 AM
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Wow're a great packer if you can get it all in in carryon!! For me, "packing light" is not taking my hairdryer and using the one from the hotel room, not taking shampoo (I'll take conditioner tho, and use the shampoo from the amenity packs in the hotel and taking a half tube of toothpaste instead of a full one...!!

One trip to Canada I had 4 suitcases 120 kilos of stuff on my first weigh in!!! lol Albiet, candy, chocolate and other aussie foods for my homesick relatives that they were craving, so I wasn't going to bring that much home!!! When I brought everything at the supermarket before I went, the converbelt was full with treats - 30 large blocks of assorted chocolate varities, chips, candy etc. A lady behind me said to me "I wish I was coming to your house"!!!
MissGreen is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 03:43 AM
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Miss Green

We returned to the States from our trip to Egypt last week with a 14 hr layover in Paris. After our arrival at 5:30am...we took the RER from CDG to our hotel (Le Grand Hotel, Rue Scribe) to get a few hours rest. I sat next to a young woman on her way home from a trip to Australia. She was putting on warmer layers and was having to take things out of her bag to locate her clothes. I caught a glimpse of her stash and noticed several packages of Tim Tams! LOL....she was taking them home to her Aussie friend!
Lollie14 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 04:17 AM
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FYI...we flew business class to Egypt over the holidays, two days after the "underwear" bomber. We each had a bag to check, one carryon (my frequent flyer hubbie's bag), and one backpack each. There were three of us traveling together (husband, 21 year old son, and me). We had no trouble at all going over on Delta's nonstop flight. Our return flight on Air France (Delta partner), originating in Cairo, however was a whole other story! At the check-in desk, the Air France rep insisted that the three of us could only carry on one backpack between the three of us...our entrance into the States prevented anymore...our bags were being checked all the way through...we had a 14 hr layover in Paris. We quickly scrambled and took only the essentials or things we didn't want to check, meds, camera, computers, cramming it all into one bagpack. Knowing that we were all looking forward to a hot shower and clean skivies...we weren't happy but remembering Abby97's recent "lost baggage" experience and how beautifully she had handled the disappointment/inconvenience...we quickly shrugged it off and went with the flow. Needless to say, the Air France rep was VERY impatient with us!!!! forward to our check-in at CDG some twenty plus hours later....almost everyone getting on the flight to the States had not one but two carryon and one hand bag. So...just be warned, you might not have any trouble with your carryon bags but be prepared if you are asked to condense it down like we did. If I had known beforehand, I would have insured that we all had clean clothes for that hot shower in Paris...even if we had had to double up and wear them through!

You are a role model for all your fellow Fodorites! Thank you for showing us all how to roll with the flow! We got the requisite few hours sleep and much appreciated hot shower in Paris and our dirty clothes did not prevent us from a quick four hour tour of Paris (our son's first glimpse)...managed to squeeze in the Arch de Triompe, Eiffel Tower, Louvre (25 minutes total...including waiting in line to go through security, security, waiting in line to buy our ticket, ticket in hand, mad dash through to Salle 6 in Denon Gallery to view the Mona Lisa and back out again), Notre Dame, back to Place de Concorde/Champs Elysee, American Embassy, Hermes window shopping, and the piece de resistance.....moules and frites at a street cafe in the Place de Concorde (please excuse any misspellings), back to the hotel to retrieve our things for our 4pm check-out, one block walk to pick up the Roissy bus back to CDG! WHEW!!!! Not at all the way to appreciate this incredible city we know...just wanted to make the most of the time we had...we'll be back! was frigid cold and snowing! The only thing we missed besides more time was...Ahmed's assistance making it all work smoothly! We MISS you Ahmed!!!!!!!!! Anyway...thank you again Abby97 for being a resilient traveller and an inspiration to us all!
Lollie14 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 04:30 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
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As a sidenote....when we were waiting in line to buy our ticket at the Louvre, knowing we only had time to view one item of importance (which was very time I will make sure I have days) we saw, posted on the window of the ticket office, a notice that ALL the Egyptian exhibits were closed for the day!!!! HILARIOUS! Instead of seeing the Holy Boat from Edfu, which our son had wanted to see...we opted for the Mona Lisa!
Lollie14 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 07:14 AM
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Lollie14 - at least your son saw the "younger" Mona Lisa!
sandi is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 08:49 AM
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I know for sure that you can't take carry on for flights going into the US

That's not correct. There's no blanket restriction. It depends on the location and carrier. For example, AA is limiting carry on to 1 piece on all flights from Europe to the US (with elite/business/first class exempt) and no carry on from Canada to the US (except certain items on an exclusion list). I'm not aware of any specific restrictions for flights from the US.

I just flew back to the US last week and could carry on the normal 1 bag plus 1 personal item.
Patty is online now  
Jan 13th, 2010, 08:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,215
Generally speaking: NO

The risk of being forced to check in all sorts of stuff has increased due to the frantic - but useless - rules at airport!

I would rather check in as much as possible in order to avoid any bad surprise!

Happy Landings!

spassvogel is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 08:55 AM
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For what it is worth, I think the airlines were having all those lost luggage problems when the weather was the worst in the east and Europe. All that snow everyone had made everything get messed up. Hopefully in March you won't see those problems.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 09:33 AM
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I don't check bags anymore, but I understand it's harder now to carry on. We had 2 weeks in London/Africa and since it's easy to hand wash stuff (Tide sells little bitty packs - the size of hand wipes), we just brought the minimum - just one duffle each that we didn't pack full so we could squish it into that thing at the gate at the airport that measures whether or not it will "fit" in the overhead. We pack a little trolley we got at Brookstone so we have a rolley bag. I was surprised that everything wasn't just one big wrinkle when we arrived in London!! I don't care if they lose my bags coming home, but I won't check bags going on vacation because they ALWAYS lose my bags. So wear as much as you can - a fleece jacket doubles as a pillow or blanket on the flight, take just the essential gels and liquids (no shampoo - EVERY hotel has it even in the bush) and make sure everything you bring goes together - pick a color and mix and match. (don't bring brown and black pants - pick the same color). Use a freezer 1-quart baggie, it is much less likely to break and it's a tiny bit bigger and put it in a second larger baggie after security so if it leaks it doesn't get all over my stuff. A pretty scarf dresses everything up. I only take face moisturizer. If something on my body needs some goo I can use the face stuff or use the one at the hotel. Do your best to only bring one extra pair of shoes and wear the heavy ones. Keep makeup to a minimum, but bring a tinted sunscreen. Biggest problem is camera equipment, but when we traveled last they allowed the extra small bag as a carryon.

Chances are if you have a direct flight and you get to the airport early, they won't lose your bags. If you have a layover anyplace, I would not check them. Bags are rarely "lost" but they just don't make the right flight. They can usually get your bags to you within a day or so, but be persistent. They do track them and tell you if they are on their way to you or not. If you are staying in the city you fly to for a few days, you will most likely get your bags delivered to the hotel in a day or two, but if you are leaving that city, don't check bags. ALWAYS pack an extra day of clothes in your carryon so you can at least change your shirt and undies when you arrive without your bags. Your credit card that you booked the flight with almost always has lost luggage insurance, so make sure you bring the phone number. If your bags to get misplaced, they will (hopefully) help you get them back to you. If you are staying in a fancy-shmancy hotel, they will help too.

Unfortunately I have too much experience in this. And if you are flying on a European carrier, they are required to give you money (last time we got $100/day/bag) if they lose your bags. US carriers don't have that requirement. Persistence is the key.
christabir is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 12:32 PM
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I would suggest against going carryon only if it's just to avoid the chance of lost luggage. Pack a dufflebag that can easily be folded flat as your carryon and make sure you pack a change of clothes for everyone and anything you absolutely need in it. This way once you get to Egypt you can easily just fold up the duffle and stick it in one of the checked bags. On the off chance that your bags don't get to Egypt with you, then you have everything you need anyway. Abby's experience where all of their bags got lost is extremely rare.

Part of the reason I suggest against going carryon only right now is the silly new rules for flights coming back into the US. It could change by the time you leave, but for right now they're going through everything you carry onto the plane at the gate with a fine tooth comb. If you each have a small roller bag stuffed to the gills then it's going to take you forever. Also, if you purchase anything fragile you can pull out the duffle bag again for the trip home.
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 06:11 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Wow, Lollie, what a wonderful whirlwind tour of Paris!

Sorry that my lost bag "incident" has made people paranoid. I do think it's really rare to lose ALL the bags. Since it sounds like it's getting harder and harder to travel with carry-ons, I would not try to squeeze all my stuff into a carry-on just because a bag might be lost/delayed. I think that as long as you take medicine/toiletries and perhaps a change of clothes in the carry-on, you should be good-to-go.
abby97 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 12:40 AM
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I've never lost a bag in numerous trips... now if the baggage handlers didn't sniff out my "chocolate treats suitcase" and accidentally "lose" it for their own gain then there is hope for everyone.

A friend of mine is a captain for a large reputable airline, and his suitcase is labelled with his credentials, I guess so as not to get lost. His bags so he is the co-pilot. I asked why it was old. He said because of a little bit of rivalry between the "guys downstairs" and the ones "in the air", sometimes a bag has been known to go missing. So, it happens to everyone! I wonder if Richard Branson has had lost luggage when he travels on Virgin. I bet he travels private jet and no chance of lost luggage.

oh, how I yearn for a private Jet, or John Travolta's old Qantas plane.. with a nice BIG BED!!!
MissGreen is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 10:22 AM
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Of course, this was before the latest airline mess, but we traveled for three months in Australia, SEA, Africa and Europe with a small carry on each, less than 15 pounds, with one of us also carrying the computer case and the other carrying the camera case.

Those tide packets and one base color worked great Yes, we wore the same thing a lot, used hotel or local goods as we went and have the same thing on in of the pictures to prove it. In fact, I tossed most everything when we got home, but it can be done.

The funny thing(not funny at the time)was the only time we checked anything was our long haul of flights, BKK to SIN to JHB to Victoria Falls. We had several lay-overs so, to make it as easy as possible, repacked things to get the computer and camera into the carryons. I had a fold up duffle for that part of the trip which we checked with the overflow items from the carryons.

Well. you guessed it, the duffle didn't make it to Victoria Falls with us. We really thought we would be now wearing the same thing for the rest of the trip! Lo and behold, as we were getting on the once a day SAA to and from Victoria Falls to leave...our lost bag was getting off and we were reunited!

Going back to the US, we checked the carry ons and just carried the computer and cameras since, at that point, we were almost home and it didn't matter.
cwn is offline  
Jan 16th, 2010, 07:36 PM
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Posts: 221
Wow a carry on? not a chance for me. I have my larger rucksack on wheels bag as my carry on and by the time it's filled with my mags, newspapers, sweets, chocolate, biscuits, alpen bars, moisturiser, make up, mp3 player, headphones (all this before I got through security) then I add in all the rubbish I buy in the duty free because the chips are bigger, the chocolate looks better and the magazines have free stuff in them. result - carry on - full of stuff before I even think of adding clothes.

Never had a problem with lost baggage (touch wood) and so I wouldnt worry about that at all.

But, what I will say is on your Nile Cruise, your bell-boy can take away any laundry you might have (wash your own smalls) and they bring it back ironed better than you could ever do yourself and ready to put back on. I have done that a few times and only then taken a couple of pairs of linen trousers etc. Particularly linen gets badly creased and so only the wonderful technique of my bell-boy got it back to shop ready

If you can manage all your stuff in a carry on then you are my hero.

scotsgirl is offline  
Jan 16th, 2010, 08:24 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 247
I successfully did a three week trip to Italy this past October with just a carry-on and it included a cruise - so I even packed a gown and shoes! My traveling companions were amazed. You can do it, but if they are going to hassle you over the carry-on, it might not be worth trying. I was planning just carry-on for Africa this year since I can only have a 20 pound bag anyway. Hopefully the "rules" will loosen up a little before I go. BTW - I did have a bag "lost" on a direct flight before.
CarrieT is offline  
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