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GENERAL LUGGAGE & PACKING TIPS:

Note: Please be careful to not exceed the following limits. Not only will you be charged new exorbitant fees for overweight, oversize, and/or additional pieces, they will add all applicable penalty fees together if you break more than one limit rule. This could happen before each of the flights you will be taking if the problem is not correctable. You do not want to be the one that causes a very embarrassing delay as they sort out the problem and collect the additional fees from you, and you may need to surrender the deed to your house by the time the tour is finished!


Consult the following website links for the latest Baggage Information based on airlines used in your tour package:

Air China - www.air-china.us/en/managemytrip/baggageinformation/index.html

United Airlines - www.united.com/page/middlepage/0,6823,1031,00.html?navSource=Dropdown07&linkTitle=baggage

Cathay Pacific - www.cathaypacific.com/cpa/en_INTL/helpingyoutravel/cabinbaggage


CHECKED LUGGAGE

For the flight TO China, because we are limited to ONE checked bag per person at 44 lbs. MAX for all 4 domestic airline flights in China, this becomes our limit for the flight to China from the US (- unless you want to add 6 lbs. of consumables - packaged/sealed food items and/or alcohol that you will use up during the few days we are in Shanghai – since you can take 50 lbs. max. for your one checked bag to China).

This one checked bag is also limited in size and cannot exceed 62 linear inches – add the length, width and depth together to arrive at “linear” inches. I own a roller bag that is advertised as a 26” bag and is just under the 62” linear maximum in its unexpanded version. If I take it and later fill it with souvenirs causing it to expand, it could end up costing me both money and time (delay). If I still take it, I cannot expand it beyond its normal 62 linear inch size.

Your international flight home from Beijing to the US will allow TWO checked bags per person and they may weigh up to 50 lbs. each. Neither bag may exceed 62 linear inches and the two bags together may not exceed 107 total linear inches on Air China. Remember that you add together the 3 dimensions of height, length and depth to arrive at a bag’s total linear inches. Your free day in Beijing (last full day in China) will afford you an opportunity to not only shop but also to purchase an inexpensive 2nd bag (roller bags will run between $15 and $25 each depending on size and quality) in which to bring home your new treasures.

CARRY-ON BAG and Other Permitted Items:

Your one carry-on bag per person (plus anything else you carry on which is not included in the listed free items) is limited to 21 in. length x 15 in. width x 7 in. height = 43 T. linear inches MAX (strictly enforced) and a max of 11 lbs. (which they are NOT yet enforcing) The 4 flights in China (all under 1 ½ to 2 hours) are often crowded and VERY limited for overhead bin space. The space under the seat in front of you (provided you are not at the bulkhead with NO space) is very tight as well. The airlines worldwide are really cracking down on the total amount anyone can carry aboard.

We recommend that you keep in your carry-on luggage all prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, fragile items, jewelry, and toiletries (except for sharp objects not cleared for carry-on by the TSA – these must be in the checked luggage) - plus your nightclothes and one change of clothing for daytime use as a precaution against lost checked luggage (very unlikely to happen, but always wise to be prepared). We advise that you not travel with any expensive jewelry or watches (even though China is a very safe country) - this is just good travel practice anywhere.

CARRY-ON BAG Highlights (excerpted from www.Magellans.com):

While air carriers have tightened up their carry-on policies (see our related article Airline Carry On Guide below), you can still usually carry on a fairly generous amount (NOT in China - much more limited there). Generally, airlines allow one carry-on bag and one personal bag per traveler. Additional items such as coats, camera bags, hats, umbrellas, canes, magazines or newspapers, food items for immediate consumption, and the like, are usually not counted either as carry-on bags or personal bags, and will ALSO be allowed. Unlike luggage which is checked in for us by the National Guides just inside the terminal, carry-on bags need to make the long journey through Passport Check and Security and down the concourse, up and down escalators or stairs (common in China), and not slow you down when rushing to catch a flight, so you might consider a SMALL roller bag for carry-on.

[I have purchased a nice travel-type shoulder tote bag into which I place my "purse" (which actually holds my tiny laptop and essentials), my camera, any batteries not allowed in my checked bag, and a book to read. Then I use a small roller bag as my "carry-on bag" into which I carry the items I suggested a few paragraphs back.]

AIRLINE CARRY-ON Guide (excerpted from www.Magellans.com):

Experienced travelers know all too well that carry-on guidelines are just that: guidelines. The number of passengers on each flight, the type of aircraft, seat configuration, even the mood of the airline personnel can override the maximum guidelines at any time. Be sure to include a minimal change of clothes, any needed medications, toiletries, etc. in a small Cabin Bag, just in case your checked bag is misplaced.

Generally, airlines allow one carry-on bag and one personal bag per traveler. Additional items such as coats, camera bags, hats, umbrellas, canes, walkers, magazine or newspaper, food items for immediate consumption are generally not counted either as a carry-on bag or personal bag and will be allowed.

While individual airlines vary, as a general rule, the carry-on bag should not exceed 45 linear inches [43 linear inches on Air China and inside China] (add up the length, width and height of your bag to obtain the linear inches). The general weight limit is 40 pounds [ Air China is "stating" 11 lbs. but not enforcing that yet]. Regardless of your airline’s actual weight limit, the bag should be light enough for you to lift into the overhead compartment without endangering other passengers.

Most airlines have a sizer box at the gate to determine if you may carry on a particular bag. Even if the linear maximum is not reached, odd shaped bags, such as one that is tall and skinny may be rejected. Carry-on bags must fit under the seat or in the overhead compartment. Overhead compartments tend to fill up quickly on crowded flights [especially in China]. If you'd like insure your bag will fit under your seat, select a bag that is 18 inches or less wide.

PACKING:

I usually roll my clothing to avoid wrinkles and also choose things that do not wrinkle, whenever possible. You can stuff socks into your 2nd pair of shoes in your luggage. Zip lock bags are the greatest thing ever invented for travel. I prefer those over all the fancy toiletry bags sold and use them for tons of things – AND I bring extras. Pack similar items together in the zip lock bags – they come in all sizes and they are great protection against anything leaking and they help keep you organized since you can SEE the contents of each. Security checks are faster when these are used.

TOILETRIES & PERSONAL CARE APPLIANCES:

The hotels always provide ample soaps and shampoos and we are not picky. The women, or anyone with special allergies or requirements, may prefer to bring their own favorites of those in small sizes.

I take several little bottles of hand sanitizer and use them OFTEN (one in my pocket or tote bag at all times). Take a maximum 3 oz. each of any liquid (total must fit in 1 qt. zip-lock bag) that is essential to you in your carry-on. Then pack any larger bottled amounts into your checked luggage – zip-lock them all, though, to prevent disaster.

Razors: Larry does not bother with an electric razor and the required power converter in order to save space and weight although the hotel bathrooms usually have a plug for a razor that does NOT require a converter (but you will still need the plug adapter). You will need a converter and plug adapter for electric razor use in the bathrooms in your cabins onboard ship.

Hair Care Appliances: ALL the hotels will have hair dryers (the ship has several loaners), but if you bring a small travel sized hair dryer and/or curling iron, you will need the right power converter plus the adapter plug for China. The ship has some electrical concerns so they prefer to loan out THEIR hair dryers for your use on board. There is also a beauty salon available which will treat you to a great head massage during the shampoo process.

[Note: I will be sending an E-mail well in advance of departutre date with direct reference to the latest specific information received on Carry-on and Checked Luggage from the airline's web site.]

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This page last updated February 17, 2010