Tips For Packing Luggage

Page Updated: May 2020

The following tips for packing luggage for African hunters, will keep your contents as safe as possible from theft and damage.

The Luggage Itself

  • Check your actual luggage bags/containers before packing to make sure they are in good condition with no broken parts. Replace or repair anything that looks suspect.
  • If you are buying new luggage, buy the best quality for your budget.
  • Make sure you can carry or move the luggage fairly easily yourself, as there may be times when there may be no porters or trolleys.
  • Look for useful features such as good compartments, shape and balance for carrying and comfortable shoulder straps and handles. If it is a zipped bag, check the zips are super-sturdy and not likely to break open.
  • Don't use obvious 'showy' designer luggage as it is more of a temptation to a thief.
  • Opt for soft-sided baggage if you going to be using a charter aircraft as they are far easier to stow.
  • Make your luggage visually distinctive for easy identification on the carousel - for yourself and for preventing other people mistakenly taking your baggage.
  • Label with your name, cellphone number and flight number(s) only on the exterior of the bag. Don't put your address on an external label as it 'advertises' that you are away and your home may be targeted for burglary.
  • Make sure your baggage complies with your airline weight and size restrictions, including any other onward airlines you may use.
  • Make use of the airport plastic wrapping services for check-in baggage. They are available at most large airports for a small cost but is well worth it as it certainly deters thieves.

Tips For Packing Checked Luggage

Make sure your hard-sided gun case and ammunition packing comply with international travel and airline regulations.

  • Make a packing list and stick to it.
  • Anticipate airport security searches and pack to make this easier and quicker with clear containers and ziploc plastic bags.
  • In case of luggage loss or delay, don't pack anything in your checked luggage that you cannot do without for a few days. Any essential medications or original documents should always be in your carry-on luggage. It's worth making several copies of any important travel documents and packing them in the checked bags, in case you lose the originals anywhere. Also leave a set of document copies with a trusted family member or friend so, in case of loss, you can retrieve details.
  • Rolling up clothes minimises creasing.
  • Packing an empty smaller lightweight bag can be useful as an extra piece of checked luggage on the return trip, particularly if you've done any serious shopping.
  • If you are travelling with a family member, divide your clothing between your pieces of luggage so if one person's bag gets lost, the other can survive until re-united with his bag.
  • It is not a good idea to put expensive or valuable items in checked baggage. If it is unavoidable though, take photographs of the items to help make an insurance claim if they are lost or broken.
  • Pack small things in your shoes.

Tips For Packing Hand Luggage

Keep small and light - don't expect airlines to always be able to stow large packages in the cabin. If you buy a large and/or fragile item such as an African souvenir (those wooden giraffes spring to mind) it may have to take it's chances in the aircraft hold.

Make sure your hand luggage can be locked or secured properly just in case it has to go in the aircraft hold for any reason.

Essential Hand Luggage Contents

  • Small toiletry bag (don't rely on getting a free airline kit).
  • Essential medication.
  • Valuable and fragile items - money, jewellery, cameras etc.
  • Original travel/firearm/insurance etc documentation.
  • Change of underwear and/or clothes in case of a unexpected overnight stay.
  • Reading material.
  • Phone, laptop, tablet, etc. In case you lose your phone make a separate list of important contact phone numbers...PH, outfitter, credit card company, insurance, medevac, etc
  • Glasses & sunglasses. If you wear glasses all the time, carry spares in case they get broken.

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