Luggage Allowance and Packing

Baggage Allowance
During the tour each customer is limited to one (1) piece of checked luggage. We regret that we are unable to make exceptions. Under extreme circumstances, such as goods purchased at destination, the customer may be allowed to check in a second piece subject to extra charge by the airlines and a handling charge by us at $25 per piece per city or port. Charge for excess weight will be decided solely by the airline at the time of check-in. According to the air carriers at destinations, your checked luggage must weigh no more than 20kg (44 lbs) to avoid excess weight surcharge. One carry-on weighing no more than 5kg is allowed by the carriers although it is not uncommon to see passengers exceeding that limit to be allowed onto the plane.

The customer must be able to lift and comfortably transport their own luggage short distances as porter service may not be available at all hotels, airports, train stations, cruise and ferry terminals.

Maximum Size of Checked Baggage
Maximum dimensions should not exceed 100 x 60 x 40 in centimeters (39.5 x 23.5 x 15.75 in inches). Baggage exceeding the weight and/or size limitations should be transported as freight.

Minimum Size and Weight of Checked Baggage
Minimum weight of each checked baggage should not be less than 2kg (4.4 lbs), and the minimum dimension should not be less than 30 x 20 x 10 in centimeters or 12 by 4 by 8 in inches.

Air Canada and United Airlines both limit passengers in economy class to one piece of checked bag that must weigh no more than 23kg (50lbs) – Air Canada has gone back and forth a couple of times but the direction it is going is clear. Since you need some allowance for souvenir purchase, your suitcase itself and the contents inside should weigh less than 15kg when you leave home.

Type of Suitcase
You’ll need a very sturdy suitcase with strong wheels to survive the rough handling by the airlines. You should also get a strap to wrap around the suitcase to prevent the content from spilling out in case of the suitcase being damaged.

We recommend that you bring a medium sized backpack that double as day pack. The fully packed carry-on if you use your backpack as carry-on should weigh no more than 5kg/11lbs.

A Special Note on Train Travel
Our tours to China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan generally include at least one ride by high-speed train. It’s crucial that you limit yourself to one suitcase and one carry-on bag with a combined weight of 15 kilograms (33 lbs) or less. Your suitcase should have wheels and measure 25″ by 18″ by 10″ or smaller. The carry-on should be a backpack so that you can have a hand free at all time. Navigating train stations means lots of walking. When escalators are shut down for maintenance, you will be forced to walk up and down long flights of crowded stairs. In situations like this, passengers with too much luggage would find it challenging to keep up with the group. We should also keep in mind that luggage storage space on the train is very limited.

Packing Advice
Over-packing is a common problem among inexperienced travellers. Frequent packing and unpacking can be stressful and time-consuming. The more you carry, the more likely you’ll lose something along the way. We advise our customers to travel light. Airlines are reducing checked bag allowance, making it necessary for passengers to pack light. Also, almost anything you forget can be replenished at destination, often for less.

What to Wear
Comfortable walking shoes and casual clothes that can be worn in layers are essential. T-shirts, shorts and jeans are fine – you won’t offend anybody. When visiting temples in Southeast Asia, you may be required to cover your shoulders and legs above the knees. If you don’t have the necessary clothing, don’t worry because our guide can always find a solution to help you out.

It’s better to bring clothing that can be worn in layers and easy to wash by hand. This is particularly true with underwear and socks, which should be easy to wash by hand and dry quickly. Short sleeve shirts with a pocket are better than T-shirts.

Shorts and convertible pants with side pockets are more desirable than jeans. You’ll find the pockets very handy, especially at airports.

It may be advisable to bring a dress shirt and a pair of dress pants just in case. However, at no time during the tour would formal attire be required. Overcoat or heavy jacket is not necessary unless you travel to China in winter (December – early March).

Medicine, Travel Documents & Valuables
Please do not pack your passport, prescription medication, money and personal electronic devices in checked bag. Checked bags are not allowed to contain lithium battery (this requirement is not consistent across the airline industry). List of banned items can be found on the airlines’ websites.

Things You Should Not Bring
You do not need to bring your own hair dryer. If you have a smart phone, then you don’t need a flash light. If you have to pack an alarm clock, others may think you are still using telex machine to conduct business!

A Special Note on Air Travel in Southeast Asia
Due to lack of efficient rail and highway systems, we generally travel by air from city to city even for short distances – Bagan to Mandalay is a perfect example. Because the aircraft are small, standard-sized hard case carry-ons won’t fit into the tiny overhead bins. We strongly recommend that you bring a small or medium-sized backpack for carry-on.