Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Travelling Tips


  • Please log in to reply
42 replies to this topic

#1 robmcmahon

robmcmahon

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Location:London

Posted 14 June 2003 - 03:29 AM

Hi Guys,

I have just upgraded to an Aquatica S2 from an Olympus Pt005s and was wondering what different methods people are using to transport their gear ?? Chucking it in my hand luggage is probably not going to be an option !

I am mainly concerned about flying longhaul.

In fact between myself and my girlfriend we will be hoping to carry:

Fuji S2 + Housing
Nikon N90s + Housing
2x Ikelite DS125
1 x 8 inch dome
1x flat port
2x extension ports
60 mm nikkor
105 mm nikkor
18-35 mm nikkor

In the past I have used a pelican hardcase and a loweprowe rucksack but due to hand luggage weight restrictions I have struggled getting past the air stewardesses. I would not have felt comfortable checking either in.

#2 scottyb

scottyb

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 357 posts

Posted 15 June 2003 - 04:14 AM

I carry on the camera body(s) and laptop case which also has all my credentials. The rest is in a large pelican and insured. They will open the pelican so you cannot lock it or they will cut your locks. I used zip ties last trip, more to keep it from popping open, and they had been cut and replaced. On the return trip, where they manually inspect everything, I was able to use zip ties after the inspection and I suppose you could lock it at that time.

#3 craig

craig

    Full Moon Rising

  • Super Mod
  • 2826 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Austin, TX

Posted 15 June 2003 - 05:27 AM

This seems to be a recurring question, enough so that it may justify a pinned topic or a feature article. Usually the responses are primarily Pelican cases or soft backpacks for carry-ons, but someone will always mention lighter alternatives to the Pelican cases like the Storm cases. I'll mention the Porter cases, which I like, and lightweight aluminum cases.

It's curious that you feel uneasy about checking a pelican case. They are made for that provided you pack them properly. Airlines have very restrictive carryon weight restrictions but it's the least-enforced restriction in my experience. Have other people experienced carryon weigh-ins? In any event, your goal should be to use the least amount of luggage by weight for the amount of stuff you carry. If you are weight constrained, it's essential. Otherwise it makes travelling that much easier.

For a lighter alternative to Pelican's, look at the Storm cases. For alternative sizes, check out the UK cases. For a nice carryon hard case, try Porter cases.
I love it when a plan comes together.
- Col. John "Hannibal" Smith

------
Nikon, Seatool, Nexus, Inon
My Galleries

#4 Alex_Mustard

Alex_Mustard

    The Doctor

  • Super Mod
  • 8373 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:La Maddalena

Posted 15 June 2003 - 11:42 PM

Hi Rob,

This is a favourite subject.

One of the big questions is where do you plan to go. From the UK, if you go West you get loads of baggage allowance and travelling with dive kit and cameras is easy. Pelican cases in the hold. From memory BA trans-Atlantic is 2 cases of each up to 32kg. If you go east - either long haul to the SE Asia or charter flight to the Red Sea you get no decent baggage allowance - often only a total of 20kg (less than 30% of flying the other way!). Not fair - and makes having a standard way of doing things impossible.

So over the years I have bought all my dive kit based on only one criterion - its weight in air. I don't care how well my fins/BC/regs work - just that they are light! Cut off the D rings, cut the lead out of safety sausages, buy an air X computer. Obsessed? Yes!

I use a aluminium box (aluminium is a rare metal we only have in the UK - you guys have a similar material in the States called aluminum) which weighs 15kg with my 2 Subals, 2 subtronics, dome, and two flat ports. My dive kit and other camera kit (synch cords, strobe arms, chargers etc) weights about 15kgs too - which go in a soft bag.

Last year to get my Hasselblad to the Red Sea I wore all my dry clothes for the week on the plane - 4 tshirts, shorts under trousers! Camera jackets with large pockets are very popular. Fellow BSoUP members often get these up to 15kg!

I then take my cameras in a square, soft camera bag that is very voluminous, without looking attention attractingly large (those check in girls have sharp eyes!). I take my laptop on in a plastic bag - they never check plastic bags! Music shop plastic bags (made for 12" records) are a perfect fit for a Titanium Powerbook!

Alex

p.s. if you are worried about you bags - the UK airports have delicate/oversized luggage "shoots" - get the check in girl to tag it and then she'll tell you where the other shoot is. (Then you fill it up with all the heavy stuff your mate is holding! Ha ha!

p.p.s. The other trick is too be charming/flirty or friendly - You look down, they know you're lying and up, they know you don't know the truth. Don't use seven words when four will do. Don't shift your weight, look always at your mark but don't stare, be specific but not memorable, be funny but don't make him laugh. He's got to like you then forget you the moment you've left his side. And for God's sake, whatever you do, don't, under any circumstances

Alexander Mustard - www.amustard.com - www.magic-filters.com
Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (waiting for housing).


#5 Simon K.

Simon K.

    Tiger Shark

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 637 posts
  • Location:Frankfurt, Germany

Posted 16 June 2003 - 12:25 AM

And for God's sake, whatever you do, don't, under any circumstances

....

You made me curious ;-)

#6 robmcmahon

robmcmahon

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Location:London

Posted 16 June 2003 - 03:11 AM

Alex,

Cheers for the tips, I have in the past managed to successfully convinced check-in staff that my kowalski 1250 was a key ring but didn't rate my chances on wearing my housing as a hat !

Did you get your case in the UK ? and what are the dimensions, cost etc ?

I think as we are travelling to N Sulawesi we are going to be limited to 20kgs each.So I will definetly be using the plastic bag trick !

#7 scubababe

scubababe

    Damselfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 16 posts
  • Location:London

Posted 16 June 2003 - 05:13 AM

Another top tip that works at some check-in points is to jam your foot under the scales as you put your bag on.....that way you can take the weight of the bag and miraculously your huge dive bag only weighs 2kg!!

Obviously, I can't recommend everyone does that or there will be a spate of unexplained plane crashes all going to the Red Sea!! :D

#8 james

james

    The Engineer

  • Super Mod
  • 9969 posts
  • Location:Houston TX

Posted 16 June 2003 - 05:36 AM

Rob,

Did you get your Aquatica S2 housing yet? If so, what do you think?

FWIW, I have a Storm Case 2750 w/ padded dividers. I intend to fit my Aquatica S2 housing and ports and Sarah's UK-Germany D60 housing and ports in there. And maybe the strobes/chargers and arms if we have room - we'll see.

Cheers
James Wiseman
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#9 Alex_Mustard

Alex_Mustard

    The Doctor

  • Super Mod
  • 8373 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:La Maddalena

Posted 16 June 2003 - 06:57 AM

Hi Rob,

Apologies all for the Ocean's 11 quote at the end of my last email.

I don't think that the alu box is any better than a Pelican - but no worse either. Mine does fit all my stuff which is a similar amount to your stuff. I think I got mine from Kaiser + Kraft or somewhere similar. It does tend to stand out well at the airport - especially at Sharm where there are a million black pelicans!

A lot of airlines will give an extra allowance if you call them ahead of time. But at other times alerting them to will get you charged - and just checking in early and being polite you'd get away with it.

Coming back from Thailand last year - the checkin guy made us all take kit out of hold lugagge and hand carry it on the plane - which may no difference to our total wieght, plus meant heavy items were now in the cabin! I ended up with 4 plastic bags of cabin luggage!

Alex

Alexander Mustard - www.amustard.com - www.magic-filters.com
Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (waiting for housing).


#10 craig

craig

    Full Moon Rising

  • Super Mod
  • 2826 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Austin, TX

Posted 16 June 2003 - 08:53 AM

Nice to hear of someone else who buys equipment based on travel weight! I also use a cube shaped aluminum case to carry gear in. It's quite large and very lightweight but it has no wheels and dents fairly easily. It's made quite a few trips so I think it's durable enough but a little ugly. I bought mine from Specialty cases.

I also use a large duffle bag and scuba bag that I fill internally with tupperware containers. The travel weight is great and the containers are easy to pack and unpack. It's especially nice to have the containers on liveaboards to keep you stuff organized and out of people's way. My friend's just leave their Pelican 1650's in the middle of the floor for the week. I think that's a pretty sucky way to do it.

I get around the lack of wheels in the airport by using a Porter case for my carry-on. This case converts to a dolly rated to carry up to 20 lbs.
I love it when a plan comes together.
- Col. John "Hannibal" Smith

------
Nikon, Seatool, Nexus, Inon
My Galleries

#11 robmcmahon

robmcmahon

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Location:London

Posted 17 June 2003 - 12:35 AM

Did you get your Aquatica S2 housing yet? If so, what do you think?


Not yet I am eagerly waiting. I am hoping to get it and test/familiarise myself with it before a trip to Kungkungan in July (a tad ambitions I think !)

#12 Rob Esaw

Rob Esaw

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 119 posts
  • Location:Vancouver BC, Canada

Posted 17 June 2003 - 09:18 PM

I have to give credit to Franklin Viola for the idea that he suggested:

People (unscrupulous airport types) know that if it's a Pelican type case, there's some valuable goodies inside (that could go missing...). He uses coolers (double-walled for protection, light, cheap, and certainly wouldn't be used to hold expensive equip) and duct tapes them closed. He also uses his clothes to wrap his gear in, conserving space.

Let's face it: we all want the cool cases because they look cool. I have one and have used it once, otherwise I use Rubbermaid Action-Packers, because they can be locked and are great rinse bins, plus hold lots of stuff.

#13 yahsemtough

yahsemtough

    Great Canadian Mokarran

  • Senior Moderator
  • 3495 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Canada

Posted 24 June 2003 - 10:51 AM

Fleetham does the same.
Todd Mintz
tmintz.com
all photographs posted Todd C Mintz

#14 JohnJohnsonIII

JohnJohnsonIII

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 199 posts
  • Location:Honolulu, HI or Hamamatsu, Japan

Posted 07 July 2003 - 02:30 AM

I have to throw in my $.02 on this one. It seems post-911 is getting out of hand when it comes to air travel. I recently went to West Palm Beach from Honolulu(my bags didn't, but I did). I had a nightmare of an experience. The one little ray of light is the premiere bag insurance I have with AmEx. They dock my card $13.95 when I buy an airline ticket, but when you are making many connections, it is worth it!
I packed for my trip very meticulously. I got a big 30" duffel with two levels. The top level had my snorkelling gear and the bottom had clothes, rechargers, Light Cannon, etc. My carry-ons were my Pelican with my 5050, housing, and lenses(WAL and Macro). I also carried my laptop. There is almost no way I would put a camera in the hold. AmEx doesn't even insure that much. When I arrived in PBI at 4:10 my bag didnt. But I had my cameras and laptop. So all was okay. If worse came to worse, I could buy a ton of batteries and go butt-naked on the boat for a week. Delta promised to deliver my bags after they came in on the 10:45 flight. I went to my hotel room and called AmEx. They told me that I had $500 to spend on items that were in my bag if my bags were 4 hours late or more. It was 6pm. Dive shop closed at 7pm. I jogged to it and went on a 45-minute, $400 shopping spree to replace my gear. That night my bags didn't show. The next morning I went to get some clothes for the trip since things were looking grimmer. I had a 5pm departure for the liveaboard. The bags didn't make the 8am arrival. Or the 10:45. Or the 12:10. I called everyone in Delta that I could find. I was getting frantic. It miraculously arrived right as we got into the van to go to the marina. The whole experience taught me a few packing lessons:
1) Always carry a list of what you pack and CARRY the list. I did and it really helped!
2) Get bag insurance if feasible, especially when you make connections(I had 3)
3) Put below only what you can replace given a short timeframe(I had a power chord for a media CD-burner that I couldn't replace if given a week)
4) Don't put things of value down below, if possible. TSA(Terrorist Support Agency, I think) broke all the locks off my duffel, opened my coffee and spread it all throughout my bags, lost my spare lens cap, pulled the spring off my $135 rechargeable battery pack for the Light Cannon, and slit open the battery pack to check its contents. They re-molested the battery pack on the trip back. Don't ask why.
5) Carry your cameras in a Pelican onboard. Most airlines give you a personal item and a bag. We men have been given laptop allowances since women have purses :-) That is our "personal" item. Yay!

That's about it. Next year when I go to the Bahamas I will improve upon my methods, having had this great learning experience. Hope it helps someone else as well.

A Hui Ho,
John
John Johnson - Freedive Photo Fanatic
www.onebreathphoto.com
Canon 20D, Ikelite housing, 18-55mm, 10-22mm, 100mm
dual Ikelite DS-125s, lots o ports...
Olympus 2020/4040/5050
PT-005/PT-010/PT-015
Dual Inon Z220 - the freediver's DREAM
Inon WAL/Inon,Dome Unit
UN WAL/UN Macro

#15 james

james

    The Engineer

  • Super Mod
  • 9969 posts
  • Location:Houston TX

Posted 07 July 2003 - 05:43 AM

Good tips John, and thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

Cheers
James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#16 robmcmahon

robmcmahon

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 70 posts
  • Location:London

Posted 21 July 2003 - 12:50 PM

Just about to depart on a trip so I have followed all the tips and advice. We are off to Manado for 2 weeks so we are carrying 2 sets of scuba kit, two SLR housings + ports, 4 camera bodies (no digital as my S2 housing has yet to arrrive), two DS125's and a t-shirt each and we still blow our luggage allowance by 30 kgs !!

I'll let you know if we manage to talk our way out of excess baggage charges !

#17 Cybergoldfish

Cybergoldfish

    Sperm Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1954 posts
  • Location:UK */Seychelles/Singapore
  • Interests:Don't include plankton

Posted 21 July 2003 - 02:19 PM

Who are you diving with in Manado

We'll be there in October!

You are better off to call the airline prior to leaving to negotiate your excess, they will sting you otherwise at the check-in - Anything from 12 per kilo upwards. Silkair is ok and allows 30kg's.

#18 RogerCarlson

RogerCarlson

    Clownfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 29 posts
  • Location:Redondo Beach, California

Posted 21 July 2003 - 06:11 PM

I used to pack so that my stuff looked like nothing special. I almost started packing in coolers or rubbermaid like a lot of other photogs.

Now I'm back to my pelican, I carry it on, and it's covered with dive stickers. For me, the rules chaged in 3 ways:

1. The TSA is going to repack my gear, whether it's checked or carried on. That means pelican cases with nice foam cutouts for fragile items, and it means that carryon is really better, since I have a chance to repack. Gone are the days of carefully packing your gear in a cooler and padding it with clothes.

2. My crucial gear is my camera. Therefore, it's my carryon.

3. My carryon should look like scuba toys, not mysterious stuff. As a carryon, it's a lot more likely to be taken/damaged by the TSA than by theives or baggage apes. I need to decorate the outside to deal with that threat. The days of hiding fgrom thieves are gone. So, therefore, I covered my case with happy dive stickers. Some folks say to hide your pelican case in an old army duffle. Too terrorist for me. I want even the dumbest TSA to recognize me and my gear as happy scuba dive vacation stuff.

#19 james

james

    The Engineer

  • Super Mod
  • 9969 posts
  • Location:Houston TX

Posted 21 July 2003 - 06:17 PM

Bingo,

Careful packing is almost a waste of time now. The TSA has opened, searched and "repacked" (I use that term loosley) my gear on EVERY one of my last trips.

The camera and lenses get carried on now. I have a Storm Case (got it at Eric's rec and I love it!) with foam dividers for the other stuff.

Cheers
James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#20 wetpixel

wetpixel

    Wetpixel

  • Admin
  • 2943 posts
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 21 July 2003 - 07:27 PM

1. The TSA is going to repack my gear, whether it's checked or carried on. That means pelican cases with nice foam cutouts for fragile items, and it means that carryon is really better, since I have a chance to repack. Gone are the days of carefully packing your gear in a cooler and padding it with clothes.

I agree. I've had my Storm case repacked a few times, and they are SO bad at it, it's criminal. I guess that's what insurance is for.

I'm thinking of leaving notes for the TSA in my luggage. -- and maybe some cookies, as well. :unsure:
Eric Cheng - Administrator, Wetpixel -