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Luggage & Packing Considerations

Airlines & Luggage:

Domestic Airlines:

Anyone flying in the US recently has likely already experienced fees for checking even one bag. Watch carefully for overweight fees. On US domestic flights it can be as much as $125 for a bag over 51 pounds; and $175 for a bag over 71 pounds. It pays to weigh your luggage. Also, under consideration at some carriers is a fee for carry on luggage, so check with your airline before you go.

New Fees:

American Airlines and Jet Blue now charge you a fee (about $7 or $8) for blankets and pillows.  You may want to invest in your own to carry-on pillow.

Asian Airlines:

  • Most Asian airlines allow two pieces of checked baggage per person with a weight allowance of 20 kg. (44 lbs.) each. The maximum dimensions of each piece: 62 linear inches per piece of luggage.  Overweight restrictions vary greatly and sometimes one is able to get them waived, but do not count on it.   Weigh your luggage and check weight restrictions for the airline(s).

Practical Packing:

  • Lay out everything you will be taking several weeks ahead of time and start a packing list. Make a column for each category such as:  wallet/purse; money belt; carry on luggage; day pack; checked luggage; bathroom bag; medicine bag, clothing, etc.  Bring the packing list along on your trip so you don’t leave anything behind when you check out of each hotel.


  • The rule of thumb is to pack what you think you need, and then cut that in half. Remember, you’re going to be travelling for two weeks or so and likely changing hotels every few days. So, reconsider everything you originally pack.  Generally for summer travel, you can pack 3-4 pairs of shorts per person and 4-5 T-shirts per person, plus a long-sleeve dressy casual shirt and one pair of dressy casual pants.  Woman may wish to bring a dressy casual skirt or skirt for the return orphanage visit.  No formal clothes are typically required.  You can buy travel underclothes and pack 4 pair to wash out easily in a hotel sink. Hotel rooms have a clothes line in the bathroom and daily toiletry items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair dryers and lotion. Consider packing two pairs of shoes per person, one pair of walking shoes and one pair of slip-ons for easily navigating short walks and US airports.
Packing Tips: 
  • Take only essentials
  • Put everything you want to take next to your suitcase; then put half of it back.
  • Roll your clothes to prevent wrinkling.
  • Select one color scheme and stay with it. You'll be able to mix and match and have many more outfits that way.
  • Check the forecast for your destination and be prepared. Carry a light sweater or windbreaker for rain or chilly air conditioning.
  • Plenty of film or memory cards (you’re going to need this, for all the moments that are packed into this tripJ!   If you think you might fill up the memory cards, bring a travel drive along to transfer pictures off from the cards.
  • Bring a sense of adventure about your trip.  Your child(ren) will take cues from you about any travails of travel you may encounter.  A good sense of humor and wonder about this return trip is a wonderful gift to your family on this special journey.
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