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Author: rosemarynj

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 34
Trips Taken: 4
Traveler Since: 2010

May 09, 2012

We  just received the final documents for the Australia, NZ and Fiji trip that we are leaving on May 29th for and the dimensions of the luggage listed for the trip are 54 linear inches (length+width+height.  I bought for our last trip new spinner  29in luggage and the total is 57 inches without expanding  for the 3 dimensions.  If I adhere to the 50 pounds (Yikes that is not much for 25 days), do you think Qantas will give me a problem about the 57 inches?  I really do not want to go out and buy 2 new pieces of luggage.  Hope we are OK. Any one who has been on this trip, please let me know if you have any isuggestions on this.  Thanks. 

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 445
Trips Taken: 15
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

May 10, 2012

 It appears that Quantas adheres to the more or less standard of 62 in. for international flights, but they gave 54 in. for domestic. We went on this trip 2 years ago and had no problem with our 62 in. luggage, but I'm not sure when the 54 in. limit went in. In LA, Quantas was the most strict that I have seen on carryon weghts and dimensions. The 50 pound limit was not a problem at all, and we were there in their winter. You have to rely on layers. We went from temps in the 20s in Queenstown to the high 90s in Fiji. You might want to check on a travel site such as fodors.com that gets more traffic to see if you can find out more. If you are interested I did a blog on the trip. it is jackthetravelingman.blogspot.com.

It was a wonderful trip. Enjoy it

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 469
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

May 10, 2012

I made the trip with less than 44 pounds and had plenty of clothing and even bought some there; a rain jacket in NZ, a few T-shirts for grandkids, gloves, socks and warm hat in NZ. One thing that helped was that I brought some old, stretched out turtle neck tops, wore them under a sweater in NZ and then left them behind. As has been suggested, plan and layer.

You may need to call Qantas about the dimension of your 29" suitcase. I don't know what they'd do if it's a couple of inches over; there might be an oversized fee, which could be high and there are a couple of domestic flights so it could be higher than buying a smaller suitcase. I used a 25".

Keep your carryons within the limit too, they do weigh them and will send them to cargo if they're over. I think the limit is 15 pounds.

It's a wonderful trip, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 886
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

May 10, 2012

My last trip there was so long ago, I waited to see what more recent travelers had to say.  My first trip was in 1998, and I traveled with a large suitcase (can't remember the exact size).  At one airport checking in for a domestic flight, I was told not to put one more item in it.  Because then it would weigh too much and they would not accept it.  It wasn't a matter of paying extra; they simply would refuse it.  We had to wait a while a few days later in that same terminal for a coach, so I took a walk and saw a luggage place.  Went in and purchased a very small bag on wheels, and the next time I packed I put all my shoes and books in that one.  And when I went home, I bought a 24" piece and that has been my checked luggage ever since.  I just replaced it with the same make and model.

If you follow Luisa' s suggestions, you will make out fine.  50 lbs can include a lot of clothes, especially if you wear the heaviest pieces on the plane.

And do check with Qantas.

 

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 217
Trips Taken: 11
Traveler Since: 1995

May 10, 2012

Sometime it seems we can't pack enough, but in the end, we mostly have too much.  For the last 20 years, we have been buying 25" Samsonite or similar and keep it around 47 lbs, and are never 50 lbs or over.  We not only do this for leisure travels, but we lived in Asia for total almost 13 years, and came back to US quite a bit, and 25"er was fine.   If going to cooler climates, we layer and sometimes  have 5 sweaters, but I keep these to the lighter style and use long sleeves for under; can always take off.  We learned to stay away from jeans as they are heaviest; I changed to stretch jeans and find them much lighter, and I even wash them after 3 washes; they dry fastest.  There's many comments elsewhere on wearing jeans 4-5 days, but I don't know....   I keep to 4 pairs of pants/jeans, 4-5 jerseys, 3-4 sweaters, london fog type raincoat, lined/water resistant windbreaker, hat, 2 pairs of walking shoes. If on river ship, I take one pair very light dress pants with 2 "dress for success" type tops and dress sandals; mostly we wear to dinner what we wore all day anyway--mostly everyone else does.  We even carry "what if" bags, i.e., cold/cough medicine in gel caps or tablets,  intestinal tablets for whatever ails us, headache/ allerg remedies, mosebleeds, nail clippers , scissors, bandaids, small stapler, small scotch tape, post-it tabs; this in addition to our prescribed medications.  I throw in a clock, long scarf, gloves, travel iron, curling iron, noto mention before my e-reader, 4-8 paperbacks.  Still, if I'm just at 50 lbs, I take out one jersey and 1 sweater and 1 book.  I tested several sweaters I have to see which is warmest and dries fastest if I washed it in a sink.  Acrylic/polyester dries the fastest, and is lighter, but warmer than cotton.  Cotton takes the longest to dry (before river ship laundry, drying cotton sweater aboard was 3 days!).  I have learned to pare down my toiletries to travel size; it's easier to fit two small tubes toothpaste around something else, than one larger tube you'll end up taking home; I like my own shampoo, so I use small bottles from something else to fill with my own shampoo (I use two diff. kind shampoos, too).  I like convenience, so this is not all I take.  But am never over 50 lbs with my 25" case. 

In 1999 we flew from Singapore to Australia, taking internal flights 3 times within Australia.  Quantas personnel walk the que line looking at bags.  My husband had a backpack that was full, with 3 cameras and a laptop, jacket, etc..  He was told to take out the laptop and they would check it for him.  Luckily I had room in my backpack because I had lighter stuff, so he didn't have to check it.  They weighed our backpacks, and for those using wheeled carry-ons, they were placed in the sample size at the gate, and many weren't allowed to take on.  That was internal flight.  They are strict. 

I know I've rambled, but I've just found ways to be comfortable, look neat and clean, and not over-tax ourselves lifting the bags off a carousel.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 886
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

May 11, 2012

And to add to all that.  I never ever pack a winter-weight sweatshirt.  It's much too bulky and heavy.  Light weight ones or long-sleeved tee shirts over a short sleeved tee work out much better.  I never iron; hair dryers are almost always supplied and, anyway, my hair is cut very short and dries quickly and I don't use a curling iron.  My Kindle goes in my carry-on, and I don't own a laptop.  I can usually find an internet cafe; there's an international website to help you find them.  Or a lot of hotels still have them in the lobby or business center.

Author: rosemarynj

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 34
Trips Taken: 4
Traveler Since: 2010

May 11, 2012

Thanks so much for all your replies.  I did call  Qantas and had a wonderful woman answer the phone, she checked for me and the 62in is fine and 45in is the maximum for carry-on but 15 pounds.  I will have to be very careful with the carryon. She told me that if I had an international ticket, that Qantas would be fine with the 62 in. on the Domestic flights too.   The woman was so nice, she found our flights and even gave me the seat numbers which made me very happy as always worry about seat assignments and none were listed on my air itinerary on the GC website. 

Now I will try to take all your suggestions while packing.  Also, we have two home hosted dinners. one in NZ and one in Fiji.  Anyone, a suggestion on what gift to bring to the dinner.  Need something that is light to bring in luggage?    I know often it is suggested to bring some thing indicative of where you live, but I can't think of anything from NJ.   Help!

I really appreciate all your guidance for our trip.

Rosemary

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 886
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

May 11, 2012

How about a small flat book with colored pictures in New Jersey?  Or a selection of post cards showing scenes?  Or tea towels, ditto?  It's the thought that counts. 

I know you'll have a wonderful time.

Author: hootie

Joined: 3/7/2010
Posts: 125
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

China, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Transylvania, Bulgaria, Chech Republic, Slavakia, Bratislava, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Crete, Greece, Turkey, Istanbul, Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Russia, Tahiti & French Polynesia/Society Islands, Hawaiian Islands, Bermuda, Alaska, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States, Panama Canal, Caribbean (extensively), Canada/Nova Scotia, Canary Islands, Gibralter, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Vatican City, France, Holland, Belgium, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine, Russia.

Traveler Since: 2001

May 11, 2012

rosemarynj...

gift idea...salt water taffy.

Many posts have touched on gift ideas...the ususal ones:  fridge magnet, calendar with pictures of your state, post card of your state, christmas ornament, small book/booklet of state, t-shirt, cap, state pin...

I remember one lady giving a seashell to the host.

I just thought of something I may do myself...a pack of flower seeds of our state flower.

hootie

UPDATE

5/12/12   RETRACTION!!!!!      PACKET OF SEEDS =  NO, NO!!!

TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT AGRICULTURE INSPECTIONS...I HAD PURCHASED A VERY SMALL SEALED JAR OF HONEY IN TASMANIA AS A SOUVENIR & AN INSPECTOR WOULD NOT LET ME ENTER NEW ZEALAND WITH IT.  PERSONALLY, I THINK SHE JUST WANTED IT FOR HER TOAST, BUT I DIDN'T ARGUE WITH HER.  SORRY FOR THE BAD IDEA.

hootie

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 445
Trips Taken: 15
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

May 11, 2012

 rosemarynj,

When we went we had a home hosted stay in Christchurch, where we stayed overnight with a family, but, since the earthquakes, the trip doesn't go there anymore. The most common gift was a bottle of wine, but anything from your home state, or something like hand towels would probably be appropriate, as they will have guests on a fairly frequent basis from Grand Circle. I would not bring anything such as plants or seeds, as New Zealand and Australia are very careful of foreign plants being brought in. In the village in Fiji the homes are quite small, and seem to  be multigenerational. They don't need clutter. Educational type things, such as world maps or inflateable globes would probably be good for the children, similarly for the school visit, also in Sigatoka. Deflated soccer balls would probably be well received. Do not bring sweets, as they promote tooth decay. A lot of people waited until we were in Sigatoka Town, where, after the farmers market, we had time to go into a supermarket, that had almost everything and asked the program director what would be appropriate., primarily for the school. As weight in your luggage is a valuable commodity, you don't want anything heavy that you bring.

We had Maree Greenwood as a PD, and she was wonderful. She came across a very strict in the beginning to make sure that everyone would be on time, and we never had to wait for anyone over the entire 29 days, including extensions., that I can remember, but she was a sweetheart and gave us more information than we could digest in printed material that she had put together by city.

Enjoy your trip

Jack

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 469
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

May 11, 2012

I'm so glad that the luggage size worked out for you. Yes, you do have to keep your carryon within 15 pounds. If you're not taking a wheeled carryon, find a lightweight nylon-type bag that weighs almost nothing or something similar that isn't huge, for a purse and carry your valuables and meds in that.

Don't fret over the home-hosted meal gifts. If you can't think of something  from N.J. you could buy a small gift in Australia or New Zealand. Fresh flowers, honey, jam or wine could be an option. Most of the hosts do the meals regularly and have accumulated a lot of gifts. A refrigerator in Fez, Morocco was covered with U.S. magnets.

For our lunch in Fiji, our PD had us all food shop in the town market and then they combined everything and they distributed it to the homes. So, I wouldn't worry about that one. I brought a couple of small colorful books for the school visit. We turned everything over to the teachers there.

Now that the luggage problem is resolved, relax, read about the trip and enjoy it when you get there.

Author: dbielanski

Joined: 6/7/2012
Posts: 4
Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 2012

June 14, 2012

We are not going until October, 2012.  Our recent research on the Qantas site shows there were changes to the regulations in May, 2012.  Also, the GCT Travel Handbook indicates the regulations for 54", 50 pounds for checked luggage; and 41" 15 pounds for carry ons.  We will be interested in what those who have taken this tour in June, 2012 and after say about these restrictions.  Did any of you exceed the regulations?  By how much?  What type of fees (if any) did you pay for the excess?  Did you pay in advance or during the trip?

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 469
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

June 14, 2012

Were you looking at domestic or international from the Americas? The allowances are checked 50 lbs, max 62 inches and carryon 15 lbs and 45 inches.

There is a earlier post from a woman who was concerned about her 62 inch suitcase and she called Qantas and was told that they would go by the International limit.

The 15 lb carryon limit was in force when I was there a few years ago and they DO weigh the carryons and the carryon will have to be checked if over the limit. 

50 lbs is plenty of the trip, plan and layer.

Author: mlwlpt

Joined: 3/16/2012
Posts: 4
Trips Taken: 1
Traveler Since: 2012

July 25, 2012

rosemarynj,

How did your luggage concern work out?

Author: rosemarynj

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 34
Trips Taken: 4
Traveler Since: 2010

August 03, 2012

No problem with luggage.  We traveled on Quantas on May 31, 2012, and had the 29in luggage.  It was never questioned and on a couple of flights we did go over a couple of pounds but put through with a reminder that we were close.  We did buy some things so on the last two flights we checked our carryon bag as it weighed a great deal more than the 15 pounds and there was no problem checking two bags.  I had an extra expandable bag that I carried in stead of carryon.  GC only concern was that we carry the carryon to the check in place at airport and into hotel as they will only porter one bag each at hotels.  No worry about having the 29in luggage.  We were worried about them weighing the carryon but that never happened on any of the flights.  We did the trip with the pretrip to Outback so you do need a lot of clothes and in May and June there were big weather temperature differences in Australia and NZ and then Fiji.  We had a wonderful trip - best guide ever on any trip was Maree - hope she is your guide.

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 445
Trips Taken: 15
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

August 03, 2012

 Yes,

Maree is wonderful. She may come across as a taskmaster in the begining, but, in the whole trip, including both extensions, I don't think anyone was late, and her preparation and handouts were amazing.

Author: pltexas

Joined: 2/26/2012
Posts: 11
Trips Taken: 2
Traveler Since: 2012

October 25, 2012

Back on the luggage question - we are taking the Dec. 30, 2012 trip.  I know a 'carry on' is limited to 15 lbs, but I'm assuming that is for like a carry on suitcase.  I normally use a backpack instead of a purse when I travel.  Does anyone know if that would be counted as the 'carry on' or could I actually have a 15 lbs carryon in addition to a 'purse' or 'personal item'?

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 886
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

October 25, 2012

Most international airlines allow one carry-on and one "personal piece."  The latter can be a woman's handbag, or a briefcase or a laptop, or anything similar.  I do remember a BA flight years ago where they said one carry-on meant precisely that.  Fortunately, I still have an old GCT gift (not an Inner Citcle gift) that's a nylon backpack with various zipper compartments, and it seems to just expand as I stuff things in it.  So I put my handbag in that.

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 217
Trips Taken: 11
Traveler Since: 1995

October 25, 2012

Responding to pltexas of 10-25-12:

Your best bet is to look on your airline's website or better to call them.  I always double check if I have a question about size/kind of carry on.

From personal experience, we took an independent tour of Australia in 1999, flew within country on Quantas.  We left for Australia from Singapore where we lived.  We did not have any trouble with carry on size on the International flight.  We DID have problem on one internal flight of 4, this was the first internal flight.  My husband had a large laptop, cameras, and small Sony camcorder in his backpack, plus a jacke--an ordinary backpack usually carried by students, canvas type.  When we were boarding, the agent took him aside and told him to lighten the backpack and they would check his overage items, in a plastic bag.  Since my backpack was not completely filled, I took some items out of his and we "passed" their scrutiny.  They were getting a lot of people in that Boarding line  and many of us were disgruntled.  On the other hand, we did see one or two people with bigger duffle type bag not tagged at all.  Go figure. WE got silently disgruntled when that guy wasn't tagged, but kept silent so a not to be kicked off the flight. On the other internal flights, we packed our backpack carryon's to be in compliance.  I do not remember if I could take a "personal item" (purse, small satchel, camera, etc.)

It is important to check this out.  The rules are probably relaxed.  Check with the airline for the best answer to this to be safe than sorry.  I know, the last two phrases are idioms, but you get the picture.

 

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 445
Trips Taken: 15
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

October 25, 2012

 Qantas strictly checks the dimensions and weight of your carryon, whether it is a suitcase or backpack on the international flights. I don't remember what their personal item policy was. If you have heavy small dimension articles, such as camera lenses, and would be overweight,  put them in a pocket in your clothing until after you board.

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