Myanmar and the Maldives – Luggage Woes (a new direction)

Our upcoming trip has been on the back burner for too long and it is time to resume work on our preparations for Myanmar and the Maldives.

In the past month I have made a giant step and purchased dive equipment. The means two things; one, I will no longer have to rent equipment, nice because I do not have to take that leap of faith and believe rental equipment is in perfect condition, and two, we have to figure out how to pack again.

Debbie and I spend time prior to my purchasing gear visualizing if and how we will be able to maintain our carry on only status and we believe it can be done if we go on a “dive only” trip. We purchase yet another bag. This time a bag made by Aqua Lung, carry on size but designed to accommodate dive gear. The other night Debbie and I spend about an hour doing a cursory practice pack and decide we will be able to cart all the necessary stuff plus maybe one change of underwear if we embark on a dive specific trip.

aqua lung carry on bag

Aqua Lung carry on bag

Now comes the sad part. Our upcoming trip is a combination trip to another world and an add-on dive trip. Dive gear is very large and quite heavy. We have almost completely written off the idea of carry on luggage, although we do not intend to lug bags around for our entire trip. We are going to transit through Bangkok and most likely will leave one (or two) bag at the airport in a left luggage facility for our Myanmar portion of the trip.  We could of course ship the luggage to and from Bangkok and technically still travel carry on but the cost of shipping would be prohibitive and if we pack right, the luggage we take will stand as our one checked bag allowed and be of no cost.

checked bag with 2 sets of dive gear

Checked bag with 2 sets of dive gear

Even with our concession to one checked bag it will take a lot of jockeying to get us aboard all the different airlines with their individual baggage restrictions. The large international airlines are quite easy to accommodate. It is the small discount airways that will require some rejigging every time we have to check in.

Air Asia (to Myanmar) has a carry on weight limit of 7 kg, 70% of Air Canada’s allowable weight. Still they allow one carry on bag and a hand bag. Bangkok Airways’ (to the Maldives) weight limit for carry on is all of 5 kg and they restrict the number of bags to “one item only” and as best we can make, this dispenses with the one bag and one purse idea.

Since we are leaving our dive gear in Bangkok, the Air Asia flight to Myanmar will be doable just by redistribution of heavier objects to our ‘purse’ and evening out the weight of our allowed four carry on items.

We must take all of our bags to the Maldives so we intend to repack again having us both check bags containing the maximum weight of 20 kg. This should free up enough space and weight for us to match the one 5 kg item of carry on allowed by Bangkok Airways.

I’m not happy in a breakdown of our near perfect record of carry on luggage only, but diving is an equipment intensive sport. The equipment is bulky and space is at a premium when traveling with luggage that conforms to the ever shrinking requirements set out by the airlines. We could go with a minimum of dive gear as we have done in the past but this time we are going to do some serious diving. Six days with a minimum of 3 dives per day on a live a board dive boat and there is little use owning our own gear if it is not utilized with every opportunity. C’est la vie.

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