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Trip to Brazil- PANIC!

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  • jeffmac
    Just to drop a coda on this posting I thought I would let every body know how the trip went. Thank you all for the great advice!

    I ended up being a touch over weight restrictions (about 12 pounds) on the TriStar, but funny thing about a suitcase that looks small, nobody pays it any mind at all! The only issue I had the entire trip was an American airlines commuter flight from Miami back to Nashville where they wanted to gate check the Tristar and I was too tired to fight with the guy. I was just happy to be heading home!

    The pic below is from downtown Sao Paulo.

    Brazil is a country full of contradictions, with modernity cheek to jowl with squalor. Graffiti is on everything and urban planning has not occurred to them yet. The people were warm and welcoming and I ate like a pig the whole time.

    Leave a comment:

  • Just
    In that case, good luck jeffmac! You can totally do it!

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  • jannilee
    The airline website says one carry on not to exceed 5k and one personal item (no weight specified).

    Leave a comment:

  • Frank II
    Always glad to help.

    Have fun...or as they say in Brazil......have fun. (Okay, they'd say it in Portuguese but I don't speak Portuguese.)

    Leave a comment:

  • jeffmac
    Frank, you are a giver! Thanks for the info. I will take some pics and report back next weekend. Tristar with electronics is a bit shy of 4KG so this will be a challenge! Absolute strap coming off of the Tristar and onto the briefcase saved a fair amount of weight.

    Thank you all for the encouragement and I will try not to overpack my SEV!

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  • Frank II
    I do have a ScotteVest
    That changes the game plan. If you wear it and use its pockets, you're home free.

    I am assuming (perhaps wrongly) that the weight of my personal item does not count against the weight of my carry on so I am planning on taking a smaller Timbuk2 Messenger bag rather than my beloved Zephyr.
    This depends on the airline. In many cases, it's total weight of all items. But they don't weigh coats.....
    Last edited by Frank II; 09-16-2011, 11:26 AM.

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  • jeffmac
    OK! Thank you everyone...let me see if I can answer everyone here.

    @sera..it is biz casual so I do not have to wear a suit, just Khaki's and a polo

    @Lani...I do have a ScotteVest and now that I remember it is early spring/late winter in Brazil it makes sense to take a jacket. Looks like the high will be low 70s so a jacket makes sense. And Lani, you are a dear for helping me justify buying some more TB kit!!

    @Frank- as always you are a wealth of info! I agree, an Aeronaut would be a great choice but...I own a Tristar so I am going to have to make it work. Gate check is a good solution and I will be careful on the personal item and the Scottevest.

    @just- I am assuming (perhaps wrongly) that the weight of my personal item does not count against the weight of my carry on so I am planning on taking a smaller Timbuk2 Messenger bag rather than my beloved Zephyr.

    @backback- nice tips here and luckily I am traveling with a Sao Paulo expatriate who has been very specific about where we can and cannot go! I am actually going to a trade show in Sao Paulo so I can't make meetings at the hotel.

    @avservice- Ed, we are of like mind! joeco.co.uk is the gear. 24 track hard disk recorder in a single RU 19 inch package. Doing a demo for Global TV in Rio.

    The further complication is that I leave on Monday! AARRGGH! Yes, I know that planning averts emergency, it has just been that kind of month! I am off to work to weigh things packed and see where I stand.

    Then maybe I will be on the phone with Katy to see about overnighting something!

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  • AVService
    Of course I just want to know what the gear is?

    I have stuck rack mount gear in my Super EGO to give another idea.
    It fits like there are rails inside up to 4 spaces,effects size?
    Just a thought,also can cork in an Empire builder depending on the gear?

    Sounds like fun.

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  • backpack
    If everything you wear is microfiber, I think you can do it. Microfiber is a dressy polyester fabric that weight next to nothing, so get 4 shirts and 2 pants in that fabric and use quick drying undies and socks, skip the undershirt if u can help it.

    In one bag, place the electronic equipment and computer plus related plugs/drives. Nothing else but meds and glasses.

    In the other, which must be strong enough to be gate checked place your clothes (see above) and minimal toiletry.

    If you are a medium size guy, you can replace your clothes easily, if the clothes bag get misplaced.

    Just wear one set of clothes and the jacket (they are available in microfiber as well) on the plane and remove the clothes the minute you get to the hotel, then hang them in the bathroom.
    Unpack right away to avoid wrinkles.

    If you stay at a major brand hotel, schedule some of your meetings there, if possible.

    Before you leave:

    Go to the hotel(s) website and find out what amenities they have.

    If they have free shaving kits, an toiletry that suits you, don't bring anything but deodorant.

    If the gift shop is opened before business hours, you can use it to grab things like mints or a swimsuit or ...

    Find out what shops are around your hotel(s).

    Go to Tripadvisor to find out about
    ways to get from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to your business meetings the fastest.
    non official taxis, pickpockets areas and techniques, bad neighborhoods and other tourists scams.


    Depending on the size of your demo, the Synapse and the Imago are contenders.

    I would say use the Western Flyer for clothes and wear it with the shoulder strap. Gate check it if you they ask you to.

    At your destination use the Western Flyer as your briefcase.
    Last edited by backpack; 09-15-2011, 11:55 PM.

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  • Just

    You said the machine you need to demo weighs 2 KG, and therefore you had only 3 KG left. Then you said you had a 13" MacBook Pro (2.04kg). If I'm calculating correctly that means you only have less than 1 KG for bag + whatever you're going to throw into it.

    ...I hope you like wearing the same clothes day in and day out!

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  • Veritrope
    Excellent Tips!

    Think you've already received some excellent tips so far on the baggage front, so I'll only add two other thoughts:
    1. TAM is a member of Star Alliance and, should you already have any sort of "elite status" with another member airline (United/Continental/US Air/etc.), you'll likely get a higher checked baggage allowance and / or fee waivers.
    2. My wife and I flew TAM last year and, though you certainly can't count on this, our experience was that they seemed pretty laid back… FWIW, I doubt anyone is going to get out the scale if your bags are compact.

    Here are some restaurants we liked:

    São Paulo - Figueira Rubaiyat has very nice-but-somewhat-pricey food, but the real attraction is the enormous fig tree that the restaurant is built around.... quite lovely!

    Rio de Janeiro - There's a street set back a bit from Leblon / Copacabana called Dias Ferreira that has a few great places on it. We liked Zuka or the more intimate Carlota

    ** Links above are to TripAdvisor reviews and the standard protocol for interpreting them applies -- Throw out the extreme reviews and you'll get a decent sense for what the place actually is!

    Hope you have fun!

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  • Lani

    How in the world could I even forget?

    Consider the Tom Bihn Packing Cube Backpack. They COME in dyneema nylon. And they weigh next to nothing so even if it's a backpack (per what Frank said), I don't think they'd get too suspicious. Hell, get a matching Packing Cube Shoulder Bag and put your "personal stuff" in that. Perfecto!

    Leave a comment:

  • Frank II
    I have good news and....okay....I really just have bad news. (Just kidding.)

    First, much of the advice you're gotten so far is very good. Wear your heaviest items, pack lightweight items, take only the minimum amount of toiletries and either assume your hotel will have a lot or you can get them in Brazil. Leave the gadgets at home unless they fit in a pocket.

    Did you include the weight of the actual carry-on bag in your calculations?

    Now as someone who runs a website devoted to one bag and light travel I will share with you a secret that all one baggers know: Every now and then, you got to check a bag. It's not the end of the world, it's not our preference, but it's reality.

    There might be a way, however, to make it work in your favor. If you can get as far as the gate, and it's the gate agent who thinks the bag is too big, ask if they could "gate" check it rather than the regular way. With a gate check, the bag is delivered to you as you get off the plane. No need to go to baggage claim. (You can't ask for gate check when checking in at the regular counter.) So, if you can check in online and proceed directly to the gate, you might get away with either getting the heavier bag on board or getting a gate check. If you get past the gate agent and the flight attendant thinks its too big, also ask for gate checking.

    Of course, taking a non-wheeled bag will help in this situation. Just don't over pack it so it looks heavy.And take a lighter bag. (In this type of situation I'd take an Aeronaut over a Tri-Star, that is if I owned an Aeronaut--unfortunately, I don't. I'd like to own an Aeronaut but that's a different conversation all together...)

    Sorry, I digressed. Can't help it. I lust over carry-on luggage especially great pieces I don't have.

    If your bag has backpack straps, don't wear them. A bag worn backpack style gives the appearance of being heavy. A bag worn over one shoulder gives the appearance of being lighter weight (you can carry it one shoulder rather than needing your entire body.)

    More gate secrets: Don't dress down. You may be comfortable wearing sneakers, jeans and a t-shirt on the plane but a recent survey showed that the better dressed you are, the more likely you will get leniency from the gate agents. Not just for luggage but even upgrades. You don't have to wear a tie and jacket, just look presentable.

    About the personal item....don't overpack it. If it looks to big, they may weigh it. The general guidelines for a personal are no more than 35 linear inches (L + W + H) and really weighing no more than a laptop, charger and bag. Add the extra 2 KG and you could get red flagged.

    Look at weather. Sao Paulo this time of year is mid 70's during the day and 50's at night. That means you'll need a jacket which you should wear on the plane. A sports jacket/light rain jacket will pass without a question and think what can go in the pockets. A sports jacket may help with that better appearance and could even get you an upgrade. With a first class or business boarding pass, no one will bother you about the weight.

    Be careful not to overstuff jacket pockets. The airlines are getting wise to people doing this and if you read info about an extra item it's usually a smaller bag OR a jacket. If you have a jacket and it looks like just a jacket, they let it slide. If it looks like a third piece of luggage....red flag.

    What I gave were ideas for the worst scenario. The best would be that you get everything on board. I, however, always say to plan for the worst.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Frank II; 09-15-2011, 07:54 PM.

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  • Lani
    You'll be FINE!

    Do you have a ScottEVest? You should be able to stuff most of your gadgets and other things into the various jacket pockets. Those things are LIFESAVERS for people in your situation.

    Do you normally carry a 3-1-1 baggie? Put that in your jacket pocket. Do you need to carry any peripherals for the laptop? Put it in a pocket. All your paperwork, in a pocket. Stick them in an envelope first if you need.

    Take two pairs of underwear. WEAR THEM BOTH on your flight. Same with socks. Wear very thin socks, and wear two pairs. Wear as many layers as you're comfortable. You can always remove the extras in the airplane bathroom and put them in a bag. Something like two T-shirts and an Ex Officio travel shirt over it. Then just pack a second shirt. Do you need to wear a tie? Pack that in your jacket pocket.

    One big challenge for you will be finding a bag light enough. It's not a Tom Bihn, but you might want to consider the Hidden Stuffle duffle bag from Timbuk2. It only weighs .44 pounds. Oh and I believe the shoulder strap is removable. Don't laugh; in a pinch, you can wear the shoulder strap AS A BELT around your waist and just clip it together. Otherwise, put it in your ScottEVest. That will save you a couple of ounces.

    The lightest bags I know are from LeSportSac although they are designed primarily for women, so you will want to find one in a plain color that doesn't look so girly. Your other option is to take a large Tom Bihn shopping bag (yes, I'm SERIOUS) and pack your stuff in there. You don't have to worry about zipping it shut; I assume all the important stuff will be IN YOUR POCKETS!

    Don't forget, if you use FedEx you might also be able to ship some stuff in advance to your destination.

    You can do it!

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  • dorayme
    Relax, and step away from the edge. I'm just trying to brainstorm here. . .
    What about the thinner lighter weight travel clothing from a source like ExOfficio or Travelsmith and a ScotteVest to handle your smaller electronics, personal itmes? The lighter/thinner clothing really does make a difference, as does Jannilee's advice about quick dry socks and undies and limiting yourself to 2 pair.
    Powdered soap, or soap flakes/leaves for body, shampoo and laundry can minimize weight unless you just buy when you get there.
    Can you ship a package to the hotel before you go?

    Leave a comment: