After we decided on the itinerary, our next step was to figure out what to bring. The fear of losing luggage along the way bothered me a lot. We had to come up with a plan that could handle this kind of situation. One obvious way is to bring with us as much as possible to the plane. Unfortunately there is only so much carry-on allowed on a plane. At the end, we decided rather than worrying all the time about losing stuff, we would just be prepared to lose particular bags. With this approach, the idea of losing a bag did not bother us so much anymore.
We handled it this way: There would be two medium-size bags per person, one of them a soft 'shell', but having a hard frame with wheels. And the other one a travel pack that can also be used as a backpack. On top of these, we also had two day packs, one a bit bigger than other. Both of these two-day packs would be carry-on to the plane. In addition, each of us always had a waist pouch (aka 'fanny-pack), plus a money belt worn inside the pant. Then our items were roughly divided into four groups based how important they were.
Basically, this is how we distributed our items: The most important stuff or the 'Group One' items like credit card, money, traveler's checks, air line tickets and passports were kept inside the money belt. The 'Group Two' items like the cameras, two-way radios (aka walkie-talkie), GPS, money for the day, were kept in the waist pouches. The "Group Three' items, toiletries, camera film, medicines, tour books, a few really important clothing items, including shoes and jackets would go to each daypack and be carried to the plane with us. Of course this was true only when we boarded planes. When we were just sightseeing, we usually carried only one day pack with some film and tour books, plus whatever we needed for that day. The 'Group Four' were dress clothing and shoes. First of all, we only brought clothing that we did not mind losing. Then we distributed items into two bags per person. So each bag had a complete set of things we really needed. So in the event that the airline lost a bag, we would still have another set. Then we might simply buy items to replace the lost set along the way. Of course, there could still be problems, if the airline managed to lose both checked-in pieces. But I believe the chance for that to happen should be pretty small.
© Dave Cheng 2000