While traveling, I strongly recommend that you carry all essentials (such as medications), valuables and at least one change of clothing in your carry on luggage in case your luggage is delayed or lost. You can visit our Laws & Regulations for Hunters Traveling with Firearms and Ammunition or Bows and Arrows and look up the TSA guidelines for carry on items by clicking here.
WARNING: While in Africa, no matter how safe you are told it is, no car with your belongings should be left unattended, not for a minute even in the presence of a third party security guard. Outfitter and tourist vehicles are increasingly targeted and thefts that can really affect the quality of your trip can take place in seconds. Most thefts from tourists are unreported due to time constraints and the purposeless nature of it therefore there are no records as to how often this actually occurs. It is best to be very diligent and aware that opportunistic crime is rife in even the safest parts of Africa.
Traveling to Africa usually requires taking at least a couple of different airlines as well as departing from several countries all with their own rules, regulations and laws especially pertaining to traveling with weapons. To find out more about Laws & Regulations for Hunters Traveling with Firearms and Ammunition or Bows and Arrows, please click here.
Should you be traveling as a couple, it is a good idea to take two smaller bags rather that one large piece of luggage, splitting your belongings evenly between the two bags in case of delayed or lost luggage and for weight limitation reasons.
It can be useful to have an extra bag which folds up very small, such as something made of nylon that you can conveniently pack in your luggage. I have had a bag for years that fits into an 8"x6"x1" pocket which unfolds to become a large scale bag and can tell you that it has been an invaluable asset too many times to count. It is so small and light that if I don't use it I have no regrets however when needed it is there.
tip A few large garbage bags can be useful especially if you are traveling to a damp area to protect your luggage from the rain, dirt or mud.
Luggage on small/short commercial flight
If you will be taking a small/short commercial flight to or between hunting areas check with the airline what type of aircraft that it is and if you are allowed to check in your firearm(s). Aircraft types that allow access between cabin and hold whilst the aircraft is in flight are forbidden to carry firearms.
Luggage on charter flight
If you will be taking a charter flight by light aircraft to or between hunting areas check with the charter company first as their luggage rules and allowances are usually more stringent than major airlines. To find out more about charter flight guidelines, please click here.
Airline approved lockable hard gun or bow cases must be used while transporting weapons on airlines. To learn more about rules and regulations concerning weapon transport from Importation or Transiting Procedures Through Countries with Weapons & Ammunition please click here.
You must carry your ammunition separate from your rifle in your checked luggage in one or more separate lockable containers. To learn more about rules and regulations concerning carrying and transporting ammunition please click here.
tip Should you be traveling with someone else whether they will be hunting or not, it is a good idea to split your ammunition among your bags in case of delayed or lost luggage and for weight limitation reasons. Usually ammunition weight limitations are set per person traveling and not per hunter.
TSA approved luggage locks
Combination padlocks locks for all of your luggage. If airport security personnel need to inspect your checked bags, they no longer need to cut your locks or force the bag open and risk damaging it. These locks allow airport security to open your locks and re-lock your bags without you having to be present. You can find them at www.travelsentry.org or www.safeskieslocks.com.
You will need one luggage tag for each of your bags including each gun case. The tags should be plastic (not those flimsy airline ones) and contain your name, outfitter or PH name as well as their local telephone numbers, address and country of destination. Luggage tags on the way back home should follow the same guidelines just change the information to reflect the address, phone numbers, etc. of your final destination.
tip You may wish to include inside the luggage tag a copy of your complete itinerary with a note in red below the contact information that says "see itinerary inside this tag". It is not a bad idea to have a copy of this information on a piece of paper that you put inside your luggage as well, which can easily be found, should they need to open it if your luggage tag is missing.
Handbags, fanny packs and backpacks are NOT good places to keep anything important or valuable as they are easy targets for thieves. Wearing a money belt, travel wallet or pouch that closes with a zipper under your clothing (around you waist, neck or leg) to secure your valuables is a good idea especially if traveling with a large amount of cash. It should be big enough to carry all or some of your money (cash, traveler's cheques, credit cards) and documents (passport, ID, airline tickets, contact information of your outfitter and PH, etc) without being bulky or uncomfortable. If that is the case you may consider using a couple of these travel accessories and separating the documents you will need and not need access to while traveling. Should you be traveling with a companion, you might consider each carrying a portion of the valuables. Leave all the unnecessary credit cards and other wallet clutter safely at home.
tip It is also a good idea to carry your wallet or simple money clip in your front pocket with just the small amount of cash you will need while traveling.