Last year our family of four (children aged 6 and 9) travelled to Japan for 10 days with nothing but carry-on luggage. A daunting task when travelling to an unknown country for the first time. However, cutting the luggage down was the best decision I’ve ever made, especially as we used the public transport system (which is brilliant by the way), to explore Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.
My motivator for carry-on only was really just logistics. I’d heard horror stories about kids almost being left on train platforms because the parents were loading luggage onto the train and the doors started to close. My brother, after a trip to Italy, spoke about how difficult it was to transport big bags when the footpaths were cobbled streets. We’d also previously travelled to New Zealand when our daughter was just a toddler and I remember explicitly how frustrating it was to lug big bags around with a screaming 2-year-old. So, with this in mind, a de-cluttering attitude and some hot tips from a cousin who had just successfully travelled through Canada with carry-on only, I started planning.
First thing you need to understand about carry-on only, it is not a ‘pack the night before’ gig. Careful planning is required, especially for the first trip. To get started I focused on 3 main things:
These became the corner stone of our travel gear.
When it came to the selection of the carry-on bags, I did a LOT of internet research and identified a few key things I wanted from the luggage:
Based on these points, I purchased Caribee Carry-on bags.
Specifications: 54 x 36 x 30, 45 litres, 2.6kg with 3-year limited warranty
My Post Travel Review: My kids loved these bags. The wheels and extendable handle make it easy for them to pull around on smoother surfaces, whilst the handles top and side made it easy for us as parents to carry when needed. I also liked having the option to convert to a backpack if needed. On departure there was still plenty of room in each bag, we were able to fit their travel pillow, puffer jacket and iPad in the front zip section for easy access during the flight. The only negative of these bags is the main compartment requires packing cubes, which add weight to the carry-on and as a parent, you only use them on the flight over.
Purchased: Wild Earth for $120 (on sale, old design)
Specifications: 54 x 33 x 18, 40 litres, 1.2kg with 3-year limited warranty
My Post Travel Review: LOVED these bags, they are the perfect carry-on backpack. The mesh compartments on both sides mean that packing cubes are not required. You can see everything easily and open the bag at customs without clothing falling all over the floor. There are several different strap options, so numerous ways to carry this bag and at 1.2kg, you have 5.8kg of gear you can pack! My husband is 6 foot 9, so his clothing is bigger and bulker than the rest of the family. He had the same amount of gear as everyone else and came in under the 7kg weight limit.
I love these bags so much, that as my kids get older, I will be looking to swap out their Caribee Fast Track to one of these.
Purchased: Snowys for $107 BARGAIN.
In addition to the carry-on bags, each of us had a small, personal bag as allowed by the airline. Again, I spent some time thinking about what these bags needed to be used for, the end result was:
These bags worked out really well, my only changes to future trips would be a slightly bigger leather bag for myself and the Gonex 60L Packable Travel Duffle Bag to replace the 80L. We found it a little oversized for us, as we didn’t purchase as much as expected. However, would have been perfect if we’d went on a massive shopping spree!
It is possible to do carry-on for International travel with kids if you know how to pack well and which bags are going to work best for you and your family.
These tips and tricks will make packing for your next overseas holiday that much easier!
- Renee Gusa
We couldn’t be happier with Redcliffe Travel. Their wonderful agent, Tammy, recently booked our flights to Zimbabwe. Her attention to detail was fantastic! Her communication was outstanding, keeping us updated and even checking in after our return to ensure our travel went smoothly. We highly recommend Tammy and the team at Redcliffe Travel.
We have just returned from our second holiday organised and booked through Tammy. It's so comforting to deal with such a professional and caring staff member. Thanks heaps Tammy outstanding service once again
The Australia part of our trip has sadly finished. In a word, it has been amazing! We owe a lot to our travel agent Tammy Aitchison, who asked the right questions, gave us insightful guidance when planning this trip and basically ironed out the wrinkles we would have undoubtedly experienced had it not been for her assistance. You will discover that her professionalism and attention to detail is world class and her customer service is second to none.
We had a terrific family holiday arranged by Redcliffe Cruise Travel and we wouldn't hesitate to have them assisting us with our next trip. Because we like you guys! Because you are a local company. Because we like having an agent behind us in the event things go wrong on the journey.
As popular as do-it-yourself travel is and as savvy as we are with all things online, there are some aspects of travel that are much better dealt with through a travel agency and someone who really knows what they are doing. Tammy and Redcliffe Cruise and Travel are so knowledgeable and experienced in dealing with those aspects of travel that are challenging. Its good to work through someone who knows what they are doing and who take as much interest in you having a great holiday as you do!!
The service provided is always helpful and comprehensive. The booking documentation is always delivered on time to allow checking and to make changes if necessary.
I have used Tammy at Redcliffe Cruise and Travel twice now to book our family holidays. We have found her to be very professional and efficient. She has also been very obliging when I have had to ask questions regarding our holiday. We will definitely be using her in the future.
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