Marie Kondo has taken the world by storm with her life-changing tips on decluttering the home. Well I can tell you first hand, it’s totally possible to use the same philosophy when travelling internationally with your family. I’ve done it.
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!
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