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Packing light - long haul carry-ons

(16 Posts)
Toffeelatteplease Sat 13-Jun-15 16:41:57

Anyone look at the recommendations for flying long haul with kids and think fuck it Do I need all that stuff?

Anyone gone minimal? maybe just a baby wipes, tablet, headphones waterbottle and a book. comfort toy for kids. No tons of snacks/own meals, no blanket/scarf, no spare changes of clothes etc. Just a take it or leave it approach to airplane food and reliance on in flight entertainment.

DXBMermaid Sat 13-Jun-15 16:52:39

I always travel with too much stuff on a flight for my LO. DH complains, but I have my reasons. Spare set of clothes doesn't need to take up much room. Leggings and long sleeved top will do. Was so happy I had them with me when DD projectile vomited on landing a few flights ago. She's never done that before and she's been on loads of flights. Other reason is my dread of getting stuck in a delay (not being allowed off the plane) and running out of nappies, food etc. Recently we had a night flight and she just slept for most of it which was great, but two days ago we flew back home during the day time and I had to pull out all the stops in terms of toys, ipad, snacks, drinks and we went through 6 nappies on a 7 hour flight as well.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 14-Jun-15 08:18:16

It is better to have it and not need it than the other way around. I also never rely on the airline in question to fully provide.

I would not skimp on the foodstuffs; have seen too many children not at all like the airline meals served up. Also I have been on flights where they've actually run out of children's meals!.

Toffeelatteplease Sun 14-Jun-15 09:16:51

How large a hand luggage do you need to need? I have images of great big bags packhorse style

Artandco Sun 21-Jun-15 14:32:36

I only have a small cabin suitcase long haul if that's my only luggage. Ie I often travel London - Newyork with x2 small children for 5 days. We take one hand luggage suitcase between us and no hold luggage.

If I'm travelling longer or need more luggage whilst there like skiing, I just take large handbag on plane. That fits my laptop ( work away often), plus a change of clothes for myself and kids (thin, basic long sleeve top and leggings). Plus odd kids lolly, and few cereal bars. Plus basic wash kit ( 2 plasters, mini deodorant, mini wet wipes). Passports/ money/ phone. That's about it.

I never take a full supply of food! Kids have survived fine on airport/ plane food/ mini bar over the years ( we fly approx twice every month, mixture of short and long haul)

Millymollymama Sun 21-Jun-15 19:50:39

I don't get why people are so against hold luggage but fill the plane up with huge amounts of hand luggage. I believe there is now a smaller size of hand luggage bag adopted by many airlines. Thank goodness! I am sick of not being able to get my modest bag in an overhead storage area because of the numerous bags taken on by everyone else. Usually bigger than technically allowed too!

I never took food for my children. Having said that I wished I had when we were redirected to another airport for refuelling and arrived 4 hours late at our destination. Always relied on in aircraft entertainment. In my day no-one had hand held devices anyway. Puzzle books worked well. We tended to travel light in terms of hand luggage but took decent changes of clothing for the holiday in hold luggage. Can't stand the idea of wearing manky clothes or having to wash and dry clothes all the time on holiday. Plus I like shopping. How can you have a good shop when you only have a weeny carry on bag? Get a life - take hold luggage!

Artandco Sun 21-Jun-15 21:03:02

Milly - hold luggage doesn't work for everyone. My typical travel is alone with 2 children. Both still small so need hand holding. We arrive, stay one night in one location before moving to the next. In between getting trains and taxis, small additional planes. Often I arrive and we don't have time to go via hotel so luggage has to be carried around all day. Until recently it would be a baby in a sling, and potentially carrying other on hip also in busy areas (1 year gap). The idea of carrying huge cases up stairs and around cities and into offices would be a total nightmare.

My hand luggage case or bag depending on location and if with both or one child are both smaller than even the smaller hand luggage restrictions. The bag fits under seat in front of me, the suitcase would fit also but I usually put above.

Ps we wouldn't wear 'manky clothes'. I would get hotel to wash them if needed

Toffeelatteplease Mon 22-Jun-15 09:34:55

Artandco - am in awe of the ability to do that hand luggage.

I kind of have the opposite issue though, it is actually hand luggage that doesn't work too well for me. DS is a wheelchair user, with only two adults once you get past security and luggage trolleys, hand luggage becomes a nightmare. Any luggage plus public transport is just a total no go as it takes two adults to do DS, wheelchair and stairs, (even if at that time DS is ok to get up and walk them, you still need free hands in case he trips). You run out of hands. Particularly if DD also wants to hold one.

Backpacks are ok but you tend to hit other people with them because you are often focussed on DS manoeuvring securely and safely. Wheelie suitcases mean you can put them down when DS needs help, but what with wheelchairs and wheelie suitcases, as a group it becomes quite difficult to move around the airport.

I would rather not be washing clothes. Most likely I will be washing night clothes and bed protectors anyway (can't put those into hotel laundry), I rather keep it at that.

We did cabin luggage only this year short haul. It wasn't easy. We're actually paying the extra to stick a couple of bags in the hold this year.

Hand luggage only kinda pointless anyway from a wait at the other end perspective. If they choose to check DS' wheelchair at the gate you may have to wait for it at baggage reclaim anyway depending on the airport.

We are looking to travel long haul. There is a certain amount of stuff that needs to travel hand luggage because it is necessary or difficult to replace if it gets lost like first aid kit, medicines, special cutlery and night-time nappies (which are bulky at DS size). The thought of taking all the additional stuff people say you need to make the long haul flight bearable is unpalatable to say the least. I would rather slim down hand luggage.

Thanks Milly its good to know the upside and downside of flying minimal handluggage

Artandco Mon 22-Jun-15 10:45:24

Toffee - I would def re consider a backpack for you. It shouldn't be so big it's hitting people out of the way! A regular rucksack will leave you hands free to deal with wheelchair or can hand on the back of chair at other points. Or look at a bag with a over body strap so you are hands free that way

The trick to small handluggage is always travel in biggest things. So wear the main shoes or boots and pack just flip flops or flats ( or nothing else). Dresses also better than bottom and top as one less piece of clothing per day. So 5 dresses take up a lot less room than 5 trousers and 5 tops

Millymollymama Mon 22-Jun-15 13:15:55

Art. I do think what you are doing regarding travel is not typical. Most of us want to have several pairs of shoes, warmer bulky clothes if we are going skiing and stay for longer than a few days. Not that many people travel in their own regularly with two very small children. I would also book a flight so you could drop luggage at the hotel. Who on earth carries it around all day? Not a good plan in my view - with or without children!

Do try long haul Toffee. However, try and use a scheduled airline because they do have a higher level of service for which you pay a bit more. For example, at T5 Hesthrow there are rarely long queues for bag drop. Usually no queue at all which will make your life easier. You will get 23kg of luggage included in the price so plenty of room for what you need to take. It is cheaper to take enough of everything with you rather than pay for hotel laundry! A decent airline will give you all the help you need. In your case I would consider a bag that hangs over the back of the chair. We have stopped using back packs because you have to keep removing them from your back all the time! They do get in the way and knock other people. Across the body bags are more secure with regard to pick pockets too.

Long haul flights are perfectly ok if you take your own music (my DDs and DH are choosy) and are reasonably happy with the pretty wide choice of flight entertainment or reading a book, magazine or doing puzzles. Most people never open their carry on luggage in flight! They just have it for the quick getaway at the end of the flight (and to hog all the overhead storage space!). Where are u thinking of going Toffee?

Artandco Mon 22-Jun-15 13:27:50

Milly - often there is only one flight a day option. Many people keep handluggage with them all day. Sometimes I arrive in one place say 8am and straight into meeting, fly out to next destination at 8pm. I don't have a hotel to book into in these instances.

We ski a lot. We do check in a ski bag with skis and ski boots in but otherwise just rucksack. You wear ski coat and walking boots, salopettes in with skis, leaving only thermals really to pack surely?

Toffeelatteplease Mon 22-Jun-15 23:21:52

Orlando, Need time to save, but I wouldn't be happy saving if I didn't work out if it was doable and worth the effort first

Flying is a bit of a new thing for us as a family. I flew a lot growing up and prior to kids but it hadn't really seemed worth the hassle after. Flying was a bit of a whimsy this year, I thought it would be a one off. Because I was convinced we absolutely weren't going to be flying again I picked up some very cheap wheelies (they were awesome for the price but fell over... a lot.. so wouldn't stay put if you needed two people suddenly). We came to the conclusion hand luggage only really wasn't our preferred option and what we had wasn't up to the job. Buying luggage now I really want stuff that will work for an upcoming shorthaul (limited hand luggage) trip and the long haul.

I think Ive nailed it... I bought with a backpack with a piggy back strap which allows it to slip over the pulling handle of either another piece of cabin or hold luggage, which is perfect for long haul as DP can take his and my cabin luggage now with only one hand (leaving me totally unencumbered) and DD can manoeuvre the trolley with both luggage if needed. I think they should hold snacks nappies, a travel game and light change of clothes ok for long haul.

Backpacks on whoever is pushing the wheelchair really isn't a great plan. often you find you cant turn around with a wheelchair, e.g coming out of lifts, in cramped restaurants, in shops. When you've whalloped a few people and cleared a few shelves it tends to put you off. I also really wouldn't want to do backpack on stairs. Waaaay too unbalanced if I am balancing DS also. DS already has a back pack that goes over the back of his wheelchair for all his day to day bits, if the chair needs collapsing at any point I need to hand it to someone else or take it on my back which I can't do if either of us are already carrying a backpack. Small Backpack handbags are awesome use them a lot, anything larger are great if you are going straight ahead... permanently. grin

I think both Virgin and BA are scheduled flights, need to book separately as far as I can see it is easier to get our room needs met booking direct as opposed to through a package.

JellyTipisthebest Tue 23-Jun-15 03:35:28

Flew to NZ from UK very recently. You will get bordered first as Ds is in a wheel chair you can also have assistance at all transit airports or through security you might as well take it it makes a big difference. They will either push wheelchair or help with luggage.

Not sure how the getting the wheel chair back works as I don't have one but I am met at the gate with a wheel chair so if he can go in a adult one for a short while that should work.

We have 4 wheel cases this makes them easy to push or pull. My 13 year old is able to move 2 big cases with hand luggage strapped on through the airport if needed. Soft cases work well as they can be squished a bit to fit them in cars.

Hand luggage the first time we did two trolley bags and two hand bag thing that trap on between 4 of us. We were stopping in Singapore and going swimming we wanted the kids to be able to manage the hand luggage if needed or just dh. This last time we did one trolley bag and one handbag and a camera bag.

We have found that we only need to get as far as check in on our own after that there is help. Having help means you sneak through all the cues

Artandco Tue 23-Jun-15 07:36:40

Toffee - if your buying new cases def look at 4 swivel wheels rather than 2. Far easier to pull along and stand without falling. I'm not sure of your sons disabilities but if he can move arms freely and hold onto something he could also easily just hold a 4 wheeler suitcase at the side of the chair whilst someone pushed him as it glides along ( in smooth areas).
Also suggest getting medium size not large as large ones often too big to fit in car boots and easy to overfill the 23kg allowance.

noramum Tue 23-Jun-15 11:31:20

It depends also on what other items you want to take. We did long-haul in April and I was glad about snacks as meals came late and while DD liked part of it, it it was not enough to carry her the whole 8 hours. Hell, I was hungry and eating.

I had a small set of spare clothes, T-shirt, leggings, socks, books, sticker books and crayons. Nothing bulky apart from her cuddly toy. For the flight back something covering the legs is necessary, airline blankets are very thin.

But, we had two cameras, two ipads, a laptop, two kindles. We had two 25l backpacks and a trunki carseat/backpack and they were full.

Plus 2 suitcases and a large softbag in the hold.

Toffeelatteplease Wed 24-Jun-15 05:05:40

Noramum - I think my choice of long haul cabin luggage packing would look very similar to yours! Except with ds' stuff as an added extra. Two/three 25l bags I think is doable so it's good to know that list fits in 2.

Jellytip- thank you that is very useful information. We had great help on the way off the airlines and from the gate at the UK end. But I think we may have missed out on some of the help last time by not needing to check in at the airport. And a stubborn desire to be as independent as possible. And the airline not telling us we had to report in at the checkin desk despite my asking what they needed beforehand (the gate staff were surprised that ds needed any special assistance, despite it being on the booking and there being a wheelchair sat in front of their gate for 2 hours ) We are tackling everything a little more cautiously next time so appreciate your experience of how it all works. I think my thoughts on hand luggage are similar to where you are heading with it.

Artandco- definitely with you on the spinners. I am most impressed with them. I wouldn't be planning for ds to be pushing one, amongst other things he gets muscle fatigue and weakness. On a bad day DS would have enough trouble keeping himself "upright" in the wheelchair .On a good day Ds would love push the luggage but with decidedly dodgy coordination, he would be lethal!!!! We would clear the space around us in seconds!

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