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We have made a big decision in regards to the rest of the travel we do this year – we are going carry on only! And we are going to share our family packing list below. Are you up for the carry on only challenge?
I think a better question is if you can, why not? I have always loved travelling carry on only. It just gives me so much freedom and flexibility. One of the biggest adjustments for me when we first started travelling with kids was upgrading from a 25L backpack to two suitcases and two 25L backpacks.
The amount of luggage we had to carry when the kids were babies and toddlers prevented us from doing some of the travel we would have liked to. The more luggage we have, the harder overland travel becomes. Some public transport is off limits with big backpacks or suitcases. Even when it is doable, it becomes more complicated, especially when you have young kids you need to hold onto (and often lift/carry) as well.
Since we often fly budget airlines, it is also cost effective to travel carry on only. This saves us a fair bit of money. It also saves time at airports. In fact when you add up additional transport options, the money saved on luggage fees at airports and the fact that small hotel rooms are fine without a lot of luggage, then we can save a fair bit by limiting our luggage. I also find that not having much luggage makes me less of a target for touts when we arrive in new places.
I also like that travelling carry on only forces us to travel light. I find that no matter what size bag I take away, it tends to be filled up. Really this just means that we take lots of stuff that we don’t really need. Small backpacks and trunkis will help us avoid this. They also save our back.
I also think that once you take a look at just how much you can take even when travelling carry on only, it can be quite inspiring. It is definitely enough stuff, and we are not missing out.
Really, why wouldn’t you travel carry on only if you can at all manage it?
We are taking two backpacks and two trunkis.
We are also going to take a bag of nappies and hope we get away with it. The kids both still wear nappies at night. Outside of Malaysia, we have found it close to mission impossible to find nappies big enough for our kids (who are very big for their ages) in Asia so we feel we have to take enough with us for our three weeks in Sri Lanka. This is the biggest obstacle we have with going carry on only. 50 odd nappies is a lot. On the way to Asia, we had an extra backpack just full of nappies!
The backpacks are a 30L backpack and my new, very much loved, 40L Kelty Redwing. This bag does go over the allowable dimension for depth if I fill it all up, so I have been careful not to do this. Once we are in Sri Lanka, this will give us extra space for the nappies and anything else we carry along with us like a big bottle of water.
What you have been waiting for – our actual family holiday packing list! The biggest reason I switched to carry on only was after reading someone else’s packing list and realising how reasonable the amount they were taking was… Perhaps you will feel the same after reading this!
This is for a three week trip to Sri Lanka. We will mostly be in hot places but we are also planning to spend some time in the highlands, so we need some warmer clothes. This list also includes the clothes we will wear on departure. I don’t see our family travel packing list changing much when we head off for four months in Thailand and Europe in June, and we will definitely be sticking to carry on only.
Our kids are only 3 and 4, so they still get dirty quite easily. Otherwise, I would take less clothes.
Everything liquid is small.
So, what do you think? Could/do you travel carry on only with your kids?
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