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what kind of luggage to take for 3 months of travel with 3 kids ?
I'm trying to find out what kind of luggage we should use ( on wheels,
backpacks,...) and what volume they should have for a travel of 3 months
through Malaysia and Indonesia, this with our kids aged 7, 5 and 2 years.
We are travelling there with Lufthansa airlines and they allow 1 piece of
check-in bagage per person of 23kg, and you cannot ad-up kilograms. So I
was thinking to travel with 5 or if possible just 4 pieces of check in bagage at the start and once
arrived in Asia make 4 of that: for the 2 oldest kids I thought a suitcase on
wheels could be a good idea with a volume of max 60 l ( don't know if this is
to much???) but the important thing is that they should be responsable for
their own luggage, maybe we can put the stuff from the little one in the luggage
of the adults, if that wouldn't work, we could provide him a small and soft bag
that later on we can just fold up and stack away in the luggage of the parents
As for the us, the parents I thought we should have a relatively large suitcase
(100l????) and one backpack. We are a bit concerned with this because we
want to keep our hands free as much as possible to hold the kids, and since
we never travelled that long and far with the kids we want to prepare for the
best!! please send us your comments and tips !!!
Answers (9) Add an Answer
Hi Stephanie - sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I didn't see your question. Our pack is very similar to this: http://www.bagworld.com.au/shop/detail/cat-millennial-luis-78cm-wheeled-drop-bottom-duff/ Although I think our CAT backpack is a little taller/narrower (similar to http://www.eaglecreekluggage.co.uk/proddetail.php?prod=202920 is size/shape). It's just over 100L and generally it's between 18-22KG when we are travelling around hot countries. Buggy's can be good but they can also be a pain in Asia. But then carrying a tired child is also painful! Good luck with that decision. I think if you bring it you will alternate between thinking it was the best decision ever and hating it ... and if you leave it behind you'll think the same. We chose not to take one when we first started travelling and our youngest still needed daytime naps. We just tried to do things in the morning most days then rest in the afternoons so she could sleep. And when we went to places like zoo's we hired one. But some days we did end up carrying her a lot! I agree with Cassy - put out what you think you'll need and then try to cull it down to half. We usually put out what we want to take, then cull it down by a few changes of clothes each. Then look at it again the next day and try to cull again. Getting laundry done in most of Malaysia and Indonesia is fast (next day at the worst) and cheap. Pharmacies and supermarkets stocked with toiletries and every medical need you might want are easy to find so don't try to fit in every medication you think you 'might' need for the next 3 months. If you think 'ooh I might need this' chances are you won't or you can buy it as you do. Just cover the essentials, the things that you need straight away if someone is sick/injured.
It's a hard choice isn't it. Not sure if what we are planning will work or not but it seems logical to us. Dad will have a large 90ltr hiking pack that opens at the side. Within that I plan to have one large packing cell for each person (labelled with name). This will hold that persons clothing, 5 outfits at the most. They will wear the one pair of shoes they will be taking. I will carry a backpack with essentials, passports, phones, money , water and snacks. I'm hoping this is doable. Time will tell I guess.
Hi Stephanie, sounds like a fun trip! Be sure to look us up when you get to Malaysia! We'd be happy to show you around Penang. Luggage is one that no one seems to agree on. Wheels ... backpacks ... it's such a personal choice. I don't think there's a right answer, you just have to work out what's best for you. We have a 6 and 4 year old - they have only just started carrying a small backpack each to carry their toys/pencils and a jacket for planes/trains. They used to have small wheeled packs but we found them more hassle then they are worth. In Malaysia at least you are going to strike overpasses and train stations with stairs that the bags will have to be carried up and down. Will your kids be able to lift and carry the bags? What about crossing busy roads? How will they go getting the bags up and down curbs and across busy streets in a hurry? Wheeled bags for the kids aren't a terrible idea, maybe they will work for your kids but for ours we found small backpacks easier. The tradeoff is they can't carry as much but we ended up wheeling the bags half the time and never had enough hands to hold onto the kids. We travel with one large wheeled suitcase that holds all our clothes/toiletries/medical and another mid-sized wheeled suitcase (it's just fits the requirements for international carry-on if you take off the daypack) for IT, schoolbooks etc. We usually have a couple of inflatable sleeping mats in there for the kids as well so we're not always having to pay extra for accommodation. Then I have a deuter daypack with our camera/snacks/passports etc and my husband has a daypack (the one off the small suitcase) with our laptops in it. Having your hands free is a great idea, particularly in Asian cities with the crazy roads. That's why we only have the two wheeled suitcases - we can have a bag each and one hand free or one adult can deal with both bags while the other adult looks after the kids. I'm not sure where you are from, but luggage is relatively cheap to buy in Malaysia and Indonesia. Much cheaper than Australia. Not as cheap as Vietnam though!!!
I would say you are planning on WAY too much! Honestly, you should be able to travel with three or maybe four small carry-ons. Period. Take 3 outfits per person and one sweater each. You most likely won't need the sweater but I always like to have one with me. On pair of shoes each, which will be on their feet. One small bag of toiletries (small bottle of shampoo, bar of soap, and toothbrushes/toothpaste). I always liked to have a bit of children's Tylenol with me. Be aware that people live where you are going, so you will be able to buy what you need. You don't need to pack the kitchen sink.
Hi, thanks to all of you for the answers. It's been very helpfull ! I think for now we decided to take one big suitcase on wheels and one medium backpack in which we will stuff most things, the kids will have each a little backpack for there own belongings that they need troughout the day. The person with the backpach will have 2 hands free, to hold on to 2 kids! This will person will be the papa and he is considering to have a small daypack that he will have to carry on the stomach or maybe we find a backpack on to which you can attach the litlle backpack aswell. I will then also have a daypack with laptop and stuff to get trough the day. Tracy, how large is your large suitcase ? And how many kilo's does it fit? We were also considering to take a litlle city buggy for our youngest, but I'm very much in doubt if we should do this. I do think this could be practical for when the youngest want to do a siesta, he does still sleep 2 h during the day...
Pack light, keep hands free - so definitely take backpacks. Make the older ones take their own stuff and. You won't need much for the countries you are looking at anyway as it will be warm and you should only pack for a week (not 3 months). Take things that can be washed easily by hand, take a travelling washing line for hanging things out to dry and just rotate them. Each parent should have a large backpack which can carry the extra stuff needed for the 2 year old, probably a 60L back pack, the 5 and 7 year olds shouldn't have more than a 20L pack each which is more than enough room for swimmers, shorts, t-shirts and underwear. Buy most of your toiletries once there to save on weight, just take your own sunscreen to start with as it tends to be expensive in Asian countries, if you can find sunscreen in pouches rather than bottles it takes up less room and weighs less (http://www.sunpouch.com/), take plenty of mozzie repellent, but you can also buy this locally and wear in both day and night to guard against Dengue Fever mozzies. I don't agree that wheelie bags are better for the younger ones especially when getting on a off trains, buses and trying to roll them along uneven Asian pavements, carrying on the back is much easier. Put out what you think you want to take, then half it is our rule. Don't take towels, we've never needed them, but do take a couple of sarongs which can be substituted for towels, sheets and all manner of things. We also found flat pack water bottles very useful especially on extended journeys. Personally, once my kids can carry a decent size backpack we're all going to change over to carry on backpacks only, so there will be no chance of lost luggage.
Forgot to add: if you go down the two large wheeled bags option obviously you won't have enough hands free to hold onto three kids. What you could do is ask your oldest child to hold onto the handle on one of the wheeled packs (not carry it, hold onto it with an adult). This is what we do with our 6yr old and he's usually pretty responsible about it. He likes being treated with a bit more responsibility and one of our hands is usually only an inch away anyway!
Pack light, pack light, pack light!! Our motto has always been "You brought it. You haul it." While it doesn't exactly work for a two year old, it does for everyone else. You are also so smart to keep your hands free at all times. We taught our kids that very early in our travels and it's paid dividends many times. Remember that packing for three months is really no different than packing for a week. Be careful in your selections; make sure everything works together, then mix and match. Our rule is one suitcase per person, and we love the weekender series from www.ebags.com. We each have the backpack suitcase which we love. They are durable, lightweight, and well-designed. (And they are inexpensive.) Our youngest started with a bag on wheels because she couldn't handle a backpack bag, and is now just transitioning to the backpack. (Same bag series from eBags, just on wheels rather than the backpack.) We also really love packing cubes, which are great to keep the bag organized and maximize your space. I suggest you and your partner do back-pack bags, while the 7 & 5 yo each have a bag on wheels. (Remember you will likely have to help them maneuver the bags up/down stairs. Shoot to do it in 4 bags, spreading the little ones stuff between yours and your partner's bags. I don't recommend trying to do one big one for the two of you; too big and too heavy. Also remember to not over-stuff your bags upon departure. You're going to be picking up stuff along the way, and nothing is more frustrating to a kid than trying to close their bag when it won't all fit. My kids have over-packed a few times, and have then found homeless shelters or hostels or other spots where they can donate the clothes they simply don't want to lug around any more. If you question whether to bring something, don't. Pack only the bare essentials. You won't regret it. Have a fabulous time!!
Hello Stefanie, I think the others have answered most of the questions. I have one bit of advice and that is to take a stroller. We have been gone 6 months (with 5 children 2yrs to 15 yrs old) and we did take a small "umbroller". This has worked well for us in SE Asia (we are now in Turkey) You can always put the day pack into the stroller when the little one isn't in it. It also comes in handy when the babe falls asleep - it's always hard carrying "dead weight". Alot of the f flights in SEA are at really late times so a stroller is good if your babe is sleeping. If you find that you don't need it, you can always dump it. Buy one second hand before your leave. That way, it is easier to let go of it. We all have back packs, but we would mix it up if we had to do it over again. I hope this helps. Greg