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What luggage do you use? Suitcases/ backpacks?
we are in the planning stages of our trip and are visiting the USA in afew months where everything is soooo much cheaper than Australia to buy. So we are organising afew staples that we will need while travelling long term.
One decision we are yet to make is do we buy packs or suitcases?
Our children will be 4 and 6 when we leave.
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We prefer to travel with one large rolling suitcase. Everyone gets their own packing cell for clothes and we share a toilet bag. We find one big suitcase much easier than two or more smaller bags because one of us can wheel the bag and the other can push the stroller/look after the kidlet whenever we're in airports, hotels etc. I was in shock at how cheap everything was in the US - clothes, shoes, suitcases. Get yourself to an outlet mall or a Ross Dress for Less and go crazy. We ended up buying an extra bag to fit all our shopping in. We got a whole year's worth of clothes for our son.
I think it really depends on what you plan to do. If you are going off road, I would propose backpacks and if you stay in cities, move a lot and or have a car rental, then suitcases. We found it is easier to look for stuff inside it and load/unload suitcases rather than backpacks. We chose rolling suitcases as we knew we had more accessible places but most importantly my knees are shot and carrying 25kg was out of the question. We also had a stroller so that took care of the issue of being able to hold our son. We had two stacked together by a belt so I was able to carry both and my wife took care of the carry-on bad that hang with the stroller. It worked out fairly well. 20 countries+:) But, some cities are really bad in terms of elevators at metros i.e. London so that was a bit of a nightmare. These were ours and we were happy with them: http://shop.heys.ca/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=AirLite_26
Based on their physical size, the kids would not be able to carry a very large backpack/day bag at all. our 2 kids were aged 3.5 and 5 when we left, both tall for their age, yet still were fitted with only 7ltr and 11ltr day bags respectively. The 7ltr bad was TINY and didn't fit much at all. The 11ltr was a good size and at times, probably contained a tad too much weight for our pre-schooler, who tends to be a bit of a 'collector' LOL. anyway, their bags contained pens, crayons, 1.5 stuffed animals each and other bits and pieces. much to our surprise, they always carried their packs when we moved between places--guess they knew and could see how much we ourselves were carrying so 1) we couldn't carry it for them and 2) they were doing their share. we got their little day bags at Kathmandu--they have great 50% off sales and we got them for $12 and $20 respectively (end 2010). they are great quality, comfortable and survived our trip and beyond. here's the link http://www.kathmandu.com.au/Packs_&_Luggage/Kids_Packs.htm i wouldn't recommend having their own rolling suitcases cus they can be cumbersome sometimes such as getting on buses/trains/planes, in crowds, and depending on where you are going, may not be suitable for the local environment. then you'd be stuck pulling/carrying those too (this was sage advice given to me by Our Travel Lifestyle!) my husband and i carried a main pack each (his was 90ltr and mine was about a 60ltr, about 14/16kg each) with all our clothes, etc and a day bag each, and even this at times was too much 'stuff' that encumbered us. when you're in america, be sure to pick up a pocket sized antiseptic spray called 'Poly-To-Go'--INVALUABLE!! can get it at walmart or any pharmacy--get a few too!!
THanks again. We were leaning towards suitcases as we have them. Do you think 2 medium and 2 in-flight size would be too much. That is what we have. And I was thinking if we all had our own single case/pack we are responsible for it would be OK. The children, at 4 and 6, will be able to pull their own small case. Is this excessive? I am hoping to ditch the stroller by the time DS is 4, we have ergos and becos if we need to carry them. DH does want to bring his golf clubs though...maybe I will have to use that as part of his luggage allowance. Carla
Definitely backpacks - you will need hands free to hold your kids hands, especially in busy areas and suitcases do not allow this. Easier for getting on and off planes, trains, boats etc - suitcases are just so cumbersome. The kids will be old enough to carry their own little backpacks too!
I would use backpacks. You can probably do 2 big ones for all the clothes, etc. And then maybe some small ones for the littles for their toys or other special things they want to bring. That way they will feel like they are more a part of the trip:) I LOVE my Osprey pack as it carries as a backpack, is really durable, yet open sort of like a suitcase so I can find things easier.
Backpacks. Dueter or Osprey are both good. I have carried around a LoweAlpine for the last nine months and it is great. My wife and kids are carrying Deuters. They all open from the top and bottom so access is easy. Have fun! Greg
Thanks everyone, I will check out the Osprey ones. Do you guys recommend any other particular brands? And also what sizing for small children do you think? thanks Carla