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Only allowed 6 kg, looking for the "right" carryon.

We are a family of 4 traveling condor/lufthansa for 3 weeks. Yes we will check bags, 22 inch rollers, how many is TBD. We want to travel light, but that means 5 outfits for each of us plus swimsuit and pajamas, there is no way I could stand to wear the same 3 outfits. We have to be smaller than 7.87inch depth and 13.2pounds. I want to being able to take as much clothing as possible on the plane, we wear tall clothes/shoes, it is not available in the stores in the city here so I can't risk not being able to buy a pair of women sandals in Italy or a dress that is long enough to cover the knees when that is a challenge only conquered by the internet here. Then there is the you have to gate check because the bins are "full" problem. So now I have moved onto looking at what will fit under the seat and not be made to check. I am not taking a chance and will be weighing our carryons. I can't see that our personal item a small purse/man bags 6x9x3 will be weighed from reading the websites, phones iPadmini or nook and charging devices will go in there. Husband's huge camera will go in his carryon, 4 lbs, his choice. My husbands CPAP should be allowed and not counted as carry on but carryons have to able to fit it will rearranging of weight. I have looked at small rolling bags at Kmart, cheapest and lightest stuff that fits size wise. I am now considering the goodhope bag, cheap for the trip and will fit under the seat. Also the appenzell daypack is in the mix, those two items are about the same size. The Campmor bag is too big for us I think. Also in contention is the carryall tote bag from LLBean because it is the size allowed 20x14x7.5, weighs 1 lb 3oz and has the slip on the back to go over the roller handle and able to mush it under the seat. We will probably pick two different types of bags. We will be staying in 4 locations. Anyone have any opinions or thoughts that might help?

Posted by
66 posts

I have the LLBean carryall tote and it is a lovely, well-made bag. I don't know the weight but pretty light. Hard to go wrong with LLBean. As for 5 outfits a day....if you have two pair of black jet set travel pants from Travelsmith.com, you can easily wash them at night and use them for many different outfits. I take those two pairs of pants and a number of tops. One black, for evening wear, and whatever other colors I want. I usually tak 4 tops but you could take 5 or 6. This is a more efficient way to pack, and something most experienced travelers do. Men have trVel pants as well that can be washed in sink and dry overnight. Again, check Travelsmith. My friend is in Italy now which two airs of black pants, plus she took a long, light cotton black and white striped skirt. She wears it in the day with a black tank, and has a red satin top for evening wear. Double duty and mix and match is the way to go. Lugging a bunch of stuff around is really a drag,

Posted by
2768 posts

Don't think in terms of outfits. Think in terms of items. Let's say 7 clothing items. Two pants, three tops, a button down blouse that is a cardigan AND a top, and a dress. Or whatever combo you like. That's like 7+ outfits (cardigan on or off over everything) Add what you are wearing on the plane, accessories like a scarf, and you have plenty of variety. I am also fairly confident you can fit more than 7 items into your weight limit if you wear the heavier items on the plane (jeans, heavy shoes).

Posted by
2635 posts

I am confused by your post. You say you're checking 22 inch rollers for a family of 4, number TBD. And you're looking around for the largest possible carryons? You're bringing too much luggage. If you're checking bags, then go ahead and check a bag for each person. There's no need for the 20x14x7.5 carryon as well - I use just that carryon size for a 3 week trip, no 22 inch roller necessary.

If you're worried about losing your stuff, have each person pack carefully in a 20x14.7.5 bag - it can easily be done. But if you're checking bags AND still somehow trying to fit "as much clothing as possible" into your carryon, it just doesn't make sense. If you're truly worried about lost luggage but still want to check luggage, just throw one outfit into your small carryon.

Posted by
985 posts

NW - I think I understand what you are saying in that you will check bags but also wish to do carry on with day bag size. Correct me if that is wrong.
We did that except we didn't check any bags. However we did fly business so there was little chance of us being forced to check a bag. What you might want to do for the checked bags is initially pack them all with clothing assortments for each person in each one in case one or more bags are late or go missing. Once all the bags are there they can be rearranged for each individual. We both packed clothes in our RS convertible backpacks and took day bags in which we could fit our electronics, meds, two change of clothing/1 pr. shoes but we were on a tour part of the time and wanted to do that, otherwise we could have used smaller/lighter day bags. Hubby used the RS Civita bag (weight is about .9 lb) and I used the cross-body Pacsafe 400 Gii (weight is 1.9 lbs also has the handle slip). I had no problem carrying the cross-body plus the backpack. We also own the Appenzell daypack and I think I could fit a little more into it than either the Civita or Pacsafe BUT feel it would be too much to carry both that AND a larger bag. In fact, I carried the Appenzell soley for a four day trip this winter. We were in Europe for a month and I took 3 pair pant, 7 shirts - one that was short sleeve and never worn and 2 that were big shirts to be worn over long sleeve shirt, 1 medium weight sweater, rain jacket, 2 lightweight sleeveless sweater tunics that were only worn a few times - cute but not worth the space or weight so lesson learned. I carried the Travelon cross body slim pouch for my purse and it held a bunch! Just be very selective in what you take and make sure you can mix and match. Next time I will add in another pant (because I was completely bored with my selection not because I really needed them) and either a fleece jacket or sweatshirt along with thermals since we now travel shoulder/off season when temps are cool.

Posted by
14097 posts

I'll just put in my usual plug for looking at The Vivienne Files blog for ideas on how to mix and match your wardrobe instead of thinking in terms of outfits. Her clothing capsules are usually too formal for my very casual lifestyle and sometimes the clothes are WAY too expensive for my tastes BUT I've learned so much about putting stuff together for an easy travel wardrobe. I just take my regular clothes but make sure all pants match all shirts which match both cardigans I travel with. If a shirt doesn't match everything it doesn't make the travel team.

www.theviviennefiles.com

I also advocate the use of packing cubes for organization. I use the Eagle Creek sil-nylon (a very light fabric) compression cubes and it helps me know where everything is.

Posted by
212 posts

I would love to travel carryon only but we cannot with only 6 kg. We also have to be able to put husbands CPap into the carry on and be under the weight limit in the worst case scenario, has happened to people we know. Our personal item is extremely size limited, 11.7x15.5x3.9, small computer size or small purse, no backpacks. I have an older pac safe city that is 10x15x4.5 and is too heavy for me to carry around during the day. (I am recovering from a shoulder injury) I got a metro100 and it is much smaller. My husband doesn't even carry a personal item because we hope to get his CPap counted as that if they start questioning it, even though it is over the size dimensions. I thought checking a couple rollers was to put the CPap ( and maybe more) into when we get there, trying to limit the number of items to schlep on and off trains and to apartments from trains. We are traveling during July/August (Venice, Cinque Terra, Sorrento and Rome) so I assume we don't need a fleece or sweater, am I wrong? Super light rain jackets wearing on plane. Two 17 year olds- telling them wear an outfit on the plane and then 4 more only, I was told I guess I will have to choose carefully. Summer travel we get sweaty and I like to take a shower and change clothes completely to go out to dinner or even sit in the apartment and relax in the evening. I am planning 1 shorts, 2 capris, 1 sundress, 1 skirt and 5 short sleeve tops that will go with each bottom, (one top is a button down to cover tank sundress). Wear the tennis shoes pack the sandals. I am not buying travel clothes because we want to be comfortable. I did buy my husband/son zip off pants for the vatican, not taking the chance of being turned away. I have a washing machine in each apartment, I do not plan to sink wash. I originally thought to just take one change of clothes each on the plane and pray it all works out with the checked bags but the plan every possible contingent brain took over. So, to reduce risk of luggage being lost or being forced to gate check, I will bring on as much as possible that will fit under the seat.

Posted by
6346 posts

You mentioned the Appenzell Day Pack; here's a plug for it: That's my main bag for all overseas trips. Last month I carried enough clothes for 3 weeks, mixed cool and warm weather, and it weighed about 13 lbs. I wore my heaviest pants and shoes and a cardigan; everything else went into the Appenzell. I love this bag. You probably will have a lot of trouble convincing teens to pack that lightly, but it can be done. [An aside: My s-in-l took two groups of teenaged girl scouts to Europe some years ago; she still laughs at the enormous suitcases they insisted were essential.]

But as someone above posted, have fun mixing and matching. You'd be surprised (and maybe the kids will be impressed - maybe) with how many outfits will fit into a medium sized backpack.

Posted by
1194 posts

NW - It seems like you are creating a lot of self limiting assumptions:

  • Can't carry on because it is 6kg limit on the carry on bag. Both Condor and Lufthansa allow a carry on plus a personal item. First off, they don't weigh the personal item. Put your heavy stuff in that. Second, you absolutely can meet the 6 kg limit with a carry on bag, especially in the summer. I've traveled with just a personal item and the whole thing (including the pack) came in at 5.5 kg. I had a purse, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 pants, 5 shirts, a sweater, belt, a rain jacket, electronics, toilet kit, jewelry, and travel comfort kit in the bag. I wore a maxi skirt, top, jacket, and another pair of shoes. I realize that it is really difficult for a newbie one bagger to hit the 6 kg limit, but it is most certainly possible. Your "It's impossible" attitude is really going to prevent you from working through your problem.
  • Full bin issue - more of a problem on US domestic than international flights. Condor has free checked baggage so you should not see a bin issue. If you do encounter a problem US domestically tell the FA that you are flying internationally with your bag and that they'll be responsible for checking it all the way through if they force a gate check. That's usually enough to give them pause. (BTW, most domestic airlines put international travelers in an earlier boarding group to avoid this problem if your travel is booked through the same codeshare)
  • CPAP shouldn't count toward the weight at weigh in? But if it does... put hubby's clothes in other peoples bags to compensate. I think you have 4 bags available for rebalancing. Use that on flying days.
  • Share toiletries or don't bring them at all.
  • Share charging cables. You do know that most cables are either Apple or micro-USB. You can double up. Your iPad mini USB charger should charge all your devices.
  • I noticed that you are taking shorts and a skirt. I'd suggest dumping the shorts. The skirt does the same thing but is more appropriate.
  • As noted above, stop thinking in outfits. Think capsule wardrobe instead (I think you're already there looking at your clothing list). Make sure everything mixes and matches. 3 bottoms x 5 tops = 15 outfits plus dress.

One of my favorite ultralight posts is by Lani Teshima: The Ultra-Minimalist Packing List: How I Packed for Europe

Another inspiring post is by Brooke Schoenman from Her Packing List (3.7 kg) : Ultralight Packing List: I Traveled for 3 Weeks with a 12L Handbag

And Rick Steves guide Sarah Murdoch stays under 8 kg. She has a video on this site: Traveling Light and Right

Edit: I just realized Sarah stays under 8 kg. Oops. She still has a lot of good advice.

Posted by
14097 posts

If you do encounter a problem US domestically tell the FA that you are flying internationally with your bag and that they'll be responsible for checking it all the way through if they force a gate check. That's usually enough to give them pause. (BTW, most domestic airlines put international travelers in an earlier boarding group to avoid this problem if your travel is booked through the same codeshare)

Cindy, I did not know that. Thanks for the info!

Posted by
1194 posts

@Pam - it's mostly because you paid a higher fare for your tickets (because you have an international segment). I also found that some international fares gave me premium seating on the domestic portion of the flight. You better believe I took it!

Posted by
8542 posts

Cindy, I have never seen domestic airlines putting international travelers into a high boarding group on connecting flights or get better seats. Anyone else confirm this? I've flown Delta, United, American & USAirways to Europe in recent years and have always been assigned boarding group on when you check in, usually fighting for space.

Posted by
1194 posts

@Stan - I had it happen recently when I flew LAN to Peru. My domestic portion to Miami was via American. I was in boarding group 2 and I also got premium seats at no additional charge. I bought the ticket through LAN via their website. I didn't know about the premium seats until I went to the American website and did my seat selection.

Posted by
212 posts

Thank you for all the ideas. I will be taking one pair of shorts, I wear shorts almost everyday. When hiking or over my swimsuit or hanging out in the apartment, I am very comfortable in shorts. My teens will be wearing shorts, except on the days they have to cover legs and knees. Teens and their devices will require their own charging capabilities each evening, I can't make them share and not everything is apple. Husband and his 4 pound camera and lens, then add strap, extra battery, charger, cables, cleaning stuff, and on and on. This makes packing in one bag impossible for him, it is about 8-9 pounds of gear according to him. Yes the CPAp is an issue and I have contacted both Condor and lufthansa and have been told it is fine, doesn't count against him, but then was told it is really up to the gate agent. So no real answer in writing that says good. Maybe we will pack our pockets with 4 pounds of electronics and offload into our bags once on the first plane, second plane has 4 more pounds of carryon. Just have to pick a way and go for it. And I keep reminding myself that this is worth the $2000 in plane tickets I saved by choosing this airline ticket.

Posted by
5697 posts

Something to keep in mind since your teens cannot share chargers ... how will everyone share the (quite possibly) one outlet? We carry an extension cord with adapter (and a long enough cord to reach from the often-inconvenient outlet to a safe place for the electronic devices.)

Posted by
19119 posts

My partner needs a portable oxygen concentrator, and she checked with a domestic airline we are using in a month. She was told she can carry it on without it counting towards the carryon limit if she has a doctor's note that she needs it at her destination.

the often-inconvenient outlet

I don't know where you have been staying, but I've carried electronics with chargers in a variety of small properties (Gästehäuser and Privatzimmer) in Germany, Austria, and Czechia since 2000, and I've always found a convenient receptacle. Often there is a table or small desk in the room with a receptacle under it, one socket probably used by the lamp on the desk. Most devices today come with a charging cord with a male USB A plug on one end and a plug on the other end that fits the device. If not, you can get them inexpensively everywhere. If everyone carries such a cord for their own device, you can use a charger like this one. It fits in any receptacle on the continent and charges up to four devices.

As for bags, when I go to Europe, I wear washable slacks and a golf type or polo shirt, shoes (leather, low cut for summer, ankle high for winter), a light jacket in summer or a down parka in winter, and, of course, underwear. I pack two more sets of underwear, two more pair of washable slacks, about four more shirts, a pair of walking shorts, and a light weight sweater. I do not take an extra pair of shoes. I also take along a small "kit" for washcloth, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc, and a drawstring bag for any electronics I don't need on the plane. I carry a small case for my netbook, along with mouse and charger. That weighs 4 or 5 lb. Everything in the carryon bag weighs just under 10 lbs.

I've done this for trips of up to three weeks. As long as I wash nightly, you could go all summer.

After a recent trip, I put everything I took in a box of known length and width and measured the height of the contents. The total volume was 1400 cu in. That's about the volume of the Appenzell bag, which I have, but the Appenzell bag opens like a backpack and is difficult to pack, so I don't use it. I also own a Goodhope 3 in 1 Convertible bag, which just holds my stuff but with no extra room. It weighs 1 kg, about 2.2#. What I take is my Essential Carryon (Campmor). It's bigger than I need but soft, so it compresses to a much smaller size, and it only weighs 1 lb, 13 oz (1.8 kg), about half a pound less than the Goodhope bag.

Because you are also taking checked bags, I don't understand your problem. Put your swimsuits and pajamas in a checked bag along with, if you must, two other outfits.

Posted by
39 posts

Has your husband considered a travel CPAP? Mine changed my travel life. It's less than half the weight of my at home CPAP and less than half the size. As others have mentioned, my travel CPAP is not as sturdy as a regular one but it travels in a small tupperware box and can fit in my PacSafe purse if needed. My regular, insurance paid CPAP supply company referred me to their fee only supplier, so the prescription was automatically transferred. Then I just had to wait for a sale. :-)

Happy Travels.