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Packing List Critique (Detailed)

I need some serious critique, please..
We are a family of four travelling from NZ to Italy for 30 nights flying out on Boxing Day and returning in late January

We will occasionally have access to laundry in our accommodations, but there may be delays of up0 to 5 days to access laundry facilities. We will be doing sightseeing and walking, no snow sports or anything out there..

I want help packing correctly without stressing my wife. She thinks I am trying to go light. I think I’m packing too much.

We will be visiting

We will be day tracking from a few stops, eg Amalfi, Pompeii, Tuscany, but wont have bags for these days, apart from day bags.

Temps between 0-15 (Jan 2023)

Apart from the flights into Zurich and out of Rome, we will be travelling by train

2 Antler 80cm suitcases
(I also have a 68cm one if I can swap a large bag out). I can buy new bags but would rather not..
2 pacsafe 20 L day bags
2 travelon crossbodies
2 travel money belts
2 travel neck wallets

I know the bags are large. But I can’t seem to figure a way without the large bags for a family of four.

5 undies and socks
2 Merino short sleeve t-shirts
1 Merino long sleeve t-shirt
2 cotton t-shirts
1 Merino jersey
1 polar fleece jacket
1 warm waterproof jacket (Gore Tex and Fleece)
1 or 2 jeans
1 travel long pants
1 long sleeve thermal top
1 gore Tex under armour shoes
1 pj bottoms
1 gloves, beanie, scarf

Kid (13)
repeat of above

Kid (10)
5 undies and socks
Thermal top and bottoms
5 T-shirt’s
2 polar fleeces
1 Merino jersey
2 jeans
1 set pj’s
1 warm waterproof jacket
1 waterproof shoes
1 gloves, beanie,scarf

5 undies and 3 bras and socks
5 tops
3 pants
1 Merino jersey
1 polar fleece
1 nice warm top
2 shoes -1 goretex
1 thermal top
1 pj’s
1 gloves beanie scarf

Toiletries 1 bag to share
3 iPads
1 macbook air laptop
1 kindle
4 headphones (over ear noise cancelling for the 50 + hours of flying )
2 power travel adapters
2 power chargers and 6 cables
3 phones
4 air tags (in each bag)
3 pocket foldable bags

I know it’s a lot but it’s a long time. I will take the two suitcases and the wife and son will take the day bags. I think I will be able to move the suitcases ok. I am a very experienced solo traveller, having been to most Asian countries, including India, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, USA and more.

Do I have too much, and what am I missing? I need a serious critique of this. It may be to take less, take more, or change how you plan on transporting. I can’t change taking my family unless someone has a way to deal with that too

Thanks in advance. Fire away.


Posted by
860 posts

We are Australians and so know your pain about long trips.

My big tip is to use packing cubes. It makes it so much easier to pack and unpack and if you get good quality (we use Kathmandu ones) they will compress your clothes a bit.

On your specifics - do you really need 3 phones, 3 iPads, 1 kindle and a MacBook? You might find it hard to fit the Mac into a hotel safe and electronics get heavy. We travel (two people) with one iPad and two phones.

Reconsider the need for the pocket foldable bags. What do you plan to use them for? We just took a couple of large ziplock bags for any washing that was still a bit damp.

Also, do you really need two money belts and two travel wallets? We took a debit card and two credit cards on our last trip and managed mostly without cash. We mostly just put one credit card in the front pocket of our jeans and left the others in the hotel safe. Passports mostly stayed in the hotel safe and we carried our Australian driver's licences for ID. We have traveled in the past with neck wallets and in winter they are a real pain to extricate from your clothing when you want to access them.

How do you plan to do your washing? We travel with laundry detergent sheets, a pegless clothesline and a small microfibre towel (useful to wring your clothes to get more water out). On 4-6 week trips we get by with a mix of hand washing (tops, socks, bras, undies etc) and laundromats every couple of weeks for jeans. We also pack quick drying clothes. T-shirts are either merino, Uniqlo airism or those activewear ones people wear to the gym, as these fabrics dry much faster than cotton T-shirts. Undies are microfibre, socks are merino.

You could probably lose the polar fleece jacket as the gore tex/fleece combo will suffice. Mum might want to add jewellery/make up.

Mum could probably lose the pjs and instead take some yoga pants. I always travel with black loose yoga pants - they are my comfy plane clothes and then get used as lounge wear and pjs.

We also now don't take heavy beanies as we use merino buffs which can be used as either a beanie or a scarf.

Travelling by train with such large suitcases will be a pain. You need to be able to put your luggage in an overhead rack. We travel with an 80litre and a 65litre wheeled duffel which are narrow enough to fit in a luggage rack, and easy to wheel along a narrow train corridor. We have Osprey brand but something like High Sierra or Black Wolf would work just as well. Your 10 year old is old enough to carry a day pack.

Toiletries - be ruthless! Toiletries are heavy. If staying in hotels you will really only need toothpaste as shampoo/soap is provided. You can always buy what you need overseas at a pharmacy or supermarket.

Biggest advice is to do a test pack! Work out how to fit things in best and how to balance the weight. We pack the heaviest things at the wheel end of our bags as it makes them more stable.

Talk to other families you know who have traveled about what they took and didn't use, or didn't take and wish they did. One thing we didn't take and so bought on our last trip (August to October this year, Scandinavia and Spain) was sporks. Useful for eating yoghurt, cutting up cheese, buttering bread rolls, eating fried rice. Lightweight plastic and so useful. We saved a lot of money by being able to make sandwiches for lunch and have yoghurt for dessert.

Have a great trip. It's been a bit isolated in the Southern Hemisphere the last few years.

Posted by
183 posts

To me, it seems like it might be very difficult to maneuver two 80 cm suitcases for 30 days. Might be more mobile to have every person have their own smaller suitcase than to have two giant ones, especially on trains. Would the 10 and 13 year olds be able to manage their own carryon sized rolling bag, along with some type of small daypack? Or even use three carryon sizes vs two large ones (if the 10 year old can’t manage their own). However, this may require purchasing new cases, which is another set of decisions to make, haha.
I think you’ve got a nice “packing light” list. I don’t see a lot of extraneous stuff, except possibly the MacBook (but maybe you need it for work/school reasons). Would a small Bluetooth keyboard for the iPads be a possible substitute for the MacBook? (depending on your needs).
Sounds like a great trip!

Posted by
4087 posts

I use leggings and a long sleeve shirt as pjs since I could wear these as clothes in an emergency(such as other clothes that I handwashed still being damp. You can always buy some short sleeve tshirts as souvenirs if the weather were warmer than expected. I also liked the idea someone had for taking a folding bag that could be an additional checked bag on the way home.

Posted by
2256 posts

I don’t think your packing lists are unreasonable but I agree with Barbara that the kids should have their own rolling bags with the youngest having a slightly smaller one. I truly get that you don’t want to buy more luggage but two 80 cm bags are too large and unwieldy for hopping on and off trains quickly not to mention dealing with stairs at the train stations. The kids having their own bags will make them feel more grownup and prepare them for the realities of independent travel. Just make sure they can lift/ carry the bags themselves.

Posted by
8202 posts

I dont envy you.

No shirts for you? Too many electronics to manage. Counting what you have on, 4 pairs of pants? Wet jeans in winter are very cold. I'm inferring that you are looking at laundry once a week or so?

I think mums list is too much to manage, but I dont think you will win that argument. And the kids dont need all that stuff either.

Posted by
15300 posts

I don't think you're seriously overpacking, and would kindly disagree with a few of the comments above. When taking trains, you do not need to be able to fit your suitcases into the racks above your head. There are arrangements to accommodate any size bag; see this section of the "Man in Seat 61" website.

Also, there's no need to travel with either makeup or jewelry (I don't), and I'd NEVER recommend that anyone carry a credit card in an exterior pocket. Packing cubes (not compression bags) are a big help as far as separating items and getting to what you want in a hurry. If there is a way for everyone to get down to just 1 jacket, layering underneath as necessary, I'd try to do that. Ugh, lots of electronics....

Are you staying in hotels or flats? If hotels, like you're planning on doing a weekly wash at a coin laundry? No issue with that; commercial machines are large and can handle big loads at one time so a wash-up shouldn't take long. Yep, we do some hand-washes in our hotel rooms too but trying to drip-dry clothing for 4 might be a bit a challenge. If staying in flats, you might have a wash machine but could be small and take a long-ish time to do a load. You're unlikely to have a dryer.

All that said, your two large bags probably measure 30 - 31", and will be challenging to wrestle on/off trains, and up/down stairs. While you're a "very experienced solo traveller", I would fill those bags with approx. what they'll be holding, and carry them up and down some narrow flights of stairs. Do a mock transfer on/off a train and see how quickly you could do that by yourself; you may not have a lot of time to do that on regionale trains, and you do not want to hold up other folks needing to get off toot sweet. It would be better if your wife could manage one of them. All-in-all, it would be easier to have 3-4 smaller bags allocated amongst of your party than 2 huge bags managed solely by you.

Posted by
9955 posts

I’d recommend each person have their own packing cubes to keep their things together. They are lightweight and keep things organized. If we have drawers or shelves at our accommodations we just put our cubes in them. No need to unpack them. Large suitcases are a pain, especially when traveling by train. I would take 3 or 4 smaller cases. Your youngest could probably manage with a larger backpack.

We just got home last night from a 10 week trip to Europe using carryon bags and a backpack each. We traveled by car and train, depending on where we were. Some trains are only at the station for a couple of minutes. When you have an accommodation with a washer you can expect to hang clothes to dry. The racks are sometimes not very big and laundry for 4 can use a lot of drying space. In the winter things can take longer to dry as well. Having laundry facilities every 5 days, then factoring in drying time, can mean 7 days between being able to wear things. I travel with jeans every trip and will wear them multiple times between washing. We take laundry detergent sheets. Don’t expect laundry soap to be there. We each packed 2 pair of jeans and a pair of faster drying travel pants and that worked out well for bottoms. If you plan to use laundromats the laundry could be done faster. Some places have laundries that you can drop off clothes and pick them up later. I used a service like that in Varenna one time.

Posted by
1028 posts

Does your 80 cm luggage meet the dimensions limits of checked luggage for your airline?

As a Dad and former sherpa for family of four travel, I have been in same situation. I would suggest taking one large wheeled bag (the largest that will meet the check-in limits) and a large 50 to 70 litre properly fitted backpack with a hipbelt which can be zipped up for check-in (e.g. Osprey Fairpoint 70). Pulling two large wheeled bags would be very difficult. I would want at least one hand free while hauling all that baggage from place to place. You should test pack to make sure everything fits and at least walk around the block to see if you can handle these loads. Mom should be unencumbered to deal with kids, tickets, taxi etc and assist with the big bag whenever necessary. The older child could assist by dealing with a smaller 20-in rolling bag. But it may be a bit much to expect a ten year old to deal with a bag if there are escalaors or stairs; it will only add to your difficulties when your hands are pretty much full.

I fully understand the number of electronics. Realistically, in this day and age, every person needs (or at least wants) their own phone or iPad. For the parents' sanity and the kids' happiness, you're probably bringing the bare minimum of electronics.

I would bring a Gore-Tex shell jacket and only one fleece (extra fleece are bulky). With the merino tops, beanie and gloves, you will have lots of layering options and should be more than warm enough. The rest of your list is okay. However, I would normally carry fewer tops (5), socks (3) and underwear (3). With four people, every ounce counts. I would sinkwash all underwear and socks every night to keep everything clean and fresh and reduce need to do big laundry or to carry so much socks and underwear. Buy the quick drying stuff. Use a hair dryer to dry any damp socks in the morning.

I would even add shorts and flip-flops in case you stay at any large hotel with a pool or exercise room. They are also good for lounging or sleeping. It is nice not to wear shoes after a long day of walking.

Posted by
979 posts

Looks like an awesome trip you have planed! I just got back from from 3 weeks of cold, rainy hiking (and half marathon) in the Alps and Bavaria with everything in a single 30L backpack. Here is my feedback:

  • First, good job on keeping the undies and sock count down. This is what really determines how often you wash. I personally went with three pair and planned on sink washing each day but I didn't factor in all my hiking and running would chew through my socks in the first week! I had to purchase new socks half way through.
  • Second, ditch the iPads and Laptop. This is a lot of extra stuff to carry and you can do everything you need by phone. I almost took my laptop but decided against it at the last minute and was so glad I did. The Kindle is the only one I might consider if I'm really into a particular book. If you are worried about kids being bored in my experience (4 kids) they will be so excited with all the new experiences they totally forget about screen time.
  • You are not going to need as many outer wear pieces as you think as you can get a lot more wearings out of them when you layer. One light sweater/jersey and one jacket worn over a t shirt (or two) should suffice. I personally brought 4 quick dry under shirts (2 short, 2 long sleeve), two light sweaters, one rain jacket. I could wear the sweater for several days before they needed washing.
  • Same with pants, you can get a lot of wearings out of them before you need to wash them. I brought 2 pair and I didn't bring jeans due to weight/drying considerations. One was a travel specific pair that could be washed/dried easily, the second was a pair of basic black pants that didn't' show dirt/mud. Consider cutting the jeans down to one pair.
  • One pair of shoes is all you need based on what you describe. Shoes take a lot of room and bringing two pair automatically guarantees you are going to haul one pair around that you end up using less than half the trip. If you wife really, really wants two pair do what I did and buy a pair there. I had my running shoes for the first half of the trip and then donated them and bought a pair of Goretex hikers for the second half.
  • I think you might be taking too many "extra" bags/pouches. 2 travelon crossbodies, 2 travel money belts, 2 travel neck wallets, 3 pocket foldable bags. Do you really need to use all these? One nice thing about winter travel is you have more pockets available. Do an inventory of your jacket pockets and see if they can fit what you need. For example, you won't need a neck wallet or money belt if your valuables are in an inside jacket pocket zipped up. Your travel pants might also have some security pockets (mine did). I personally only brought one foldable bag that I used for grocery shopping, all my valuable went in my inside jacket pocket or my hidden pocket in my travel pants.

Everything thing else looks good to me. This is far from over-packing and under-packing. It looks like Goldilocks packing to me!


Posted by
726 posts

When I took my teenage son to Italy 15 years ago, for a month and washing once en route, we each had a backpack. I had a purse. That was it, and we didn’t feel we lacked anything. I’m older now, obviously, and can’t carry it, but I haven’t added to the basics. You’re at a disadvantage in that winter traveling requires more weight than summer traveling, but you can still keep it to a minimum.
Clearly, I’m in the minority here, but I do think you’re packing heavy. Think about it—how many layers will each of you be wearing every day? Underwear, shirt, sweater/fleece of some type and a coat, right? You’ll be walking a lot; more than that and you’ll be too warm and for your inside activities as well. You’ll get sick of fewer wardrobe items, especially tops, but lighter, smaller bags for me are worth it. Remember, too, if you’re desperately cold, you can buy something on the road.
For winter trips now, I still go with the “one to wear, one to wash” school of pants management for everyone. Jeans are best for us. (If they get wet during the day and don’t dry overnight, well, that’s what hair dryers are for.) One of these you’ll be wearing on the plane, along with a couple layers of what you listed in your packing list. You know the wear your heavier shoes/clothing trick, I suppose. Re T shirts, does your 10-year old need 5? Seems like a lot. Even when wearing as the first layer, they can go more than a day without a wash. Years ago, I invested in travel underwear. Ex-officio is my favorite, but Uniqlo makes a less expensive line. Two T shirts for you and the boys, and for mum one and one bra. Or, depending on her size on the top size, she could add a camisole, also travel-type for a nice warm foundation layer. Using the travel weight underwear and using the wear one wash one plan, you can cut down significantly on the underwear wardrobe. I would recommend adding one pair of wool hiking socks for each family member. They are comfortable and warm, which coming from summer, you may find comforting. Your short-sleeve cotton T shirts seem duplicative. When would you plan on wearing them? For everyone, are you keeping to one or two basic colors (black, khaki, blue) with entirely mixable shirts and sweaters? If not, rethink your actual pieces. Re pj’s, yoga pants for mum are good, with a travel T shirt; for pjs, what can you and the boys get away with in terms of more than one use type of use per garment?
With quick-dry underwear, wearing/wash allows you to keep what you’re on top of it cleaner for longer; it doesn’t get stinky. For other stuff, do you kids generally carry a wallet, or are you using your neck wallets for them to carry their own passports and shot cards? I’d try very hard to make do with the kindle and iPads. Ditching the laptop will save you anxiety about it being stolen or stored in hotel safes, and it will knock off a couple pounds. Otherwise, personally, I would not cut back on the electronics. I don’t know what your evening relaxation drill is, but unless your kids are going to watch Italian TV, you’ll need something to entertain them. I’d add a couple of safety pins, a very small notebook, sporks, and a few ziplock bags in various sizes, especially if you’re going to be having room picnics of cheese and ham. No leftovers drama. I always take a nail clipper and file. All of those hours in the dry air of the plane and the dry, heated buildings makes our hands really dry. A tube of hand cream and chapstick is a good idea. Hotels and even apartments are usually short on towels. A microfiber, quick dry towel that can be used for rolling and stomping the underwear is very useful. That way, nobody showers and dries off with a damp towel. One last thing – mix up the wardrobe for everyone in the two suitcases/whatever. One goes missing and somebody is wearing a lot of the same clothing.
Bon voyage!

Posted by
15300 posts

No right or wrong to whatever works for each of us personally but the problem with buying shoes on the trip, should a 2nd pair become necessary, is that those shoes will not be broken in. With the amount of walking we do on our trips, the last thing we'd want to deal with is a new pair of shoes, thus we wear one, pack one that both have been road (or, more accurately, sidewalk) tested.

Posted by
4087 posts

I don't know if you can get them in Australia, but the British Company Rohan makes pants that dry more quickly than most pants.

Posted by
3134 posts

Your kids are old enough to be responsible for their own belongings. Granted, supervision is sometimes needed. My daughter was always responsible for counting our bags after each change (not to say I didn't silently do the same.) That was her first travel job. After preschool, I never packed my daughter's clothes in my bag. She was responsible for her carryon and/or PI (and counting bags). At 10, I don't recall her having a need for any more than one book bag sized luggage (wheels). I did supervise the passport when not needed during transport and then I kept a close eye on where she put it. Now is the time for your kids to learn how to travel, while they have you to fall back on.

Then, if something doesn't fit in carryon luggage, it doesn't go. That will possibly lessen the amount on your list slightly. Other than electronics, it looks good.

RE: Mom
1 Merino jersey
1 polar fleece
1 nice warm top
PICK one of the above.

Posted by
9133 posts

it seems like it might be very difficult to maneuver two 80 cm suitcases for 30 days.

Oh my god, absolutely. Bring smaller cases, and kids 10 and 13 can handle at least part of their own stuff.

Google stuff like "family travel packing' and "family travel backpacks" -- there are tons of blogs that have written about this at length. Take the time to learn from their experience.

Posted by
1259 posts

The necessity of each and every item on your list is determined by experience or your appetite for risk. I also think you have too much electronics (ditch the laptop and the kindle) (I'd add binoculars and a tiny point'n'shoot camera so you are not waving your phone around all the time but that's just me.) The rest all looks perfectly manageable. Ditch the cotton unless it's really important to you. You can always buy an extra layer on the other end if the weather turns nastier than expected. Sink and shower laundry should be practiced at home so everyone knows how to handle their own dirties.

I am a carryon-only backpack guy (and highly recommend the practice) but I also agree with the advice you have already received to provide the kids with their own roller bags instead of trying to slog two massive hold-alls. You would have three, 40-liter, standard-sized, rolling carryons, a smaller roller for the 10-year-old, and three, personal-sized, backpacks or crossbody bags. Everything you need for your trip to stay comfortable, warm, and dry should fit easily into these seven bags.

Posted by
66 posts

I don’t think you are overdoing the packing with 3 pants and 5 tops. As a couple we sink wash undies and tops, but I found with the kids along, this wasn’t really feasible particularly if you are all sharing a hotel room. There’s nowhere to hang it.
With our kids, once they reached the age that yours are, we travelled with a 55-65 cm suitcase and a backpack each. Dad can help the youngest if necessary. Each can carry their own headphones, electronics, water bottles, snacks in the backpack. Make sure you take a change of clothes or two on the plane with you, and cross pack the other cases, my daughter’s luggage went missing once for a few days and it was not at all easy to find new clothes to her taste.
My kids were always happy to travel with just their phone and I’m planning on leaving my iPad home on my next trip. They are quite heavy and another item to worry about securing, and an iPhone can do everything an iPad can. But if it’s a dealbreaker for your kids, I totally understand taking them :)

Posted by
78 posts

I think each person should be responsible for carrying their own pack. Get your kids a good backpack (something like Red Oxx 20 L K-12 KatPack which should be able to hold all of that child's clothing--these are expensive but have a lifetime warranty and will never wear out so they are an investment but people include these things in their wills. If they need an under-the-seat bag for in-transit activities, then use a messenger bag that the 13-year-old can wear across his body. As for you and your wife, each pack their own bag and make certain that each of you can carry it--whatever it is--be it backpack, wheelie or whatever. Then, use your daypacks as your in-transit bag. I think this would be so much easier. Plus, it will teach your children to be responsible for their own stuff. I know my grandsons have been responsible for their own bags when we go on vacation (for 8 or 9 years) and they are just now 16 and 19 years old. Good luck!

Posted by
465 posts

Hi Trent, Looks like a fun trip & you've gotten some great advice! I agree with another poster - Take a solid weight gore-tex and a puffer jacket that doesn't peak out the bottom, no need to take an additional fleece, and you have the Merino Jersey. That's 3 layers. Same for mum & the kids, unless maybe I'm missing something the kids want a fleece along? I wonder if you bundled them all up in all these layers, is it too much? Might be a fun test drive!
By the way, I completely agree 2 pairs of shoes is absolutely fine. I take sturdy walking shoes (actually Moab hiking boots, hate having cold feet) & something light weight to slip on for nearby restaurants.

Posted by
65 posts

First off, a huge thank you to everyone on this thread. I love the ideas and the feedback, it is really appreciated. I have gained many many valuable hints from this thread.

I thought I was well planned, but each and every one of you have provided great advice. I need to digest a lot of this over the next few days, but you have definitely changed my thinking in a number of areas.

In short, here is where I am at


  1. I wanted roller bags so I could manage the bags, whilst my wife manages the kids, however, I will be trail packing a large back pack this weekend, so thanks for the ideas.
  2. I strongly get the point of most replies to drop the suitcases. Lets see how many packs I can get this into. I have comfort that 3 of us can carry the load ok.
  3. Im thinking of using this as we already own it. If it works well, I will consider getting another bag
  4. As we live in New Zealand, getting good gear is very difficult. Ive looked into many of the brands suggested and just cant get them here. I am considering this for my second bag My worry is that it is too big, and perhaps I should go with two of what I am trialling in point 2, and ditch all suitcases.
  5. We will also try and rationalise the shoulder bags and backpacks. The bulky jackets will take up the large backpack. I'll also review after we decide on what bags we are using for the packing.
  6. For money belts and neck belts, I will also try and rationalize. We have passports, 4 cards and small amount of cash. Its the passports that may need to be distributed over the multiple belts.
  7. Love the packing cube ideas, and splitting them between bags. Ive picked up 9 cells today, as well as 3 dirty laundry bags.


  1. I will try and do a test pack this weekend, and report back, but I am making progress on rationalising further.
  2. I am down to one light Merino pullover, which I can use for a formal top, One merino jersey, and a great goretex jacket and fleece in one.
  3. I will have one pair of shoes, my wife will take two, as she needs to break shoes in well otherwise she has issues.
  4. Love the hint for the clothes line. I will absolutely add that
  5. I will check on Jeans. I went for jeans as they are considerably warmer than the travel pants, and I am not taking thermal bottoms.


  1. For technology, I wanted a laptop, as I wanted to write reflections, and struggle with ipads without a keyboard. I also wanted to be able to access work. I am scared about losing the laptop though.
  2. Ipads were wanted for the long flights and 10+ hours of train travel that I have booked. I will talk to the kids and see if they will share. I can also put movies on these to keep the kids happy at night.
  3. We are doing a family pack on Sunday, I will test my wife on a number of your pointers.
  4. I was hoping to keep all electronics in one pack as we travel through train stations and the like, so we could ensure these stay secure. Alternatively, we could split them across a couple of bags.

Again, a huge thank you to all that have responded, I really appreciate all the thought you have put in. I will update this thread after my test pack. Still happy to receive hints.

Thanks, Trent

Posted by
860 posts

Australian here again so can comment on brands you can probably get in NZ. Try Bivouac Outdoor or Torpedo7 in Auckland as well as Macpac. Paddy Pallin ships from Australia to New Zealand and has a good range of bags -

The High Sierra looks good. My brother in law uses the same one for his travel and is happy with it.

We got a great Black Wolf wheeled duffel a year ago through our local buy nothing Facebook group. Black Wolf should be available in NZ. Ask around your friends as people will often lend you travel bags. Also have a look on trademe for a secondhand bag.

I would make sure you can test drive the 120 litre bag before you commit. You will be able to pack a lot of stuff into it which will make it heavy.

Agree with others about the kids having a bag each. They could just take their school backpacks with some clothes in them.

Posted by
1259 posts

Test packing is crucial to figuring out how the details fit together but those details will change dramamtically each time you load up and get moving again. By the time this epic is finished, you will have a different approach to your next trip. Keep reminding yourselves you're going on an adventure; you're not taking your comfortable household with you.

I have several suggestions as a result of your latest post but you'll figure it out. (Okay, one thing: forget the laptop! Get a moleskine and a pencil for your notes. Get a keyboard case for one of the iPads or just accept screen typing for the VERY FEW times you're online. You can always tell your coworkers "Hey, I was in places with NO service!")

All the best! Check in when you return!

Posted by
8202 posts

You mentioned security your laptop as a concern. Dont assume that you will have guest safes in your hotel rooms, or that if you do, they will be big enough for your electronics.

My 13-yr old grandson can carry more than I can.

Posted by
65 posts

Thank you all for your recommendations.

You have won me over. I have decided to leave the laptop at home, and get a slim keyboard for the ipad. Will test to make sure I can VPN to work, and if not, that's what vacation leave is for.

Can't wait till this weekend to do a test pack with the whole family. Im going to try the large backpack on the 13 year old and get him to walk up and down the stairs. Will update in about a week.