On our family's last two trips to Europe we managed really well with only our 22" wheeled carry ons (back and neck problems make wheels nonnegotiable). But they are now too big for the European carriers we're looking at flying this summer. Most of the bags advertised as 21 inches are much taller when wheels are factored in, so I'm looking at having to purchase new bags that have much less interior space. The reduced size, plus the weight restrictions (only about 10 lbs of stuff after factoring in the weight of the suitcase) are causing me to rethink the carry on strategy.
This is what I was thinking about doing: purchase one new carry on roller that meets the size requirements and isn't too heavy and use the smallest of our suitcases which I think will still work (although I need to measure to be sure) and have 2 of us take these on the plane as our carry ons. Put all the heavy stuff like shoes and guidebooks -- but obviously nothing valuable like ipads -- and any bulky stuff like sweatshirts into one of the old 22" bags and check that bag (gasp!) and have the 3rd traveler bring a full day pack as her carry on. For personal items I'll probably take my RS civitas day pack, since that squishes down to nothing as long as it isn't super full and the others will probably take pacsafe type cross body bags.
We will be traveling for a month, and I don't want to be doing laundry all the time, so I want to have a certain amount of clothes. But from past trips, I remember it is the other stuff -- toiletries, medications, travel hairdryer, etc. -- and not the clothes that took up all the space and contributed most to the weight.
I'm curious to know whether anyone has chosen to do this and what your experience has been....or what alternate strategies you've come up with to accommodate the new rules for smaller and lighter carry ons. I feel like I've done a pretty good job of packing fairly lightly up until now, but there are limits to how little I'm willing to take....