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  1. #1
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    One family and Two Aeronauts (A45 and A30)

    Hi, we're planning a 5 week road trip around the UK and Ireland for June/July next year (family of four with kids 2.5 and 4.5 years old by then) and I am hoping I can get some advice from others who have travelled with young kids regarding how well it works with Tom Bihn carry-on only luggage. Ideally we'd take just the A45 and A30 + a daypack.

    Neither kid will be carrying any luggage and we will be bringing a small travel pram (that folds up to be carry-on) so that our youngest can nap while we're out and about.

    We're staying mostly with friends/family or at AirBnb's so doing washing won't be a problem but ideally we'd like to limit it to approx. once a week so we've packed just enough clothes for a week without washing.

    As we are road tripping I am happy to buy things like toiletries (and possibly extra clothes) when we get there - my main concern is minimising our luggage for the 24+ hour trip to London from Sydney (with unknown stopover!).

    Below is my ideal packing list (excluding clothes we're wearing) which I am happy to cull:

    Adult 1 (20L)

    7 undies
    3 thin socks
    2 bras
    5 tops
    3 shorts
    1 jeans
    2 long sleeved tops
    2 dresses
    1 rain jacket
    2 pj's
    1 swimsuit
    1 saltwater sandals
    1 toiletries bag (very limited, only 3 make-up items and hairbrush, rest to be bought there)

    Adult 2 (25L)

    7 undies
    6 t-shirts
    7 socks
    2 shirts
    3 shorts
    1 jeans
    2 pj's
    1 rain jacket
    1 board shorts
    1 blue thongs
    2 turkish towels (possibly could borrow from our UK friends or buy when we get there)
    1 baby carrier (unsure if this will be necessary but thinking it might be useful on long walks)

    Kid 1 (15L)

    10 undies
    6 socks
    3 pj's
    4 t-shirts
    4 shorts
    2 long sleeved tops
    2 pants
    1 jumper
    1 raincoat
    1 hat
    1 sandals
    1 board shorts

    Kid 2 (15L)

    10 undies
    6 socks
    3 pj's
    4 t-shirts
    4 shorts
    2 long sleeved tops
    2 pants
    1 jumper
    1 raincoat
    1 hat
    1 sandals
    1 board shorts
    Last edited by Sydneygirl; 05-09-2019 at 04:12 PM.

  2. #2
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    One family and Two Aeronauts (A45 and A30)

    Hi, @Sydneygirl!

    Thanks so much for posting your packing list. I live in the U.K. and I travel around it with my 3&6yo a lot (mostly by myself) so I am really into your question.

    The thing that leaps out at me from your packing list is an abundance of shorts. Last year we did have about 6-8 weeks of sustained temperatures above 20 degrees C, but it isn't normal and especially if you are going to Scotland you're going to want to ditch one or two pairs of shorts, add long trousers, and also wellies.

    I know, wellies take up an enormous amount of space in a suitcase. Could you have your kids wear them on travel days? Or order some cheap ones to be delivered to where you're staying? Once you get here, you are driving, right? So you could buy them here and leave them in the car. There are really lightweight ones here of Demar brand (ETA: see link below). They're the lightest weight ones I've found. Or you could go to a shop, a Sainsburys/Asda/Tesco big enough to have a clothing department might have some.

    Wow this post is getting long. To sum up, a merino layer or even a packable down jacket, and more long trousers/long sleeved tops, and closed shoes or wellies for the kids will serve you well. It has been 8-12 degrees here the past few days, and this week coming it will be 12-16 where I live. As I said, last year at this time it was in the 20s every day. Not so this year.

    I hope it warms up a bit for your trip!!

    I almost want to make a separate reply for this but what's your in-flight bag? Are you also planning on keeping the entertainment and snacks and stuff in the Aeronauts or do you have separate personal item bags for that?

    ETA: here is a link to Demar weeklies. Make sure it says ultralight or similar in the name.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ultralight-.../dp/B013REDOWG
    Last edited by Cristina; 05-09-2019 at 07:05 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cristina View Post
    Hi, @Sydneygirl!

    Thanks so much for posting your packing list. I live in the U.K. and I travel around it with my 3&6yo a lot (mostly by myself) so I am really into your question.

    The thing that leaps out at me from your packing list is an abundance of shorts. Last year we did have about 6-8 weeks of sustained temperatures above 20 degrees C, but it isn't normal and especially if you are going to Scotland you're going to want to ditch one or two pairs of shorts, add long trousers, and also wellies.

    I know, wellies take up an enormous amount of space in a suitcase. Could you have your kids wear them on travel days? Or order some cheap ones to be delivered to where you're staying? Once you get here, you are driving, right? So you could buy them here and leave them in the car. There are really lightweight ones here of Demar brand (ETA: see link below). They're the lightest weight ones I've found. Or you could go to a shop, a Sainsburys/Asda/Tesco big enough to have a clothing department might have some.

    Wow this post is getting long. To sum up, a merino layer or even a packable down jacket, and more long trousers/long sleeved tops, and closed shoes or wellies for the kids will serve you well. It has been 8-12 degrees here the past few days, and this week coming it will be 12-16 where I live. As I said, last year at this time it was in the 20s every day. Not so this year.

    I hope it warms up a bit for your trip!!

    I almost want to make a separate reply for this but what's your in-flight bag? Are you also planning on keeping the entertainment and snacks and stuff in the Aeronauts or do you have separate personal item bags for that?

    ETA: here is a link to Demar weeklies. Make sure it says ultralight or similar in the name.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ultralight-.../dp/B013REDOWG
    Thanks so much for your input - I clearly have overestimated "summer" over there! Will re-do the list with more of our winter clothes including boots (hopefully kids can wear them on the plane)! Do you think sandals are too optimistic? I'd rather stick to max 2 pairs of shoes each.

    As for in-flight bag, I'd love to have it all fit in one of the Aeronauts but am pretty sure that's impossible so we will be taking an additional day pack (actual bag will depend on how big it needs to be but approx. 20-30L) for in-flight here's the list:

    1 baby wipes case
    2 water bottles
    lots snacks
    1 iPad
    2 kids headphones
    1 back-up battery
    3 phone charger cords
    1 power cube
    1 power adapter
    1 car charger?
    1 compact tote bag
    8 passports (UK and AU)

  4. #4
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    Hi! I travelled a lot with my kids at that age. I highly recommend a ride-on suitcase. I found that the kids get very, very tired and will refuse to walk through airports or train stations or subway stations and with the best will in the world you can't carry them. With a ride-on suitcase it was easy for us to pull them and they could even pull the suitcase themselves. And they even thought it was fun. We had our Aeronauts (or we used to have a samsonite backpack). With a ride-on, one of us could pull the two kids while the other sorted out buying lunch or snacks or whatever.

    We had a Trunki and it lasted FOREVER. I see that Samsonite are doing them now. I mean you know your kids but these really, really worked for me.

    And for every trip I packed a "fun bag" which they weren't allowed to see until the trip started (Trunki made a messenger that fit into one side that was our fun bag) -- new crayons, new colouring books, stickers, a lego figure, small play-dough pots, a puzzle book, sometimes a small stuffed animal. I also recommend a physical game that you can play in airports without too much trouble -- I brought an elastic jumprope (the kind we used to call a Chinese jump-rope), and a small ball, but others here have suggested balloons, for example. I have easily been able to rope in other children waiting in an airport for games of jumprope and various ball games. I also always travelled with a large lightweight shawl -- it adds a lot of warmth and comfort when the children need to sleep in an unfamiliar place. And a box of candy pastilles or tic tacs which I dispense one at a time and call "travel candy".

    Finally I did make them wear a (very small) backpack because it is really useful for them to feel like they are an important part of the family team (make sure it has a sternum strap, and inside write their name and your phone number, and show them so they know it helps keep them safe...). Generally it had a small metal water bottle (they loved having their own), a toy, their headphones, maybe a snack. I also coached them extensively in what was going to happen while at the airport or station. I let them play whenever possible. I downloaded new games on my phone. Anything to reduce stress on them. I told them repeatedly they were excellent travellers (which they soon became).

    Now they are older they carry backpacks still, and depending on the trip their own roller (we had to say goodbye to trunki...).

    Don't forget a headphone splitter.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejvc View Post
    Hi! I travelled a lot with my kids at that age. I highly recommend a ride-on suitcase. I found that the kids get very, very tired and will refuse to walk through airports or train stations or subway stations and with the best will in the world you can't carry them. With a ride-on suitcase it was easy for us to pull them and they could even pull the suitcase themselves. And they even thought it was fun. We had our Aeronauts (or we used to have a samsonite backpack). With a ride-on, one of us could pull the two kids while the other sorted out buying lunch or snacks or whatever.

    We had a Trunki and it lasted FOREVER. I see that Samsonite are doing them now. I mean you know your kids but these really, really worked for me.

    And for every trip I packed a "fun bag" which they weren't allowed to see until the trip started (Trunki made a messenger that fit into one side that was our fun bag) -- new crayons, new colouring books, stickers, a lego figure, small play-dough pots, a puzzle book, sometimes a small stuffed animal. I also recommend a physical game that you can play in airports without too much trouble -- I brought an elastic jumprope (the kind we used to call a Chinese jump-rope), and a small ball, but others here have suggested balloons, for example. I have easily been able to rope in other children waiting in an airport for games of jumprope and various ball games. I also always travelled with a large lightweight shawl -- it adds a lot of warmth and comfort when the children need to sleep in an unfamiliar place. And a box of candy pastilles or tic tacs which I dispense one at a time and call "travel candy".

    Finally I did make them wear a (very small) backpack because it is really useful for them to feel like they are an important part of the family team (make sure it has a sternum strap, and inside write their name and your phone number, and show them so they know it helps keep them safe...). Generally it had a small metal water bottle (they loved having their own), a toy, their headphones, maybe a snack. I also coached them extensively in what was going to happen while at the airport or station. I let them play whenever possible. I downloaded new games on my phone. Anything to reduce stress on them. I told them repeatedly they were excellent travellers (which they soon became).

    Now they are older they carry backpacks still, and depending on the trip their own roller (we had to say goodbye to trunki...).

    Don't forget a headphone splitter.

    Thank you! I've just added headphone splitter to my packing list. They are awesome tips too about the skipping rope and ball etc - I will definitely pack a "fun bag".

    Couple of questions - did your kids wear backpacks as well as trunkis? Also did you take a pram when your youngest was 2.5? Asking as we plan to definitely take our travel pram so if our youngest is tired he can go in the pram (or worst case we carry him and the 4.5 year old can sit in the pram - he's currently still a big fan of sitting in the pram). Lastly, how did you find going carry-on backpacks only? I am hoping it frees up our hands to manage the kids but worried it may be easier just to check one suitcase.....

  6. #6
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    Yes totally agree about a fun bag!

    Since @Sydneygirl is coming from Australia to the UK I would definitely stick with the pram over Trunkis because sleep schedules will be all wrong and jet lag could be major. You may well be in a situation of having the older one sleeping in the pram and the little one sleeping in the baby carrier. I'd definitely pack the carrier from that point of view. (You could also look into a ride-on board for the pram, but its kind of bulky and might get damaged in transit)

    When traveling with kids I always count the number of hands available. Four adult hands means that one adult can wear an Aeronaut and push the pram (or carry the pram and hold the hand of your older child). The other adult might have the baby carrier which may mean shoulder or hand-carrying the Aeronaut, leaving one adult hand free for opening doors, carrying the daypack if it isn't hung on the pram, etc. I think your current plan, @Sydneygirl, uses all adult hands efficiently and you won't be overwhelmed with the number of different items.

    At these ages I wouldn't give them backpacks because I would just end up carrying them. I have given my 6yo a Travel Cubelet full of little toys for traveling, which can easily be absorbed into my stuff when she inevitably takes it off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sydneygirl View Post
    Thank you! I've just added headphone splitter to my packing list. They are awesome tips too about the skipping rope and ball etc - I will definitely pack a "fun bag".

    Couple of questions - did your kids wear backpacks as well as trunkis? Also did you take a pram when your youngest was 2.5? Asking as we plan to definitely take our travel pram so if our youngest is tired he can go in the pram (or worst case we carry him and the 4.5 year old can sit in the pram - he's currently still a big fan of sitting in the pram). Lastly, how did you find going carry-on backpacks only? I am hoping it frees up our hands to manage the kids but worried it may be easier just to check one suitcase.....
    Quote Originally Posted by ejvc View Post
    Hi! I travelled a lot with my kids at that age. I highly recommend a ride-on suitcase. I found that the kids get very, very tired and will refuse to walk through airports or train stations or subway stations and with the best will in the world you can't carry them. With a ride-on suitcase it was easy for us to pull them and they could even pull the suitcase themselves. And they even thought it was fun. We had our Aeronauts (or we used to have a samsonite backpack). With a ride-on, one of us could pull the two kids while the other sorted out buying lunch or snacks or whatever.

    We had a Trunki and it lasted FOREVER. I see that Samsonite are doing them now. I mean you know your kids but these really, really worked for me.

    And for every trip I packed a "fun bag" which they weren't allowed to see until the trip started (Trunki made a messenger that fit into one side that was our fun bag) -- new crayons, new colouring books, stickers, a lego figure, small play-dough pots, a puzzle book, sometimes a small stuffed animal. I also recommend a physical game that you can play in airports without too much trouble -- I brought an elastic jumprope (the kind we used to call a Chinese jump-rope), and a small ball, but others here have suggested balloons, for example. I have easily been able to rope in other children waiting in an airport for games of jumprope and various ball games. I also always travelled with a large lightweight shawl -- it adds a lot of warmth and comfort when the children need to sleep in an unfamiliar place. And a box of candy pastilles or tic tacs which I dispense one at a time and call "travel candy".

    Finally I did make them wear a (very small) backpack because it is really useful for them to feel like they are an important part of the family team (make sure it has a sternum strap, and inside write their name and your phone number, and show them so they know it helps keep them safe...). Generally it had a small metal water bottle (they loved having their own), a toy, their headphones, maybe a snack. I also coached them extensively in what was going to happen while at the airport or station. I let them play whenever possible. I downloaded new games on my phone. Anything to reduce stress on them. I told them repeatedly they were excellent travellers (which they soon became).

    Now they are older they carry backpacks still, and depending on the trip their own roller (we had to say goodbye to trunki...).

    Don't forget a headphone splitter.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    Cristina and ejvc have some fantastic ideas here already! I will just add a few more random thoughts:

    Fun bag - we started taking a pool ball with us. It is squishy and easy to pack even in carry-ons, doesn't bounce away as much as a hard ball might, won't hurt if it hits anyone and is not likely to break anything. Even now with an 11- and 14-y.o. it is helpful for stretching out when we have a long layover or are just waiting for the bus/taxi. Another game that is great for quick distractions is Spot It! The Splash version is laminated so it won't get dirty or messy if you get food/drinks spilled on it. (We used it a lot at restaurants when the kids were littler.) Plus it works for groups of mixed ages, so grownups can join in. And because it's all pictures, even if kids don't speak the same languages (like at an airport, or in our case cousins from different countries), they can all still play!

    Pram - We used to have the Sit-N-Stroll. It was fantastic as a travel solution. Not the greatest stroller in its own right, but after a couple of trips where we juggled a full-sized car seat and a full stroller, we were so happy to have one thing that did both. I don't know if it's still readily available. Nowadays - my brother is planning a trip with his kids ranging from 1.5 to 9, I suggested Bubble Bum inflatable boosters for his older ones (I know you didn't ask about car seats but those have worked really well for us on trips), and would add a small umbrella-type stroller to that setup.

    >>Lastly, how did you find going carry-on backpacks only? I am hoping it frees up our hands to manage the kids but worried it may be easier just to check one suitcase.....

    For long, multi-destination trips, we have not yet gone carry-on only, though we could probably do that this year. Usually we check one big bag (for everyone) and have essentials in our carry-ons. (The teen actually does carry-on herself, though she prefers a rollaboard plus backpack.). When the kids were little I really did not want to deal with the weight of all-carry-on, while wrangling little ones, hence the checked luggage. These days we are more able to travel carry-on only, but I still prefer to have a few more clothes upon arrival so that I'm not spending every evening doing laundry. (And sometimes depending on the climate or travel schedule, there isn't time for all the clothes to dry out overnight, so then it's a pain either to pack them damp or to wear an unsuitable outfit because the right one isn't dry.) Just my two cents, YMMV!

  8. #8
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    We did take an "umbrella stroller" as I recall sometimes (although not always) in which case perhaps the 2.5 year old's backpack can hang on the handlebars when they are sitting in it? And perhaps only one trunki required? But we often had the case where the pram had to be checked at the check-in gate and not at the airplane and so the trunki was a lifesaver. So, one trunki and the stroller maybe for you? Anyway definitely check them out.

    Otherwise -- we like to travel light! we are both very happy carry-on converts, and have been travelling together and carrying on only for probably 10 years now. The limit for the airlines is 10kg per carry on where we are -- I find that quite heavy to stand in all day and rarely pack so much, instead I average around 8kg. However guidance for backpackers suggests max 10% of your weight, so I'm aiming to shave it to more like 7kg for me and 2-3kg each for the kids. I would typically now pack one A30-sized packing cube for me and one for my daughter, fill one end cube with shoes and the other with plugs, first aid, toiletries, and so forth. If it's a very long or complicated trip (we had a 4-week with Christmas in Stockholm, Hawaii vacation and work conference, and week in California), then the A30 is for me and she has her own suitcase.

    But you are carrying more clothing than I would for a vacation-only trip -- I pack two bottoms, 4 tops, one cardigan sweater, one light jacket (a nice quality), a shawl, four pair undies, one bra, two camisoles, four pair socks, a swimsuit (doubles as a bra on wash days). This would also include what I wear. In winter I add a set of long underwear and a down vest, plus mittens and hat and thick sock. In English summer I would not wear shorts, but skirts or capris, shorts are rather informal, whereas you can wear skirts or capris to almost anything. I also don't pack dresses. England is not so warm that you really need dresses, if you have a nice skirt, jacket, blouse and sweater you will probably do most places. But this is MY scheme, how much you pack is very dependent on how you dress, you are the best arbiter of that! But you have more clothes than I would be able to wear.

    Hmm, -- instead of a baby carrier, can you learn to tie a long shawl into a sling? Then it can be blanket when necessary and carrier when necessary.

  9. #9
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    Or a ring sling? (You can even get a Totoro one! ) I never got good at tying wraps, but we used ring slings all the way up to age 5 (for those times when kiddos fell asleep and we wanted them to keep napping). Folded up much smaller than a carrier and still was useful as a blanket or picnic tablecloth/spare towel/napkin/makeshift clothing for a child who got too friendly with a fountain.

    instead of a baby carrier, can you learn to tie a long shawl into a sling?

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    Hi all - great suggestions! Love the “how many hands” aspect - I do the same thing, but usually in the form of “what do we do if both boys are fast asleep?”. I agree due to time zone difference it’s a strong possibility at some point the older will be asleep in the pram and the younger carried. However I do like the Trunki idea definitely as it’ll give us more luggage space, which we hopefully don’t have to carry all the time! And worst case if we do have to carry / push the kids in the pram then the Trunkis could just be attached to the pram.

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    So I purchases two trunkis (very cheaply second hand) and the Aeronaut 30 so now it's time for test packing! New list has more boots and less sandals....

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sydneygirl View Post
    So I purchases two trunkis (very cheaply second hand) and the Aeronaut 30 so now it's time for test packing! New list has more boots and less sandals....
    Let us know how your test packing goes!

    I just realized I forgot to answer your question about boots and sandals. I have, on past trips, had my kids wear their rain boots and I've packed their sandals along with plenty of socks for when it is dry and cold. Socks and sandals might be tricky for an adult to pull off but kids can do it easily! One family and Two Aeronauts (A45 and A30)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cristina View Post
    Socks and sandals might be tricky for an adult to pull off but kids can do it easily! One family and Two Aeronauts (A45 and A30)
    What!? I'm not supposed to wear socks with sandals!?

    You just have to ignore the fashion police!
    😎

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    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post
    What!? I'm not supposed to wear socks with sandals!?

    You just have to ignore the fashion police!
    ��
    Thanks for the suggestion but I just couldn't ever do socks with sandals, even on my kids! It's basically an unwritten rule for Australia's that we never do it.

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    Another thing -- for when they are older? I drew a packing list for my very dyslexic daughter, then she could see how I was planning on packing and I could draw other things on that she wanted. It made her feel more secure that we wouldn't forget things. But maybe from when she was about 6 or 7, when non-dyslexic kids are normally reading a bit.

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