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  1. Default Tips, please, on how to pack for roadtrip when flying

    OK, wonderful RT warriors. We're a family of 5 travelling some 1300 miles with several one night stops and a few 3-4 nighters. I am checking on strategic laundry stops so I thought to pack 5-7 days of clothes (that is, one "outfit" a day.) We are a family of 5 with 3 little kids hoping to fit it all in one giant bag with maybe one packable bag to pull out with a night's provisions.

    Your tips, "whatever you do, you gotta..." please!
    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-05-2008 at 10:16 AM. Reason: Moved to more appropriate forum

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Luggage weight limits.

    Hi there,

    I am not sure if I am reading it correctly, but if it's a family of 5 with one giant bag and one small one I think you need to check with the airline as they will have max weight limit on each item.
    I would have at least 2 medium size bags, even more, I know it's not easy with the three lit'luns in tow but it's better than putting your back out, lol!
    The other problem with one bag will be is where does all the dirty washing go? You won't want it in with your clean stuff so my top tip would be
    "Whatever you do, you gotta take at least 2 good size bags".

    Have great trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Conflicting Goals

    Travel by plane and travel by car are two different animals and require two different strategies. Since you're going to be doing both, you need someway to combine them. When I am RoadTripping I like to pack two bags: A big one with most of my clothes for the entire trip and a smaller one with 2-3 days worth of clothes and my toiletries. I live out of the smaller bag for a few days at a time, bringing only it in from the car each night. Then every few days when its contents run out, I'll bring in the bigger bag and restock the smaller one with dirty laundry being relegated to a separate laundry bag. For your kids, a moderate sized backpack could serve as their Everyday suitcase and the adults could share a small to medium suitcase.. Now, what to do about the plane. You might be able to get by with the kids bringing their backpacks in the cabin as carry on, but the bulk of the clothing really should be checked. I know that fewer and fewer people are doing this as the airlines start to charge for even the first checked bag, but that's just the problem. Overhead bin space is now at a premium, and besides, do you really want to be trying to lug all those bags around the airport AND chase three kids. Bite the bullet and plan on checking two bags, one for each of the adults. Get your two biggest wheeled suitcases and pack them each up to, but not over, the weight limit (usually 50 pounds, but check with your airline). Pack them with an eye to transferring to car travel. The biggest one should be 'deep storage' with all the clothes for later in the trip and the smaller one should have clothes for the first few days. You might even want to pack the smaller one with the individually packed kids' backpacks. Then the only things you'll have as carry on are any electronics (cameras, computers and the like) and a 'survival' bag with snacks, water bottles (take them through security empty and fill them from the water fountains in the terminal), umbrellas, and maybe some jackets depending on the weather at your destination.

    For more packing tips, be sure to read through this thread.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Fly and Drive RoadTrips

    Another option to consider is luggage forwarding (and it solves just about all of the problems of moving heavy suitcases in airports). Read some more of my tips about Fly and Drive RoadTrips here.


  5. Default Here is my current packing plan for a roadtrip with kids:

    Lots of views on this thread, so I will tell you quickly what I’m doing. Thanks, kind respondents.

    The family:
    3 adults (including adult sized kid)
    2 skinny younguns.

    The trip: ~1400 miles through mountains and national parks in two weeks, with several one night stops, a few 3-nighters.

    The equipment:
    Large, but within airport allowance, Jansport duffle bag with wheels and 3 huge pockets.
    Small duffel with wheels.
    Ziploc/Hefty bags size L & XL (huge “baggies” you can buy at Walmart or

    The strategy:
    --Pick 7 colors: eg: red, blue, orange, white, green, yellow, black, neon.
    All members of the family select shirts in required colors.
    That’s it for the tops for the family; all get folded once and rolled, towel style, into two marked XL bags, “kids” (K) and “adults”(A), except for 3 colors, which get packed in the small duffel.
    --All select enough bottoms, underwear, sock pairs to complete daily outfits for each top.
    --Bottoms go in two bags, A and K, and all’s underwear, swimwear, pjs and socks go in 1 XL and 1 L bag as makes sense. Outfit completion for 3 setaside colors go into small duffel.
    --Sweatshirts, one each, for cold nights on a summer’s roadtrip, another 2 XL bags. Proabably could have worn those onto chilly plane.
    --Assemble toiletries, using minisizes given out by cosmetic counters and scaling back beauty regimen, with one bottle of shampoo for all. Have a clear backpack for those; that goes in huge outer pocket of Jansport. Take survival kit, including Scholl blister pads, kids' tylenol & benadryl, bandaids, etc.
    --Take along “Shout Color Catcher” sheets, which look like dryer sheets but are supposed to allow you to mix colors in the Laundromat. Maybe I will take some detergent too.
    --Don’t forget large laundry bag. Last year I took popup hamper, which folder flat and fit in Jansport, but with more stops, I am thinking of taking drawstring bag.
    --Most goes into Jansport bag, which I weigh on my homescale.
    --Tie on bright bandanas for baggage claim ID.

    -- the huge baggies? They serve purpose of packing envelopes that are sold by some luggage companies; they are transparent; they seal pretty well, if you push the air out; they limit what you can take and help you fit it all in; they help you get organized; and I saw them suggested as some protection against critters, like bedbugs (I sure hope I didn’t book any room that gets them but even luxury hotels have been sued over bedbugs.)

    For same reason, I am also taking pillow allergy covers and a large trash bag to cover Jansport bag while in room. Don’t know if I will use trash bag; last road trip, I did use pillow covers.

    -- the coordinated family colors? This is a variation of the idea preschools use to uniformly dress their charges for quick ID when scanning the crowd. The added bonus is that the trip pictures are cute (like formal portraits) when everyone is in same color, and distinct memories are made: "oh that happened on 'blue day.'"

    --the small duffel? That's the pullout bag, the one holding a couple of days change, which we carry onto the plane and take into the various lodging rooms.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Coordinated Family Colors

    I haven't seen this one yet on anyone's list -- kind of a cute idea -- although your kids must be more compliant than most I know....

    Thanks for the list and and the techniques!


  7. Default Like colors make you feel like a team too

    I do it for every road trip, especially to the Disneys. Kids think it's like being on a sports team. We feel like a group, not with the same shirts necessarily (although I did order identical long sleeve SPF shirts) so some identity is maintained, just the same color.

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