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Just Imagine

         The Possibility

Bag it

One of the most important things you will do is select a bag that fits your needs and a personalized method of packing. This translates into cramming as much crap as possible into each bag and pray the airline doesn't weigh it. #truth

It is also one of your best investments if you are taking more than one trip. For full time travel... it is like choosing a spouse. For better or worse you will likely be stuck with your decision for the duration of the journey. Choose wisely and don't just go for the best price in this category. I'm all about a bargain don't get me wrong but this is important to set aside some mulla to get it right.

 

 Lets get into it!

The Carry on club. aka don't check your bag if possible.

The good news is there are many luggage options out there for travelers who commit to the carry-on only club. But don't fret ,trying to bring everything you need in a carry-on IS possible with some dedication, planning, and deep breathing. It is mostly a packing issue than a spacial issue. You will want to invest in a few things if you plan to be traveling frequently.

Packing Cubes for example have saved our sanity! (I have tried many and need to write a blog post on my journey through them) Also if you truly feel by not checking a bag you can not function with the bare essentials by all means, pack to the hilt and check it. If that makes your experience a more fulfilling one I say each to his own. Just know that is more to manage and is certainly not practical if traveling long term from place to place. Vacation - sure, go for it if it floats your boat. Who am I to say as I sit wearing the same dress the past 6 months. - I'm not jealous or anything. I mean fine, go look amazing in your collection of new clothes. But to store more efficiently these two are my favorites for different reasons depending on your needs. The non-compressible by Eagle creek and the compressible  bags by Tripped. (see below the amazon links)

But seriously, back to "the main bag"...

The Osprey Farpoint 40 liter backpack , which I might add IS the proper dimensions for a carry-on, should be enough space for a single traveler.

The bags listed below are what we personally use or have used and are great for looking smaller than what they can actually hold in volume.

The Bags - The Investment - The Low Down on each...

Lets start with the first bags we purchased over a year ago

- yes I got all of them off Amazon. If you use my link added below our family will do the happy dance in your honor. Seriously though, it helps us and if you are already ordering on Amazon because of their amazing return policy, well then why not help a sista out at the same time? So thanks.

 

- Osprey 40L Farpoint  Backpack  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- Osprey 46L Porter

 

 

 

We also carry the Porter 46liter on the family gap year world tour and happy to have found it!

The was a purchase on the road which I had my adult daughter bring to us when visiting in Thailand. It stores a TON! It technically is not considered carry on regulation but with he look of it on our back we have not been asked to size it. I love it just as much as the FARPOINT but for different reasons. I'm happy to say we use both! If I had to choose one over the other...I'd grab this one! The extra room is just what I need and it opens more like a suitcase which makes it nice to grab things out of when settled in your accommodation of your choice. Two thumbs up again for Osprey! 

 

 

- Tortuga 44L Travel Backpack

This is my husbands and although it has served us well, it only lasted a year of travel. The waist strap ripped, and other parts are beginning to fray. We were really happy with it for the time it lasted so hopefully it is a fluke in manufacturing. They seem to be a fav of other traveling males especially. Leaning away from this one currently until further positive experience..

Tenba 13" DNA Messenger Bag

     (counted for personal item I LOVE  this Tenba Laptop bag to pieces!

So many reasons I'm planning a post around it)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- Osprey Day Pack   

Hike Pro Foldable Backpack   

 

 

 

 

Like all Osprey bags this is very durable from the straps, the outer fabric to the zippers. As you can see by my mad packing skills I load this 40 liter up and take advantage of the compression steps. Love love love those straps. As much as you weigh this down by all the stuff you fit,  the hip belt distributes the weigh amazingly.  Oh how I have tested this bag and it delivers! It is a go to for many travelers who are hesitant to test the size restrictions. 

Here are a few recent pics of the bag itself in work mode.

 

 

 

 

If I eliminated one cube of clothes above there would be room enough for all the toiletries. Currently I store them in our other bag but it is possible for a single traveler. Truthfully I am known to over pack. As I mentioned above the two styles of cubes I have narrowed down as favorites are the Eagle Creek (super durable) and Compressible  bags made by Tripped.

Back to the backpack. As we speak we are currently dragging three of this particular model bag as we circle the globe. Its on our top three favs list as durability and functionality. You won't be disappointed with the Osprey Farpoint 40 L . 

Osprey Porter 46L - we also carry the Porter 46liter on the family gap year world tour.

The was a purchase on the road which I had my adult daughter bring to us when visiting in Thailand. It stores a TON! It technically is not considered carry on regulation but with he look of it on our back we have not been asked to size it. I love it just as much as the FARPOINT but for different reasons. I'm happy to say we use both! If I had to choose one over the other...I'd grab this one! The extra room is just what I need and it opens more like a suitcase which makes it nice to grab things out of when settled in your accommodation of your choice. Two thumbs up again for Osprey! 

- JUST CLICK ON THE PICTURE and read the reviews and see what color of the four available you like most.

 

 

 

 

 

WHICH LEADS US TO:  To Check or Not to Check...

For long term travelers it is golden if you can find a way to AVOID checking luggage.  Why would someone want to avoid checking their bag?

Truthfully it really depends on you and your circumstances. 

It does have many benefits which we will cover below.

However if you must check one or more bags and plan to travel frequently, check out this 3rd party article, (linked below), it will help you avoid pre-paid baggage fees. There are certain credit cards when used to pay for your flight waive the cost of checked luggage. I was like "WOW" when I discovered this as this year we have had to check one backpack for our family of 5 each flight. To date this card could have potentially saved us upward  to $350 with our 14 flights through Asia just by using a particular credit card. Let us know what you discover from your experience if you sign up for one of these cards as we have not signed up yet. 

 

WhichPre-paid checked baggage fees are on average $25per bag/each way. Math tells us even if a couple is only checking one bag each, would tack on $100 to your trip when you otherwise would not have had to. I can find better ways to spend $100 just by throwing my bag on my back and carry a few less things.

  

 

When trying NOT to check your luggage there are times that make this difficult, like I just mentioned we too check one solo bag each flight so we get it. Not one bag each person - one bag total!  Our one chosen checked bag could be considered a carry on if it was not holding all of the heaviest items we own weighing in at 37 pounds. (carry on weight limits are typically 15 pounds depending on the airline) 

With that being said, we all know most of us seasoned travelers get away with walking on flights with a backpack at 20lbs to 25lbs without issue. That has been the case for the last 14 flights and counting for our family this year alone. Some carriers are more sticklers than others so maybe we have just been lucky. This is where researching the airline  prior to purchasing the ticket helps Tripadvisory is great for experienced flyers sharing their stories on "x" airline. A quick Google search "AIR ASIA baggage limits how strict?" would lead you to a thread. Google / Tripadvisory will be your best friend for many things when in a new place as well. 

TIP: Our key secret to not being asked to weigh our bags - keep the backpack on your back while checking in at the ticket counter.

Sounds silly I know but they never have asked us to take it off to weigh it.- knock on wood

***UPDATE: OUR LUCK RAN OUT AFTER 29 FLIGHTS. LETS JUST SAY NORWEGIAN AIR RECEIVED AN EXTRA $100 THAT DAY. WIN SOME YOU LOOSE SOME. 

 Have a plan if you fear the scale tipping over recommend limit. You don't want to start thinking of paying last minute for that checked bag the moment you are picking up your boarding pass as fees increase significantly by then.  Pre pay a checked bag BEFORE travel day is always cheaper. If you forgot, or are over the weight limit and asked by the ticket agent to place on the scale, you will be paying more than you anticipated. It also is how lucky (or unlucky) you are depending on the mood of the ticketing agent. It has been our personal experience that a friendly smile and 'how are you' can set a good rapport, leading with that when approaching the counter not only brightens their day, but can help your cause. It isn't being fake, it is having manners and potentially encouraging them to look out for you. It also seems people are have a little compassion and less strict on red tape when traveling with children under 8 years old.  

So what happens if you get a girl ticket agent who's boyfriend dumped her for her best friend, she's about to start her period, and her cat just died... 

 

Back Up Tip: Redistribute the weight. Use a back-up foldable backpack as a personal item for one of the children if you are not maxed on the bag count.  Short from wearing half your wardrobe in layers I see no other option to avoid the dreaded over weight baggage fee.   PART 2 OF THE UPDATE RE: NORWEGIAN.

WE DID THE ABOVE AND SAVED ON OUR OTHER BAG FROM THE FEE  ELIMINATING THE NEED TO ALSO BE CHECKED.  

Our favorite go to is the HikePro (durable and crazy affordable), you can find them on the Amazon link  . This daypack is great for during your day trips AND if ever asked to distribute the weight else where, or be charged.  If you are traveling with kids, yes even an infant counts, they have the same luggage allowance as a adult. So even though you may have more bags than hands, your infant child is allowed a carry on plus a personal laptop bag. 

If you are wondering "whats the big deal on all this weight limit talk...?"

The bottom line is it is NOT all about saving a chunk of change. Yes that part is nice, it is the risk missing luggage, the hassle of waiting for them to track it down and send it to you IF they find it.  Oh and those who can avoid the checked baggage and strictly do carryon, well they scoot right on past you while you stand around waiting on yours at baggage claim.

This is also about the time you're are starving, someones cranky from dramamine, and a little one is about to poop their pants. #beenthere

Lets talk about flight delays and rerouting flights due to weather. True story, we were on our way to China from Dallas and because we didn't have any checked luggage we immediately hopped on a flight within the hour which had a 8 hour layover in London of all places. SCORE!

ps. those with checked bags were rerouted though Chicago - sigh. 

I have the picture to prove it. Best day ever!

As you can see my husband is wearing his

Tortuga Backpack for a carry-on  with a

personal item (hike pro foldable day pack).

While I have a the 20"Roller and a

leather satchel for a personal item.

(ignore the laptop I'm carrying, it fits in the backpack. ;) 

Off to London we went!

This is all we carried for a 10 day China trip - and I didn't die. Truthfully I personally don't carry much more traveling the world full time with our family. 

So try to minimize your stuff is all I have to say. Say no to checking luggage or at least minimize the bags you check if you want to be safe.

 Resources

Link to find the credit card companies for free checked baggage perk: 

 

Red not your style? We purchased the "Steel Grey". hut hummm, it is NOT GREY, more like a sage green. But I sport it proudly. They come in Black too which if I could go back - I would personally get. If black pants make your butt smaller, well maybe it will shed a few pounds off my over weight limit bag ;) I just love it in any color.

The Zippers can handle pretty much anything! You would be surprised the strain they can take without any issues.

When we first purchased the Tenba Messenger we crammed a DLSR, Two MackBooks, Large 12" travel wallet with passports and credit cards, 8x4 medication pouch, multiple chargers, rechargeable batteries, and tripod for an iPhone. This thing is incredible and is our - "loose it and die" bag.  I love that it is a satchel style to have as a crossbody to keep on you at all times in transit. It gets heavy when you are carrying both a backpack and the crossbody but it is possible and we do it every trip!

Many Colors for this water resistant day pack and IT FOLDS INTO A POCKET WHEN NOT IN USE! We use this on practically every day for exploring the area. It is perfect for holding snacks, water bottles, and sometimes the IoGrapher designed for  iPhone 7/8 for video footage. It is still holding up and no signs of wear at the seams at all. I'm impressed. It has been through about 11 solid month of use added up over time. 

15" Roller -

We used this in Asia and ditched it before heading to Cambodia and Vietnam where we knew all backpacks were easier.In its defense we would have made better use of it in Europe. Once we made it to Paris and the UK I honestly wished I had a roller. Still a great one for the money.

Packing in Action

The Osprey Farpoint 40L, is a very common bag you will see reviewed on Youtube. We have three! My favorite part of the bag are by far the incredible compression straps. They make all the difference in space and compatibility. See how I pack it below.

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