May 22, 2013

International Travel Luggage Purchased!

I wrestled for weeks with the luggage dilemma.  Do I buy rolling wheels, swivel wheels, or convertible backpack style?  And what about the kids: rolling or backpack?  And are they old enough to be accountable for their own luggage in crowded airports and train stations?

In the end, I decided to go with a convertible backpack style.  The biggest reason for this was because I will be flying back from Europe solo with the kids.  In case they wimp out and/or melt down, I'll need to have both hands free to handle their luggage.

We're doing carry-on luggage only.

I decided on the sweet eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Junior in Green Envy.  It has rave reviews, is only 3 lbs 5 oz, has a lot of really cool features, and is under $100.  I can slip it onto my back in the airport and in train stations (and deal with the kids' luggage, if necessary) or tuck the shoulder straps inside and transform it into a traditional-looking suitcase when checking into nicer hotels.  (Be sure to check out the video in the link above about the Weekender if you're looking for luggage like this.)

Mars and I decided to get the kids their own rolling suitcases.  In the end we thought they might complain about carrying backpack luggage.

For 9 year old Crumpet, we ordered the TrendyKid Travel Cool Danger Carry-On.  It has good reviews and seemed like it would be a great size for him.  He likes the way it looks, i.e. the hazard symbols.

For 5 year old Gümby, we orderd the Lassig Mini Trolley Bag in the Savannah Print Pink.  Again, good reviews and it looked like it would be the right size for her.  She loves pink and animals so this color & print seemed perfect for her.  Her suitcase arrived in the mail yesterday (super quick!). It looks sturdy and has rubber smooth-rolling wheels w/ a 2-position telescoping handle.  It has inside organizer pockets, a fairly large front pocket, and even has a drink or umbrella pocket.  I am very satisfied.

Mars chose the High Sierra A.T. Gear Classic Carry-On Wheeled Backpack with a zip-off day pack.  He purchased the gray and orange, a color which apparently is no longer offered.

I also needed to buy a fairly large tote as my 'personal item' for carrying things like tissues, small first aid kit, sweater, laptop, snacks for the kids, etc.  I normally carry a small handbag so trying to shop for something like this - and this large - was completely new to me.  I did side-by-side comparisons of several bags and eventually decided on the Kailo Chic Pleated Laptop Tote in the Green Circles print.  It's rated as the "Best of the Best" on eBags and seems to have the right dimensions.  I'll find out when it arrives!

I also realized I probably needed a small wallet/purse that's lighter weight and less bulky than my current leather handbag.  I decided on the Baggalini Everyday Bagg.  I ordered the black because I wanted a handbag that's as inobtrusive as possible (i.e. less likely to attract thieves) but I'm having a bit of buyer's remorse on my color choice.  Wishing I had at least chosen navy instead.  Or maybe even pewter.  Ah, well.

Expect a full review on how this luggage worked for us after the trip.

As a side note, our passports arrived today!  And 3-4 weeks earlier than expected to boot!  I was a bit surprised because we took our own photos and I'd heard horror stories of professional photos being denied multiple times.  Certainly a pleasant surprise.

Now to get the airline tickets booked!  I'm thinking we may need a new travel agent as our current agent hasn't returned emails or phone calls since we gave instructions to purchase the tickets several days ago.

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