We bought tickets to go to New Hampshire to visit family some time ago. Though we intended to visit around July, plane fares were much cheaper for May. We’re always looking for a better deal or a cheaper way if we can’t simply opt for minimalism. Since we really wanted to go and can’t get plane tickets used :), we searched kayak for the best fares during different timeframes on the various airlines, found the best deal there, and then went to that particular airline’s site to find the fare even cheaper (there is a mark-up even through the discount sites- that’s how they make their money). When purchasing, you can let them know how many bags you wish to check thereby getting a few dollars off the cost of the baggage checking. Once I got over being infuriated that it would cost us $25-$30 each way for each bag, I decided that we could all travel with one carry-on case and one personal item (small bag) each for the seven day trip. We had two and borrowed two from friends.
I have to admit, there was some doubt as to whether this could be done. We are notoriously heavy, “just in case” packers. But our newfound desire for simplicity and excitement over paring down our life for RV living made it seem possible. It was actually quite easy given our summertime visit (lighter weight clothing).
As you can see, the kids were layered (which we like to do for plane travel anyway). The kids’ suitcases were more full than Chris’/mine as they packed some little toys to bring in addition to the clothes. Here’s what the heaviest packer in our family brought:
Elijah – (wore) track pants, tee shirt, socks, Crocs, & fleece (around waist mostly but also great plane blanket); (suitcase) 1 pair casual pants, 3 pairs casual shorts, 1 pair dress shorts, 4 casual tees, 2 dress shirts, 7 pairs underwear, 2 pairs socks, small bag Legos, 5 small stuffed animals, several tiny plastic animal figures/Transformers, bathing suit trunks and shirt, swim goggles, swim shoes; (backpack) Play-Doh; a few Doh tools; several small, paperback superhero books; a big teddy with his head poking out the top so he could see while traveling :); travel pillow; Nintendo DS; headphones
I did one load of laundry before we left there and snuck a couple of things in with a household load at one point. We honestly could have gone the whole week without having had to do a wash (just barely) and there were still some things that weren’t used. I really thought we’d have to ship the gifts from grandparents and extra purchased items home given our minimal space. However, we were easily able to fit it all in (not necessarily in the suitcase of its owner but everything ended up back in Texas).
This really felt amazing. It’s becoming so clear to me how little ‘stuff’ we actually need and how happy and light we feel without it. Our departing flight was actually changed to another airline so we had to switch airlines at Laguardia (yes- out of terminal, bus to different terminal, secure new boarding pass, go through security, etc.). Our bags never would have made our new flight. We felt so free and easy having everything we needed right with us!
Things to think about– 1) I had to purchase trial sizes of shampoo, conditioner, gel (for Chris’ faux hawk :)), adult and child toothpaste, razors, etc. when we arrived because of the airline restrictions of 3 oz. of liquids per person and sharp objects in the cabin. I didn’t have anything in the house in such small quantities but we were able to bring it home- just separated into 3 oz. bags per person. 2) My kiddos are 7.5 and almost 6 years old. They were proud and able to handle their own suitcases and backpacks (except on stairs and escalators when Chris and I would grab them in our other hand). 3) We borrowed booster seats from friends in New Hampshire so we didn’t have to lug/check ours. I could also have tried Freecycle for them ahead of time.