What's your luggage set-up?

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by Dallas_Lady, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. Dallas_Lady

    Dallas_Lady I only work for the vacation money

    Dec 20, 2001
    This is our first airplane trip as a family of 4. So far we have done everything as road trips which means we are free to just stuff as much as we'd like in the back of our minivan. This time that won't be the case, so I'm curious as to how many pieces those of you fly bring with you? What do you check, what do you carry on? What type of luggage do you use? I'm also trying to decide if we need to get some real luggage, so far we've just been using random bags that we've accumulated over the years.

  2. jdb in AZ

    jdb in AZ It could end up curdled

    Feb 11, 2011
    If there's no luggage fee, we bring an extra suit-bag. Otherwise it's one large suitcase per person. When you're on the ship, your bags are stored under your bed, so you don't want to run out of room there either.

    As for carry-on luggage, there's another thread here on the DIS currently discussing that: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2878121
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  4. 3Mickeys

    3Mickeys Mouseketeer

    Jul 24, 2010
    We fly relatively often with our 3 kids. The best thing anyone ever bought us was rolling LLBean duffles for the kids. We got them when my youngest was 5 and we flew to WDW. Each kids is responsible for pulling their own duffle and they each have a backpack with things for the plane (books, DS, stuffed animal). My husband and I will often pack together in one large rolling bag, or we each do our own. We also have a bag with things for the plane. Because my kids carry their own stuff now I just take a large purse that fits my book.

    Not knowing how old your kids are... I highly suggest the rolling duffels for them. They crunch down small once unpacked too.
  5. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

    Dec 4, 2003
    Make sure that each person has at least one outfit in each bag. That way, if the airline "misplaces" a suitcase, everyone has some clothing!

    I pack kid outfits in a ziplock type bag--complete with undies and socks. Easy to unpack because I slip the bags in a drawer. In the morning, hand a bag to each kid (or to DH and tell him to get kid ready.):goodvibes THis means that you don't hit the last day and realize that nothing matches any more...another plus.

    When packing, we do one bag per person...but make sure to play "musical outfits" so that each case will have at least one outfit for each person. Having spent 4 days without luggage, I learned (it wasn't Disney's fault!)
  6. reimero

    reimero DIS Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    I have no experience traveling with kids (I'm a big kid at heart), but I've done my share of airline travel. I've become fairly adept at packing light; my wife tends to pack a bit heavier.

    First things first: when airlines talk about a piece of luggage, they're referring to a bag that approximately corresponds to a 28" suitcase and weighs no more than 50lbs. Exceed either of these, and you risk oversize/overweight fees. You *might* be able to get away with 29", but that will vary by airline. Now, this is not to say that you *must* use a suitcase, but the approximate size (by volume) does matter.

    You're also allowed a standard carry-on size bag and a "personal item", which generally corresponds to a purse, laptop case, camera bag or teddy bear. Keep in mind that just because it's a carry-on bag doesn't mean you'll be able to carry it on: if you're one of the later people to board or if it's a smaller plane, they may force you to check your carry-on planeside. For this reason, make sure you keep your expensive personal electronics in your "personal item bag." I cannot emphasize this enough.

    As a general rule, my carry-on bag will contain a full change of clothes (your first lost/misdirected suitcase will teach this lesson very quickly), my 3-1-1 liquid items, contact lens stuff, eyeglass case, medications, cell phone charging cables and the like. In general, I like to cram my carry-on more on the full side.

    In the suitcase, my wife and I tend to subdivide our clothing in ziploc-type baggies (1-gal and 2-gal sizes. We actually went to our local Gordon's Food Services and got a couple mega-sized boxes for a reasonable price. Other people like using packing cubes for the same purpose.) This works well on a number of levels: the TSA can examine your suitcase without getting their grubbies that have been touching everything all over your clean clothes. It also helps keep things organized, and I find it generally helps you cram stuff into the suitcase more easily.

    Do you need suitcases, or will random bags work? Personally, I'd vote for getting suitcases for a number of reasons. First, wheeled luggage is an incredible boon, especially when you have kids along. Second, when you fly, your bags are subjected to a significant amount of stress. Luggage handlers are not gentle. I don't know what kind of bags you generally use, but airline-safe baggage tends to be resistant to tearing and puncturing, and offers some protection to its contents. If you're planning on bringing a suit or cocktail dress, some suitcases are much better at keeping those in wearable shape as well.

    The "right" luggage for you depends on a large number of factors, including how often you travel. My last suitcase was a very inexpensive off-brand expandable soft nylon suitcase that held up for close to ten years of light-to-intermediate travel. It did get torn up early by one airline, but remained usable for quite a long time. My new suitcase is a TravelPro I picked up on clearance (TravelPro is one of the brands airline flight crews tend to prefer.) The TravelPro is well-constructed, has a nicer zipper and a built-in suit-packing thingamabob. But in my case, the operative phrase is "on clearance," so I got it for well under retail.

    From where I stand, it comes down to how much you anticipate you're going to fly with that luggage. As I mentioned previously, I had a $59 bag last me about 10 years, which is a pretty good return on investment.

    One last consideration: airlines charge per bag per passenger, and the norm is about $25-30 for the first bag, and $30-40 for the second. So make sure that if you have 4 suitcases, each person gets that "first" suitcase before anyone gets a second. (Also worth considering is that the airline doesn't really care if all 4 have 28" suitcases or if you're using a 28, 26, 24 and 22. You pay the same.) Finally, many frequent flier programs (which are free to join!) have co-branded credit cards, and one of the perks of these credit cards is that your first bag flies free if you pay for the tickets on the credit card. For a family of 4, that works out to $200 round-trip. There is usually an annual fee of about $100 that is waived for the first year, and it's up to you to decide whether to renew, but $200 is $200.
  7. Alexander

    Alexander DIS Veteran

    Jun 11, 2002
    Wow, you people pack a lot! My family of four checks two suitcases and we carry on our electronics and meds. (make that I carry on our electronics and meds.) Granted our suitcases are usually really close to the 50lb limit, but we only bring 2 for the 4 of us and everything is in there except the above.
  8. ksloane

    ksloane DIS Veteran

    Jun 26, 2006
    This is almost exactly what I was going to say word for word. Absolutely do not designate a suit case as one person's and pack all of their stuff in it. if that was the one suitcase that was lost on the flight, that would be a real bummer.

    What we usually do is set out all of our suitcases and then literally divide up each person's stuff fairly equally between the suitcases so that if one was lost, we'd still have a large amount of our stuff.

    I am also a big ziploc bag fan. I put outfits in them when possible (summer travel, never had much luck with jeans and ziploc bags). I also always ziploc bag anything that could leak such as shampoo, conditioner, contact solution, etc. Sometimes I double ziploc it because as others mentioned, your luggage can take a real beating sometimes and I want to make sure not to ruin my own or other people's stuff with our liquids.

    We always fly Southwest so we're allowed 2 checked bags each. I think we've used 2 each on every trip except our last one and we were able to fly with 3 for 2 people.

    As far as buying luggage, I do not buy the sets as you end up with one big, one medium, and one small. I like to know that I can maximize our checked bags so I buy them separately so that each of us have 2 large 28" (I think) bags and then a carry-on.

    I buy all of our luggage at discount/clearance. I think both mine and my oldest daughter's came from Burlington Coat Factory.

    I also look for bright, maybe ugly, luggage so that it is easy to spot our luggage from a distance, and the chances of someone else using it or slim to none. When we had "standard" solid colored luggage, I bought fabric paint and we decorated our luggage to make it stand out.

    We also buy crazy handkerchiefs and tie them on the handles really tight. Again, this is just to help us identify our luggage when it is on the luggage carousel in the airport or piled up at the terminal on the way back home.

    I also learned that I am horrible at guessing the weight of our luggage so I bought a cheap luggage scale (at Target I think) and I weigh our luggage as we finish up to make sure nothing is over 45 pounds (I figure if I keep it at 45 or less, then even if the scale is off, I should be safe). I also pack the luggage scale for packing for the return flight.

    Hope this helps.
  9. RedSox68

    RedSox68 DIS Veteran

    Mar 16, 2009
    We've become a BIG fan of rolling duffle bags. I just love the roominess and convenience and I never go over the weight limit because they are lighter bags. We have two of those, plus a 28" and one 25". Then we have two rolling totes as carry-ons plus our personal item. Since we have to pay for luggage this year, we are not taking more than one bag each plus the carry-on.
  10. sweetmonkey

    sweetmonkey Mouseketeer

    Nov 3, 2007
    We only have AA here so we try to pack only carry on. I would rather buy $50 (per checked bag) in onboard luxuries (hello Senses, it has been too long) or something I need, than pay that to American. This site has been invaluable for me and I now pack more, lighter, and use most of what I bring.


    Hope that helps some. :thumbsup2
  11. Gigi22

    Gigi22 DIS Veteran

    Apr 11, 2009
    We are a party of 2 adults when we travel on DCL. We fly direct from a hub airport about 2 hours away from where we live. We have one rule for luggage--each of us is responsible for getting their own bags to and from wherever. It makes us both very choosy about what we bring with us!
    We check one medium-sized suitcase each We have the same nondescript navy blue bags as everyone else, so I have purchased an assortment of brightly-coloured luggage tags and straps that I put on both checked bags so I can easily pick them out. I deliberately put brightly very coloured tags that clash on our bags. Lime green with shocking pink, for example. I put a copy of our itinerary in both checked bags in case of one going astray. I cross pack, so we have a few days worth of clothing in each bag. We each take a carryon with essentials, a copy of our itinerary, and our meds. I carry our passports and tickets.
    Extra tickets (those that we won't need on that travel day) go, sorted in order of use, into a clear plastic sleeve in my carry-on. When we finish with one set of tickets, I return them to the plastic sleeve, at the bottom of the file.
  12. fredgirls

    fredgirls DIS Veteran

    Jun 2, 2009
    Wow! Thanks for this link. Just had a quick glance - am really looking forward to sitting down and reading it later.

    We try and travel as light as possible.
    After many travels with the kids we realized that the most stressful bit was with all the bags at the airport. Especially when the kids are little and you have to keep an eye or a hold on them in a busy airport. And therefore vacations always started badly.
    And you come home with so much stuff you haven't worn.
    Since we abandoned all that luggage travelling is so much more fun!
    Only 1 carry on. And no extra handbags or anything. Kids actually love not having to lug their rolling bags around. And we usually can manage with 1-2 small suitcases.
    We make a lot of lists before we pack!

    I'm looking forward to reading more from the go-light guru and maybe reducing our load further :goodvibes

    One other point in relation to some other comments.
    I used to always make my luggage stand out so I could spot it. Then I read somewhere, and it could have been the disboards, that it's less safe to do so. Something about if your suitcase is easy to spot, it also makes it easy to spot for someone who wants to use your bag to transport illegal stuff. They always pick a highly distinctive bag.

    Anyone else heard of this or did I dream it? :laughing:

    Either way we're going with neutral boring bags this time :goodvibes
  13. reimero

    reimero DIS Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    I also favor the more-easily identifiable bags, but I'll add that getting a TSA-approved suitcase lock can help keep out people who want to use your bag as a transport for their illegal stuff (unless the TSA is behind it, but that's a different story...)

    Personally, I prefer to travel light, but I do take both a carry-on and a personal item. I tend to fly out of a regional airport with smaller aircraft, so "normal" carry-on items are routinely gate-checked. Anything I don't want out of my possession at all goes in the personal bag. It's a little bit more of a hassle, but I'd rather deal with that than a lost computer/camera/etc.
  14. DisneyOHFan

    DisneyOHFan Livin' for Disney

    Jan 31, 2011
    For a 3-4 day cruise, we only do carry-on. For a 7 day cruise, we pack one large suitcase to check at the airline and each bring a carryon. I don't like the thought of packing a lot of dirty clothes to bring home, so I always do 1 or 2 loads of laundry on the cruise, which also helps to reduce the amount of clothes we need to pack.
  15. DLW8

    DLW8 DIS Veteran

    Jun 3, 2008
    Whatever you set out to pack for clothing, put 1/2 of it away. You won't use as many clothes on the cruise as you think!

    I brought home several un-worn outfits last cruise, so I made a list as to what we wore so I can trim down the packing this time.

    With that being said - we are 2 adults and 2 tweens. We pack 2 large (checked) suitcases for the 4 of us. We fly Jet Blue or SW, so no baggage fees there.

    Carry ons: we have the rolling carry ons and DH and I bring them, we will put a 3rd smaller one inside one of them, and that is what we will pack with beer and alcohol after our stop at the store in port.

    Kids usually just have their backpack with their ipod, books, homework, etc.

    We always pack another duffle inside the suitcases for those souvenirs that don't seem like you bought a lot until you try to pack everything. :rotfl:
  16. alaska8

    alaska8 Mouseketeer

    Dec 2, 2007
    If I just take a "carry on" then I use my work (Im a flight attendant) travel pro but if Im checking then Costco have this great duffle bag with wheels for less than $50. Its a little heavy but has done several international and internal flights and still looks brand new. Its quite a popular bag so Ive customised it by bright obnoxious ribbons on it...looks silly but easily recognizable as our bag. They easily fit under the bed (on the Dream)
  17. Anal Annie

    Anal Annie at least I KNOW I'm a kook...I just can't help it

    Dec 8, 2006
    With the current checked bag fees I try to pack as lightly as possible now. We will fly SW or Jet Blue if we can (free checked bags) but sometimes we end up on Air Tran or United or something which do charge for checked bags. I try to pack 3-4 days worth of clothes for each of us in our carry-ons which really helps lessen how much checked luggage we need. It is also a "just in case" measure should a checked bag get lost or should our flight be cancelled after our luggage is already checked or something (it happened to us in Paris and we were stuck over night with only our carry-ons).

    I am a firm believer in using packing cubes and packing folders as well as duffles (rather than traditional suitcases). Now that the airlines strictly enforce the 50 Lb rule I refuse to check any large bag that weighs more than 9 Lbs alone (empty). There are many suitcases & duffles that weigh 12 Lbs or more but if you shop around you can find good ones that only weigh 8 or 9 Lbs. Sorry, but that 3 Lb difference is a couple of days of outfits or a couple pair of shoes. Choose your bags carefully. Ballistic Nylon is a good material to look for. It is lightweight & holds up well. TJ Maxx is a GREAT place to shop for qualilty luggage at a reasonable price. You may have to look often as their merchandise changes weekly. But the lighter the better, even for carry-ons. They're easier to lift into the overhead bins when they're lighter too. I also bring a digital luggage scale that I picked up at Bed, Bath & Beyond ($16 with one of their 20% off coupons).

    When I shop for new bags I will only buy ones that offer either a 15-20 year or lifetime warranty. DON'T think the bigger the better. I guarantee you that if you buy a duffle that is larger than 29" or 30" you will stuff it full and it will go over the 50 Lb weight limit. Try to stick to something that falls between 28-30". If you limit yourself somewhat with size you're more likely to not exceed the max. weight. We also use luggage straps around our checked bags to help identify them at baggage claim. I use TSA approved combination locks on our checked bags as well (you can find them pretty cheap on Amazon or Overstock.com). I don't like to mess with the keyed locks. Combinations are easier because you don't have to keep track of the keys every time you need to open them. Another gadget I found before we went to Europe with I LOVED is a lightweight miniature travel size power strip. GREAT for charging all the gadgets we have these days - esp. when there may be limited outlets.

    Here's a few links that may be helpful. If you don't have a TJ Maxx near you then you might consider shopping online at like eBags.com or something. They have great prices on their own brand of packing cubes too. :thumbsup2 I can't stress enough how wonderful packing cubes are. They have been the best investment and the biggest help for me with cutting back on my packing.



    TravelPro is a good name in luggage - here's a 30" duffle that only weighs a little over 7 Lbs and has a limited lifetime warranty:





  18. SuzanneSLO

    SuzanneSLO DIS Veteran

    Sep 10, 1999
    When my DH and I travel, our general rule is we bring only 1 set of wheels per person. Trying to haul 2 wheeled bags behind you is a problem for you and for others you may encounter in the airport.

    We check 1 26" wheeled bag and one soft-sided 24" bag. Before checking, we can attach the soft-sided bag very firmly to a rolling bag. That's not so easy with a hard side or rolling bag.

    Any bag larger than 26" is likely to be overweight if fully packed. if we are concerned about that possiblitily,we bring a luggage scale with us for the return flight.

    We also carry on 2 bags; again, one that rolls and one that is soft-sided. I carry our laptop in a separate TSA approved bag, but it will fit in the soft-sided bag or the rolling bag if someone is counting items as we board. I also carry a tiny purse (4"x6") and my husband has a fanny pack as our personal items. -- Suzanne
  19. DisneyDee27

    DisneyDee27 Disney fanatic since '75

    Jun 3, 2008
    They hold quite a bit. I pack Meds and electronics in our carry-on. The large is 28" the medium is 26" and the small is 22". So far they have been great and since not many people have the same luggage it is easy to pick up at baggage claim.
    I've learned to layout everything I think I'll need then get rid of half and replace that with a bottle of rum or vodka :thumbsup2
    It's worked really well so far.


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