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Hand luggage only-realistic for family of 4?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@WASHOUT, +1

... by the time OP has bought new bags to maximise her allowance, banned the kids from bringing a favourite toy because it’s too large, fought her way round the airport with family and 60kg of cabin bags in tow, spent an hour waiting and unpacking at security because one of the bags looked a bit dodgy at X-ray, raced to boots to grab toiletries, desperately argued with gate staff not to get her bags gate checked anyway, and waited so long at passport control that the hold bags are all waiting for the other passengers I’m not sure it’s worth it...

Why not just leave hubby at LHR at the end to collect bags and make his own way home, if the delay on arrival home is really the issue? Or, more extreme, if there is a proper baggage delay, just walk off and leave BA to get your dirty laundry back to you.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
WASHOUT wrote:
But is it worth the hassle???

If you've ever landed at LGW (other airports are available) at about 20:00, then waited 3+hours for baggage reclaim and missed the last train (when you need to be at work in the morning), you would understand why people do it! Might be unusual, but is THAT worth the hassle when it can easily be avoided by sticking to hand luggage?
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@mgrolf, will be sure to share the list if we end up doing it
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@snowdave, maybe I should “leave” my hubby in LHR on the way out... this way he wont have a chance to moan about all the unnecessary things that I packed ))
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
As we are now stuck with school holidays, with children, the time it takes to get through security has meant our luggage is ready waiting on the carousel in both Heathrow and Gatwick.
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On mislaid hold baggage
ecureuil wrote:
...If you've ever landed at LGW (other airports are available) at about 20:00, then waited 3+hours for baggage reclaim ... Might be unusual, but is THAT worth the hassle when it can easily be avoided by sticking to hand luggage?
It's quite hard to find the statistics for baggage delays. The industry suggests about 1% of people flying have their bags mislaid, with a downward trend.
That seems low from my personal experience (below).
The reason is that they are actually measuring the number of bags lost per flyer, rather than the number lost versus the number checked, and people are checking less gear as cabin baggage allowances have gone up.

From my experience in BC I'd say that about 5% of skier visitors have baggage mislaid each year. Almost everything usually turns up after a few days, and the airline is legally obliged to cover the costs, but it's an inconvenience for those people to have to ski in hired boots and clothes. Smart people carry their boots in hand-baggage for this reason. Skis are not an issue as you can always rent well prepared current-season stuff. My number is going to be larger than the industry's because I'm not cheating; most people in back-country BC get there with multiple flight segments; and people often travel at busy times.

My own statistics are about 5%. I try to minimise the likely consequences (carry boots and knickers etc in hand baggage), and stay calm and focused when it happens.
It's best not to have an operator lose your gear if their helpdesk is offshore. US/ Canadian airlines are better at recovery than BA.
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@Bella2015, oh I'm not saying you couldn't - I'm saying I couldn't!!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Quote:

is it worth the hassle???

not to avoid waiting for checked baggage to arrive, in my view - and it's far easier getting through the airport with no carry on bags. I've travelled very extensively for work on some dodgy airlines (Air Nauru, for example), not often had to wait long and only ever lost one suitcase - which turned up in 24 hours. But avoiding checked baggage does save a lot of money. And it's good to keep it simple. I did a couple of weeks in Norway a few summers ago with just a 15lb backpack which included a heavy duty sailing jacket and seaboots. That had to be checked - as it was a proper rucksack with a frame, so I could carry it easily. But the principle of packing light is a good one - and in a shared cabin on a yacht I was grateful my cabin-mate had also just brought sensible amounts of stuff as we had little room to stow our things away. I found having just what I needed - and nothing else - was quite satisfying and made a series of single nights spent in B & Bs - and one on an overnight train - so much easier. I have a recurrent nightmare that I am on a bus or train with several kids, our stop is fast approaching, and I have goods and chattels spread far and wide with no time to stuff them back in their bags. I try not to do that in real life. wink
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I normally have boots in my carry on and a few other clothes in with the skis, without boots in my carry on, there would easily be room for everything else
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My carry on bag is a tough but lightweight canvas bag that was about £10
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With regards posting luggage, i've sent my skis ahead with UPS before, can't remember it costing much, should think any of the big courier firms would be competitive compared to taking bags with you, plus no dragging the damn things about Very Happy
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Seems to be a few pertinent questions here:

1a) How likely is it that there is a delay in bags getting to reclaim and 1b) how much does it bother you?

2a) How disciplined can you be with your packing and or 2b) How much will you miss taking the stuff that doesn't make the cut?

We drive rather than fly but how much we take is still an issue for several reasons. And I'm sure if we flew (without skis, boots, etc.) we could do hand luggage only.
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Thornyhill wrote:
I did have to wear my boots on a Ryanair flight once...they objected that it wasn't safe so I offered to race the oldest person on the plane back to the terminal. The captain was a top bloke. He agreed that I was complying with the letter of company policy but was destroying the spirit of the policy. I offered to get off and take it to court....so I wore my boots for the duration. Laughing Laughing Laughing


Thought this sort of thing was a myth. If it isn't a tall story then the Captain was more likely just desperate not to miss his take off slot, but even then you'd think they'd have you take them off and stow them. Of course it's not safe, another reason not to chance it with them. What other little corners do they cut? If they allow one to do it then they end up with every cheapskate doing it and then evacuating a smoke-filled aircraft becomes very unsafe. Can visualise the news stories now.

Moving on. Can't speak for France but many Austrian places have rental clothing so, in theory, you could easily go skiing with just hand luggage. The main ski shop at the lift in Hintertux has some fairly decent looking gear for rent and the guy assured me it is washed between uses.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

many Austrian places have rental clothing so, in theory, you could easily go skiing with just hand luggage

I've not seen clothing for rental in France but for anyone capable of packing light and not requiring a different outfit every evening and a ton of toiletries and hair straighteners it's easy enough to go hand baggage only including ski clothing and the OP doesn't need to carry boots or skis.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I'm going to Siberia this Friday and with two flights (last one Moscow --> Abakan) we've been advised by the lodge, based on their experience to pack boots and enough gear to ski with should your ski bag / luggage go AWOL for a day or two in hand luggage a feat that is actually quite easy.

So goggles, sunnies, socks, buff, hat in boots, gloves stashed in between and a few other layers. 3/4 leg thermal, shell trousers & jacket along with gaiters (we have a 20min) walk from train station and then still able to get most of my tech gear in as well.

If you did not have boots then would be a piece of piddle, though there again where we're going you will not exactly be dressing up to go out in the evenings, just my shorts for the banya!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Easily doable. It shocks me how many base layers and apres ski clothes people take anyway. And socks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Lucywuk, some smell more than others. You can only turn them inside out so many times.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
under a new name wrote:
@Lucywuk, some smell more than others. You can only turn them inside out so many times.


Ha. Half my post deleted. 3 x socks. Wash and wear.
But yes weirdly I dont sweat when skiing even though I ski really hard. Normally I sweat like a pig when I exercise (and I exercise every day) and am
Wringing wet at the end. But skiing? No.
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OKay, As some of you know I fly a heck of a lot and I only use a cabin bag. 4 cabin bags for two adults and two kids for a week is easy.

If flying BA or EZY (with the up front seats) or similar airline you get one cabin bag of maximum dimensions and one largish hand bag (under the seats). I recommend if on EZY to book the up front seats (cheaper than a checked bag) and you get one first.

Now think of the logistics of checked baggage and cabin bags.

Q? Are you taking your own boots? This will take a lot of space so I would suggest you just check in a bag. If not. you will have 4 checked bags. Also remember that the kids will not want to drag a bag about.

So I would get 2 bags that you can put over your back like a Rab 50L kitbag. I've got one of these. Currently £48 from cotswold. Says £60 but you get a further 20% at the checkout for this weekend.

https://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/p/rab-kit-bag-ii-50l-E2314458.html?colour=108

Each of you can put this over your back and then wheel 1x normal cabin luggage (which I assume you have) each. I'm sure the kids have some kind of mini rucsac that can double as an under the seat bag. So in these to make it light for them put the kids pants and socks etc.

For ALL essential toiletries (remember suncream) buy at Boots and stick them in a cloth bag as an under the seat bag. For all the rest, just buy in resort and leave. Remember that they will be out on the slopes most days with the same gear. In the evening they will have a t-shirt and the same jumper (or two) etc. So you can really travel light.
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@Bella2015, I see you are on BA. Do you have status with the exec club. For me it is easy as a gold card holder. But by the time the gold, silver, and bronze get on first you will be in group 4-5 if you don't have status. The amount of people that are taking on hand baggage is crazy on BA so you may get stuck having toe check it in.
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In terms of clothes and shoes when we used to take the caravan, (5 of us) we only had one small locker each, probably about the size of an easyjet carry on. All other available space was taken up by winter awning, aquaroll, ski boots, bedding, extra heaters etc etc! Ski jackets were worn and used as pillows in the car, with ski gloves (carefully looked after as they were the thing that frequently got lost).

I often had to do one wash of 'smalls' but rarely anything more. I guess you could do it but as has already been stated it will need planning well!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
It’s unlikely you will have the same delays with checked luggage but hand luggage is doable... assuming you have access to a washing machine, flying BA or EZJ for generous hand liggage , and not taking ski boots. Follow the rule of 3... ie only take 3 pieces of each clothing category, wear your walking boots / ski jacket on the flight, pack only one extra pair of trainers each, maybe hotel type slipers in addition and buy toiletaries at airport which then goes loose on a plastic bag. Keep personal items in a small rucksack / laptop bag. Strap helmet to outside of rucksack.
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I'd not bother, why spend money to go Club Med, and then scrimp by taking hand luggage only? Also, have to be small size toiletries/make-up etc. If you take hold bags then you have a chance of sliding in a few little Father Christmas stocking fillers.
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Quote:

why spend money to go Club Med, and then scrimp by taking hand luggage only?

? I don't get the connection. Travelling with too much stuff (which most of us do, most of the time) is just a pain and can detract from enjoyment. Yes, small size toiletries and make up. But is this a problem? When I was spending weeks in my apartment, in previous winters, I was sometimes asked to go and sort out small crises in apartments belonging to friends, when renters had some sort of plumbing or electrical difficulty. I was always absolutely stunned by two things - one, the extraordinary temperatures, where renters had ramped the heating up to top notch and were sitting round in vest tops and two, how the entire place was full of stuff - and they are roomy apartments. Most people, most of the time, take far too much baggage.
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I didn't think it was a case of scrimping, more a case of not wanting to hang around luggage belts at airports.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I think that travelling with two young children at Christmas is different. But each to their own. We've done carry-on size for 3 weeks in China with the kids before now, but not to a cold destination at Christmas.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I've just baked for my tripmon Monday.

Gla-LGW then train to hampshire. Two days work. Then 9pm flight to Hong Kong. Then flight to Shanghai for 4 days. Then down to Guanzhou for sun to Tues then back to Shanghai for more meetings and fly back to London on Thurs then meeting then up to Glasgow on the thursday night. 2/3rds full cabin bag.

I've got in leisure + Business gear (inc dress shoes), wearing casual travelling.

12 days in one case.

One other thing. At the EOSB, you could have went with nothing but skis and boots and bought a tin of stuff at 70% discount in resort and then checked in on the way back (I got Jublo Zebra photo chromatics for 49 euros).

So I always travel light. And as another poster said. If you are going ClubMed why scrimp. Correct. If going ClubMed, don't scrimp, but lots of stuff in resort and take it back in the hold, but don't burden yourself with checked baggage.

There are always two sides to the coin, we are only here to help you decide how you want to view it.
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 You know it makes sense.
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We're off to France in a few weeks. Both dogs, both sons, hubby and I in our car. Although we'll have the roof box on, it still means packing space is tight, although we do have a boot divider which means dog in one side, luggage in the other, and dog no 2 on rear seat with me and 1 son. No skis or boots as they're already there, but we seem to have a full complement of ski wear at home this time. So packing will indeed be light.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
It depends where you are flying to. Normally we are flying to a small domestic airport in Scandinavia, so the opportunity for them to lose the luggage is limited. And the baggage appears immediately. Some airports don’t even have a luggage belt, you just grab it off the trolley.

If we didn’t take our own ski equipment, helmets etc then I’d try and do hand luggage if I was flying to Geneva or other major airport. If you wear ski jackets, then the only bulky items are insulated pants (mine are shell though).

I always pack the hand luggage with enough basic clothing (inc gloves, ski socks, buffs etc) to ski for a couple of days, if our skis get delayed. Helmets be clipped to the outside of the bags, never had an issue on a normal (non low cost) airline.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Yes with BA you can do this (without ski boots / helmets). But why bother?

An alternative approach is to put everything in the hold and not have hand luggage- which is a pain with kids.

However- it is a nice problem to have really.
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I did it with alwayspink at the EOSB a few years ago with EasyJet! She was eight, and whilst we brought our own boots, we rented skis and helmets. We bought bags that fitted EXACTLY in the measurements described by EasyJet, and read the reviews on Amazon carefully to check they'd fit in EasyJet's slots too. Filled every tiny cm. But.. we did it!
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Really interesting to read all the responses...@GlasgowCyclops, thanks for bag suggestion...probably too big for my kids to put on their backs though ( they probably could fit inside one:) but could work for us..also we are not gold/silver or bronze BA card holder so if you are right, we may have no choice but to check in the luggage
@Cheesie168, it is really not about scrimping.. our hold luggage is already included in BA ticket, it’s just that my kids ( and husband) can be quite moody/ annoying in the airports/crowded spaces especially when tired so trying to avoid any delays of getting out of there
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The secret lies in the suitcase. No more nor less. For a while I've been using the Samsonite Asphere which has the perfect dimensions (i.e. slightly larger than EJ and RA demand but still fits in their measuring wotsit - as tried and tested upon demand in the airport(*)). Integrated wheels (i.e. not four wheels stuck out like four easily breakable sore thumbs wasting a good litre or so of potential volume) and soft casing so that it can be more easily stuffed.

(*) I once managed to get the case into the wotsit, but, due to it being full of Christmas pressies, couldn't get it out again. The stewardess had to tame the frame while I forced the case out. She still let me board with it though... Nevertheless I decided that I'd pushed my luck that time, and started being slightly more careful.

Travelling with hand luggage only is a noble and beautiful art.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
(Oh, and I just recently did a wedding-cum-beach-cum-jungle-cum-desert-cum-city break 2 weeker in Colombia... Hand luggage only, albeit with the wedding rags in a separate protective cover-bag. It's unbelievable the crap that people holiday with. No kids, though.)
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Quote:

Travelling with hand luggage only is a noble and beautiful art.


True, that. But once kit is involved...
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@Bella2015, You would have one wheelie case each. The kids would have the RAB. Then you and Partner put one RAB each on your back and wheel the wheelie bag. The kids wouldn't be carrying a bag so it is easier to handle/drag them. Happy
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Bella2015, just a thought, to ease the moodiness at the baggage belt would it be easier for one of you to take the kids off to get a drink or snack then the other wait for the bags?
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We've done 2 Christmas ski holidays (as a family of 5) with just hand luggage. We don't take boots and helmets (hire them) but luggage has contained a Christmas tree for the apartment, fairy lights, a box of crackers for Christmas lunch on the mountain and quite a lot of (albeit quite small and some edible so don't pack them on the way home!) Christmas presents Very Happy Very Happy . We have soft canvas wheelie holdalls which I think can fit in more. We take masses of clothes both for the skiing and going out in the evening, its just a question of clever packing.
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@Newbie72, crackers without the crack presumably?
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