Four people and a new life in Australia. How much of your ‘old’ life can you take along with you on a flight? A post about being creative with luggage allowance, items that we are glad that we brought, items that we should not have taken and lessons learned. This is our experience.
To begin with we made sure that we booked a flight with the highest checked luggage allowance. Skyscanner has a page that has links to all the airlines luggage allowances, that is a lot quicker then searching on all the different airline pages. Airlines do change their allowance. Check first which airlines are flying to your destination, otherwise it will keep you busy very long. For us that left out Malaysian Airways and KLM for instance. The best option for us was flying with Qantas via Singapore.
This was our total allowance:
- 120 kg check in luggage, 30 kg per person
- 28 kg hand luggage, 7 kg per person
- 4 small carry on bags, with a size restriction, no weight limit, so that was the place for all our books!
Note: if you book an intercontinental flight with a four digit flight number, this means that it is a code share, then the flight is operated by another airline. Beware that the allowance of the airline who is operating the flight is valid. This might make a difference. We booked a flight with a Quantas, but the flight itself was operated by Singapore Airlines. For us this meant that there was a difference of -/-2 kg per person in the check in luggage allowance.
Being creative with luggage allowance
Everything that you are wearing (and keeping in your pockets) does not count as allowance.
We left during the summer in the Netherlands, so checking in with winter coats and a lot of layers was a bit awkward, but it was winter in Australia after all.
We had a full extra Ikea bag, the bag itself does not weigh anything, with winter clothing that we could wear in case they were giving us a fuss. During the check in we left that on our trolley.
I was not making a fashion statement, wearing about five layers on top and my sports pants under my jeans. Only problem being that my boots did not zip up anymore. The sports pants are comfortable in the airplane, so the jeans went into the Ikea bag, as did about three of my top layers.
The lady that checked us in did notice that we had a lot with us and started to make a fuss about the small carry on bags being too much, so she asked her manager to check it out. Luckily her manager was in a good mood and just waved quickly that it was all right.
Since the small carry on bags did not have a weight restriction they where filled with books and other small, heavy items. Of course that was not practical when we had to go through customs, the parts where we had no trolley. Then we had to carry everything. That is why we reshuffled everything after the check in. The white trolley was about four kilos in itself, so it only had three kilo’s in it at check in. That is where all the heavy items then went. When we transferred in Singapore we observed first if the hand luggage got weighted again. Had it been, we would have done the reshuffling again. Luckily they did not.
This is what we took
- The four pieces of hand luggage on the right hand top, from the white hard shell suitcase to the yellow bag.
- The four other pieces on the right hand side, the carry on bags.
- Six pieces of check in luggage.
- The ‘unallowed’ Ikea bag that was completely full by the time we arrived in Melbourne.
Most of our bags where soft bags, they weigh a lot less than suitcases.
The black and white bag is worth mentioning separately. This contains a wash bin that Oliver had since he was a student. It does not weigh much itself, we transported four self inflating mattresses, two pictures and some small items to fill it up in there. A flight bag is protecting it. And guess what we do with our dirty laundry?
One other thing that came in handy. Not a bad solution, right? It came to us when we were searching online for light weight bags. We were looking at duffle bags that are used in the military when we noticed that our laundry bag had just about the same size.
Things that we are glad that we brought
- European multi plugs, you can buy single converters, but it is handy to have more European plugs.
- A blender, we use it for almost all our cooking. From making shakes and mixing dough to blending up the vegetables to hide in the sauce or soup.
- A small selection of the stuffed animals for the kids.
- Kai’s scooter. He loves riding his scooter and he still uses it daily. It was a good quality one. He would have been fine with a new one, but a similar one would have been expensive here.
- A small tool box, it has come in handy a million times already.
- A bike pump, we do not need it often, but it is one of those needed tools if you ride a bicycle.
- Christmas decoration.
- Two photo books with pictures from our previous life. Of course we have the digital ones that we stored in the cloud, but the books are by far favorite.
- Games, we have been playing so many games.
- Our camping mattresses and sleeping bags. We slept on them the first couple nights, until we had beds. Now we are still using them when we go camping.
- Basic camping essentials, they helped us through the first days and are now used for camping as well.
- Oliver’s mouse and keyboard. Oliver values this very much, he had just bought those new and would have wanted the same ones here.
- A sturdy box (see picture below and Hornbach link), locked with cable binders. We put in an extra set of cable binders, just in case they would be opened at customs. Although the box itself is almost 5 kg, it was a good way to transport more breakable items. Now we are using it for camping and when we go to the beach.
Things that we should not have taken
- Olivers’ folding bike. It was by far the heaviest item that we brought. It took up the complete flight allowance for one flight and did not turn out to be practical here, since it has no gears and we are living on top of a hill, everything downhill from here and uphill to come back here.
- The helmets for the kids. We knew that they were mandatory here and we still had them, but they actually did not fit the heads of the children anymore.
- We brought so much clothing that we have no need to buy anything new here for years. Which is a shame, because walking in the stores you do want to buy some stuff. It seems more practical. We are tempted all the time.
- Kai’s LEGO collection. We should have known better, he was already not playing with it much before we left.
Everything that has emotional value is a good thing to bring. I am one of those people that does not easily throw things away. When starting this adventure it felt like everything has emotional value. It turns out that that is not the case. We have only missed a couple small practical things, nothing else.
You can basically buy everything here. When we miss something it is mostly a practical thing that you only use occasionally, simple things like a potato masher. Of course you can buy that here as well, but it feels like a waste of money, as we could have easily brought it, since we had it already. We rather spent the money on the every day stuff.
We did not ship anything for our move from Europe 2 Australia, everything that we brought was taken with us on the airplane. Well, with the exception of two boxes that we sent via air mail. One 20 kg box with our tent and camping gear in one of those blue boxes. And a 10 kg box with Christmas decoration. I will write a separate post about why we decided not ship any belongings.
What to take or what not to take is a very personal question. If we can give you any advise when you are not shipping your belongings, it would be to think about a few personal items that are important to you and the children. And what items do you use only occasionally?
See related post: Cost to fill a house in Melbourne