Travelling Light with Kids

"If you can’t carry it, don’t bring it." 

That has always been and always will be my motto for airplane travel. (By car is a totally different approach: If it fits, it comes! - that can be another blog!) Whenever we have gone away by plane, the rule has been if you can’t carry it, it doesn’t come. Because really, I can’t carry it either. And, really, I don’t want to!

My name is Antonia Cetin. I am an educator and the author of You’ve Got This, Mom! A Mother’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Modern World. With my currently 12 year old son, I am a world traveller. Together Matthieu and I have travelled to 17 countries across North and Central America and Europe. We love to explore and to visit new places, meet new people, discover hidden treasures. This summer we are looking forward to going to Hawaii for my 5-0!

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My son and I have always travelled with carry-ons because it’s easier and it’s more hassle-free. If you have large luggage, and your children have large luggage, who gets stuck carrying it all? How would you even manage carrying it into the airport, never mind some distant and unfamiliar destination? No thank you. I am a wuss, and I will stay that way.

I also never wanted the hassle of arriving at our destination with a young child and having to wait for my luggage to come. We just walk right through arrivals and keep heading out the exit. I have never wanted the hassle of wondering if all of our stuff would arrive and if it didn’t, how would I handle that with my young traveller in tow. On occasion, it has happened that our connecting flights have been very close, but no problem because we didn’t have to worry about our luggage making the connecting flight!

Further, with carry-ons, I always know where all of our stuff is, and it is always handy. Having things on hand has been especially helpful on those frequent occasions when Matthieu decided he wanted a certain toy or book or pair of socks while we were in transit. Wait, I think the socks was me!

What about souvenirs? You know there will be souvenirs. You know, those amazing and unique trinkets that your children will not be able to live without and that you will be stuck carrying for the remainder of your trip? Leave room for these in your luggage and only buy the lightest ones because you will be cursing when your luggage gets any heavier!

During our three month trip across Europe in 2016, for example, Matthieu, and I had one carry-on and one additional bag each. He had his awesome Star Wars carry-on suitcase with wheels that he could trail behind him, and his very cool satchel made out of recycled firefighter pants given to him for our trip by a dear friend. In his case, he had his clothes, sandals, toiletries, and stuffies; and in his satchel, he carried his notebooks, his reading material, his pencil case, and some precious souvenirs. I, on the other hand, had a nap-sack (because there is no way I could carry two suitcases, carry-on or otherwise, up and down stairs where there are no escalators!), and my large purse. In my knapsack, I had my own clothes, sandals, and toiletries, and in my purse, along with our documents, were our studying materials, our sketchbooks, our Chromebook, and our essential oils.

Everything else, I figured we could find along the way if we needed it.

If you think about it, the more stuff you bring with you, the more stuff you have to keep track of. This way, I only ever had to count as high as 4 and really, when you’re travelling with a bunch of stuff for an extended period of time, 4 is high enough! Occasionally, you end up with an extra bag or two anyway: that snack that doesn’t fit into your luggage, the special souvenir you bring to share at your next stop, the fragile confectionary you got for the road, and next thing you know your hands are full. Besides, you still need to keep an eye and a hand free for your most precious cargo: your child!

As you plan your own vacation this summer, please consider liberating yourself of stuff. Who needs more responsibility on vacation anyway? So, if you’re hitting the road with your kids, my best advice is to only take what you can carry because you know who’s going to be carrying most of the stuff anyway. #mamashirpaisme

For more blogs on travel, parenting, health, or life-balance visit my website: and check out my Facebook Page: @youvegotthismom