“We’re going for a WHOLE YEAR, Joe, and I’m going to need summer clothes, winter clothes, work clothes, road AND trail running shoes, hiking boots, hydration pack, iPod dock, so….”
If you’re going for a year, do you need to ship a box of stuff over, or will you have enough luggage allowance for everything?
SPOILER ALERT: we didn’t need to ship a box of stuff.
Joe in Team Luggage argued that flying Korean Airlines, we had 23kg of checked bags each, plus 12kg of carry-on each. That’s 35kg each. For the four of us, that’s 140kg.
Carlene in Team Shipping Box argued that it’s possible to send a standard sized shipping box to an address in Europe for only about NZ$450 and it takes about 10 days to arrive. Anything we don’t pack that we will need in the next 12 months, we will need to buy, and that will probably cost more than €250. $450 between the four of us, that’s just over $110 each.
Team Luggage said we could take everything we wanted to in our 140kg because, well, 140kg is a lot.
Team Shipping Box pointed out that 140kg of packed bags might not fit in L’s car when he picks us up in Stockholm, when that car is also carrying the four owners of that 140kg and their chauffeur friend.
So Team Luggage suggested a Test Packing Exercise, two weeks before we left. Team Shipping Box was both pleased and surprised to hear this, because it sounded like the sort of thing Team Shipping Box would suggest herself, only to be greeted with derision. You know. #highmaintenance and all that.
So we did a test pack on a Sunday. I got the biggest suitcase and stuffed it with everything. Joe hung around saying things like “what about this running hoodie? You like this one!” I put in winter clothes, summer clothes, work clothes and all the stuff I said up there, and it was 22kg. I hadn’t started on the 12kg of carry-on yet.
On the basis that The Adult Female has the most stuff, everyone else was considerably less than 22kg. The kids were around 10-12kg, so we added things like the hiking boots, iPod dock (just one), a stovetop coffee maker (OK, actually two), a couple of bits of clothing that we liked but weren’t sure we needed.
Did it fit in the car?
It sure did! So, one large suitcase, three large backpacks, one large carry-on trolley case – all fit in the boot of a standard sedan.
So based on this, no need for a shipping box.
Appendix 1 – things you might like to pack
- Clothes for all seasons
- Clothes for work, even if it’s just one smart piece for a job interview (for a dish-washing)
- Sleeping bags
- Hair clippers and haircutting scissors – haven’t paid for anyone to have a haircut for a while, why start now?
- Things that are small but will be annoying to have to buy all over again:
- sewing kit, and I don’t just mean a hotel-sized one;
- stationery items including blu-tack, scissors, ruler, etc;
- iPod dock
- Stovetop coffee maker
- Small items from home you can display in your new place (with the blu-tack you brought)
Appendix 2 – things you don’t need to pack
- Not too many kids’ clothes for the other season, as they might have grown out of them by the time the season rolls around
- Clothes you don’t love, because if you go to another country and you want to feel like you’re fitting in, you’ll find you quickly buy a couple of pieces that are fashionable in that place, and then some of the other stuff you brought from home isn’t quite “right” and stays at the back of the cupboard. Or maybe you don’t care – up to you.
- Anything kitchen-related, when your NZ-based German friend says you can use all her kitchen stuff which is boxed up at her parents’ place (yuss!)
Appendix 3 – if you do ship stuff
It was going to be around NZ$450-$500 door to door (a bit less if you take it to the airport yourself). The box was around 40x40x65cm or something like that.
There are a couple of providers in NZ but Excess Baggage who I talked to seemed very nice and knowledgeable.
Consider you might have to ship that stuff back home again, in which case the final cost of a shipping solution is more like $900-$1000.
“Door to door” means you need to have an address in Europe that you will pick up the stuff from, so if you don’t know where that is yet… you will have go ask a European-based mate if you can get it sent to their place.
Alternatively, as it only takes 10 days to arrive, you could find accommodation and then ask a NZ-based friend or family member to arrange for the stuff that you’ve boxed to be collected.
If you are going to be touring around for quite a while before you get to your destination, it might be handy to have minimum luggage for that bit.
For us, we flew Korean Airlines to Frankfurt, and although we had an overnight in Seoul, our big bags were checked all the way through.
Appendix 4 – what to put in your carry-on v checked bags
I reckoned seasoned travellers have a better perspective on this, and also we had an overnight in Seoul for which we had only checked bags, but anyway, while I’m busy capturing everything, for our trip we took the following:
- Empty drink bottle (Molly’s was a metal Kathmandu number with a plastic lid). Despite the 100ml Only And No Pump Bottles Madam, no-one seemed to mind about a kid’s metal or plastic drink bottle, and once we were through security there were water fountains where we could fill it.
- Togs – because it was going to be 32 degrees in Seoul and the hotel might have had a pool
- This laptop so I can blog on the plane – I like a proper keyboard, and 24 hours of flying is useful downtime (is that an oxymoron?). Oh and anyways, laptops aren’t covered by your travel insurance if they are in checked bags.
- Your own headphones/earbuds, so you can keep watching your movie after the hostesses collect the airlines’ headphones
- Snacks (I’ll say “well, KIDS, you know?” and we can all just pretend I took snacks solely for their benefit)
- Print-outs of important stuff. I’m quite a e-girl usually, but if my only record of booking a shuttle to the airport is in an email and my phone has run out of battery…
OK, that’ll do for now for the Important But Not Very Sexy stuff.