We are about to fly from Spain to the UK and the budget airline we are using has very strict baggage allowances. We have struggled with similar problems all around the world but here in Europe the airlines appear to very officious with regard to the weight of your baggage number of cases and the size and type of carry on they will allow.
In the Phillipines early last year we weight in a little over weight with Cebu Air and that cost $40 USD for the 8 or so kg we were over. But here the fines and extra baggage cost are through the roof. So we have to reduce our six cases down to just five and make sure we only have one carry on bag each for the flight.
Things going in our favour are the fact that we have actually fitted every thing into our five large bags previously and the 10 kg weight limit for carry on. But it’s still going to be a struggle. Usually my backpack weights in the heaviest at 22kg with Michelle’s at 19kg and the rest of the kids at between 15 and 19 kg each but we have a sixth case called the tech case which is usually 10kg or more.
Yep a whole case dedicated to tech gear. No it’s not our laptops, iPads, iPhones, charger and cables. We keep those items with us at all times in our carry on. It accessory gear we travel with keyboards, computer mice, power boards, power adapters, audio cables, headphones, tool kits, extension cords and the medical kit we carry. At least that’s what was in the case when we left Australia. Since then the tool kit has grown and we have added other items like an umbrella, bed sheet, several small tripods and optical equipment for our iPhone’s. Item to help us take better photos. I think theirs also a small set of binoculars one of the boys once carried in their personal kit.
So here’s the real problem. In Asia where it was warm we didn’t carry very heavy clothing but since being in Europe we have invested in quite a few extra warm cloths. Cloths that we will need in the UK. So these bulky items not only add to our baggage weight they also fill up the bags leaving less space to distribute the tech gear.
So just how much tech gear do we need. I’m looking through the items and trying to decide if we can leave any of it behind.
Being a hopeless DIY and handy man I can’t seem to go anywhere without tools. In facts most of the tools I now carry I’ve had to purchase during our travels to sort out problems we have encountered. The standard screwdrives and pliers have been used in every country as have the pocket knifes. I’ve used then to fix iPhones, iPads, water pumps, power pack, power boards and even switch boards. So they have to stay.
Power boards and extension cords
These are essential items as are the power socket adapters. With just one European to Autralian power adaptor each plus a power board we are all able to keep our personal tech gear full charged and operating in every cafe, hotel and house we have stayed. We mostly carry a four or five socket power boards which is just the right number of outlets for an iPad, iPhone, camera/ battery pack and laptop each. The extension cord is a life saver also. We only carry three meter cords but they get us access to most close by power points every if we sometimes string several together. So they have to stay also.
When we left Australia I put together a kit of items I regularly used with my computers and audio gear. Keyboards, mice, audio and visual adapters and extension cables. These included several versions of HDMI and VGA adapters, an Apple TV with its cables and a bundle of useful cables. Due to power problems we’ve had in several countries I’ve used the keyboard and mouse on numerous occasion but I don’t believe Michelle has had to use hers. So we probable have one extension keyboard and mouse too many. I also suspect the spare spare mouse is overkill. We have used a few of the 1.5 mm audio cables on occasion and the Ethernet cable but all the others cable and adapters are just taking up space.
The 1.5mm audio cable have been handy for connecting iPhones to car accessory ports and external speakers (we acquired two portable speakers in Phnom Pen). It’s silly though because in those countries the cables themselves didn’t cost more than 20 cents so why did we are carrying them with us.
The Ethernet cable is essential just incase we have a hardline rather than wireless connectivity. But it’s probably over kill as wireless is so common. In a couple of years they will be obsolete.
So can we leave the other cables and adapters here in Spain?
Of course we could always buy new ones if we really need them in the future. BUT we might need them when we can’t easily purchase an alternative! That’s the trade off convenience verses weight and a sixth case.
A classic example occurred today when we were miles away from home Ben wanted to play some music on the car stereo but we didn’t have a 1.5mm audio jack with us and blue tooth didn’t work. So it was just cheaper to purchase a $2 replacement cable rather than driver all the way back to our accommodation for one. So now we have another 1.5 meters of audio cable we could take with us. But we’ll probably just leave it in the hire car for the next person.
Its going to be a hard choice as we’ve travelled so far with the gear we have and we have used most of it. I believe we will keep the more expensive gear because we just can’t afford to replace it if it’s needed
So the wish list would be for smaller and lighter equipment that does the same job. Alternatively an unlimited supply of cash so we could simply just dump gear in every country and then purchase what we need in the next. We live in hope but until then we’ll just have to lug what we can with us and pray for cheaper flights on more lenient airlines.