The one bag rule is the brainchild of my friend and writing buddy, Jenn Miller, in whose cozy Cape Cod cottage we are currently crashing.
Because we so highly recommend the notion of one family, one suitcase in our book [enter shameless promotion here] there was no way this Gypsy Mama could show her face in the US while dragging more than one bag.
So how do five people share one suitcase?
Space saver bags.
Each person on the trip has one space saver bag, into which goes 2 outfits, 2 pairs of socks, and 1 pair of pajamas and some undies.
That’s it, except maybe a toothbrush.
If we need something, it is easy enough to pick it up once we arrive.
For the airplane, each person carries a small pack, strictly for items needed during the flight.
The only exception to this was my pink roll-around hard-case a friend of mine had dubbed the “Barbie Suitcase,” which I found I needed in order to bring the kids school books, when the beer and chocolates pushed our one large bag over the weight limit.
So, I brought on board a purse and the Barbie Suitcase, which is still small enough to fit easily in the overhead compartment.
I knew that having less baggage would make train-to-plane transit much easier, but I didn’t know the joy it would bring other people.
The five of us were standing at the Lufthansa baggage drop at Frankfurt International, when the clerk asked how many bags to check.
“One,” I replied.
She raised her eyebrows.
“Just one?” she suggested, as if I’d mistranslated her perfect English.
She counted heads again.
I smiled cheerfully.
The look on her face was as if I’d just brought her a gift, which I guess it was for a person who tags and hefts suitcases all day.
Then she gave me an unexpected gift by slapping a “Priority” tag on our lonely Samsonite.
I was extremely pleased that at the end of the eight hour flight, we were wheeling our single priority bag towards the exit, while most of the other passengers were staring longingly at the four bags circulating on the luggage carousel.
As we approached the exit, we were stopped by a security guard.
“Here we go,” I thought, “He’s going to confiscate the beer and chocolate.”
“You are TOO good,” he said.
“Pardon?” I asked, feeling I’d missed something in translation, though we were now in America, and the guy was speaking English.
“You only have one bag!” he exclaimed, “Where’s the rest of your stuff?”
“We have everything we need,” I replied.
He chuckled and shook his head.
Minutes later we were through all the checkpoints, and ready to toss our suitcase in my friend’s van.
I have to say, that despite my initial skepticism to the one bag rule, it worked out better than I could have imagined. Not only did it make the trip easier for me, but it spread a little joy, which should be one thing the traveling family always brings along.
There’s no extra charge for joy, and it pays off in ways that matter.
Now, I just need to go buy a toothbrush.