Flyin' with only Carry On Luggage

We returned at 2 am this morning from Disney, our first ever trip where we didn’t check luggage…. carried all onboard.

Ordinarily, I plan my Disney vacations completely at least 180 days out (to get all character and other dining we want). This time, the trip was only arranged the day before we left… so we were really flyin’ by the seat of our pants. Not my normal modus operandi, but it worked well.

First up, had to ensure we had the Magical Express reservations with Disney – a quick phone call took care of that. Gotta love Mickey’s free shuttle from the airport to our hotel (and back again). But there certainly wouldn’t be time for us to get Magical Express luggage tags to ensure our baggage was delivered to the hotel. Course, we knew we could pick up the bags ourselves; and/or give the Magical Express desk our airline luggage tags, and they could still pick up the bags, and deliver (Disney’s always prepared for last minute guests). But I thought, no – why not try travelling without checked bags for once?

I double-checked the airlines’ carry on policies. Both US Air (who we flew down with), and United (who we flew home with) allowed one piece of carry on, with one personal item. So, each of the four of us had a rolling carry on, and a small bag (for me, my laptop and files; for hubby, our camera bag; for the girls, toys/ DS/ etc.)

We had to be selective about what we brought, but it worked really well. I always find you take too much clothing anyway, so this time, we had to be very careful about what we  brought. One pair of long pants, one long sleeved shirt, one sweater, hats and rain ponchos, bathing suits and cover ups, slip on shoes and sneakers, personal items, sleepware, and shorts/tshirts/resort wear for the 6 nights/ 7 days. It was tight (especially after a few Mickey souvenirs we’re added in for the return trip) but we did it!

What was great for me, as a parent, was that each child was responsible for lugging their own suitcase – which meant that they didn’t bring a whack of toys to travel with (loading me down). What wasn’t great for me, as a parent, was that DD5 was exhausted on the return trip, and the excitement of dragging her own bag had long ago worn thin…. which meant I was dragging two on the return trip (which was already longer than anticipated, due to a delay in Chicago because of  heavy thunderstorms in US)!

The only real downside of not planning in advance was that we didn’t think about getting carryon sizes for shaving cream (hubby’s was convisgated at the Ottawa airport) or sun screen (which we purchased at Disney – so you can imagine how expensive that was). But otherwise, the carry on experiment worked pretty well… although, I’m not sure I’d do it if we were going for longer than 6 nights.

Have you ever flown with only carry on luggage? How did it work for you?