Luggage for travel with pre-teens

As we are on the train (another part of the Hanoi to Saigon line) just reflecting on the packing up again… it’s certainly a lot easier than the last few months going from house to house in UK.

We are traveling with two pre-teen boys aged 11 and 9. Any other holiday, for a family of 4, I normally pack two large hard suitcases if we are flying OR a few soft bags if we go by car. We normally bring FAR too much! Now we wanted to travel light- useful to go on boats or train. Also we want to ensure everyone can carry their own luggage. Often when you get to an airport their are people trying to get your luggage and carry it for you, we didn’t want that. Spreading the load and sense of responsibility are some other reasons.

On recommendation of a friend who just traveled to Malaysia with 3 kids for holiday (thanks Inge!) we went for small suitcases/ hand luggage trolleys rather than classic backpacker rucksacks. They are easy to move around even when they are heavy loaded AND also allow to bring a rug sack for hand luggage/day bag. One backpackers backpack for Dad as its flexible we may at some points need more space.

Small suitcase

You can travel light as it’s always hot in Asia. Having two boys it’s very simply mainly tshirts and shorts. We also concluded you can always buy things on the road so we have added some new tshirts and sandals (Jasper lost his at the beach resort in Malaysia- or did someone accidentally picked up his?) along the way. Our plan was to buy rain coats when we got here but every time it rains (wet season) we just shelter or get wet (it’s a relief!).

So what to pack:

  • Long sleeve top
  • Long sleeve trousers
  • T shirts (4-5)
  • Shirts (3)
  • Sleeveless top
  • Pyjamas (shorts)
  • Pants (5-7)
  • Socks
  • Shoes and sandals/flip flops
  • Toiletry bag (toothbrush, deodorant and shampoo. Insect repellent)
  • Snorkel
  • Swimshorts
  • Towel


At their leaving party the boys were very lucky to get some awesome presents they could bring. Travel journals and books and even a pillow that comes in very handy. The day bag contains things they use during traveling. So far on planes, coaches, trains and boats!

So what to pack:

  • Hat
  • Pillow
  • Sunglasses
  • Pens and journal
  • Kindle (really useful as books too heavy and they go through so many. Kindle unlimited helps too – they are reading full Harry Otter series )
  • Devices (iPod touch, Nintendo DS) and headphones
  • Smart watch (garmin vivofit 3)


The boys have loved picking their things out and packing their own bags (or I have loved it!). They know to roll up their clothes for extra space. They are so grown up… until I found this alarm clock (25-30cm) in the bottom of Jasper’s suitcase! He had sneaked it in on the morning of leaving as he couldn’t be without the time:)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s