luggage for Europe

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, being that I travel at least twice a month, but I’ve never bought luggage before now.  I take that back.  I bought a carry-on at D.I. {my favorite thrift store} for $6 about five years ago.  It belonged to someone in the pharmaceutical industry; it has an embroidered logo on the front that causes everyone to ask me when I fly if I represent the company.

No, no I do not, thankyouverymuch.

But I came to the aha! realization a couple of months ago that holy cow I’m about to fly to Europe with two kids, and we probably need some luggage.  Yikers.  When Viktor goes to Europe all he takes is ONE backpack filled with a change of pants and a fancy sweater for dining out.  Last time he wore one pair of shoes the entire time he was there: socks and sandals.  It’s like I’m married to a stranger sometimes.

I require a little more, uh, packing room when I travel.  There’s make-up to think of! And shoes!

carry on

After my friend Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom wrote about the luggage she used to pack her family for France for a year, I took a closer look.  The carry-ons she used were just what I needed.  A roller bag with a removable backpack that serves as your “personal item”on the airplane.


back pack

We bought two at Costco for the kids, I’m going to use my trusty D.I./pharmaceutical rep carry-on, and Viktor is going to use, wait for it: a backpack.

The children’s backpacks will be filled with books, a Nintendo DSi for each kid {so sue me}, a neck pillow and blanket, and a few snacks.  The kids can zip them off on the plane to keep with them and stow their carry-ons in the overhead compartment while we fly.  Then when we hop off the plane they can zip the backpack back onto the luggage and not have something extra to carry through every airport we travel through.

carry on luggage

I gave a set of luggage to Charming to see how big it was and if he could handle it all by himself.  The luggage passed with flying colors.  And if you look really closely you can see my cellphone tucked into a little pocket on the backpack.  Gabby mentioned that the luggage was a little heavy, and she was right.  It is a little bit, but overall I’m really impressed with it.  The kids gave theirs a little test run last week when we flew to L.A. as a family for another Jennifer Garner event and we were thrilled with the way the luggage performed.

Warsaw here we come.

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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. Carina :

    Investing in some real luggage was one of the smartest things I ever did. I found my matching set over a year or so at my local TJ Maxx. Buying one piece at a time was affordable and now I have a quality matched set.

    • Allison :

      And there’s not a doubt in my mind it’s the most stylish set on the carousel.

  2. Kristen :

    I am so buying these! I love the detachable backpack. Brilliant.

    • Allison :

      I’m not kidding Kristen, this stuff is amazing, I’m totally impressed.

  3. Marie :

    I need!!!

  4. Katrina :

    This is exactly! what we needed, the leapsters got stuck under the plane on the way to California, lucky for me I have amazing kids that are easy to entertain ;)

  5. Erin :

    thanks for the luggage review! We are moving to Warsaw in the Fall with 4 kids (while my husband does Fulbright research). I have really enjoyed reading your blog and showing my kids some of your pictures of Warsaw to get them excited. The link on this post takes you to just a backback on the costco website (not the suitcase/backpack). I am hoping this might still be available in the stores even if it is not available on the website. The backpacks don’t seem very comfortable for carrying around. Did you kids do okay when they had to actually wear the backpack? Thanks for any advice!