My in-laws are coming for a visit next month. They are not very traveled and have lots of questions regarding this upcoming international jaunt. In one of their first conversations, when they really started asking about logistics, my mother-in-law said they would probably just bring their two carryons.
Traveling light is great, but they've paid for 100 pounds of checked luggage between them and if they aren't going to use it, we are!
Right away they knew they would never even come close to needing the second checked bag, even if they checked everything they are bringing, so I started my list. After notes in a variety of places I created a Google Doc and shared it with my mom.
It is a huge blessing to us that my mom both understands the intricacies of living overseas and is willing to do some shopping for us. The initial 'need' list was quite short. But, there was no way I am not going to use up every ounce of that checked luggage.
The list grew.
We really do have access to almost anything we could want here. It usually comes down to what we are willing to pay. There are many food items that we enjoy, but are blasted expensive to buy here. I understand. Local items are reasonable. If you want Western items it is the law of supply and demand. I am thrilled I can get things when I really want them. I am even happier when I can just bring them over myself. The list for my mom had a "Costco" section added. (Most other things I was able to have sent to her house through Amazon.)
Just when I thought I had finished tweaking the list I realized that there was an opportunity in front of us. Now that we have a home on both sides of the world we really only need our passport to get on a plane (and whatever gadgets of entertainment to get us from one hemisphere to the other). I really HATE having to take things from here in order to simply turn around and bring them back. The space from here to there is not an issue. I usually fill at least one suitcase with plastic shopping bags I have collected from under our sink and other's in order to recycle them in the States. The valuable space is heading this direction. (The things for my daughter are a different story. She is still growing and has one basic wardrobe that travels with us.) All that is to explain that when my husband had the opportunity to stop on the East Coast this summer for a conference my biggest annoyance was that he would have to take clothes and toiletries for that week that we would then need to bring back with us. Now the problem is solved!
My mom just called from our "Seattle house" where she used Skype to allow him to pack for his week's conference this summer. Those things are being added to the mound of things she will wrestle into a suitcase, weighing to be sure we are right at 50 lbs. (Knowing her she will probably not push it as far as I do and leave it at 48 lbs.) My in-laws will bring my husbands things here, (along with all the goodies), where they will sit for a couple of months. He will then put them in his carryon when he heads to the States. Those things will arrive back at our other house when he does and I don't have to give up any of the good stuff to bring them back here.
Win - win, all through the wonders of technology.