40 Hours to Down Under: Our Family's Journey with Knack Packs

Join a family's 40-hour journey from the Midwest to Australia, skillfully navigated with their Knack Packs. This travel tale unfolds across continents, showcasing how their versatile backpacks enhance airport layovers, in-flight comfort, and overall travel organization while offering practical insights into traveling with children.
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visiting Brisbane, Australia

Embarking on a journey from a small Midwest airport to the vibrant shores of Australia, our family recently embraced the exciting challenge of a 40-hour adventure, spanning multiple continents and time zones. With carefully packed entertainment and snacks in tow, we set out to navigate the complexities of international travel. Along with my husband, Jeff, and our two sons, ages 8 and 12, our journey became a blend of bustling airport hubs and hours of sky-high travel.

What could have been an overwhelming experience traveling with kids, was a smooth, organized, and surprisingly enjoyable adventure - thanks in large part to our dependable Knack Packs. From securing our travel essentials to providing quick access to treats and entertainment, our expandable backpacks were the unsung heroes of our global trek.



Preparing for Our Journey: The Night Before

packing a Knack Pack for our Journey down under

On the eve of our trip, the living room turned into a strategic packing zone. The task ahead was clear: pack smart, pack efficiently. With each of our travel backpacks laid out, we began the process, checking items off our carefully written packing lists and focusing on essential travel items. One item at a time, our Knack Packs were carefully packed and organized for easy access during our long journey.

Personal Item Packing Lists for our Long Haul Flight:

My Medium S2 Knack Pack:

  • Travel documents
  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • Book
  • Laptop
  • Chargers in Zip Cord Pouch
  • Camera
  • First Aid kit
  • Playing cards
  • Mint and bubble gum
  • Empty, reusable water bottle
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, hair ties, hand lotion, Chapstick and face wipes
  • Change of clothes
  • Small snacks: mixed nuts, fruits and Nibs (my favorite travel snack)
  • Travel blanket

Jeff's Medium S2 Knack Pack:

  • Wallet
  • Sunglasses
  • Laptop 
  • Chargers in Zip Cord Pouch
  • Empty, reusable water bottle
  • Snacks: chips, protein bars and fruits
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution and deodorant
  • Change of clothes

Our 8-Year-Old's S1 Small Knack Pack:

  • Nintendo Switch and charger
  • iPad and charger
  • Headphones
  • Card game
  • Fidget cube
  • Daily inhaler
  • Empty, reusable water bottle
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Change of clothes
  • Snacks: Taki's, fruit, snack crackers and gummy treats
  • Small travel pillow and blanket

Our 12-Year-Old's S1 Medium Knack Pack:

  • Cell phone and charger
  • Headphones
  • Fidget cube
  • Empty, reusable water bottle
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Change of clothes
  • Snacks: Pringles, gum, fruit, snack crackers and gummy treats
  • Small travel pillow

As we checked and double-checked our packing lists, it was clear that our Knack Packs were more than just bags; they were our travel lifelines, keeping everything organized, accessible, and in its right place. Packed and ready, we were all set to begin our ambitious journey across continents.

>>MORE: How To Make The Perfect Travel Packing List



Early Morning Departure: Packed and Ready

knack pack waiting to board the airplane

We reached the airport by 6 AM, wide awake and brimming with excitement. Our well-organized Knack Packs proved invaluable from the start. The passports, securely stowed in the secret pocket of my S2 Medium Knack Pack, and our laptops accessible from their separate, side zip pocket made security checks a breeze. Our boys, following suit, smoothly retrieved their electronics from the main pockets of their Series 1 Knack Packs to place in the security bins. The entire process which can become a point of stress was smooth sailing. 

After navigating through security we boarded the plane, placing our Knack Packs under the seats of our first of three flights. A quick 45 minutes in the air and we were landing at O'Hare International Airport for what would be the longest of our layovers: seven hours. 



Layover in Chicago: A Time to Explore

We arrived at O'Hare ready for the day ahead. Jeff and I, however, were fully aware that our sons' enthusiasm might diminish as the hours ticked by. To pass the time, we played the card games we had conveniently packed the previous night in the front pockets of our Knack Packs and enjoyed an extended lunch at Frontera Grill.

Several hours and countless rounds of Taco vs. Burrito later, the boys' curiosity was piqued by the sight of the iconic blue bags of popcorn passing by. For two active boys, sitting still for long wasn't on the agenda. With ease, we repacked the electronics, water bottles, and games we'd removed from our travel backpacks, preparing for our next adventure. 

The journey to Terminal 1 from Terminal 2 was made comfortable thanks to our Knack Packs. The molded, comfort-cool foam back panels, combined with the adjustable, ergonomic straps, ensured a strain-free experience even with expanded, fully loaded, bags. The intelligent design placed heavier items like our water bottles in easily accessible yet balanced positions, preventing any discomfort during our walk. This thoughtful feature turned our quest for Garrett's Popcorn and the view of the awe-inspiring Riggs' Brachiosaurus into a delightful and comfortable excursion. Before we knew it, we were we were ready to board our second of three flights heading to Vancouver. 

>>MORE:  What to Pack in Each Pocket of a Knack Pack



Flight to Vancouver: Comfort in the Clouds

knack pack fits perfectly under the airplane seat in front of you

Fitting each of our expanded Knack Packs under the seat in front of us, we settled in for the 6-hour flight to Vancouver. Having our headphones and snacks within easy reach was a game-changer, especially for the boys, who effortlessly pulled out their devices from the packs for entertainment. I lost myself in the pages of the book I had packed in the main pocket while the boys were engrossed in their games. Mid-flight, when hunger struck, we were thankful for the extra snacks we had packed. A few crackers, fresh fruit and the comfort of the familiar travel blanket we had tucked away in the expandable suitcase compartment were exactly what our youngest needed before he dozed off, taking his first rest in 16 hours of travel.

Upon landing in Vancouver, the side handle on my S2 Medium Knack Pack proved to be a saving grace. Our youngest was still catching up on sleep, so I carried his bag on my back and mine in hand, while Jeff balanced him on his shoulder through the boarding bridge and airport.

We used our last layover as a chance to recharge – both ourselves and our devices. Jeff and I’s chargers were neatly packed away in a Zip-Cord Pouch, while the boys used the separate front cord pockets of their S1 Knack Packs. We brushed our teeth and freshened up with the toiletries we had packed the night before. This organization ensured that we were prepared and fully charged for the next leg of our journey. The entire travel day so far has led up to this one flight that we had been preparing for and almost dreading to take with the kids. 

>>MORE: How to Pack a Carry-On Travel Backpack



The Long Haul to Brisbane: Comfort and Convenience

Taking on a 15-hour flight to Brisbane with kids could easily be a parent's nightmare, but the journey was far from dreadful. As we settled into our seats, the boys and I stashed our Knack Packs under the seats in front of us for easy access, while Jeff opted to place his in the overhead compartment.

Not long into the flight, as our altitude climbed, our 12-year-old, without fuss, was able to reach into the front, triangle pocket of his Knack Pack and quickly find a piece of bubble gum to relieve the pressure from his ears. This little moment underscored the convenience of having everything within arm's reach and was the moment we realized that this flight might not be as dreadful as we had planned for. Once we were fully ascended, I retrieved the noise-canceling headphones and a cozy travel blanket from the expandable suitcase compartment of my Knack Pack, ensuring our oldest could settle in comfortably for the night as our youngest was already in the land of dreams. 

Waking refreshed, we stowed our items back in our travel backpacks and enjoyed the inflight entertainment until landing in Brisbane.

>>MORE: How to Make a Long Haul Flight More Comfortable



Arrival in Australia: Refreshed and Ready

Landing in Brisbane, we were in high spirits and felt surprisingly refreshed. Once off the plane and in the airport, we took full advantage of the patent-pending expandable suitcase compartments of our Knack Packs and changed into the fresh clothing we had stowed away. This small yet significant act made a world of difference.

After retrieving our luggage, which we hadn't seen in almost 40 hours, we easily attached our travel backpacks to our roller suitcases using the convenient trolley sleeves. Navigating through customs was a smooth affair, thanks to our well-organized travel documents.

Stepping into the arrivals hall to be greeted by our family, we were grateful for how our Knack Packs had simplified our journey. What could have been an arduous travel experience was transformed into a comfortable and efficient adventure, setting the perfect tone for our two-week stay in Australia.



Key Takeaways: Traveling Smart with Knack Packs

Reflecting on our journey, it's clear that our Knack Packs were instrumental in keeping us organized, comfortable, and prepared for every stage of our trip. From airport layovers to long-haul flights, these versatile travel bags adapted to our family's needs, proving themselves as indispensable companions for efficient and enjoyable travel.

The convenience, organization, and flexibility of our travel backpacks made our 40-hour journey from a small Midwest airport to Brisbane, Australia not just bearable, but surprisingly enjoyable. As we look forward to more family adventures, one thing is certain – our Knack Packs will always be a part of our journey.

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