American Haul

I mentioned in my last post that we successfully (in my opinion) won the baggage options on our flight home this year. Last year was an utter mess resulting in about $500 of extra fees (eeeek! You live and learn.). This year we were much more strategic. Erik and I each have one normal sized carry on. Going to the states mine had my computer stuff, dog stuff, and workout clothes. My large checked bag had a folded up duffel inside and a lot of gifts (including a bottle of gin-heavy!) and things like extra sweats and running shoes I was leaving at home for my next return.

Erik’s carry on was full of all the extra heavy gifts (books, the heaviest box of chocolates ever, the board game stramash made of wood and marbles, etc). So full that he actually had to take stuff out because his puddle jumper first flight out of Aberdeen airport weighed it- oppps. His other bag had his clothes and some more gifts. As I was hoping was the case, on his layover in Frankfurt he bought me the large Longchamp weekender duffle (duty free and didn’t count against weight!).

When we repacked, all of E’s old undies got thrown out (hallelujah!) making room for his new (thank god). I got a new (smaller) mac book pro so it now fit in my (massive) purse instead of my carry on and left the old mac at my mom’s. Additionally I got global entry so I didn’t have to deal with the hassle of taking anything out of my bag. My carry on had a lot more space to go to things I wanted to bring back to the UK, as did my original checked bag. The two extra duffle bags (while impossible to fill to 50 lbs) got stuffed to the brim, along with E’s carry on and his normal checked bag.

So we came back with 2 extra duffels each costing $100. As far as I can tell, this is the best mode of transportation. To get more weight on the extra bags back, the only other option is buying extra suitcases stateside and filling them up to 50lbs (instead of bringing our own duffels from the UK originally). I feel that the cost of suitcases though negate that value. I have also heard of people packing shipping boxes full of clothes, etc and checking that as your extra luggage piece (lightest weight so the most poundage of goods) but with all our stuff that sounds like a nightmare to carry/move/fit in a car.

So with all this strategy….what did my haul back to the UK have in it?  I now realize I should have taken pictures at least of ALL the luggage, with or without opening the zippers so that you could see what a packing wizard I am.

  • Pumpkin Pecan Trader Joe’s Oatmeal
  • Kind Bars
  • Pumpkin Bars (by TJ)
  • Pumpkin coffee
  • Pupperoni – 2 lbs!
  • 2 bags of Target rawhides
  • 2 bags of Charlie bear dog treats
  • 1 dog toy
  • 1 light up dog collar
  • 1 dog vest
  • 4 sleeves of golf balls
  • Golf ball scoop/club
  • 4 books
  • new American full size sheet set for our guest room
  • new American full size duvet cover for our guest room
  • ipad mini
  • day planner
  • 1 supersize Charleston chew (what I couldn’t resist)
  • 3 Dylan’s candy bars
  • Beef jerky
  • Moscow mule mugs
  • Prescriptions
  • Nyquil
  • Massive bottle of Tylenol pm
  • 2 bottles of ibuprofin
  • hot water bottle
  • Garmin Forerunner 235
  • 4 bras
  • Gloves – work gloves, running gloves, and mittens
  • Stocking cap
  • 2 mascara
  • 2 pairs of lululemon tights
  • 2 vests
  • 4 shirts
  • Gravy boat & mini ladle
  • Sport bra
  • Sweatshirt
  • 2 running tops
  • 1 pair of breeches
  • half chaps
  • so many socks
  • 2 pairs of earrings
  • Trader Joes’ Balsamic glaze
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Browning sauce
  • Set of 4 tartan appetizer plates

Erik’s haul?

  • Aero coffee press
  • So many socks
  • Golf balls
  • 4 pairs of new dress pants
  • 2 sweaters
  • 4 new dress shirts
  • new running pants
  • so many new undies
  • poofy vest
  • deodorant

Would I die if I couldn’t bring back anything? No, but things can be so much cheaper stateside. Bringing back Stella treats sounds so stupid I know, but they are so cheap and the ones she likes. Here if I get a package of about 10 rawhides it costs £5, at Target I get a bag of about 50 for $12.99. Other things were gifts that I do want so of course I’ll bring those back. Clothing options and prices are 1000000x so taking advantage of that (thank you black Friday sales, ebates, and a friend that works at Under Armor.) Throw in some uniquely American pumpkin treats for me. And deodorant of course- I’m not switching to UK spray deo. And the drugs, ohhh the American Costco quantity drugs. Thank god for the drugs. Do you have any idea how much ibuprofen (running, lifting, basketball, horse riding, stable work) we go through in this house? What about allergy pills as we’re both sorta allergic to our dog and I have a hard core horse and hay allergy? Do you know sleep aides are illegal here? Not even just talking Tylenol PM, but even melatonin…so I got melatonin (275 tablets), Tylenol PM (375 tablets) and a big jug o’ Nyquil.   And don’t forget about all the cold & flu drugs I’m reliant one (hopefully only) once a year when I get sick and don’t get out of bed for 3 days.

So yeah…you might feel this list is a tad ridiculous…and that’s okay. If you’re an expat- what do you stock up on and bring from your motherland? Not an expat? What things would you bring with you on a checked bag under 50 lbs?


  1. Meagan

    My husband and I recently moved to Edinburgh and we just had our first trip back to the US for the holidays. We also did the duffle option when bringing things back, but our airline didn’t charge us for the 2 checked bags so we got to bring them back for free! While in the States we made sure to stock up on clothes and brought more books back. My husband is in a PhD program here so his books are a priority. Of course, we also brought our Christmas gifts back but family only gave us small items to make packing easier for us.

    As for your deodorant dilemma, is there not a Boots or Superdrug that carries non-spray in Aberdeen? There are multiple options here, but maybe you can try Amazon if you don’t want to keep waiting to stock up in the US.

    1. Lauren (Post author)

      Jealous that you didn’t have to pay for your extra bags! What airline did you fly? As for deo…I’ve seen maybe one or two non-spray options at boots….but I’m not willing to stray! My husband actually only has brand loyalty on one thing really…and it’s Degree Cool Rush deodorant. I find that bringing back a few sticks a trip is generally cheaper than amazon, but if I was down and out and a dire situation- I would totally amazon it. I planned to bring more canned pumpkin back with me (and some funfetti cake mix- weird craving) but we were maxed out and while I hate the arm and the leg it costs…I can get those things on Amazon.

  2. Meagan

    My husband travels often for work so we always fly American or someone in the OneWorld Alliance. I flew BA on the way back this time. By flying with the same airline we have been able to rack up a lot of bonus miles, which has come in handy.

    By all means if he is loyal to Degree, keep bringing it back from the states! I’m always surprised at the random things that are more expensive here. And the crazy things in the “American” section at Tesco.

    1. Lauren (Post author)

      Yes! Don’t want to think about what I paid for Jiffy Corn Bread mix (because I was lazy…) for Thanksgiving from Tesco! Yeah, we don’t have high status anymore on any airline….tear.


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