While this won't appeal to everyone, we use space bags to pack. It is still difficult to keep it under 50 lbs but it does seem to make fitting it all into one suitcase a lot easier. Travelling with kids we try to limit the number of suitcases we have so that we have extra hands to hold wee ones and to lug booster seats, etc. On our last 7 day we actually packed a total of two pieces of checked luggage for four people. We all had one carryon. As the airline charges increase I expect we'll see more of that. $10 or $15 per bag for one or two people might not be a big deal but when you start multiplying that by four or more it adds up pretty quick.