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Need suitcase help...packing for 4 years studying in Japan!!!

Need suitcase help...packing for 4 years studying in Japan!!!

May 19th, 2014, 12:36 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 4
Need suitcase help...packing for 4 years studying in Japan!!!

So, the only time I've ever traveled before was way back when I was 15 and I only went to Vegas for a week. This will be my first time traveling alone 100% and it'll be my first time out of country. And as well, I'll be gone for 4 years! I may even end up staying there to live and work. So I really need some help.

I've been looking at bags and was currently looking into something from American Tourister. At first I was thinking to get a 29 inch spinner bag, but I've read that 29 inches is really big and it sounds like, probably too big for my needs. So I was wondering, would 25 or 21 inches be better? I intend to have the bag checked regardless, but I'm also going to have to take the bags on a bus when I land in Narita to get to the university. I'm very weak (fuuu..) which is why I decided a spinner would be best for me, so I want a bag that's easy to handle so I was considering the 21 inch as most people seem to agree that 25 is a bit hard to maneuver. But would 21 inches be too small to pack for a trip of such length?? I can, of course, buy things when I get there. I should be able to fit shirts and dresses fine but I have a feeling my hips are too big to fit most (if not all) pants. (I wear a US size 6, although I hope to lose about 10 pounds! When I was 10 pounds lighter I was able to wear a size 4 in most brands).

But anyway, what are your opinions? What bag will be big enough for such a big trip, but also easy enough for a weakling like me to handle? >__<; Do you have any specific bag you would recommend??

I've also been having trouble finding a good carry-on bag. I intend to bring my laptop in it, as well as my canon camera and maybe other things, too. But I can't find a bag that looks like it would comfortably and safely store both of those things. :/ If you can suggest any, I'd be really happy.

Mikkun is offline  
May 20th, 2014, 12:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,099
When are you going? You should look into shipping most of your clothes, and then you can take a smaller suitcase. Or you can take a larger suitcase and have it shipped from NRT to wherever you are staying via takuhaibin:
Mara is online now  
May 20th, 2014, 02:23 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 416
I'd say buy a 25" and a 21", because you are allowed to check in two bags flying international. Then, do as Mara suggested, have the 25" bag shipped from NRT to your address via takuhaibin.

A 29" bag is way too big, most people cannot lift that when full.
A carry-on bag can be a tote bag or duffel bag or backpack. Buy something that is made from light-weight but sturdy material.
You may use the 21" for traveling in Japan in the next four years.

Good luck.
Reading54 is offline  
May 20th, 2014, 04:07 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Most airlines have 50lb limit for weight of each suitcase. Over that, and you're paying an arm and an leg. Unless all you're bringing is clothing, a 26" can get you to 50lb already.
rkkwan is offline  
May 20th, 2014, 06:05 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 369
This isn't a trip at this point. You're moving to Japan. Very cool, by the way! I'd ship most of my belongings and just put my important stuff (expensive items, documents, anything you absolutely can't afford to lose) in a carry on with a few changes of clothes and take that with me. Think hard about the space you'll have when you move. I've moved a couple times in the last few years and I always bring all sorts of stuff I don't need. Start purging your closets now and box items to donate or toss. If you haven't thought about those items in a couple months, off they go!

Good luck!
Hobbert is offline  
May 20th, 2014, 09:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,483
Bring one 25 inch bag, a soft sided 21 inch and a good sized backpack. Check the 25 inch, carry on the 21 & the backpack (your"personal item").

When you get to Tokyo, take the limo bus into Tokyo, if that's your destination. They handle the luggage for you.

If you are traveling beyond your arrival city, use the luggage service mara mentioned above. For about $20 per bag, they'll ship it where ever you are going. This will be cheaper than mailing the stuff to japan, even including the airline fee for checking the one bag.

Clothing in Japan is very expensive. Take your important stuff (shoes, winter clothes, electronics) and plan on only buying things like trendy tee shirts. of course I am assuming you might be a student or have an entry level job. If you are in a management position and being paid a Japanese salary, enjoy shopping!
lcuy is offline  
May 20th, 2014, 10:29 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
I don't think caudal clothings are expensive at all. Hong Kongers fly to Japan to buy them. And at chains line Uniqlo or Muji, they are marginally cheaper than HK, which had cheap clothings to start with.
rkkwan is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 10:14 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 459
'Way back when you were 15' is how long ago? Sounds like you're a beginning univ student but your worries are those of a middle aged woman. Have you heard that 'less is more'? More freedom, more time, more money, more friends, etc.
jobin is offline  
May 26th, 2014, 11:15 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 4
Thanks! I'll have to look into the takuhaibin. My only problem is that I'm not 100% positive of what address to send it to yet and I'm not sure when I'll be informed of my dorm address. But maybe it will be ok just to send it to the university in general..

I think 25 inch sounds pretty good, with a 21 inch carry-on perhaps. It's more of a move at this point, you're right! So having enough is always a good thing. I could of course buy more there, but I have many other things to buy so I'd rather not add clothes and such to that list right away! (A phone, a bike, a fridge, a rice cooker maybe!)

But yes...takuhaibin sounds like a wonderful idea for me. But according to Japan-Guide, it delivers next day. So then I should be sure to save an outfit or two in my carry-on, huh?

And jobin, I'm 22. Haha, I guess it sounds silly to say "way back" but it really does feel like it was ages ago by now. I've been doing community college but I couldn't pass this opportunity up of course. Anyway, less is more of course but as they said - I'm pretty much moving there. So I'd like to be prepared. ^^

Thanks for your input guys!
One last question, if I may: I know I said I was thinking of getting a spinner because I heard they were easier. But what are your thoughts? Do you feel that a spinner or a traditional two-wheel bag is easier to maneuver? (Especially for a relatively weak girl).
Mikkun is offline  
May 26th, 2014, 11:16 PM
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Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 4
Oh, also - I'm leaving sometime around the 10th of September. The date isn't set in stone yet.
Mikkun is offline  
May 29th, 2014, 06:58 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 465
Here's a departure from the "travel light" philosophy:
On various trips to Japan, from 2-11 months in length, I've always taken advantage of the full baggage allowance--usually two checked bags (<50 lbs each), a carry-on bag of <21", a personal item (briefcase or backpack) and a "purse." Keeping within the weigh limits is more important than outside dimensions but check your airlines specs.
All these things will go on an airport luggage cart, to get you to the airport check-in or from the baggage carousel to ground transportation. Elevators will let you avoid escalators. The advantage of a spinner is that you can push it along, keeping your hands relatively free.
I'd avoid the expense and nuisance of shipping items from abroad, and you should be able to travel from Narita to the university dorm in Tokyo without any special baggage forwarding service. If you were transferring to train it would be a different matter. You might as well have with you as much of your stuff from home as you want or need. On return you can discard old things to bring home lots of souvenirs and gifts.
WillJame is offline  
May 29th, 2014, 11:03 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 4
I think there's a misunderstanding, heh. My university is located in Ibaraki prefecture, not in Tokyo. ^^; But I do plan to enjoy Tokyo for a day or two before I head over to my dorm!

But I think that I'm going to have a (Japanese) friend meet me so hopefully she can help me out. Either by carrying something if I have too much stuff, or by helping me figure out how to get my stuff where it needs to go using a service. We shall see.

But so, it looks like spinners are still the winner?
Mikkun is offline  
Jun 1st, 2014, 06:49 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,870
My son is your age and he went abroad with a 28" rolling duffel, a rolling 21" carry-on and a backpack. You will need the 21" carry on for weekend trips.

He had a High Sierra duffel (always on sale at Bed, Bath & Beyond), but Eagle Creek is the gold standard for kids if you can afford one. For the carry-on roller, I LOVE the Lipault 21" spinner. It is simply astonishing how much you can fit in it and it easily fits in any plane or train. I would take an extra 24" suitcase rather than ship.
crosscheck is offline  
Jun 1st, 2014, 07:00 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,870
To answer your other Qs:
- You will have no trouble finding pants, including fabulous jeans, in Japan. In fact, you will be able to find everything there. Most amazing sneakers on the planet.
- You will have a baggage cart or porter when you land, so don't worry about carrying luggage. Just watch the weight of what you take.

Also, make sure all your luggage fits into the duffel when empty because you might not have a lot of room for storage.

Good luck - you're in for an incredible adventure! Several of my sons' friends have gone to Japan to study...all are absolutely thrilled with their decision.
crosscheck is offline  
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