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2 wk trip to Europe, can you do it in carry on?

2 wk trip to Europe, can you do it in carry on?

Apr 4th, 2006, 04:11 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2003
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2 wk trip to Europe, can you do it in carry on?

Some friend going to Rome this summer were telling me that they are going to fit the whole two weeks worth of clothes in a carry on. They will carry this on all flights and trains. This is a wonderful idea, but I do not think there is any way in Hades that I could fit two weeks worth of clothes, shoes, toiletries, guidebooks, tickets, etc. into one lil ole carry on. Can you do this? Do you do this? If so, how? Thanks Fodors experts...
Heavens is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 04:21 PM
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Yes, I can do it and have. But man alive let me tell you how sick I was of those clothes (actually it was 3 weeks in a carry-on duffle bag) by the end of the trip.

Also it depends on the airline I am flying. British Air has a weight limit of 13 lbs. so while I can pack for 2 weeks in a 22" suitcase it is too heavy to qualify as carry-on with them.

Heavens, I do guarantee you one thing, you will not get a consensus to your question here!

Some will swear that they can, and do it happily all the time. Others can't see why they should and prefer to pack a bit more generously and to check their suitcases even if they are a smallish size. I'm guessing you are of the later school of thought.
suze is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 04:23 PM
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I don't think I could. You're right - it's not so much the clothes as the extras - guidebooks, umbrella, extra pair of shoes, etc.

We went to Costa Rica a couple of weeks ago...the clothes we packed were shorts, t-shirts, etc., but then there were the hiking boots and the raingear and the caps to keep the sun off and the fanny packs for hiking and the sunscreen and the bug spray, etc. etc.
missypie is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 04:23 PM
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And... some people do laundry in the hotel sink, or drop off at a laundry service, or go to a self-serve laundry matt mid-trip, or spring for the hotel laundry and cleaning service.
suze is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 04:24 PM
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Hi H,

It doesn't all go into one carryon.

You are allowed a carryon and one item of "personal" baggage. That's your tote bag.

ira is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 04:49 PM
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I do it all the time. The problem is coming back. Those damn presents...

Laundromat is a beautiful thing! Sometimes you get to meet a local of the opposite sex too!

If all else fails, I'll buy a cheap bag to put the presents into and check my 22"er for the return. It saves on a lot of aggravation for majority of the trip! I'm usually one of the first ones out of customs at the destination and at checking into my hotel when some are still standing around the luggage carousel waiting for bag #3 or 4 full of stuff they will end up carrying around and never using.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 05:05 PM
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I haven't checked luggage since 2001 at least, and I never travel any less than two weeks at a time, and often more.

I carry 3 or 4 pairs of dark trousers made of lightweight materials that don't wrinkle and therefore can be rolled up tight. I carry 2 pairs of silk long johns in case it gets cold. I have half a dozen lightweight tees, some turtlenecks, that can also be rolled up tight and will dry overnight if washed in a sink. I pack 4 blouses (mostly wearing them over the tees, buttoned or unbuttoned) and 2 dressy tops that don't wrinkle easily (velvet is great). I have 2 shawls, and usually a warm fleece jacket or down vest that I wear onto the plane. Neither weighs much and can be looped through the handles of my roll on when I don't need them.

I carry one pair of evening flats in addition to the comfortable walking shoes I wear on the plane and most of the time.

I carry enough underwear and socks for each day of travel, and 2 sleep tees.

I never pack an umbrella (I buy it abroad if I need it). I carry a minimum of toiletries. (What for?)

I split the guidebooks with my spouse, much of which are internet printouts that I toss as I go. I often toss underwear and socks as I go.

I don't buy tickets in advance other than my airline tickets.

But guess what? I think the people who pack a lot want to dress they way they want to dress, and would rather wait at carousels in airports and struggle on train platforms that risk being less than fashionable.

So no matter how much advice you give, they still drag out that giant suitcase and pack as if every night abroad was a high school reunion where they live in dread of being judged by their clothes!
nessundorma is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 05:09 PM
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I'd do it in a 22" bag plus one smaller carry on. But - I bring only one spare pair of shoes, clothes that do not wrinkle and dry quickly, clothes that all mix and match. That said, I am not a fancy person. I would not need fancy clothes for Michelin dining etc. Also, you really only need one tour guide book and some carefully edited and clipped up posts from the internet. I also am pretty light on toiletries as I do not use much make up. No umbrella - if it rains and I need one I'll just buy one on the street and toss it. And yes, I AM sick of the clothes when I get home!

And most important - I hate to shop!
wliwl is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 05:13 PM
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Yup, do it all the time. Just came back from doing it. In addition to the 22" rollaboard which fits above my seat on the plane I carry a large messenger-type leather bag that holds all the small stuff - wallet and paperwork, maps, camera, books, makeup, etc. It's pretty heavy, but I can dump most of the stuff out when I reach my destination.

And most of the time I do at least one load of wash while on the road during a 2-week trip, more if it's a longer trip.

I agree the worst part's coming home with the stuff I buy, which often is heavy - think tins of pâté de foie gras and such.

But I've never not made it
StCirq is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 06:02 PM
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I've got the same problem Missypie has. We don't take that many clothes, but it's the extra shoes, guidebooks (I really like to have several), aniother book to read, those little extras like the umbrella (some trips it is used every single day), a few assorted things for washing clothes in the sink, the mini binoculars etc. that seem to take up the space. I just can't seem to pare it down on those items.
julies is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 06:30 PM
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Hey Heavens! After six weeks in England my parents mailed back their dirty clothes. And a friend tossed hers in the trash after two weeks in Italy. It all depends on how you feel about it - if you are just committed to having the time of your life regardless of what you might be wearing, you will happily wash out those undies every night and wear the same dang thing every other day. Who cares and who notices? Makeup? Moisturizer, mascara and lip gloss. Pull out the most important pages from the guidebooks and remember that spontaneity (am I spelling that right?) is a truly wonderful thing. Be a sojourner - not a tourist. Less is more. I've done it all: 3 big bags and one small bag - and the next trip will be me and a couple changes of clothes - lots of undies. Oh - and black, of course. And mail back the gifts. If some never arrive (tsk tsk), well, you know, you saved some money. Europeans live with a LOT less than we do. They won't begrudge you the wardrobe. And you will feel so FREE!
Shanna is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 06:31 PM
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I take a 21" rollaboard and a healthy back medium sized backpack as my purse. It is extremely well organized inside for everything you'd need on a daily basis, including the small binoculars (which I also carry). There is a pocket inside for almost everything! Each person has a similar carryone suitcase and some kind of daypack.

In addition, in the luggage we bring at least one very thin, parachute material tote bag that folds up into almost nothing. This becomes the repository for gifts or well-wrapped dirty clothes, and is checked on the way home. After week one, however, I would probably send the laundry out, especially traveling in summer. But having an extra bag that is checked on the way home is very convenient.
kswl is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 06:39 PM
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No - we can;t do it - nor do we even try. Esp in the summer we prefer to have more changes of clothes - and find that in summer - or even late spring - we usually wnat to go back to the hotel to shower and change before going out to dinner. And we usually do real restaurants - and so want something nicer than just cotton pants and a tee to wear.

But then we travel by car - so it's not an issue. Have done individual train trips a couple of times - but they were long and we went first class so did have room for our bags - but they were 26" - not 30".
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 06:55 PM
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There is an alternative outlook on the "only a carry-on" (or only a rollaboard) - - and it really provides for almost every traveler: nothing bigger than a rollaboard.

A 22 inch rollaboard is a mainstay for travel, and will typically weigh 8 pounds empty, and carry 23 to 28 pounds of stuff. Need more than that? Then check the rollaboard and take a small-medium nylon duffel bag as your carry-on. It should weigh about eight OUNCES when empty, and will hold typically 16 to 24 pounds of stuff (maybe more, if you chose to stuff it with nothing but books, but seems like a bad idea).

There's how you can take 40 to 50 pounds of stuff - - if you insist - - and have nothing larger than a rollaboard. And you can climb flight after flight of steps, if you need to, even in a crowded train station. You can (or should be able to) lift either piece above your head, and even maneuver it into storage compartments, moving a few seats down, if necessary.

For what it's worth, this "system" even works if you plan (as I commonly do) to bring home a dozen or more bottles of wine. Carry a LARGE, strong canvas duffel with you, empty. It weighs about a pound. Your rollaboard becomes the wine "case" (pad and pack carefully), and your rollaboard goes, "entombed" into the large duffel, with all your clothes providing an out layer of padding. The whole thing should not weigh more than about 55 pounds - - and even then, it is an unwieldy thing to transport back to the airport. (Ideally, you did all your wine shopping at the final destination on your trip, or had a car right up to the end, or both). Yes, it is a pain to get through the final legs home, but I do love bringing wine home!

Your small-medium duffel goes onto the plane with you, and even it could contain a few bottles, if you prefer.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 06:59 PM
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My carry on is now frequently weighed at the airport. It's not just the size, it's the weight.

This is especially true when I take flights that originate in Europe. I used to travel with a hard-sided carry-on, but after a few times of being told I had to check it because of the weight, I switched to a soft-sided one.

I don't know the weight limit. It sure isn't 60 pounds.
nessundorma is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 07:03 PM
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Ryanair has a weight limit of 55 pounds (33 checked, 22 carry-on); most other airlines are more generous. Most transoceanic airlines have a weight limit of 55 pounds per piece of checked baggage (limit two).
rex is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 07:13 PM
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My husband and I did it for a 3 week trip.
One carry on and a tote each. Washed clothes during the trip and every top I had went with every pant/skirt. This was a trip that went from Germany to Austria, Budapest and Prague...several train trips.
For me I will always travel this way, especially if traveling by train or walking from a metro stop to the hotel. If you're only going to one location that's completely different. Clothes were in the carry on, toiletries, camera, maps/guidebooks, etc. were in the totes.
Apr 4th, 2006, 07:18 PM
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Yes, do it all the time. The last time I checked luggage was in 1998 when a piece of checked luggage did not make the connection.

Woody is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 07:20 PM
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But I thought we were talking strictly carry on here.
nessundorma is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 07:47 PM
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Well I was all excited to try and get all of our "stuff" into individual carry ons for our trip to London this Saturday.

We are flying Virgin Atlantic and they say that the carry-on allowance is 13 pounds! I couldn't believe it when I read that, so I called them to make sure that weight also applies for transatlantic flights, and the agent said that it did.

I wanted to be able to say "I went to Europe without checking any bags"! Darn!

issy is offline  

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