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21" carryon bag???

Old Nov 25th, 2007, 09:05 AM
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21" carryon bag???

We are preparing to buy luggage for our 16 day trip next year to Italy and Germany. Should we plan to carry on all of our luggage and not check it? Those 21" rolling bags do not look very big.......CAN IT BE DONE?? What do most of you do? It's my husband and me, and we will traveling plane, train, bus and rental car. We are late 40's and moving to 6 different hotels over the course of the trip.


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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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Sure, it can be done. But do YOU want to do it? I don't know.

You have to be ready to wear the same clothes over and over to make it work. And get your toiletries gels & liquids all to current carry-on regulations.

Some people are avid about this. For me, nothing I'd want to hold myself to. I prefer to take one 24" roller and check it thru, plus a large tote/pocketbook on the plane with valuables and essentials.
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 09:23 AM
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Suze, does 2 inches make that much of a difference?
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 09:24 AM
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I am one of the "carry-on only" proponents...we did a 15-day European trip last year, and a 12-day UK trip this year, with rolling 21" carry-ons. To me, it's worth it to be able to walk right out of the airport without hanging around the luggage carousels waiting for your bags (which may not ever come.) Last time, we did take along a nylon 20" duffle bag that we stuffed with dirty clothes and checked through on the way home -- this was because of the British rules restricting you to one carry-on through security when departing, when we needed room for gifts and souvenirs.

The trick is to coordinate your wardrobe so that you don't have to bring along a lot of outfits. I go with black pants, black jacket, black shoes and several bright colored blouses, scarves and light sweaters. Husband did basically the same thing with brown tones (though I told him he did look a bit like the UPS man a few times.)

Our trips have always been in the fall, but I would imagine that warm weather travel would make packing light even easier, since you don't need to bring along as much warm (hence heavier) clothing.
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 09:29 AM
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Of course it can be done, and some do it. YOu just have to not care about having a lot of things, and not mind wearing just a couple outfits repeatedly -- and shoes, especially. That's the killer for me, as I simply will not wear shoes I walk arond in all day in the evening when I go out, and I will not wear the same pair of walking/daytime shoes every day. I don't like it, don't find it comfortable, and don't think it's good for your feet. But others do and have no issues with it. I also like to dress up a little when I go out at night (I just mean relative to daytime, nothing fancy, really, just perhaps a skirt and flats, or nicer slacks and top), so need different things than I'd wear in the day time. I also tend to go to concerts, ballet or opera in some major venues or theaters, so if you didn't do that, you might not need the same type of clothing. I don't take the same things on that kind of trip as I do on a week's beach or ski trip, either.

But as Suze, says -- of course you can do it, but do you want to? I don't, so I check my main bag (which is 21-24", often the 21-22" one), but have a tote bag as a carryon, along with my purse. I can't do only carryon even when a 21" bag is my main suitcase, as most airlines only allow one carryon nowadays, along with a purse or so.

To be honest, even though I have a 21" suitcase, it often doesn't pass the carryon limits anyway, when they check, due to size (not weight). That's because it is expandable and when it is packed very full, it won't fit in those metal size things, which are really stringent. I've had it pass on one airline, and be refused by the same airline on the return trip even when it wasn't any bigger.

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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 09:46 AM
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I use a 21" rolling duffel bag as my check in luggage, too, and carry on a medium-large tote bag that my purse fits inside. We were in Italy for a month last summer and I actually took a lot more clothes than I wore. I planned to only wear red, black & white, and most of the non-coordinating things I packed at the last minute "just in case" did not get worn. So -- plan what you're taking to co-ordinate, then don't second guess yourself the night before you leave!

If you are going to Venice, REALLY take packing light seriously. Dragging luggage over bridge after bridge, etc, is torture & is enough to make you want to throw everything in the canal!
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 09:47 AM
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Cindy, More of a problem for me is the weight restrictions airlines are placing on carryon. I can pack plenty in my carryon but that usually makes the bag overweight.

Not a problem if they don't weigh it but I have had that happen and it was not a great way to start a trip. Deborah
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 10:18 AM
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<<Suze, does 2 inches make that much of a difference?>>

Yes. Actually the difference between a 24" and 21" is three inches. Usually as the length increases, so does the depth and width. I can easily fit my 21-22 inch cases inside my 24 inch case with room to spare.

I'm with Suze on this issue; I can do it but don't want to for a few reasons, one of which is I often have long layovers and don't want to be hauling a suitcase all over an airport. And like Christina, I want to have extra shoes with me and they take up a lot of space in a 21" suitcase.


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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 10:18 AM
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Yes... a 24" is a whole different beast than a 21" suitcase! Go to a luggage shop and check them out.

I don't get to Europe that often, and like to have a few things with me. I am a light packer but not that light.

Also traveling solo I HATE schlepping my little suitcase around the airports, in and out of bathrooms, on and off planes, into and out of overhead compartments.

I used to be a die-hard carry-on only person, but years back British Air didn't allow my 22" (because of weight not size) onboard with me. Checking the suitcase was a liberating change in the way I'd traveled previously.

Sure you have to keep your fingers crossed it arrives (so far so good) and have enough in your carry-on bag you could manage for a day or two in case of delay.
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 10:40 AM
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It's the stuff of endless debate here. No right; no wrong. Agree with everyone who says, "Can be done? Yes. Do YOU want to do it?"

We've done carry-on for as long as a month--and often that includes the specialized stuff we need for active vacations (bulky bike shorts, etc)that also require a dress-up for dinner (black knit dress/scarf/rhinestone earrings/weighless strappy black sandals). So it certainly can be done.

I have to tell you, though, that I get frustrated pre-packing just doing carry-on because I have to THINK and RE-THINK everything that goes into our luggage, even with a standing packing list. I almost always have a "Heck with this, I'm checking" moment.

Once we're there, though, I never, ever regret packing light. We can get our butts off cancelled flights, hop on and off trains/buses, have a hand free in pickpocket land, be assured that our suitcases will fit into the teeny rental car, and so on.

Another point, just in case one thinks, "Well, if I check it, I never have to worry about being burdened with luggage between flights." True outbound. Not true inbound. On your return journey home, unless your return is directly to the US city from whence you came, you have to pick up all your luggage at the first US city and then get recheck it to the next destination. Nice when you're only waiting for one small piece versus The Hulk and its mates.

Size. Most airlines have a total linear inch figure rather than just length (45", for example). Take a look at your airlines' requirements and take your tape measure to the store.

Other tip: Use the restrictions on liquids as your excuse to shop in an Italian/German drug or grocery store.
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 10:42 AM
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Yes, you can do it. We just spent 2+ weeks in France and they lost our luggage( returned to us 3 days after we returned home). I was happy that I pack a great carry on. Wear your jacket, sportcoat on the plane. Also carry a large tote bag as your purse. Very handy is a duffle bag that folds up into a small envelope(available in any luggage store). Check it on the way home with dirty clothes and put what you buy on your trip in your carry on.
We were so happy not to have all those bags to haul around that next time we'll check nothing.
In my carry on-- 2 pair of shoes, black pants, black skirt, black jacket. 5 dressier nighttime tops, 5 day tops, socks, underwear, etc. Everything coordinates with the tan pants,darker tan blazer and top I wear on the plane. Since I never carry a purse in Europe, I don't need any bags. Travelsmith catalog has great pants with hidden zipper pockets for your cash and credit cards. Another thing I take is 4 or 5 scarves to dress uo my outfit. Especially in Paris, everyone wears a scarf.
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 11:58 AM
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Hi C,

>..It's my husband and me, and we will traveling plane, train, bus and rental car. We are late 40's and moving to 6 different hotels over the course of the trip.<

You definitely want 21" rollaboards.

This will be a 3 week trip, no?

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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 12:04 PM
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IMO the real "trick" is being willing to do laundry along the way unless you've figured out a way for the clothing not to stink and if you have a size 12 foot as I do, wearing those bad boys on the plane.
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 12:31 PM
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That's a good point (Ira) that I was overlooking.

Because you are moving around so much after you arrive (I never do that) the 21" will really make things easier - what with changing hotels every couple days and using plane, trian, bus, and rental car, all in just two week's time.
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 01:31 PM
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"does 2 inches make that much of a difference?"

it depends on what it is ....
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 01:39 PM
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<<< Suze, does 2 inches make that much of a difference? >>>

21 inch - will get onto all* intra-Europe flights as hand luggage

23 inch - will have to be checked on all intra-Europe flights

* all as in full cost airlines. If it's a low cost airline then 55cm(21.7 in) tall x 40cm (15.7in) wide x 20cm (7.9 in) deep is more typical
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 02:06 PM
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cindy, we are going to Europe in June (family of four). We are each taking one 21 inch Rick steves roll aboards. I have also bought some 20 inch duffles that are folded flat for dirty laundry and such while traveling. We are going to europe for 15 days and traveling through 3 countries. Flying between two of them.
I am thinking of taking another larger suitcase (maybe 25-26 inch) to throw on the back of the plane with the extras (shoes, shampoos, sweaters, extra underwear, etc...) My DH will have to lug two suitcases then from place to place.I have not totally decided yet. I know I could live out of the small suitcase, but I am very organized. My kids and DH will have a harder time fitting into and remembering to bring everything from place to place. I have a feeling my husband will be out of underwear by day 8 LOL. They will be lying on bathroom floors across Europe!
So, it will be nice to have the extra suitcase with some extra items. If it gets lost or delayed, it won't be all our main stuff.
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 02:35 PM
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Can it be done? Absolutely. In fact, I do it all the time and recommend it. During my first five trips to Europe, my luggage was nearly lost three times. Twice it would have caught me eventually, but until then, I would have had nothing to change into; the third time it would have been lost completely. So, I live by carry-on, and most of my flights are on Lufthansa, which has an 8 kg (17.6#) weight limit.

But, the last thing you want if you carry-on is a heavy bag. Most roll-aboards weigh at least 3 kg, maybe 4. With a roller, you only get 4-5 kg (9-11#) of "stuff" and half of the weight that you carry is the bag. On the other hand, with my 1-3/4# Campmor bag, I get to take almost 16# of stuff and my suitcase only weighs 10% of the total.
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 03:25 PM
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Cindy, we're sold on carry on luggage. We've had trips where flights were cancelled and we were able to hop on a different flight only because we had our 21" carryon bags next to us at the counter.

It's also so much nicer at your destination when you're moving around, especially with a bus or train, to keep your luggage simple.

There are many threads on how to do it. The hard part for me is limiting myself to 2 pair of shoes. But sometimes I can slip a third pair in my husband's bag.
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Old Nov 25th, 2007, 03:37 PM
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There are LOTS of threads on here w/ advice how to pack light.

I usually take a 19" rollaboard and a medium sized handbag. But for trips through the UK and those where I need hiking boots, I take a 21 incher. (The reason for the larger bag through the UK is the 1-bag rule and needing extra space in the suitcase to hold my handbag through security)

I do not wear the same things every day - or even very often. If you coordinate your colors so everything goes w/ just about everything else - you can have MANY unique outfits.

(I teach packing classes and have the particpants count how many different outfits they could create out of the wardrobe I pack - and usually they come up w/ 30-40 - sometimes 45+ if they stretch things a bit)
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