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6 weeks in Europe--How big is TOO big for Eurorail carry-on luggage?

6 weeks in Europe--How big is TOO big for Eurorail carry-on luggage?

May 31st, 1997, 11:54 PM
Tracy & Scott
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6 weeks in Europe--How big is TOO big for Eurorail carry-on luggage?

We've been seduced by the new EZ Cart luggage w/wheels, but we are worried that we won't be able to fit it on board the trains (Portugal, Spain, Italy for 6 weeks). Does anyone know how big a bag one can bring on the train without checking it? And how big of a hassle is it to check luggage on the trains? What about buses?
Jun 5th, 1997, 03:10 AM
Aoife White
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The best packing advice I've ever heard is:
Bring half the luggage and double the money!
I interrailed last year and really didn't use half the stuff I brought with me. You can buy cosmetics, toiletries etc. everywhere and they are very heavy so leave them behind. You don't need twelve outfits or whatever. Remember you will be carrying everything, perhaps walking around in the heat, so the less the better.
There are no rules for luggage on trains - just try and stuff it in your cabin, or sleep with it on your bed. Cheap cabins usually have 6 people in them so you can't move without hitting a suitcase.
Jun 5th, 1997, 06:37 AM
Linda Alley
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Sounds like you've fallen into the trap of "how MUCH can I take" rather than "how LITTLE can I get by with"? I doubt you would hear any traveler who has been to Europe say: "Next time I'm going to take a bigger bag." Carrying a large bag (even a wheeled one, which I did for a month on last trip) is a PAIN! I took way too many clothes, because I bought things in various cities. By the time I got back I had a different wardrobe possibility for about 10-14 days worth of travel. Take less and be happier. Those wheels on your luggage won't be ANY help going up the cobbled streets of Geneva to your hotel, believe me! Keeping up with one or more pieces of luggage in and out of trains and subways is no fun.
On this trip I'm taking one carry-on size covertible backpack for four weeks. Taking 2-3 shirts, 1-2 pr. long pants, one pair shorts, and a skirt & jacket, plus four sets underwear. Even that might be too much.
Just remember: Europe is civilized territory. You can buy everything you need if you REALLY find you need it. And if you learn to live without all that "stuff", it really frees you to get around more comfortably. Hope you have a great trip. Leave room in the bag for souvenirs!
Jun 5th, 1997, 12:12 PM
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I echo those replies. Too big is anything you can't carry by yourself. I just returned from Italy and the visions of overloaded travels cursing their bags (and each other) is still with me. I heard one woman say to her husband "We're NOT travelliing like this again!" as she toted and pulled her wheeled luggage around. Think of all the stairs you'll encounter! Put it on your back or over your shoulder. Have a great trip.
Jul 22nd, 1997, 03:58 PM
bill toliver
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We have been to Europe twice and each time have had no problem with carting a 26 inch pullman bag with wheels around Europe and on the trains. You can get this size bag on the little racks they have on the trains for luggage just be sure you can lift it over your head!
Jul 23rd, 1997, 04:13 AM
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On our first trip to Europe (which happened to be Switzerland) we took our usual luggage - big mistake! Now my husband and I each have a fabulous "C-Fold" bag with a telescoping handle and wheels which we purchased from QVC (www.qvc.com - do a search for C-fold). This bag is incredible and the price is very reasonable (cheap). You can hang it on a door to pack it. You hang your outfits in it on regular hangers. Then, there are all sorts of pockets for toiletries and fold-up stuff and shoes, etc. which fold into the bag before you zip it. It's large enough (you can't believe all it will hold) but not too large to manage by yourself. Also has a handle on the side for carrying like a regular case. If you are going from place to place, you can hang it up and live out of it (as opposed to unpacking and re-packing). I must admit that I also take a "Freedom Bag" (also available from QVC) and a totebag (for a sweater, change of underwear, tour guides, etc). TIP: Do NOT check any medications. Carry them with you (in case your luggage gets lost). Be sure to carry your prescriptions in their original pharmacy containers (for customs). I read another tip which I plan to implement on our next trip - if you and your husband are taking one large bag each, divide your things (some of yours, some of his) into each bag, so if one gets lost, you'll both have something to wear until the bag is found. We've been lucky. Have only lost one piece (and that was on the way back). Feel free to e-mail!
Jul 26th, 1997, 11:58 AM
Monica Richards
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Too big is anything you can't carry yourself. You are going to want to put your bags up on the ceiling roof things, and if you can't do that easily than the bag is too big. For European travel, get a Jansport bag that converts from a shoulder bag to a backpack. You won't look like a college student, and you will have a much easier time getting around train stations with their many stairs than if you have a wheeled bag. Count on having to do your laundry, and only bring enough clothes for 1-2 weeks. I brought a ton of those little white t-shirts plus vests to dress them up--interchangeable outfits like that work great. Most hotels will do your laundry for a fee if you leave it on the bed--well worth what they charge! The only way to travel is to travel light! Monica
Jul 26th, 1997, 11:59 AM
Monica Richards
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Oh, and DO NOT check your luggage unless you really want it to get stolen.
Jul 27th, 1997, 12:48 AM
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Checking luggage is perfectly safe. We've been lucky. In all our travels only one small bag was lost (on the way home) and was delivered to our doorstep the next morning. Lost luggage is definitely a possibility, but very unlikely. I subscribe to the practice of taking your "essentials" and an extra outfit in a carry-on tote, just in case. As with most extra precautions in life, not usually necessary but great peace of mind. Unless you are travelling to some unusual destination on a really cheap ticket with an obscure charter airline, the chances of your luggage being lost or "stolen" are slim to none. Dragging your luggage on board is inconvenient and burdensome (literally) for you and annoying to the other passengers with reasonable carry-on pieces. Just remember to consider all advice, but let your common sense and better judgment guide you.
Sep 1st, 1997, 04:51 PM
Cheryl Kufta
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Don't be seduced by those wheels! I took my parents to Europe a few years ago, so they could enjoy the pleasures of independent & rail travel.

I bought a special suitcase from Magellan (about $70), which looks like a small soft suitcase, but which has backpack straps which are hidden and could be pulled out. IT WAS GREAT!

They had luggage with wheels. Worked great UNTIL you had connections in certain towns/cities where you had to walk down stairs, go thu a tunnel AND then walk back up again.

This happened, more than I would like to mention.

Good luck. Pack light!! You're not going to see the same people in every city anyway. Find a laundry.
Sep 1st, 1997, 07:48 PM
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We used the rail system in Europe and never had to check luggage. It must be different in Spain etc.
We took First Class for a few dollars more and just rolled (our 26" pullman on wheels -3 of them) into the baggage cart. Never had a problem with stairs-always found baggage carts and/or elevators.
The size was fine but the weight did get burdensome.
Never unpacked and repacked. Brought a laundry bag and threw it in the when dirty. Never ever found a hotel in 3 countries that knew what I meant when I asked them about laundry. Finally found a laundromat in Rothenberg Germany. It must have been the only one in Germany because I had to wait 3 hours for two washers that were $3.50 a piece. I am glad I had lots of outfits. Gone 3 weeks and several were hand washed in showers, dried on warm towel racks and worn 2-3 days in a row.
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