Advice Needed - What Bags to Take?

Jul 31st, 2005, 08:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Advice Needed - What Bags to Take?

I have an trip planned next month to London, Paris, and NW Ireland.

Since this will be an "on the go trip" where I won't be in one hotel the entire time, my current *monster* luggage will not be coming along for the ride (it's huge).

I'm looking to find a new bag (or two) for my wife and I that will be easy to handle from places like: Gatwick to the hotel (on the express train), on the tube from the hotel to Waterloo, on the Eurostar, etc.

I will be gone for 9 days total for this trip and appreciate any advice!

mjrogan is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 09:07 PM
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Take a look at You can enter the length of your trip and get suggestions for luggage sizes. I've bought 3 suitcases of various sizes from the site--usually no shipping charge--and am very happy with them. You'll probably want to try to get by with a 22" case.
Underhill is offline  
Jul 31st, 2005, 09:27 PM
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Go to Kmart or Walmart and buy a 21" or 22" rollaboard-style suitcase; the leading criteria is how light is it when empty. Ideally under eight pounds. Then a small-medium lightweight nylon duffel or sports-type bag - - ideally it will weight less than eight OUNCES. Use it as your carry-on.

You can take a LOT of stuff with just these two bags. But don't go crazy. Eahc of you (you and your wife) will do best if you can carry ALL your own stuff up and down one flight of stairs minimum. And antoher good test is to pack your largest bag (the rollaboard) light enough that you are comfortable climbing up and down a flight of steps with it over your head.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 05:36 AM
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I agree with Rex. A 22" roller plus a small carry on thing. If you pack synthetics that are easily washed and hung to dry you will still be able to fit plenty of clothes in there. The tote bag carry on is the thing that will get heavy - and you will be shouldering that - so make sure it isn't too big. A (small!) handbag should fit INSIDE the carry on thing so your wife isn't shouldering two things. That's what works for me anyway!
wliwl is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 05:40 AM
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I agree with Rex's suggestion of 21" or 22" rollaboard-style suitcase. I chose expandable rollaboards for my family. We traveled independently for three weeks through five countries with these suitcases. The expandable option gave us additional space for souvenirs, which we purchased toward the latter part of our trip. We now use these suitcases exclusively for all of our travels. I found discounted quality suitcases at TJ Maxx. Sometimes you can find them at or

I recently purchased a Travelpro WalkAbout Lite. It is only 1-2 pounds lighter than a regular rollaboard suitcase. However, the weight difference let's me lift my own suitcase into overhead luggage compartments with ease. (I manage, but struggle with the regular weight bags.) My husband didn't believe that 1-2 pounds would make much difference until he tried it.

Another option for souvenirs is a suitcase in a pouch. It can be stored in your regular suitcase until you need an extra bag. I got mine at Targets for about $10 and like it better than Baggallini's Bagg in a Pouch from eBags, which costs more and is made of thinner nylon.
MIWinnie is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 07:29 AM
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Thanks for all of your suggestions. I think I will look for a 22" roller as the primary bag, plus a small carry-on.

Should I be concerned that states the 22" bags are "perfect for 2-3 day trips"? If I select 7-14 day trips, it returns primarily 30" bags (too big).

Size guide:

I will try to pack as light as possible, knowing that I (we) will be carrying them...
mjrogan is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 07:48 AM
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No. I think they are just trying to sell you a bigger suitcase! If you are a good traveller, you will know that a 22" does the job for basically all trips if you plan your wardrobe carefully. Have fun!
wliwl is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 07:58 AM
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Nope, don't pay attention to that! A 22" (or 24" max.) is plenty for a 2 week trip.

I have two suitcases (22" & 24") each cost ~$50 bought at PJ Penny or Marshalls discount stores.

I suggest each person has one small suitcase on rollers and one tote of some sort that can ride along on top or be carried as a shoulder bag.

I would take the good advise of experienced travlers here on Fodors (rarely does anyone mention a 30" suitcase I don't care how long the trip is!!) rather than ebags.
suze is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 08:05 AM
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Thanks! I just wanted to confirm that before purchasing. I will make the 22" work.

When I did a study abroad semester in Europe 7 years ago, I took a *monster* suitcase that could only be carried short distances (75+ lbs).

That was ok for that trip, since I was gone for 2 months and only had to park the bag in my dorm room there. On day/weekend trips, I simply packed a smaller bag and left everything else in the room. This time, I won't have that luxury!
mjrogan is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 10:41 AM
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Weight is important as well as size. I aim for ~25 lbs.
suze is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 01:54 PM
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I agree with all the advice about rollaboards and small carry-ons, but want to highlight wliwl's great advice about you wife's purse/handbag. It should fit into her carry-on so she's not lugging around two things swinging from her shoulders in airports and while boarding trains and such.

It took me years to discover this trick (I'm not too swift), but it's among the best advice on this thread.

Have a great time!
Worktowander is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 02:01 PM
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Which bag to take? The old bag.

You will never be forgiven if you don't.


Ohoh, I cannot believe I posted do I delete this before I get CREAMED!! I'm just kidding...just kidding...honest! Ouch!! Gosh, that hurt!

Infotrack is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 02:09 PM
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If you're buying a new bag, get something other than black! Even with all the scarves, belts and knicknacks tied on them, they still all look alike.

Get something in a color--lime green is the new neutral in luggage and easy to spot---for now, that is. If you're worried about it getting dirty, spray it with scotchguard. If it still gets dirty, ignore it---a filthy suitcase is the mark of a well traveled owner.
kswl is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 02:18 PM
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I know I'm in the minority here, but personally I can't pack for a week or 2 in a 22" rollaboard. I'm not a clothes horse or anything. I am a large person, so my clothes take up a fair amount of space, and it is completely impossible for me to buy something while travelling if I need something more appropriate. I also like to pack 2 pairs of shoes in addition to what I wear on the trip, and shoes take up a lot of space. So I take a 25" roller. I can carry it up stairs in tube stations. I can lift it up onto the luggage racks on a train. It's just a little bit awkward.

I'm just saying, you might want to borrow a friends 22" bag, and try packing it before you make up your mind. Lots and lots of folks do manage it. But it sure doesn't work for me.

oh yeah, and I got one of those expandable ones. So I have extra room for souvenirs on the way home.
china_cat is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 02:54 PM
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Agree with ChinaCat above! Packing in a 22" takes a certain talent and definite willingness to wear the same clothes over and over again.

Can't you borrow a suitcase from someone? That's what I always do before I buy a new one.

I'm guessing a 24-26" might be a more reasonable solution for you especially when you mentioned a 75+ lbs. in the past!!!!
suze is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 03:15 PM
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For what it is worth - if you are going to get a new bag, get a tote that rolls as well. For years I have been checking the heavy bag that rolls and lugging a tote that gets heavy when fully packed. Finally it dawned on me to get a larger tote - also rolling and I leave room in the center section for my handbag. The two bags can be buckled together to make for easier portering when I have both with me and the tote holds enough so I can pack all the necessary things for when my luggage gets lost.
GoSox is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 08:11 PM
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Have to disagree with Chinacat. 22" case is plenty. I'm 6'3", weigh 290lbs, and take a 21" roller plus a small backpack to Europe when I go every two years for an eight week holiday. All the clothes I need fit into those bags, and they are easy to tote on any form of transport. I go to at least one 3* restaurant on each trip, and the clothes must be presentable on such occasions. The secret, seemingly ignored by most folks, is to occasionally WASH some clothes. There are plenty of self-serve laundrettes in Europe, and an hour and a half each week spent in one can mean a reduction in clothes taken, and therefore smaller cases.
adeben is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 08:24 PM
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A rolling carry on is a necessity these days w/ these huge airports!!!! Also look into rolling duffels. They are usually lighter than the big rectangles and seem to hold more stuff. There are all those little corners that stretch!
LEANNA is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 08:42 PM
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The size of the person really doesn't make much difference re size of suitcase. The only limitation is if you have really large feet - then you might have to cut back to just one pair of shoes plus the ones worn on the plane.

And you don't have to wear the same things over and over. Basically pack the same for a 6 day trip as for a 6 week trip, w/ maybe a few extra tops and a few extra accessories.

I teach a packing class at the local community college and we pack for a hypothetical three week, winter, European trip in a 21 inch roller and a medium sized handbag. I personally normally use a 19 incher - but demo a 21 inch bag in the class so the participants don't freak out too much. In that 21 inch bag it is easy to pack 25 to 30 unique outfits as long as you coordinate colors . . . .
janis is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 04:11 AM
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Someone 6'3" tall at 290 lbs shouldn't have trouble managing something larger than a 22" suitcase. I'm 5'10" 175 and have never had a problem traveling all over the world with a 26" suitcase and a carryon bag--trains, planes, automobiles, boats. And when Mrs. Fly is with me, we also have a 27". It's just never been a big deal. Though I do appreciate the convenience of luggage with wheels.

I can see it could be a problem for an average size woman or small man, or someone with an illness or disability. And I also understand that some people prefer to carry everything with them at all times.

But a 27" suitcase is just not that big a deal in terms of getting around for a normal person.
RufusTFirefly is offline  

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