Best Luggage for Cobblestone/Stairs

Old Mar 29th, 2015, 01:37 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,171
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Do not take more than a 20-21" carry-on; you still may have to check this size depending on your air carrier, but believe me, you do not want larger. Purchase a tote or backpack that can be bungeed atop the 21" without falling off while you negotiation cobblestones or metro stairs. We are doing 4 wks in France with this. I pack my Lucas 21" to weigh 29 lbs with expandable popped up. My husband has a 21" Olympian also expandable. I am taking 4 pairs of pants at least a dozen tops, packing 2-3 pairs or shoes/sandals, underwear, bathing suit, rainproof jacket, yup, it all fits. When we went to Spain for 3 weeks few years ago, we both dragged huge wheeled duffels that open flat like a traditional Pullman. It weighed 45# and with all our frequent moves, you will not feel like to digging through all to find something. Pack all tee shirts in one superthin nylon packing bag, all underwear in another, long sleeve shirts in another, pj's etc in another. When you get somewhere you know what to pull out without rifling through things. Take a nylon tote for purchases that folds into itself and weighs ounces. Think small when you are shopping! I find art, jewelry and other small things that fit. You can do it!! Yes, Marshalls & TJMaxx have bags I mentioned above for $50. $300?? That was my Hartmann that was years ago and way too heavy to travel with now.....
aliced is online now  
Old Mar 29th, 2015, 01:49 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 57,091
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
here's another recommendation to pack light. my bag on my recent trip to Venice was only 15kgs, but by the time I'd dragged/carrried it over the innumerable bridges between Piazzale Roma and my B&B on the other side of the Grand Canal, i was regretting that extra pair of shoes, which in fact I never wore.

i regretted them even more when i arrived at the apartment block where I was staying and discovered that I was staying on the 6th floor, there were 71 steps, and no lift.

Also a back pack to take some of the load is a very good idea.
annhig is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2015, 04:35 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 64
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yet another person telling you that your teacher is nuts Hopefully s/he is a good teacher and will have lots of information to share that is *not* related to packing.

My family has made it easily on trips to Europe (almost 4 weeks) and California (8 weeks) with each of us using a 20-22" rolling suitcase plus small backpack. We also had a fold-out carry-on size duffle that we used for laundry during our travels. When we came home, we checked our rolling bags and carried on the duffle with anything breakable, along with our small backpacks.

If I were young and fit, though, I'd skip the rollers and just use a backpack. I traveled with one of the first Rick Steves 'Europe through the Backdoor' backpacks when I was in my early 20s and it was much easier to get around in varied terrain with it compared to a roller bag. On trips where I don't have to shift my luggage much, I still prefer the Rick Steves bag (going strong after 25 years of regular use) or a small or medium Lands End duffle to my roller bag, but the latter saves my middle-aged back and trashed knees on longer trips.

Good luck on your trip - carry light!
AlysonRR is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2015, 04:42 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 64
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh, and I don't work for Rick Steves, but I went there while writing my post (had to check and see if they still had the bag I used - the Classic is closest, though mine has a shoulder strap, which I find useful).

Anyway, I noticed they have a 20% off sale right now through April 5th, so if any of those bags appeal, now's the time. I can't recommend them enough. We have two of the old Classics that have managed through lots of travel (at least 1-2 trips a year) for 25 years, and we were given older Rick Steves rolling bags that they used for 2 trips a year for over 12 years before our kids started using them five years ago. So they're tough!
AlysonRR is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2015, 04:58 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,886
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The size bag your teacher is talking about is a disaster in the making. How will you ever carry 70 pounds or more up seerla flights of stairs. Borrow a very large bag, fill it and then try to carry up even one flight of stairs.

IMHO you should have not more than a 24" bag - soft sided (hard sided are just luggage weight versus clothing/useful items). If you plan on a lot of shopping will you have the budget?) carry a small parachute nylon tote that weights nothing and you can fill up with items bought and use as a carry-on.

As for specific brands - I don't think it matters - just as long as the wheels are sturdy. Before buying try them out in the store on uneven surfaces and or steps.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2015, 05:05 PM
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 4,971
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If the OP is male, he can handle 50 pound bags. Also, males don't pack neatly so they need larger luggage.

If the OP going to spend over say $150 and get a suitcase which will always be checked, he or she should keep in mind that checked suitcases get dirty real fast, so that immaculate $800 Tumi gets ragged real fast.

Of course, these premium brands promise all kinds of warranties but they're as much as 10 times more expensive.

I've seen those cheap suitcases at Ross and TJ Max and am somewhat tempted. Figure if those things fall apart after a couple of years, you're still way ahead than if you bought a $200 or more piece.

Costco has some decent-looking pieces

As for hard vs. soft side, the latter lets you overpack if necessary and it's great to have external pockets. I use them for among other things, bringing back my dirty laundry, which is inside plastic shopping bags.

I've not used a spinner bag before. I take a 27-inch roller board and a wheeled carryon which carries my laptop and other electronics. I can plop the carryon on top of the 27 inch and take the both for a couple of blocks if necessary.

I wonder how durable those small wheels would be, even if tilted back onto two wheels. They're supposedly getting better but I've pulled bags over curbs and cobblestone streets. I've lost wheels too so again, it's a question of whether more expensive luggage is really more durable or it's better to go through a bunch of cheaper ones.
scrb11 is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2015, 05:23 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Rick Steves has a great line: Nobody ever came back from Europe saying they wish they had taken more luggage.

Absolutely do NOT take anything larger than a carryon size bag. You will be the one who has to carry it everywhere and you will come to hate that bag with a passion if it is any larger. Your classmates will envy your mobility and wish they hadn't listened to an inexperienced teacher.
happytourist is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2015, 05:59 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 10,311
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Oh, here's another bag I have. This thing holds soooo much stuff and is carryon size, wheel-free backpack. I took it on a Rwanda/Kenya/Amsterdam trip. I was bringing a lot of crazy gear--full size heavy duty binoculars, DSLR with multiple lenses, a daypack for gorilla trekking that I packed inside the luggage, mini medical kit for the bush, clothes for three climates, etc. It ALL fit--and more. But it got super heavy for a 39 year old woman (my fault). Might be a great choice for a teenager.
Leely2 is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2015, 02:58 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,169
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Look at the Redoxx Air Boss and the middle-sized range of Tom Bihn bags (google both).

The Tom Bihn bags convert into backpacks; the Air Boss is just maximally cool. Both are expensive but well-made in the US and will last you the rest of your life, or at least until you are too old to carry them. Neither has wheels; both offer groovy colors. They fit the carryon requirements of budget European airlines.
Ackislander is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2015, 03:01 AM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 847
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Interesting, the difference in terminology. I've just spent 5 minutes Googling roller board (actually called a "roll-a-board"), duffle bag (a bit different to the on I had at school, a long time ago) and a "spinner" suitcase.
Hooameye is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2015, 03:23 AM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with so many of the above. Being a backpacker for a few years I would generally avoid wheels at all cost. However in saying that, there are some extremely robust hybrids out there. Essentially a back pack with wheels. Good for stairs/cobblestone streets/getting on and off of public transport. But easy enough to pull out the handle and wheel it through terminals or roads etc.
But most importantly, and I can't stress this enough, pack light!
WanderingMike is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2015, 03:35 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,786
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There's another 'L' word besides luggage to consider: Laundry. Your group, together, could suggest that a couple of evening hours, half way through the tour, be spent in a local Laundromat, washing and drying -- and cutting your basic wardrobe needs in half. It's actually a good way to meet the locals since you probably will need help with the operating instructions.
I've worn out plenty of luggage. Whoever put wheels on bags is my hero. Once I ditched my backpack for a wheeled bag the world became a safer place; backpacks are a real hazard on crowded streets and public transit, whomping an innocent neighbour every time you turn around. I like two wheels rather than four, as easier to steer and firmer on bumpy pavement. Better products are designed to partially cover the wheel for protection against collisions in the baggage hold (and checking your luggage is far easier than muscling it aboard yourself -- the risk of loss is minor.) Many bags have an expansion feature that allows an extra inch of space for trinkets purchased en route. One more tip: Never pay list price. Luggage is sold in many ways with constant discounts.
Southam is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2015, 03:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,242
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Shop Marshalls , Ross, TJMax for ultra light luggage. these weigh about 4lbs. Next trick we have used many times-pack clothes that you can throw away each day. clothes that you still use but maybe were going to retire anyway. shirts, pants, socks, underwear etc. Bring only. One pair of comfortable shoes.
If weather perimits , bring more shorts than pants. Also bring some lightweight items that you can wash out and hang to dry.. This approach will generate room in your luggage each day for the shopping and which by the way shopping is not low on my list and I suspect on others as well.
Need.ess to say all of your toiletries should be travel size and used up by the end of your trip.
BillT is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2015, 03:54 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 4,324
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"Rick Steves has a great line: Nobody ever came back from Europe saying they wish they had taken more luggage."

That's a useless generalization. When we were in Germany last year, we bought enough Erzgebirge craft items and Saxon wine to make us wish we had another suitcase. So we bought one. And we managed the extra bag fine.

For a packed itinerary, then I agree with going smaller than 28", but most people can handle a 24 inch bag without any difficulty. And if it has good wheels, it will be easy to maneuver on cobblestone streets. I do it many times a year.
WeisserTee is online now  
Old Mar 30th, 2015, 04:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,242
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you will be taking trains, be sure you can lift your bag above your shoulders. While the trains have some luggage racks at the end of each car, the space is very limited and tends to fill up right away. If you are traveling on second class trains this is even more so. We travel by first class trains and. Find that I have to use the overhead racks to store our.large bags. At. 40 to 50lbs. That can be difficult for many.
BillT is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2015, 06:31 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 75
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Don't take a huge bag. If you load up a 28-30 inch bag, you'll pay over weight charges to get it on the plane and it will be an albatross lugging it around europe. It is cheaper to send your putchases home by post. Wheels don't work well on cobblestones or stairs. A convertible bag that doubles as a backpack would be more practical and pack light. Rick Steves' Europe through the Backdoor has good tips. Buy a copy and share it with your classmates. This has the potential of being the trip of a lifetime, don't burden yourself with too much stuff. Bon voyage.
CJT0427 is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2015, 07:00 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 293
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
One thing you might do is buy cheap tshirts before you leave and throw them away as you go.

Also, if you buy a lot of souveniers, pack them in your bag and mail your dirty laundry home. I've found over the years that my dirty laundry arrives much quicker than the souveniers I've bought.
Gothampc is offline  
Old Mar 30th, 2015, 07:14 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 73,048
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
>>If you buy things you cannot live without and won't fit in your smart-sized bag, mail them home<<

>>mail your dirty laundry home.<<

While this is usually good advice -- it may not be practical for the OP's situation. It appears to be a (very) fast paced student tour. There may be no time/opportunity to search out post offices/mailing supplies.

But it is also such a short trip, that extra measures aren't likely necessary. A small suitcase used <u>'un-expanded'</u> for the flight over can be expanded for the flight home. That will provide the extra space needed for all the souvenirs/dirty clothing the OP might pile up.

Taking light weight garments that can dry overnight is the best idea - things need to be dry and in the suitcase early in the AM before they load the coach for the next leg.

My guess is a high school student won't be buying all that many large souvenirs . . .
janisj is online now  
Old Mar 30th, 2015, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 12,220
Received 26 Likes on 4 Posts
This is the point where it's all been said and we repeat ourselves.

And the worst ideas rise once more from the depths ("-pack clothes that you can throw away each day.")
MmePerdu is online now  
Old Mar 30th, 2015, 07:46 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 27,617
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
And the OP seems to have disappeared.
thursdaysd is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -