Best Luggage:Not carry-on

Old Apr 10th, 2002, 12:13 PM
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Best Luggage:Not carry-on

What size is best for a 10 day trip for one person going to Europe if you're not a "carry-on" only type of packer?
Is a 26" big enough assuming that I don't take everything but the kitchen sink but more than most of the "pros" on this board?
On several of the luggage sites they say that a 29" (very large bag) is for a 7-10 day trip for one person. Very confused. This is my first trip abroad...please help.
Old Apr 10th, 2002, 12:42 PM
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Speaking from personal experience, the problem with a very large bag (26" or more) is being able to lift it, fit it on luggage racks, move it down narrow aisles and in crowded stations, but especially not being able to move it around and lift it up and down stairs when wheels don't help at all.
Too often I'm not a light packer myself, and I'd rather have one medium size plus one manageable carry on size than one huge one. The big one will get checked anyway. Even the smaller one can get checked if you have to have another carryon for plane essentials, but if you are by yourself managing three bags is next to impossible. It also makes you more preoccupied and more of a target perhaps for pickpockets or thieves. If budget permits I would recommend having a car service meet you at the airports. That helps a lot, but you still have to get the bags through the airport.
Outside measurements are a rough guide, but luggage to me is something I need to examine in person. Bags of similar sizes can be different in terms of how much I can actually get in them, and some weigh more empty than others.
As I said, I'm not a light packer, but I do take less than I used to so I'm improving. I like to be decently dressed, but mixing and matching works better than you think, and keeping the number of pairs of shoes to a minimum is key. There are always local laundromats and dry cleaners, and if budget permits even many small hotels can arrange for same day dry cleaning and laundry which, even if relatively expensive, is a wonderful splurge so that I can move on with clean clothes.
Over the cost of the whole trip it doesn't seem that expensive to me, and if I have to I'd rather eat bread and cheese for a dinner or two.
A ten day trip isn't tremendously long and you might be able to
whittle things down. Lay everything out on the bed or table, I mean everything, and then see what can be eliminated. Some things are bound to be redundant. If your hotel has a hairdryer can you do without your own?
Buy the lightest-weight travel umbrella you can find--I found one in a
Bed, Bath and Beyond store, super lightweight.
Can you take sample sizes of toiletries or cosmetics and throw out as you go?
Ditto with taking along not your very worn undies or socks, and throwing out as you go.
Ask your hotel what amenities they provide in the rooms. It may not be the shampoo you're used to, but you can probably manage with the unknown stuff.
If they have a clock in the room, you don't need a travel clock, etc.

Do a search here on "pack" or
"luggage" and you will find lists of many good past suggestions.
Good luck.

Old Apr 10th, 2002, 12:58 PM
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My basic rules of luggage for Europe whether you want to carry on (which I don't really think is possible any more) or not.

Largest bag: not to exceed 22", preferably rollaboard, whether you actually take it as a carry on with you or not. Should not weigh more than EIGHT pounds when empty.

Second largest bag - - virtually as important as the largest bag and might contain 90% by weight of the amount you put in the first one. Should not weigh more than eight OUNCES when empty; translation: a small or medium lightweight nylon duffel bag. The more similar they weigh when packed, the better you can walk, balanced.

Third bag: no third bag.

With these two bags, you can still take as much as 50-60 pounds of stuff which is an enormous amount; I don't recommend taking that much, but you could. I also take an empty large canvas duffel bag, and I often bring home MORE than 60 pounds of stuff (sometimes 10-15 bottles of wine, usually bought the day before I return).

When leaving to go to Europe, you should be able to lift either bag - - when fully packed - - completely over your head, and ideally walk up AND down a flight of stairs this way. And you should be able to carry BOTH bags, fully packed, up a flight of stairs, any way you can manage them.

Best wishes,

Old Apr 10th, 2002, 01:02 PM
Mary W.
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If you're going to be on and off trains, you might consider a large *rolling* duffel. We carried one and were able to put lots in it, plus it fit well in train storage. Then we had one "personal" bag that was rollaboard size. Be sure to account for purchases abroad... we bought so much on one trip we wound up buying a cheap piece of luggage in Scotland for the ride back.
Old Apr 10th, 2002, 01:19 PM
Mary Ann
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Hi Robyn
I totally agree with Elaine. Our first trip I had a 29 inch and it was impossible. We do take a rolling 26 inch duffle. It is narrower than a normal 26 and makes it easier to navigate. We take that and a rolling 20 inch which we carry on going and expand 3 inches and check coming bag. I also pack a large empty sporto bag for bringing back the treasures I buy. For two of us for 3 weeks we take those 2 and a tote for essentials.
A lot may also depend on where you are going and how you are getting around. If it is a tour, then most of the baggage is taken care of for you. We do independent so we have to haul it around. We also rent a car and the 20 inch one is nice for the one nighter between major locations or even when we go someplace like Venice for a couple nights so it is more managable on the bus boats (vaporettos).

Remember too, you will use it hopefully for other trips and it needs to be workable. One thing great about Travel 2000 is that they will take anything back (at least they did). Their policy when I bought that 29" was that you could bring it back even after you used it for any reason up to a year.
That is how we got the 26" duffel when I exchanged the 29" tank for it.

Have a great trip!!!
Old Apr 10th, 2002, 02:50 PM
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PLease also keep in mind that when flying within Europe, many airlines have stringent weight limits for luggage; i.e., Ryanair is 15 kilos and British Midland is 20 kilos. You will pay dearly for going over these limits.
Old Apr 10th, 2002, 04:40 PM
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My wife and I sometimes take a 26 and a 21" for long trips so I can't preach. I have to lug and lift the 26". She handles the 21". It definitely limits some options. Absolutely no way you want anything bigger than 26 unless you are on a strucured program where someone else does the mule work. The advice from Rex is pretty much my opinion when I travel alone.
Old Apr 10th, 2002, 04:56 PM
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You want something with wheels, and the wheels should be at the narrow end. For example, I have New Jersey (named for its sheer size, shape, and attitude): hard-sided American Tourister that's 26" long, 20" high, but only 8" deep. The wheels are on one end, so when I drag it, it's the 8" deep that's cross-wise and the 26" is following behind. I can get down narrow aisles because it's only 8" across. I only take this sucker when I'm going for a month or more - and staying in one place (I'm the 22" rollaboard type in my real life).

Train aisles are pretty narrow in most European cars, so a really wide suitcase is near-impossible to handle.

As suggested, go to a luggage department or store and try them out. Most stores have a return policy (ask, if they don't, find another store), so buy the one you think will work, take it home and pack your stuff in it, try dragging it through a narrow space (do this with your purse over your shoulder and whatever else you'll be carrying), lifting it up about 3' (the height of the luggage shelves at the end of a car), and up a flight or two of steps. That'll tell you pretty quick whether it works. It may also convince you to pack lighter!
Old Apr 10th, 2002, 05:37 PM
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I recently purchased an ATlantic 24" to check. It is a little bigger than the 21 inch, but still compact. This will be my first time going to Europe with more than a 21 in. and a 19 inch. I just thought if I am going to check, I would treat myself to a little larger bag. I may be sorry.
We are going for twelve days. I am not a wash your clothes out in the sink kind of person. The last time we were in Paris, we sent out laundry from the hotel, and frankly, I didn't like the way it came back. I usually take the time to do laundry once on this long of a trip.
I plan to check that one and carry on the 19 inch. So we will see.
Old Apr 10th, 2002, 06:04 PM
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Could you all please tell me when you say 21", 26" and/or 29", where are you measuring from? I've got some large rollaboards, but am not sure how to measure to best utilize all this great advice. Thanks.
Old Apr 10th, 2002, 06:08 PM
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I actually have the largest wheeled duffel bag on the market made by Eagle Creek. It's got enormous wheels on it, which makes it very easy to get around with. It is 38" long, 18" high, and about 18" across. The great thing about it is all of the straps, and heavy duty zippers. I swear by it, as I can cram all of my purchases into it when I return from vacation. Drawback is that you won't be able to lift it into an overhead compartment on a train, but I never did that anyway. This roll bag retails for about $250, but it has a lifetime guarantee on it for all possible reasons, including rips and tears. I've had this bag for 4 years now, and took it on a 6 month jaunt through Europe 3 years ago. I've also walked a mile with the duffle packed solidly, and did not find it an annoyance. Not on my last trip, but the trip before last, I opted not to take it with me, and I regretted it later, not because I didn't take a good roll bag with me, but because it wasn't large enough to pack away my purchases.

Actually, I swear by all Eagle Creek products for durability. Eagle Creek does make a smaller version of the same duffle bag, that is good for 2 weeks worth of clothes. You can order it through Magellan.

By the way, although I have exceeded weight requirements with it, I've never been assessed a fee by an airline as long as I just had 1 bag to check.
Old Apr 10th, 2002, 06:11 PM
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Length. The ones like the Flight crews use are the 21 or 22 inch. Max you can roll aboard
Old Apr 11th, 2002, 03:53 AM
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I have seen those big rolling duffel bags. I can't count how many times I have seen someone struggling with them, and dependent on someone else to get in the luggage storage space over head, up or down steps etc.
Old Apr 11th, 2002, 07:30 AM
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I strongly suggest that 26" be the largest to bring. I feel that above that it becomes too heavy and difficult to maneuver. Also, we pack an "emergency" carry-on, just in case.
Old Apr 11th, 2002, 07:52 AM
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We have an Atlantic roll-aboard 22" which is "legal" to take on. It expands to 24" which then needs to be checked. When travelling we pack in the smaller size and then have the expansion for bringing things home. Our trips are much easier since learning to pack lighter--less to take care of even after unpacking. A person on another board gave the best advice--do not take anything that does not "go" with every other thing you are taking. Packing for 10 days in a 22" case is very possible.
We once took a 29" bag to Russia to pack medicines and other things for a sister city. It was like a trunk--just impossible to manage and just too heavy.
Old Apr 13th, 2002, 07:11 PM
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Old Apr 14th, 2002, 05:09 AM
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<<We have an Atlantic roll-aboard 22" which is "legal" to take on. It expands to 24" which then needs to be checked. When travelling we pack in the smaller size and then have the expansion for bringing things home.>>

Surely this is not what Gretchen means. I have never seen a rollaboard that expands in LENGTH. Besides, what a minimal gain this would be.

A "standard" (maximum allowable) rollaboard is 22x14x9 = 1.60 cubic feet; increasing its length by 2" (to 24x14x9) would only bring it up to 1.75 cubic inches, or an increase of 9%

There ARE expandable rollaboards that add 3 or even 4 inches to the DEPTH. In other words, 22x14x12 or even 22x14x13, which in volume, represents 2.14 cubic feet (33% increase) or 2.32 cubic feet (36% increase).

There could be a trend towards allowing a bag of this size. New overhead bins on Continental, for example,can accommodate a rollaboard, placed lengthwise and on its side, and it wouldn't matter what is the depth of the bag. The bin holds the bag with its longest axis (i.e., the 22") perpendicular to the long axis if the plane, and the bin is tall enough to accommodate the width of the bag (14"), with it standing on its edge.

The contrary trends to this are those airlines that decide on whether a carry-on bag is permitted, based on its weight.

I continue to believe that 26 inch suitcases are too big for any useful purpose. Period.
Old Apr 14th, 2002, 07:08 AM
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Old Apr 14th, 2002, 03:14 PM
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I too believe in the 22' rolling bags. I don't expand them on the way over, so I have extra room coming home. I check this bag and carry on my 17" rolling bag which is very easy to handle on the plane and will go carry-on on European flights also.

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