Carry on for 10 day trip?

Apr 12th, 2009, 06:40 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,392
Carry on for 10 day trip?

I know this has been covered ad nauseum (or however you spell it) but after schlepping an overweight (52 pounds) 25 inch suitcase to San Francisco for spring break, I decided I need to buck up and pack lighter for the trip to Italy in June. I want to do a carry-on and I need to go buy one. Is the 21 inch the largest I can get? We will be flying major airlines althought the Zurich to Venice leg may be a smaller plane. I went looking at 19 and 21 inchers and I am completely stumped as to how I will fit everything for 10 days in this thing!!!
rbnwdln is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 06:46 AM
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How many outfits do you really need. My rule is that I have to wear everything 3 times otherwise I don't pack it. You can wash out things in the sink or find a laundry mid way through the trip. Leave all unnecessary things behind.

I went to Italy for 3 weeks with a 21 inch plus a small soft-sided bag that hung off the roller bag. I thought I was doing good until I met some folks from New Zealand who each had less than I did and they were traveling for 6 weeks. It's amazing how little you really need to carry with you and how freeing it is to not be burdened with a lot of luggage.

Buy the suitcase and try packing for 10 days. You can always return the suitcase.
adrienne is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 06:52 AM
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Well, as a guy I manage with a gym bag that once packed weights no more than 10 pounds. You can do better as your undies weigh less than my heavy cotton ones. Best of luck.
rogeruktm is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 07:00 AM
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Until we had to add medicine a carry-on worked and we travel for 2 weeks. Wear your bulkiest clothes and shoes on the plane and pack 2 changes that are light-weight and easy to wash/dry by hand if necessary. Travel in warm weather so you don't have to pack heavy sweater!

Wear same outfit more than once. Wait and buy toiletries (and other supplies) at your destination. Carry a large purse!

Hotel laundries are expensive but free up your time to tour. On the other hand, one does meet people in laundry mats!

Or, take one change of pants (or skirt) and 3 or 4 different shirts.
TDudette is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 07:02 AM
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First - the carry-on rules for european airlines are stricter than they are in the US. So look at the rules for the local airline, and realize that the size includes the wheels and the handle - and they may well enforce it. (I have seen people have to gate check carry-on that were fine in the US at the Zurich airport.) To be safe you really need a 19" that's not too deep.

Second, I frankly see no reason to try to live for 10 days out of an oversize handbag. I always check a bag (sometimes a large bag if the trip is both business and vacation and I need 2 different wardrobes) if it's more than a 3 day trip. As long as the bag has sturdy wheels it should be easy enough to pull - and that way you don't spend you vacation as a laundress - or wearing dirty, sweaty clothes.

My question is how you could pack 52 pounds in a 25" suitcase? Was it all gold bars? I've taken 26" lots of times and it didn't begin to weigh that. Are you taking lots of shoes? That may be the problem in terms of weight.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 07:03 AM
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I can't answer your question about the max bag size, but wanted to offer a little encouragement: You can do it! Unless you're a fashionista or will be staying in 5-star hotels and are very concerned about looking "perfect" every day, pack your bag then take out several items of clothing. Leave with a bit of room in your bag, because you will never pack as well as you did that first time (and you'll probably shop), and you don't want to be fighting with your luggage every time you have to move to a new hotel. I'm just about to finish a 2-month trip (Feb-Apr, bulkier clothes) with an Eddie Bauer backpack with wheels (I don't know the measurements), and a messenger bag. Many times I found a laundry service and dropped off every item of clothing except what I was wearing at the time, and for well less than 15 euros it's usually done in a couple of hours (or you can do it yourself for less). You should only have to do that once-max-during your trip. One tip...if possible pack similar colors so you can put everything in one load. I tend to wear mostly black, but have several light gray t-shirts now because I didn't want to pay to do a very small load of whites. Good luck, and enjoy your trip!!
Sidny is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 07:07 AM
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TWO questions ALWAYS enter my mind when I read about people who travel for WEEKS at a time "with one carry-on."

First: how many pairs of shoes and how BIG are they. My own size 12's take up a LOT of space.

Second: are you wiling to do laundry along the way and if so, how often?

Sure, it can be done but there are many considerations including whether or not the bag you do take is sturdy, has good wheels, and if you can piggy-back something else onto it.
Dukey is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 07:24 AM
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I don't take a change of shoes, however, I have a pair of light weight slippers that wear while at the B&B. I have clean underwear and socks daily, however I do wear a shirt twice prior to washing. I have had good luck for the past 20 years in getting the B&B to do a batch of wash for me.
No wheels on my bag, it is light and if necessary I could carry it all day. Then if I need something I just buy it.

Lastly, if I were to be staying in one spot I too would take more, but being on the go, I don't.
rogeruktm is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 07:27 AM
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I've always been a checked bag kinda girl. I HATE wearing dirty clothes and I like choices. But this time we have several plane changes and are going to be schlepping bags in Venice so I thought smaller would be better. But I gotta say that I don't get how you can have more than one pair of shoes, a jacket/sweaters (we are going to the Dolomites), and everything else in those little bags. I am going to try it, though. I agree that it can be easier to just check the bag and that has always been my philosophy but.......Oh, the 52 pounds in my bag? The bag was my husband's and it was heavy to begin with and then I bought stuff in SF and squashed it in but it really was mostly clothes! Crazy, huh? Thanks for the good advice....I gotta think about this.
rbnwdln is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 07:50 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
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After 6 trips to Europe..

I only do carry-on.
I took this to Europe for 3 weeks in 2006.
Some reviews said the handle broke. Mine is still in fine condition as is my sisters.
I will use it again in fall to Holland and Paris.

I pack the same for 1 week as I do for 3 weeks.
IMO...You really only need 4 pants and 4 shirts. 1 dress or skirt. I make sure everything matches everything.

I suggest you pack then take the suitcase around the block or on city bus to see if you can manage it.

Also if traveling by train, make sure you can lift it above your head.
jetsetj is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 07:55 AM
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Yes, it can be done, and it isn't too difficult. The longest we have gone with just a carryon was 3 weeks, in the winter. Our last 10 day trip to France, the 3 of us (myself, teenage DD, and my mother) all managed with just a carryon. My old bag was 22", but with the wheels and handle it was just a touch over the requirements and I didn't want to chance it. So we each bought new 21" bags that worked great. We got the rolling Rick Steve's bags which are lightweight and actually extremely durable. Trust DH is very hard on luggage and he swears by this now, lol.

Anyway, we each had 3 pairs of shoes total, one we wore and two packed. Granted, two of us have tiny feet, so they didn't take up much room. But you can always tuck socks or underwear into the shoes to save room. I use a lot of small ziploc bags for my smaller items to keep them together, so you can do that and know whatever goes in your shoe won't come out smelly

Take only the amount of toiletries you will need. For me, I use contact lens cases which are tiny but hold the right amount of foundation and moisturizer. Then 1 oz bottles of shampoo and conditioner and hair product.

For clothing, take things that are easily washable and dry quickly. I rarely have to do laundry on our trips as I tend to take items that take very little room, such as sheer blouses and shells. Color coordinate your items and that right there will help immensely.

I do wear my jacket on the plane, and when we travel in winter, I wear my sweater as well.
mms is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 10:51 AM
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Well - I won;t travel with "a" jacket and "a" sweater. Wearing the same thing 14 days in a row is not how I dress. (How can things not smell if you wear them every day - winter or summer?) And I'm not about to spend the cost of washing/cleaning that hotels charge (the cost to wash a pair of panties is often as much as I paid for them - and I don;t feel any washed by hand are really clean).

Frank;y I've never found a checked bag to be a problem. Easily maneuverable with wheels, and we do always take a cab or car service from the airport to the hotel. (I do public transit all the time in cities - but NOT with luggage.)

To me there is no real benefit in having practically nothing to wear and stuffing it into a tiny bag versus just checking a normal size bag (NOT a 30" body bag). Plus, my carry-on is then small and light, just an oversize shoulder bag, with cosmetics, book, camera and sweater or jacket for the plane. (I am always sorry for people struggling with overpacked wheelies that lose a wheel or won;t move evenly - or, even once, broke open since it was so overpacked.)
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 11:09 AM
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Hubby and I always try to just pack in one carry-on each, and can usually pack the same for 5 days as for 2 weeks. We learned the hard way that foreign airlines are pretty strict with their weight limits, though -- Lufthansa wouldn't let us carry on standard roll aboard bags because they weighed more than 15 lbs each, so we got stuck waiting 45 minutes for luggage to get unloaded after arrival, but at least they didn't get lost. I've had friends who always check luggage have luggage on a non stop flight get lost for three days (apparently the bag made a side trip to Germany). Long way of saying that I agree that it is always best to TRY to carry on. That said, I firmly believe in those vacuum pack bags to fit more stuff in the suitcase (they really work), but it doesn't help you cut down on the weight. As long as you plan to wear each outfit 2-3 times, color coordinate, and don't take more than 2 pairs of shoes (okay, you can have three as long as the third is a little pair of flats or sandals that take up very little room and weigh nothing), it can be done.
tejana is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 11:17 AM
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Obviously people who don't want to do just carry on have gotten pretty defensive about checking bags!

I'm close to six feet and wear size 12 shoes. I never check a bag. I live in Italy, not is super-sudsy, beat-your-clothes-to-death-in-a-turbo-machine America, so I already handwash a lot of my clothes, and they come clean. They certainly don't smell. This isn't New York city! We all smell like lemons and olive oil over here.

I prefer light to heavy clothes (this is Italy!), but I also favor dark clothes (sexy Milanese black). I keep warm with silk underwear if I'm not traveling in summer, while wearing summer clothes. I hate heavy luggage above all. And I hate waiting by baggage carousels.

But other people are different. I'm so glad the airlines are making them pay to check their bags, however, instead adding the costs of their phobias and crankiness to my ticket.
zeppole is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 11:30 AM
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You should look at the website of WinterSilks for the Dolomiti section of your trip. You shouldn't be packing sweaters. You can wear the silk underwear as pajamas after your trip.
zeppole is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 05:34 PM
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We have been successful with carry-on only as well. Usually take a 20" suit case each plus a messenger or flight bag. We do laundry part way through the trip if we need to. I'd rather pay for laundry service than cart around extra luggage - I don't mind checking luggage, I just don't like lugging extra luggage onto trains and so on. For an upcoming trip, we are renting a flat with a washer and dryer, so we can wash our own. We wear some things more than once, but we certainly don't go around in dirty, smelly clothes - LOL.

Here's my list for an upcoming trip:

Dark jeans
Black cotton pants
Flowy cotton skirt
2 pairs cotton capris (one black, one brown)
Black yoga pants

2 cardigan sweaters (1 black, 1 print)
2 sleeveless sweaters (1 black, 1 blue)
2 cami tanks
4 tees ( 2 white, red, light blue)
2 blouses (black and white, red floral)
1 light blue fleece sweatshirt
1 light jacket

Tennis shoes
Black strapy sandals
Black ballet flats
Tan hiking sandals
november_moon is online now  
Apr 12th, 2009, 06:36 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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I just returned from Italy and France April 8 and I did carry-on only. I don't have a choice because I often have short time connections. I took a rolling computer bag and another computer bag that would slide over the handle of the rolling bag. I packed 2 pairs of jeans and 5 tops, a lightweight cardigan, and of course the usual underwear and socks and an extra pair of shoes that I never put on. This did not include my clothes that I wore including a wool sweater and a lightweight hoodie.I always freeze on the plane. I also took makeup, the necessary toiletries, curling iron, and a hairdryer because one hotel did not have a hairdryer and a laptop(7in.), 2 books, and a goodie bag of snacks for the flight.
scatcat is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 07:21 PM
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I stopped checking bags years ago, whether for a weekend trip or a month-long one. I don't smell, either, and always take pride in looking well put together. It's just not that hard. You have to learn to mix and match things well, use accessories, and plan to wash things once in awhile if it's an extended trip. Two pairs of shoes is my max (one on the feet while on the plane - same with any outerwear).

For me it's the things like books and maps and toiletries that make the bag weight go up, not the clothes. I just can't travel without three or four books (I generally leave them at hotels as I finish them). I have learned over many years to cut back on the toiletries, even though my instinct is to carry every moisturizer, vitamin, lipstick, eye cream, shampoo, and deodorant on the planet with me, not to mention far too much jewelry (not the good stuff, but I'm an earring whore), that I just don't ever wear it all or use it all, and I can buy it onsite if need be.

I really am a minimalist these days, but one who likes to dress well. I guess that's why it takes me two weeks to pack for even an overnight (see Lounge thread).
StCirq is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 08:49 PM
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I spent a month in South America in 2006 - I have arthritis in most joints so for me it's about having a bag I can manage - light and with wheels. My hand luggage consists of my medication and that's about it.

My bag is probably at the 20" limit, I didn't smell, I did do laundry services - not the hotel ones.

My tips are - roll your clothes, don't fold them
pack inside shoes
Don't pack anything that doesn't go with three other things you are taking - I mostly wear black so not much of a problem.
sashh is offline  
Apr 12th, 2009, 09:19 PM
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Hey, I checked in a 26-inch bag full of stuff and I lugged it on buses, trains and hydrofoils, up the Capri funicular (lot of steps), over stone roads which were not level.

And I still had to do laundry at least once during a 2-week trip.

My carry-on had no room for clothes. It was taken up by laptop, camera and other electronic gear.

And I packed at the last minute.
scrb is offline  

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