Luggage counseling needed

Sep 6th, 2006, 11:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 271
My husband & I did a similar Italy trip that involved trains, boats and planes for almost 3 weeks. We only took 2 22" carry on bags and a small day pack with the camera and reading material, etc.

As another poster said... we packed a fold up duffle bag in each suitcase for purchases. Obviously, as we got further into our trip we were carrying more (mostly wine!), but it wasn't so bad. We ended up checking all our dirty clothes in duffles on the way home and putting the carefully wrapped purchases in the luggage. It worked great.

Also, one of the fondest memories of the trip was our experience doing laundry in Montalcino!

Pack light--- it's worth it in the end. I buy Chico's travel clothing... fantastic!

abqdeb is offline  
Sep 6th, 2006, 11:37 AM
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As already established, yes I think that is way too much, especially if you are moving around on the trains.

Ways to reduce:
#1- For those toiletries and cosmetics, downsize to exactly what you need for 3 weeks. No full-size anything. I take lots of specialty lotions but downsize everything into tiny containers and reused sample jars.

#2- Plan to wear outer clothing more than once or twice. There's no reason you can't wear a pair of dress slacks or a sweater over and over again for the length of your trip. Think of *purpose* rather than fashion. You don't need 3 colors of the same garment, take 1 only in a neutral color. Also remember layers are your friend.

#3- For bulky winter items use either ziplocks or a couple spacesaver type packing cubes that compress air out and make a small neat packet. Use sparingly because this just means your small suitcase is heavier as you fit more in.

In conclusion, one 24" plus one tote bag that rides on top is ideal and the most I have ever traveled with. And even that gets tiresome at times.
suze is online now  
Sep 6th, 2006, 01:13 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Even with one 22" with wheels and a small carry-on it was difficult getting on and off the trains. And Venice itself is a huge challenge, climbing up and down the many steps on canal bridges with luggage if your hotel is not on a canal.Pack as if you are going for a week and ship purchased items home.
SuQue is offline  
Sep 6th, 2006, 01:14 PM
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For lots of travelsize things:

Barbara_in_CT is offline  
Sep 6th, 2006, 04:22 PM
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The less you take, the better off you will be. After all, you can always do laundry. In major cities, as well, there are often laundromats where you can drop it off and pick it up when it is finished and folded. Yes, there is an extra fee for that (much less than asking the hotel to do your laundry!) but it means you can take less and get around more easily on buses and trains. I always include one of those bags that zips into itself to have for excess on the way home.

I also decant all toiletris into small plastic bottles as others have suggested.
FauxSteMarie is offline  
Sep 6th, 2006, 10:24 PM
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All of your replies have been extremely helpful. The links to the Container store and the Nalgene store are good, too. I have ordered some things that I can't find where I live. I have returned the 27" bag and purchased a 24" roller bag. It's still large but I can't see doing this with 21" but I am going to give it a trial run tomorrow.

Here's my new question: Many of you use a "tote" along with your rollerbag. What do you put in the tote and how large is this tote? The tote , I presume is just for when you are traveling from place to place not for everyday use; so then you still need a handbag of some sort. The handbag has to be big enough for a map, guidebook, and whatever else you need for the day. The intimate details of how this is done would be much appreciated. I agree with the person who said the room gets taken up with the bottles, potions, shoes, etc. Yes. Hence the small bottles. I am lazy about that. I am very excited about this new adventure of traveling light.

Also, Christine: You say that you have never schlepped your luggage over a bridge and rarely over cobblestones. That's too bad. That's part of the fun. You have obviously never gotten lost trying to find your hotel around the Plaza Santa Cruz in the Juderia of Sevilla during Semana Santa. There would be no taxis!

Sep 6th, 2006, 10:48 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,190
message from europe

yes you can buy things here - but you could also search the internet, buy products online and have them sent either to your hotel or 'post resante'.

I've just spent 4 weeks travelling in south america - I bought a bag I could manage myself and what didn't fit I left at home.
sashh is offline  
Sep 7th, 2006, 03:46 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 69
The handbag I use while out during the day on trips is a smallish nylon type tote bag with a zippered top. It folds up into nothing and I either pack it in my suitcase or use it as my carryon bag.

The "tote" like you described, for me, is my bag that fits over the handle of my roller bag and that's where I pack toiletries. Different than my handbag.
clz is offline  
Sep 7th, 2006, 04:52 AM
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Hi Jane.

They aren't usually as glamourous-looking as handbags, but a small knapsack will keep your hands free to manage your bigger bag, plus they are usually at least water-resistant, with protective flaps over the zippers. The best ones also have dual zipper tabs per zipper, such that the zippers can either be locked or tied together with a twist tie (not too inconvenient to the user, but does slow down would-be pickpockets.) As you have traveled before presumably you know about how to keep your passport and money safe (which is to say, not in the tote or backpack.)

I also like the idea of being able to stuff my windbreaker, etc. into the knapsack, since having just one object to carry day-to-day helps prevent me forgetting things as we move from museum to restaurant, etc.

You might want to consider photocopying and reducing any relevant guidebook pages, to save the weight of a guidebook. Yes, I hear you, all this takes time, but the burden of expending time to organize beforehand will save you the burden of shlepping so much stuff around later. You'll get the hang of this soon enough, especially as you sound fairly experienced at travel already. Bon voyage!
Sue_xx_yy is online now  
Sep 7th, 2006, 05:54 AM
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Probably your biggest schlepping problem will be Venice. You can't just "take a taxi" to your hotel. Before arriving, separate just the things you will need for those days in Venice into one bag if possible. Then check the rest of your luggage at the train station. The vaporettos can be very crowded, so a shoulder bag or backpack would be ideal.
sgerhar1 is offline  
Sep 7th, 2006, 07:02 AM
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Jane, Good work on the suitcase swap. I can't go smaller than 24" myself. I find it's the perfect size.

I've used various things for the "tote". Like a small canvas duffle bag or beach bag kind of piece. Yes I also have a pocketbook that can fit inside the tote or be carried separately. I used to use it for cosmetics and toiletries and an extra set of clothes and take it on the plane. That doesn't work these days.

Sooo... if you don't need the extra space, skip the tote. But I'm guessing you would want something along those lines to take for the plane ride. And you're correct this isn't something I carry day to day on the trip, more just a small 2nd piece of luggage.

Put those little bottles you fill into ziplock sandwich bags. Now isn't this fun?

;-) kindly, Suze
suze is online now  
Sep 7th, 2006, 09:29 AM
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Maybe that 20" pilot's case you first mentioned would work as the 2nd bag/carry-on?
suze is online now  
Sep 7th, 2006, 11:19 AM
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Thank you for your thoughtfulness; in fact you have all been very helpful. I wish I could take you all to the luggage store with me!

As I go over what I will bring with me, I realize that I am happy to stick with the very basics. I don't even like having too many choices any more. I think the pilot bag adds too much bulk to the whole deal. Now I will find a tote that slips over the 24" and I will pack one of those duffles that folds up into a pouch for the end of the trip when there will be overflow; and a need to distribute the weight as now each bag must weigh 50 lbs or else we pay.

I have never had much luck with the little bottles as they seem to leak but now I have some new "techniques" for filling and sealing and those nalgene bottles seem very good. I wonder if they will allow creamy make-up that's in a compact (concealer) on board?

I know this is off the subject but I think you would like "Venetian
Dreaming" by Paul Weideger. I'm enjoying it, as it gets me in the mood. She doesn't hold back!
Sep 7th, 2006, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,119
Good job on downsizing to 24". I have both 22" and 24" and find them equally easy to move around. They both also expand, which I occasionally have to resort to on the trip home.

For other bags, between me and my husband (he uses a 24" too), we take one Eagle Creek day bag. It's like a small backpack, and can zip out to a backpack, but mostly we use it as a shoulder bag. It's not remotely purse-like, so we can trade off using it. When full, it can carry guidebooks, extra sweater, 2 umbrellas, a water bottle, and anything else we use during a day.

On the plane we also take a medium-sized nylon duffle bag. Its chief role in life, until recently, was to transport wine back to the U.S. On the way over, it's pretty empty, but we use it for extra sweaters for the cold plane, extra change of clothes, etc.

We also have a little nylon backpack that folds into a 4" or so flat square. We bring it with us to carry any extras that we might buy during a sightseeing day. I recently bought another one of these from Bed, Bath and Beyond.
Lexma90 is offline  
Sep 7th, 2006, 11:31 AM
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My 24" packed in a normal manner between 24.0 - 28.5 lbs. (i weigh it at the airport when i have a chance just for laughs).

Sorry, I thought you already owned that case. I don't mean to buy anything more new. Look around your own closet for something like a gym bag or beach bag that might fit the bill. Anything can ride on the top of a roller suitcase will work, doesn't need to be something special for that purpose.

suze is online now  
Nov 10th, 2006, 12:01 PM
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I followed most of the advice given here and was happy that I did. We took trains and it worked out well. I was shocked at the size of some of the luggage I saw; yikes and the amount people had on the train.

If you are taking trains through the country it is definitely impractical to have anything over 24". What I did have is one of those bags in the shape of a small suitcase that folds up into a pouch and my husband brought an eagle creek soft sided bag for the same reason. The issue for us was that we also wanted to shop and it is difficult not to in Italy. These extra bags eventually held our shoes and some of our "finds".

I am very happy that I traveled small and next time I would bring even less. We were able to do laundry mid-way so I could definitely have done with a bit less and then there were those "finds" that had to be worn immediately.

It's a problem when you don't know what the weather will be and we had almost every kind of weather on our trip; from very cold and very wet to quite warm in Rome. We were there in October.

I am amazed what a small amount of everything liquid that I used. I am home about 10 days now and am still using up those little containers into which I transferred some liquid.

We had the right basic clothes and it was plenty. There's not much time to think about what to wear when there so much to see and do. Thanks to all for your help.
Nov 10th, 2006, 12:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,116
Thanks for checking back in with us! So true about shampoo, etc. I've gotten it down to a science of exactly what I need per day. And it is surprisingly little. So although I take literally every product I normally use at home, my "cosmetic kit" is all together is very small.
suze is online now  
Nov 10th, 2006, 01:32 PM
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Congratulations JaneRebecca. Isn't it liberating not schlepping so much "stuff"? I enjoy my trips so much more when I'm not burdened w/ lots of luggage.
janisj is online now  
Sep 8th, 2007, 06:56 AM
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adventureseeker is offline  
Sep 8th, 2007, 10:09 AM
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Enough, enough! What do you carry about during the day in your home town? Western Europe has a superior consumer supply system. Central Europe is quickly achieving the same. Bring money....
GSteed is offline  

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