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Luggage/Trains?? Please don't shoot me down in flames!

Luggage/Trains?? Please don't shoot me down in flames!

Apr 6th, 2005, 05:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 25
Luggage/Trains?? Please don't shoot me down in flames!

Hi all,
I have read all the threads re bag size and trains and I am still undecided. I already own a wheelie case measuring 25 x 17 x 9 inches. As this is not too much bigger than the 22inch that everyone seems to recommend, do you think it will suffice for trains if I pack it light. If I have to go smaller I will have to go and buy another case, so if I don't have to pay for another one all the better. Also the 22incher that is recommended, does this measurement include the wheels and handle?? (Also what is the one that I see recommended that "expands from 22" to 24", how can you expand a case lengthways??)Remember I am not using this for a carry on but just wondering if I really need to purchase a slightly smaller one because I am travelling by train???? All opinions gratefully received.
Thanks all in advance.
NZGirl is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 05:53 PM
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As long as you can lift it, possibly overhead, you should be OK. I have taken bigger on trains.
Gavin is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 05:54 PM
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Of course, the less/smaller/lighter luggage you take, the easier it is to handle.

That said, except on very short trips, Mrs. Fly and I generally travel with one 26" and one 27" suitcase. We've never had any trouble on European or Asian trains.

It would also depend on whether or not you have any physical ailments that would make it difficult for you to lift your suitcase, and how frequently you will be changing locations on your trip.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 05:55 PM
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OK, I'll take the flames for you NZgirl

I have successfully taken trains with 28" luggage plus a 20" roll-on. True, I cannot swing it over my head onto the overhead rack, but I have never had a problem getting help to put it on the storage shelves between the cars. Occasionaly, when traveling on weekends (e.g. Paris to Avignon), the luggage areas have been fairly full, but I managed. Also, when traveling in France and Spain, I have never once had to lift a case onto the train: There was always a gentleman willing to help and there are often station guards available.

In other words, I can't see any problem with using a 25" and have no idea how I could travel for more than 2 days with a 22" - I SO respect people who are so organized that they can.

regards Ger
OReilly is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 06:00 PM
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While I will not pretend that getting a 25" or 26" suitcase (and no, I do not know of any that expand lengthwise) up the train stairs is easy, I think you should make your decision depend on the length of your trip.

Many of the people who -- rightly, in their case -- suggest the 22" are travelling for a few days or at most a week. I tend to go for at least three weeks, and if there is a way to pack for that amount of time in a 22" suitcase, I have not yet discovered it.

If "NZGirl" stands for "New Zealand Girl," my guess is that you will be travelling for a longer period.

My advice in that case would be to take the 25" suitcase and wrestle it up the stairs. You can also always hope that a gallant man will help...
Eloise is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 06:06 PM
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I'm confused. Do women want equality, or "gallant men" to help them?
Robespierre is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 06:10 PM
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I was taking one that size for years and it is fine so long as it's relatively light. Do carry a backpack with a change of clothes because you may have to check your luggage.
Surfergirl is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 06:10 PM
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Many trains have luggage shelves at the end of each car. If you get on board as soon as the track is announced you should be able to put your heavier luggage there. We take a combination cable lock to hook to the pole at the end of the shelf. We usually travel with 26" suitcases and have been able to manage fine.
Underhill is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 06:15 PM
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Women want equality AND gallant men
ahotpoet is online now  
Apr 6th, 2005, 06:25 PM
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I'll never forget the young couple from the South that I saw struggling to board an Italian train. They had what looked like 2 30" suitcases w/o wheels, 2 of the largest duffle bags I've ever seen (like body bags!), one small suitcase and two large backpacks. I've never seen more stressed-out, unhappy, sweaty people in my life.

My opinion remains the same. 21" roller + small overnight with the necessities. I already have equality, and I've already had gallant men. Just give me my 21" roller for a 3 week trip and I'm happy!

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is online now  
Apr 6th, 2005, 07:17 PM
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I don't think luggage makers have exact standards as to the sizes they mark on them -- I've noticed when I wanted a 25 inch one that the actual important space varied by 1-2 inches among different manufacturers. I think some did include the wheels and some did not. Same for any one, probably.

The ones that expand expand outward, not up. They are always fuller when you completely pack the outside pockets, of course (and even then, I have had a 21-22 inch refused as a carryon by certain airlines like Air Canada). But the expandable ones have a zipper that goes all the way around where they close and it will give you another 2 inches or so (although it's just fabric).

I take a 25 inch one when I am going for longer periods, or even shorter ones if it's a trip where I'm just going from an airport to my hotel and then not ever changing hotels on that trip. I have taken one on a train trip where I took about three trains, and didn't have any major problems with it and I handled it myself. I didn't put it in an overhead bin, though, but never had to.

If you are used to the 25 inch one, you should have a good idea what it's like to handle on a trip when packed. If it doesn't bother you, I wouldn't change plans because of a train unless you really planned to be taking the bag on and off trains a lot.
Christina is online now  
Apr 6th, 2005, 07:27 PM
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You will do best if your larger bag is not much more than 10% larger than your smaller bag. So, I recommend a 22 inch rollaboard and a small-medium nylon duffel; neither of these is a problem to handle if they contain no more than 20-25 pounds of "stuff". Your 25 x 17 sounds like it is or will be your only bag (or virtually your only bag).

For $20, you can buy the "luggage" I recommend at K-mart or Walmart. You want my advice? I recommend a smaller "large" bag, and a larger "small" bag (unless you pack so light that you just hardly need a second smaller carry-on bag).

But if you can pass the "over-your-head" test with your 25 incher (I recommend climbing a flight of stairs with your bag packed, over your head), then, perhaps it is fair to say that it is not too big for you.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 07:36 PM
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I think Rex's advice is so practical. It's much better to balance the load between bags. For years I have traveled with a 22" bag and a tote. Of course, I am older and don't have a lot of strength. I do find many "gallant" men pop up when the suitcase is not hernia-inducing.
LVSue is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 08:20 PM
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Yes I am coming from New Zealand and I will be away for 5 weeks. I forgot to say that I am also bringing a 17x13" backpack with wheels for my carry on with change of clothes etc in it and I will be WHEELING IT! The backpack has a small zip off daypack which will be my "purse". The train trips I am doing are Milan to Venice, Venice to Rome and London to Tuscany/return on Eurostar/TGV.
NZGirl is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 08:44 PM
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The italian eurostar trains have surprisingly narrow aisles, at least in 2nd class. It is a classic scene for someone to be having great difficutly dragging what they thought was a narrow wheelie case down the aisle, esp when train is busy. Does anyone know the aisle width (different than nonItalian eurostar I think)?
viking is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 12:44 AM
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The aisles on most trains are wide enough for an ordinary, and some more than "ordinary" people to walk down/through.

There are no restrictions on bag sizes on trains for the most part; only restrictions on what people are able to handle/lift.

What "everyone recommends" and what they actually take when nobody on this board is looking are too entirely different things.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 03:25 AM
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You didn't say which trains you'll be catching. Long distance trains are equipped for some luggage but seem to assume not everyone has much luggage. Sure people manage - they have to - but it's not enjoyable and those struggling with lots of luggage are a nuisance to themselves and others. And I'd hate to use tube, Metro, RER etc with all that luggage

Maybe I'm too meek and too independent but I prefer to manage my own stuff -quickly and easily. I've found just getting up into the trains hassle enough when you have more than one piece and there aren't that many helpful men And it is difficult to get down the aisles with luggage without giving your 'pardon' and 'mi dispiace'skills a sturdy workout. Multidirectional wheels would be the go. Do they make those? I've only seen the large walkalong suitcases that the Japanese tour groups use.

I certainly couldn't lift a 24" case up over my head And the bigger the case the more you will take/buy. I did the two pieces thing with one 21" rolling case and a large backpack with removable daypack which I wore at the front. Next time Ill try with a smaller backpack but I definitely recommend sharing the weight. I checked both pieces and had the daypack as my carryon. Remember, these Americans don't have to contend with stopovers and refuelling stops where you'll be lugging your carryon stuff with you for maybe hours. And when you're on the plane for 24+hours you want all the legroom you can have -
eigasuki is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 05:52 AM
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Aaah Rex...jeez. That old humbug?
How about some men are just taller and have more upper body strength?
I'd help an older person male or female.
It is just good manners.
Equality and good manners never did (in my opinion equate...and I'm of that age to have burned a bra or two...)
SuzieC is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 06:34 AM
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I agree with Suzie C about the "taller" thing. I am a female, 6 feet tall, and I can't tell you how many times I have helped other women get their bags up in overhead compartments.

But, just a word to other women...I DO NOT HAVE UPPER BODY STRENGTH! Tall does not necessarily equal strong. And some people's bags are just too heavy to go in overhead compartments (at least when lifted by me). I was almost knocked out cold once when someone's bag fell on my head (I was in an aisle seat).

I like Rex's rules about the smaller big bag and the bigger small bag. Never thought about it like that before, and it is good advice.

And as someone who has traveled with both an extraordinary amount of luggage and very little luggage, I can definitely tell you that there is far more satisfaction in having less luggage to drag around than in having many different outfits for a trip.
hunnym is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 06:53 AM
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Thanks for the nice words of endorsement, LVS and hunny...

I certainly don't want to come across as "dictatorial" about my advice. It is just that: advice. My suggestions, trying to help you have the least possible "struggles" and a good feeling about having made wise decisions.

I think this says it better than i could:

"I can definitely tell you that there is far more satisfaction in having less luggage to drag around than in having many different outfits for a trip."

rex is offline  

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