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Need help: Backpack (size rules) +travel light tips

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Mar 8th, 2007, 10:54 AM
  #1
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Need help: Backpack (size rules) +travel light tips

Flying from US to Italy for two weeks in June. Booked at numerous hostels. Traveling by train and bus.

Trying to travel light and with one bag. Any suggestions about backpacks that will conform to the new carry on size limit?
56x45x25 (22x17.7x9.8in) Any tips for traveling this way?

I've been lurking and enjoying this site for about a year and have learned a lot from the experiences of the "Fororites." As a new member, I hope you can help with your suggestions.

Thanks a lot.







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Mar 8th, 2007, 11:44 AM
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That sounds too large to me. I don't think any European carrier will let you carry on a bag that big. Note that each airline has different rules. But I note on Alitalia's page, for instance, that their limit is 18 x 14 x 10 inches, and also there is a weight limit of 11 lb.<br>
I've found that my small carryon fits the size regulations everywhere but making the weight restriction is almost impossible. At 11 lb., you can forget about anything with a frame or wheels. Even an excellent travel backpack like the ones at Rick Steves are going to be over 11 lb. filled fairly loosely with typical clothing.
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Mar 8th, 2007, 11:56 AM
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LJ
 
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If you are travelling by train and bus once you get there (good plan!), is it essential that your pack be carry-on for the one flight you are taking?

My husband and I did this i.e. back-packed Italy, a couple of years ago, before the stricter guidelines. But our (Mountain Equipment Co-op) packs are beyond the current airline limits for size. Now, we were gone for much longer than 2 weeks, so maybe they are larger than what you have in mind...

As for tips, follow the light/dark rule: pack light clothes in dark colours. We went from hiking paths to fine-dining and the opera in our black/navy silk/poly/cotton blends. Bring kid's balloons to hang your stuff on for faster drying after washing in hostel hand sinks and visit laundries. Get to your hostels early and make friends by making soup. Enjoy!
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Mar 8th, 2007, 12:19 PM
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A bag that size will be fine for carrying around and using on bus and train after arrival, but likely you will need to put it thru as checked luggage on the plane.

Are you willing to check for the flight over, or determined to carry-on only?
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Mar 8th, 2007, 12:26 PM
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The size quoted is the IATA size but many airlines (especially low costs) will use something that's far smaller.

For example both Ryanair & Easyjet quote a size of 55x40x20cm which may not seem a lot different from 56x45x25cm but it reduces the overall volume by almost a third from 63l to 44l

BUT is you don't fill the larger bag to the top you can always squish it into the carry-on frame that you might be asked to use
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Mar 8th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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(Reposting in proper place...)

You're right. Size restrictions have been squeezed.

Flying Aer Lingus. Their limit now 18x14x6 in. and 13 lbs. Hopping Ryanair to Dublin for return. Their limit 21.7x15.7x7.9 in. and 33 lbs. What a fiasco!

Lost bag would be awful, though.
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Mar 8th, 2007, 12:29 PM
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Thank you, LJ.

Great packing advice. The balloons, though. How are they used?
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Mar 8th, 2007, 12:35 PM
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LJ
 
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They are the meat in your clothes-drying sandwich: just drape your wet undies, T's, over the appropriately sized/shaped balloon and tie it to the nearest pole, dresser, shower rod, window. Stuff dries twice as fast and you will give the other hostel guests fits...so worth it!
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Mar 8th, 2007, 12:36 PM
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Oops, did I mention you have to blow the balloon up first? (LOL)
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Mar 8th, 2007, 12:47 PM
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IMO traveling THAT "light" means doing a lot more laundry. Are you prepared?
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Mar 8th, 2007, 12:48 PM
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A delayed bag would be an inconvenience, but I can't pack carry-on only with the newest rules (and I pack pretty darn light).

So a small roller suitcase goes checked, and a small tote (daypack, whatever) goes on the plane with me. It contains the really important things that would be impossible or difficult to replace.
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Mar 8th, 2007, 05:40 PM
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I'm not sure I'm understanding the problem here. We're flying to CDG next week on AirFrance, and the limits for carry-on are one piece 55 x 35 x 25 cm, which is actually a few centimeters larger than the roll-ons we've used to go to Europe for the last 2 trips. These were very adequate for 7-10 day trips. Are you saying I won't be able to use these as carry-ons now? We're also flying AirFrance from Paris to Rome later in the trip. We plan to check our luggage on the way home. Please let me know if we should plan to check our luggage and not carry on. This all has me very confused.
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Mar 8th, 2007, 07:00 PM
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Can anyone clarify, please?
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Mar 8th, 2007, 11:28 PM
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<<< Are you saying I won't be able to use these as carry-ons now? >>>

No what we are saying is that you go to the airline website and see what their limits are. The IATA size is the MAXIMUM but airlines don't have to use the maximum
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Mar 9th, 2007, 12:00 AM
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From the Air France page, the limits for carryon are still as you say: 55 x 35 x 25 cm, maximum 12 kg. You may transport one piece like that, and a second piece -- handbag, laptop, etc. This is for "Tempo" (economy) class. That's a pretty liberal allowance these days.

The RyanAir limit is much lighter than what you are saying, travlover. That's the CHECKED limit (15 kg = 33 lb, over which you will pay a fortune). The CARRYON limit is only 10 kg = 22 lb. Also 55 x 40 x 20 cm.

The Alitalia limit I mentioned earlier was not a typo; their weight limit really is 5kg (11 lb).
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Mar 9th, 2007, 04:08 AM
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I know you wanted one bag, but consider two small ones, e.g. a small wheeled bag, and a daypack that you can 'stack' on the wheeled bag so as to give your back a break - uh, no pun intended.

At worst, you would only have to check one of the bags. (Bus drivers might also insist that you stow a large backpack in the cargo hold. It is also generally easier to find train overhead rack space for smaller bags.) Also, remember that there are other restrictions now, such as limits on how much gel and liquid you can carry aboard with you (see baa.co.uk for the best advice on this.) And that friend of backpackers (and even non-backpackers), the Swiss army knife, must also be checked, along with anything else the security staff decide to make an issue about. So if you 'plan' on having at least some stuff checked, you won't be hit with a nasty surprise come check-in time. Bon voyage.
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Mar 9th, 2007, 04:12 AM
  #17
 
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By the summer the "one bag only" rule will apply at all EU airports therefore unless the poster wants to carry a third lightweight bag in which they can put the other 2 bags they will have to check luggage.

Frankly I can't see how a well designed & fitted 60l backpack would be any worse than dragging a rollerbag around most European towns & onto public transport
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Mar 9th, 2007, 07:56 AM
  #18
LJ
 
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Yes, I am 100% with AlanRow...I would take a well-balanced backpack over the rolling wheels anyday for Italy travel. The strain on one arm of dragging even the best wheels over cobblestones and up and down curbs and on and off trains, compared with the hands-free approach, I just don't get it...and I am half of a mid-fifties couple.
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Mar 9th, 2007, 08:15 AM
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Points taken, but it is possible to choose luggage items that offer a choice as to how they are carried. For example, wheeled backpacks; bags, with or without wheels, that have both handles and shoulder straps, etc. etc. As for the wheels, they can be either built-in or in the form of a portable luggage cart - advantage of the latter is that you can always choose to leave it behind in exchange for lighter weight.

Until one has actually done a trip, it's hard to know what would best suit one, so I still think keeping one's options open is a good idea.
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Mar 9th, 2007, 09:48 AM
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I spent 12 days in the Netherlands and Italy with a small carry-on Samsonite Back-pack (picked up at Walmart for $20.00). My 68 year old mother had the same bag, my 18 year niece the same. We travelled everywhere by public transportation, trains, buses, metro. The backpack was great. Easy to put away on busy trains, get down aisles and great to roll down cobblestone streets to your hostel or hotel. We packed light. 3 pairs of jeansor capris, 5-6 shirts, light jacket and a poncho for rain. We used the old "old underwear trick" and tossed them if we wanted to or rinsed out our cloth in the sink w/woolight to freshen them up. We included a nice comfortable pair of shoes for evenings. I wore a short black skirt most evenings. My mother and niece wore smart dark capris with low heeled sandals for a more elegent look. We all took 2 evening shirts/light sweaters. We had plenty of room for souvenirs and even carried a 1st aid kit. We loved the easy packing, decision making and time saved by traveling light and using the wonderful train system in Amsterdam and throughout Italy.
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