Rental car with luggage

Old Apr 19th, 2008, 06:50 PM
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Rental car with luggage

Flying into Pisa and picking up a rental. First time to Italy. Wanted to stop at a few sites on our vacation between hotels. The Leaning Tower on the way to Florence or Assisi on the way to Rome for example. Most luggage would fit in the trunk. Have heard about backpack storage at some locations and luggage hold at train stations. Is there a simular service at Pisa airport? How safe would the laptop be? Any suggestions for securing excess or all the luggage on these stops?
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Old Apr 19th, 2008, 07:29 PM
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You do not want anything in view inside your car - including maps.

But instead of trying to run around finding places to stash stuff - Pack light and make sure you rent a car w/ enough space in the trunk for everything you take.
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Old Apr 19th, 2008, 07:48 PM
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I would seriously be considering how much luggage you are taking if it is going to be more than you can fit into the boot of the car. I say this assuming that you are a couple travelling - a lot easier said then done if there are 4 of you, although we have done it with 5 in the car. Give careful consideration to the bags you are takings to give yourself a fair bit of flexibility as to how they can be packed into the boot to maximise space.

Regardless, if you have a lot of luggage a couple of things that immediately come to mind are - you would be making more than one trip from car to room in order to get all your luggage up and down. This is probably only a minor inconvience but for the second, if you need to find left luggage places/lockers to store excess luggage out of sight you are setting yourself up for the worst of both worlds in terms of train vs car travel. You will need to drive right into the middle of town (always stressful) in order to get to the train station to find the lockers, having to find parking within a reasonable distance so you are not carting the excess luggage too far and then having to locate the lockers. If all your luggage fits in the boot, then you can park a bit further away. It is not uncommon (depending on where you are actually going - haven't been to Italy for years) for there to be parking areas a bit further out for day trippers, thus avoiding the congestion of the city centre.

I would expect that any tourist sites that have left luggage facilities would have there lockers very, very close to the site itself, eg where you pay, because packpackers etc have caught a bus right up to the attraction. Car parks are often a bit further out because there simply isn't room in these old towns to build one any closer.

However, it is not all doom and gloom. We have hired a car many, many times in Europe and have never had a problem with someone trying to break in. This includes those destinations you get warned about such as Spain and Eastern Europe. We do ensure that everything is locked in the boot. Place it in the boot when you leave your accommodation so you are not seen to be transferring valuables when you park. On our trip through Eastern Europe last year we took a laptop for the first time and didn't have to worry about its security. One tip I did read about (although we didn't bother ourselves) is to take a lockable bicycle chain or two so you can secure the bags together and/or to a stanchion or the like in the boot. So, even if someone breaks into the boot they may decide it is all too hard and move on to another car.

I don't know how much driving you have done in Europe but, as a general rule, driving within cities is very stressful. If most of your destinations are cities consider travellling by train. However, if like us, your destinations are mainly small towns and the countryside a car can provide you with wonderful flexibility. No hassles about timetables, missed connections, etc. All you need to do is get your bags from the car to the room, instead of carting it from pillar to post all the time.
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Old Apr 20th, 2008, 09:11 AM
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Shandy and Janisj have given you good advice. One thing I have found during travels is that soft sided luggage is easier to cram into the trunk. It seems to work its way around each other rather than leaving "airholes" as hard sided luggage does. Hope I have not confused you with this non-tech explanation.
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Old Apr 20th, 2008, 09:19 AM
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Keep in mind that many European cars these days do not HAVE trunks; rather, the models are covered hatchbacks. Those are not as secure as a real, lockable trunk.
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Old Apr 20th, 2008, 03:27 PM
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Thanks janisj and irishface for your suggestions and advice. The trunk size is definitely a question to consider. Narrow streets, fuel cost, and reported Italian drivers made smaller vehicle the initial choice. Larger = safer, sounds like a better selection but there are only two of us on this trip. We pack light(carry-ons and laptop) but as suspected (thanks underhill) the smaller cars are all hatchbacks with micro-trunks. Thank you shandy for the in-depth thoughful response. You brought up some good points to consider. Was going to stay out in the countryside and train into the major cities for the day. Love the independence and prefer the go when and where we want. Always like to take in attractions on the way when possible. Saves having to double back later and fits with my favorite quote when I am traveling:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did."
Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain)
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