Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

What size bag should I use for a trip to Europe?

What size bag should I use for a trip to Europe?

Old Jan 7th, 2017, 09:08 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What size bag should I use for a trip to Europe?

Hi, so I'm 19 years old and this summer I'll be flying to Europe on a tour with EF College Break, and my specific trip is 7 weeks long, starting from Greece and essentially making myself west all the way to Ireland through England and Scotland. I was wondering, what size bag should I use? There'll be lots of older hotels and bus rides between cities so I've been looking and failing to find the perfect suitcase. I plan on bringing 7 days worth of clothing for the different terrain I'll be facing, as well as the outfit I'll be wearing on the plane. Space is relatively important, as I have to buy gifts ATLEAST for my parents, bro and sis, and grandma, as they all helped me pay for the trip. If you were going on this trip, what size would you bring?
cbozarth is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2017, 09:17 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 68,366
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
No matter the length of trip I use the same 21 inch rolling suitcase. Plenty of room for the (typically) 5 or 6 days worth of clothing I take. (Actually - sometimes I use and 18" or 19" but the 21 incher is my main go-to bag)

Then for the return flight -- IF I've bought a lot I merely expand the suitcase. When it is un-expanded it is carry on sized. When expanded, it has to be checked but for the trip home I don't care if it gets delayed a day or two.

AND -- it is easy to mail things home if you don't want to check the bag.
janisj is online now  
Old Jan 7th, 2017, 09:32 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 7,960
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I keep to 22 inch case for myself to haul and my hubby sometimes brings one thats 24 inches .

There are stairs everywhere , you will be lifting it alot , so what i do is wait to buy bigger sounvenirs on last stop so i dont have to haul them around for weeks , i bring a cheap flimsy bag i pack to use as a carry on for way home and put souvemirs in it . I also buy SMALL souveniers ( or should say i used to, i dont buy souveneirs anymore ) stuff like scarves , shot glasses , magnets etc.
justineparis is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2017, 09:46 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 22,778
Likes: 0
Received 6 Likes on 1 Post
Male or female?
kerouac is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2017, 10:04 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 106
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What tops your list for the perfect suitcase? In general I use a 22inch spinner, but have you considered a backpack?

My first trip to Europe at age 22 for 10 weeks (solo, not a tour) was with an REI travel backpack (one where the straps tucked into the bag and looked less like a hiking backpack) and a really cheap white duffel-like bag (but looked nicer than a gym bag) that I got at Kmart of all places. The duffel was my carryon and was almost empty on my way there but provided extra space to be able to bring gifts home at the end of the summer. This was exceptionally helpful! And the pack was flexible so it could be underpacked or overstuffed at the end. https://www.rei.com/c/travel-packs?r...l-packs&page=1

If you go this route, I recommend looking into packing cubes like Eagle Creek's (just bought some more for myself today!) or ebags' (have heard people like these because they're bigger as well as less expensive) so things don't slump down to the bottom and get crazy.

A few years ago I was looking for a relatively inexpensive and non-hiking backpack and ended up with the Rick Steves Convertible Carry-on pack (also because, bonus, it was on sale so it was even cheaper than the list price). It's served me well on two European trips and I find it really comfortable to wear. https://store.ricksteves.com/shop/p/carry-on-backpack

Another one I looked into was the ebags Professional Weekender http://www.ebags.com/product/ebags/t...ekender/272275. I loved the idea of having great organization to the space but it fit really poorly on me and I returned it but man did I hate returning it.

Also, I agree with justine - look for small souvenirs or ones that are easy to pack like textiles (my dad likes the Italian tablecloths I've found - nothing fancy, just normal ones people buy at a department store), scarves, etc. Or save the more fragile purchases for later in the trip so you don't have to agonize.
ducinaltum is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2017, 10:20 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the advice! Going to definitely take it into account!
cbozarth is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2017, 10:27 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,643
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would take a rolling suitcase of about 45litre capacity and take one of those small fold-into-their-own-pocket backpacks which you can use both for hikes and also for excess stuff that you buy along the way. Be sure to check the weight of the bag empty as weight is just as important as size. I have also used a 60litre backpack where the straps folded away to look like a soft sided bag and that was pretty successful too. Whatever you use, you have to be able to lift it easily and carry it for short distances. Every time I travel, I swear I'm going to take less next time (despite already travelling lighter than most). Luggage is a necessary evil and anything you can do to minimise it or make it easier will make your holiday more enjoyable.

I always pack some liquid detergent (like you use for hand washing woollens) and pegs with hooks that I can sling over the shower screen.

The perfect gifts/souvenirs are small, light and unbreakable, for example, earrings, bracelet, scarf, soap, apron, tshirt.
dreamon is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2017, 10:50 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,700
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
When you organize the clothing you intend to take, don't think in terms of x number of days. Assemble pieces that can be mixed, matched and layered. Stick to a simple color range, like tan/white/black or white/gray/navy for example, think utility and comfort over fashion, and try to take things you could hand wash that would dry overnight
Jean is online now  
Old Jan 7th, 2017, 11:06 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 1,817
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would vote for a rolling suitcase that's cabin sized, and a sturdy bag that you can fold up and use to carry home your souvenirs.

Backpacks can be heavy, and if you are using mass transportation, will inconvenience other passengers. Many backpacks are not allowed in museums or other attractions.

I would not consider wearing any dark colors in the Summer, or bringing any jeans. Most people wear white or bright colors during the Summer months.
fuzzbucket is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2017, 02:50 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,842
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"think utility and comfort over fashion" great quote from above.
Sort what you are bringing, then find the smallest soft bag roller duffel backpack (whichever suits you) that you can get it into. Remember that regional Airlines have cabin baggage restrictions for weight and size.. I don't recommend "soft" baggage being thrown into the hold on aircraft.
Tony2phones is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2017, 02:55 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 20,714
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Great stuff above
18 to 21 inch with two wheels that fits in an overhead locker
small soft back pack that folds very small
money belt

Clothing: as a general rule, and the sooner you learn this as an adult the better, all your clothes should come from a limited pallet based on your skin tone and hair colour, then just about everything goes with everything else.

The clothes you need for Scotland/Ireland and those for Greece are very different, so you will swim gear and flip flops (also useful in the shower) and you will near a light waterproof top (at least)
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Jan 8th, 2017, 03:05 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 4,363
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I took a large bag on my first trip to Europe....mistake. I now always use a 21 inch rolling bag. You can include some sort of collapsible tote or duffle to use on your return to make room for gifts, etc...

Pinterest has tons of boards on packing efficiently and also wardrobe ideas for long trips to Europe. The pieces you take should be versatile and take items that mix and match. Layers will be important. I always take a few large scarves/wraps that can be used on chilly airplanes and for cooler evenings or climates.

My experience is that I almost never need everything I take. Edit your choices and make sure you take functional shoes for walking, climbing steps, etc....

Make sure you can carry your own luggage. Nothing worse than struggling with bags in train stations, etc...and wishing you hadn't brought so much stuff!!
denisea is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2017, 07:27 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 5,209
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've found its not the size, it's the weight. I don't have the 21/22 inch, I've go the next size up, which I've needed for winter travel. But it really needs to be light enough for you to carry up stairs easily. The larger size runs the risk of giving you too much room. Ideally if I return I would do a backpack, because that would be easiest to sling in the baggage area above the seats on trains (I have an injured arm at the moment, so the point is moot, can't reach up.) I shipped some stuff home to make room for shopping- bag was just getting too heavy, and most places- train entrance and exits- involve stairs and a gap- where you need to be quick. So heavy bag=liability- but it's the weight that's the problem NOT the size.

Someone mentioned that backpacks aren't allowed in museums, but in many that I've been in, they don't allow you to check suitcases because of increased security. So it doesn't matter which you've got, you'll be storing at the train station of your hostel instead.

Girl? Boy? If girl, I'd bring dresses and skirts and light blouses, plus one pair of shorts. leggings for colder weather. Some kind of wrap. Protection from sun+modesty. Closed toed shoes. Extra socks and underwear. I wear jeans all the time at home, but I have not enjoyed them on this trip because they take too much space in the luggage and get dirty the fastest.
marvelousmouse is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2017, 07:30 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 15,653
Received 22 Likes on 4 Posts
When my daughter was your age she used an Eagle Creek back pack for over three months of travel in Europe. If you're using trains beware of stairs in the stations do Back pack works best.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2017, 07:31 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 15,653
Received 22 Likes on 4 Posts
Also, look T reviews for EF tours before traveling with them.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2017, 08:40 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 20,714
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Religious buildings, you need to cover up junk, depends on where you are but basically no knees, no hat on head if a boy, no low decoltage boy or girl, shoulders covered. If a girl a scarf can be an easy solution.
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Jan 8th, 2017, 10:25 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 983
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
>>>>>>>I would not consider wearing any dark colors in the Summer, or bringing any jeans. Most people wear white or bright colors during the Summer months.

Here's a crowd shot from the London Olympics in August that should help with the fashion color choices:

http://www.vosizneias.com/wp-content...-8-725x483.jpg

And I bet half of them are wearing jeans. Here's Venice in summer - - hope this helps too:

http://l7.alamy.com/zooms/ec8fe67e20...aly-f77161.jpg
dfourh is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2017, 10:52 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,744
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have an Eagle Creek 21" roller that converts to a backpack if needed. Definitely not the most comfortable backpack, but good for a short and necessary distance. I found it extremely handy on the Amalfi Coast where my hotel was many steps down from the coast road and a couple of train stations with many stairs.

I've had it for years and use it more than my larger suitcases. Once Delta managed to break off a leg on the outbound flight, leaving me with a suitecase that wouldn't stand up for a 3 week trip. Eagle Creek has a lifetime warranty and repaired it for free once I got home and shipped it to them.
Dayle is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2017, 11:41 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 406
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We take a lot of trains when we are in Europe so our top priority when packing is will we be able to easily board without struggling with luggage and then finding a place to store it on the train so I take a 20 inch roller with a small carry bag that holds my purse and my husband takes a 21 inch roller with a small folded duffel bag in it for purchases and souvenirs. Would even like to go smaller perhaps an 18 inch roller for upcoming trip to France where we will be taking a few trains.
Bring soap to wash clothes and wear same clothes No one notices what you are wearing
cornelius01 is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2017, 01:28 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 4,363
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For what it's worth, I would also encourage a small purse that you can carry cross body style, so you can keep it close to you and in front of you to avoid being pickpocketed. I have a nylon one with 3 zippered compartments that will lie flat and still gives room for a phone, money, passport, etc....I have had it for years and it's been perfect for travel. You can use safety pins through the small hole in the pull to make it a little harder for a pickpocket to unzip and get their hand in.

Enjoy your trip. It sounds wonderful.
denisea is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:31 AM.