What size luggage?

May 18th, 2011, 05:26 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2011
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What size luggage?

My friend and I will be spending 2 weeks in Europe next month. We WERE planning on taking a carry on size suitcase for our belongings. We wanted to do carry on size 1) so that we would not be charged for luggage on plane ride to/from home 2) easier to get around with....BUT we are realizing we don't think we can fit everything in that small size suitcase. We found out our airline does not charge for our bags, so why not take the bigger size suitcase, right? We have a direct flight so there is no reason our luggage would be lost. We are taking TRAINS only when we are in Europe. Does anyone see why we should not take a bigger suitcase? PS- There are a couple of days that we will have to pay to store our luggage at the train station while we sightsee (one day in Venice, one day in Munich). If we take the larger luggage, where does this go on the train ride since it won't fit overhead? Is it true that we should lock our bags together with a cable, etc?
isinginmyjeep is offline  
May 18th, 2011, 05:42 PM
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How large is your larger luggage? Anything bigger than 24 inch will become tedious to handle on trains. Rather than taking a bigger suitcase, I'd take a bigger second/personal item. It is easier to lift and store two smaller bags than one big bag.

There is storage space at the end of Italian train carriages for larger bags.
ellenem is offline  
May 18th, 2011, 05:56 PM
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If you choose a larger bag remember elevators/escalators are few and far between in Europe. You will also have to lift the luggage up onto the train and probably up stairs places you stay. I also liked the security of having my bag right above me on the train rides and not at the entrance of the train.

If you plan to do laundry at least once on your trip you should be able to fit everything in a carryon especially with summer clothes.
lindy27 is offline  
May 18th, 2011, 06:05 PM
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You can fit everything you NEED, not want, in one carry on suitcase. I used to be the queen of 'I better bring it just in case'. No more. It is so freeing to bring a smaller suitcase. You will have to carry your suitcase at times and it will get heavy and cumbersome, especially lifting it up onto the train storage.

I just practice packed for our six week trip, including both summer and winter wear, and I made over 30 different outfits with the clothes I could fit in my carry on suitcase. I plan to take out even more. If you stick to one color scheme you can definitely do it.
michele_d is offline  
May 18th, 2011, 06:05 PM
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I agree with ellenem, but I'd say even a fully-loaded 24-inch can be too unwieldy for train travel. On most trains you have to lift the bag 3-4 steep stairs from the platform to the seating level, and you would leave the 24-inch bag in the luggage racks at the end of the car. The question of whether you should cablelock your luggage in these racks has been debated here many times. Here's the most recent discussion:


I've taken 3-week trips using a carryon 22-inch rolling bag plus a second bag small enough to fit under the seat in front of me on the plane. This choice has nothing to do with airline baggage fees or no fees but all about being able to easily handle my luggage on trains, ferries, cobblestone streets, Venetian bridges, etc.
Jean is offline  
May 18th, 2011, 06:15 PM
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You put 6 wks of clothes in a carry on? How in the world????
isinginmyjeep is offline  
May 18th, 2011, 06:15 PM
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Hi! I was a strong supporter of carry-on size, but now I favor a bag that's a bit bigger, though not unmanageable, that I check in. It holds more but it's still small enough that I can haul it up stairs or load it on a train without killing myself. Then I pack a collapsable cloth carry-on bag, so at the end of the trip when I've accumulated stuff I have the option of putting overflow in it and carrying it onboard -- without incurring costs for a second checked bag. Worked fine until the wheel on my new bag broke....
abbydog is offline  
May 18th, 2011, 06:34 PM
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some of us wash clothes more often than 6 weeks...that's how we pack light
mztery is offline  
May 18th, 2011, 06:52 PM
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No matter how long we go for, we pack for about 8 days max. We do laundry along the way. I pack with one color scheme.

For me I bring beige, tan and brown pants, 1 jeans and 1 capri. 4 t-shirts, 1 lite 3/4 sleeve sweater, 1 gauze button up shirt and one long sleeve sweater, 2 long sleeve tops and silk long underwear for Switzerland. Pjs, 5 socks and 5 undies. I wash these out in the hotel sink.

I wear my tennies and carry my jacket on plane and bring another pair of slip on shoes and sandals in carryon. I pack toiletries into a carrier that lies flat on top of suitcase. I also bring a small folding hairdryer from Paris and a small quart baggie with laundry soap, clothesline and clothespins.

It's all about one color scheme and bringing colors to mix and match. Everything MUST go with at least two other items or it stays home. If you practice you will be able to do it.

I start by listing my clothes on a piece of paper and then write down all the combos I can make from those clothes. You will probably be very surprised, as I was, just how many combos you can make if you stick to the one color scheme plan.

My 'purse' is actually an ice chest type bag that I slip my purse and mini netbook into. We do mostly all picnics and rent apts so I need an ice chest type container and this works great. It looks just like a large purse.

We went for 3 months last year and used a 24" suitcase and small carryon. I'm looking forward to packing less each time.
michele_d is offline  
May 18th, 2011, 07:27 PM
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We traveled by train and bus in Italy and were very glad to have the 22-inch wheeled bag along with a daypack. So much easier to negotiate stairs, get on/off trains, load/unload. Plus, it's easier to decide what to wear when you have fewer clothing items with you. Just add a collapsible duffel to pull out for the trip home, if you're worried about accumulating too much on the trip. (Baggalini makes one as does Rick Steves). Most likely, at the end of the trip you'll discover you took items you never or rarely wore.
elnap29 is offline  
May 18th, 2011, 07:49 PM
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The most important question is ">>how big is big?<<"

I personally use nothing larger than a 21 inch rollaboard (and often only a 19 inch). But if your larger bag is say 24 inches -- then sure that would be OK. I would not go any larger.

"You put 6 wks of clothes in a carry on? How in the world????"

Well the easy answer is -- you don't. Not 6 weeks worth anyway. Even for a 2 month trip I only take between 5 and 6 days "worth" of clothing. If everything (or most everything) is mix/match/layerable you can very easily get 25-30 unique outfits out of a 21 in suitcase. Five "bottoms" (skirts/jeans/slacks) including what you wear on the flight, and then lots of tops/sweaters/t-shirts/blouses, plus scarves/accessories/shoes (usually 3 pair but sometimes only 2)

easy peasy (and lots of people take even less)
janisj is offline  
May 18th, 2011, 08:11 PM
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Hi isinginmyjeep,

I travel around Europe by train, I am a 56 year-old woman (no spring chicken), and I have no trouble using a 24-inch suitcase.

But I would NOT go any larger.

I've also found that, if you have a second bag, it's a lot easier to handle if that's a backpack-type. Trying to haul two bags onto a train can be tiresome.

Have fun!

swandav2000 is online now  
May 18th, 2011, 08:52 PM
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I mentioned 24 inch hoping that was the size of the OP's bigger bag. My suitcase is 22 inch and I'd never go bigger. On my recent trip to Italy I ran into a group of first-timers on train struggling to move their 28-inch rolling bags down the aisle while wearing fully-loaded daypacks. They admitted they had made a huge mistake, packing for "all possibilities" for their two-week trip. These bags only fit in the luggage area at the end of the car, and all four would not fit together.
ellenem is offline  
May 18th, 2011, 10:28 PM
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I finally learned how to pack light and I feel so liberated! I travel for a month once or twice a year using a 20" Heys spinner and a tote bag. Although the 20" is carryon size, I check it because of the numerous liquids/creams I must take. I pack 3 bottoms, 8 tops (mostly synthetic knits), a cardigan, one lightweight blazer type jacket, a rain jacket, one gown, one robe, 1 pr shoes, 1 bra and 2 pr undies. Everything is hand washable, drip-dryable and no-iron. The rest of the space is devoted to cosmetics, hair products/tools, accessories, etc. In cooler weather, I carry a leather jacket on the plane. My under-the-seat tote carries a sleep sack, one pr shoes, meds/vitamins, headphones and my one (crazy) splurge -- my very small electric coffee maker. (When luggage inspectors find this, it becomes an amusing/annoying experience as they very carefully take it apart searching for ?explosives? ?bombs?) The outfit I wear on the plane is usually packed away until the return trip and is not part of the day-to-day mix. Just my preference. I also wear on the plane a Scottevest which has numerous pockets to carry whatever you would normally carry in a purse, so that I have only two pieces to keep track of and to carry.
crckwc1 is offline  
May 19th, 2011, 04:47 AM
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I don't want to make you paranoid about lost luggage, but I need to say that the only two times my luggage strayed was on direct flights. Fortunately, I had spare stuff in my carry on. Good luck!
irishface is offline  
May 19th, 2011, 04:47 AM
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I don't want to make you paranoid about lost luggage, but I need to say that the only two times my luggage strayed was on direct flights. Fortunately, I had spare stuff in my carry on. Good luck!
irishface is offline  
May 19th, 2011, 04:56 AM
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Just curious: those of you who talk about packing 6 weeks of clothes. Do you really have that many clothes? I couldn't go more than maybe 3 weeks without doing laundry at home. Even then I'm scraping bottom and wearing the weird things I should have never bought!
ssachida is offline  
May 19th, 2011, 05:21 AM
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When saying 6 weeks of clothes that means enough clothes for a trip that long doing laundry. The point is your don't need two different outfits a day. I do the black and gray mix with items that can be washed out in a sink but have rented an apartment for part of my next trip and will do laundry then. Two pairs of shoes, I am wearing my heavier waterproof hiking boots on the plane and walking shoes inside the suitcase with a cheap pair of flip flops for the one hostel stay. I bought the solid tins of shampoo and conditioner for my next trip, can't way to try them. I am not going over a 20 inch suitcase as we will be doing public transportation. I thought about going wheel less with a light weight lucas bag but we have several blocks to walk from train and bus stations on this trip and have three discs that are messed up so think I need the wheelie luggage. I so want a small chrome messenger waterproof bag and that will be it. I think being on trains and buses it is smarter to have smallest cases you can. Layer, mix and match, bring a one dollar poncho instead of a bulky raincoat. I bought a thin windbreaker rain parka from Lands end that has inside pockets for the passport and tons of outside pockets so will wear on board the plane. You can do less!
flpab is offline  
May 19th, 2011, 05:27 AM
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ssachida: I don't think anyone is talking about "packing 6 weeks of clothes". They're talking about one week's worth of clothes, laundered and coordinated to last for six weeks.

I imagine it would be quite easy to make 30 different combinations using the wardrobes mentioned above.
pavot is offline  
May 19th, 2011, 05:41 AM
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isinginmyjeep - It may help you to pack light by remembering that you will be constantly moving thus the only one who will know you are wearing the same clothes is you. Be sure to pack a couple scarfs, they can easily change the whole look of an outfit. Pack light, you will not regret it.
Barblab is offline  

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