What size luggage?

Old May 19th, 2011, 07:20 AM
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By the end of day 1, IF your bags arrive (direct flight is no guarantee), you will be SO sorry you decided to pack bigger bags. You'll be even sorrier once you start riding the trains. You just do not need all that "stuff," plus you are probably going to want to buy at least a few items while you're there. Two weeks is a short time - you could easily pack what you need for a 2-week trip in the smallest carryon. Take a 21"or 22" rollaboard and some sort of practical tote or messenger bag.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 08:40 AM
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I like the plastic zip loc compression bags. They can really allow a lot more in a 21 inch roll aboard. On a trip where a friend had the same size bag he couldn't believe how many more clothes I had than he did! ;^)
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Old May 19th, 2011, 08:49 AM
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We normally travel to Europe for 2-3 weeks. Never take anything larger than a 21" roller bag. I recommend that you heed the advice here - it is from a lot of seasoned travelers. You can do laundry or have your hotel take care of the laundry or dry cleaning, probably for the same price as checking a large bag.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 08:54 AM
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And, if you do forget to take something, I have heard on good authority that many useful items are sold in stores in Europe.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 09:01 AM
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One important thing to consider in this decision is what your airline's bag policy is...as in how much will they let you carry on (not what it says on their website). American carriers are a lot more lenient on this issue.

On our last trip Air France was extremely strict about everyone putting their bag in the little metal box the size of a tissue box before approving it as a carry on. They they put a sticker on the bag if you were approved. On the flight back we flew Delta and I could have pulled several 24" bags on if I had wanted to.

On our upcoming trip (next week...'bout time!) we're flying Air Canada and I actually went to the Air Canada counter the last time I was at the airport and asked them how strict they were. I was told they were very lenient so we're going to attempt to bring a 22" bag as a carry on. It is more of a hassle to carry on but not near the hassle of not having the bag for the trip when it's lost.

To throw a wrench into this discussion...how about kids? For our trip we're bringing our 8 and 10 year old for the first time. Our current luggage list is:
dad - 24" carry on and camera bag (24" most likely checked)
mom - 22" carry on and backpack with laptop, mags, etc
10 yo - 20" carry on
8 yo - backpack with kids toys

My wife is now thinking we need to bring two 22" bags and toss the 20". We're packing this weekend to figure it out.

...will report back on how well this works.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 10:07 AM
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I take a 21" expandable to 24". I carry-on on the way over and if I make purchases on the trip, I check the now 24" bag for the trip home.

I am only a recent convert, convinced by janisj and others on this forum.

It is so liberating that you will not mind getting the laundry done every week or so.

Okay, only an anecdote but on a recent trip to Italy, one friend got her checked luggage after 5 days, another never did. The third got her luggage but hated having so much and on the return trip her checked luggage showed up one week after she did.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 10:58 AM
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From a guy's perspective, I take a carryon legal 21 inch rollerboard, but I check that bag, and take a smaller tote with me in the cabin when flying. I wouldn't get on an international flight without a carryon bag with at least a couple of days worth of clothing and my toiletry essentials, lest my checked bag gets lost. However, I don't want anything larger than a carryon legal bag for storing on trains, storing in the trunk of a car, carrying up stairs, or getting on very small elevators. The tote plus carryon gives me the capacity of the larger bag, with with more flexibility.

I could get by with just a carryon bag if I had to, but I will also be the person carrying maps, papers, guidebooks, and some other stuff that the rest in my party won't have to carry as result, but we'll all be carrying the same bags--one checked carryon legal bag, and one tote.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 05:32 PM
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Well I was going to take the carry on size on the flight and use a backpack (I always use backpack instead of purse when traveling)as well. Air Berlin does not allow 2 carry on's like other airlines I have flown with. So one of those bags will have to be checked. We thought, well if it has to be checked regardless we might as well take a larger suitcase. After reading your comments, you all have me wanting to stick with the carry on sizeThanks for the info!
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Old May 20th, 2011, 10:22 AM
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These people with their huge carry-on bags! What horrible travelers.

No, you don't need any suitcase at all. I wear cargo pants, a fishing vest with tons of pockets, and a rain-proof jacket with lots more pockets. I stuff everything I need into the pockets.

Admittedly, I do look like Bib the Michelin Man, and one airline tried to make me get an extra seat because I was so huge, but I explained that I would be much thinner once I got my 40-pound jacket into the overhead bin.

I usually even have room for a 3-pound salami (I don't like airline food at all). The only drawback with the salami is that a lot of dogs and cats follow me around once I get to Europe, but I just consider it all part of the cultural experience.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 05:11 PM
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I had to laugh a little over someone's ocmment earlier that no one will know you're wearing the same clothes multiple times. I have a particular sweater I love to take on trips because it coordinates with all the tops and trousers I take. It's a mid-weight cotton, so not too hot not too cold, and can be washed if I'm desperate. Anyway, there I am in photos from nearly every trip, wearing that dang sweater. My husband finally suggested it be retired from my travel wardrobe... at least for a few trips.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 07:57 PM
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Has anyone traveled to Europe for business and pleasure and been able to carry a 24 inch or less bag? I have to bring a suit, a cocktail dress and appropriate but casual work attire. I intend on doing train and smaller European airline travel before and after my business obligations, so I won't have a home base hotel to keep my luggage. One country on my list is Norway, therefore a jacket will be necessary as well. I'm most concerned with the lugging around of heavy bags up stairs and down streets to stations, etc. Any thoughts? However, aside from the professional clothes, my personal style will be quite easy to minimize- no problems mix and matching here, or with frequent clothes washing. Thanks!
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Old May 20th, 2011, 09:05 PM
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"<i>Has anyone traveled to Europe for business and pleasure and been able to carry a 24 inch or less bag?</i>"

Yes. It takes planning/coordinating colors and layering, but is relatively easy. I once took a 3 week trip to England that included a very formal event in London (long gown/long gloves/the whole 9 yards) as well as two very casual weeks in the countryside -- and did it out of a 21 inch rollie bag. (But then I'm known as the packing Nazi in some parts

A 24 inch suitcase would be quite doable.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 09:14 PM
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for butrflysl,

Yes, 24-inch bag. Several trips have involved both opera and serious hiking, or several classical concerts and serious hiking, or concerts and skiing.

One thing that helps is having a lightweight first layer that washes out easily and dries overnight without needing ironing.

Plus, of course, if you're moving a lot, no one will know what you wore two days ago.

Have fun!

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Old May 20th, 2011, 11:38 PM
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Wow, this is a great thread with great advice. Count us into the "smaller is better" group. My girlfriend and I each take a 22" carry-on plus one small day pack. My girlfriend cheats because her carry-on is expandable which is a nice feature if you are bringing souvenirs home. It is also great for dirty clothes which, for some reason, take up twice as much space as clean clothes...anyone ever notice that?

Our trips are normally 3 weeks but this year we are doing 4. We always have more clothes than we need even with limiting ourselves to the smaller suitcases. Two keys to packing light are, 1) take the right clothes, that mix and match, and are easy to wash and quick to dry, 2) master doing your laundry in the sink.

No matter how little we take with us, we begin resenting it about a week into our trip. So pack light and travel fast.
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Old May 21st, 2011, 11:27 AM
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Thanks for the tips and encouragement! I think I need to do some practice packing and then maybe some simulated travel scenarios involving stairs and lifting into overhead compartments!
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Old May 21st, 2011, 11:37 AM
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someone on Fodors qotted this this--not so much what to pack, as HOW to pack. It works!

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Old May 21st, 2011, 11:53 AM
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How much can you comfortably lift for brief periods? Even if you are taking trains, or encounter some stairs, you are looking at maybe a minute of lifting in any given day, all in short spurts, and most of that lifting is measured in inches, rather than feet. Honestly, anything under 70 pounds is more than manageable for me.

To that end, for anything longer than a week, I use a 27" Samsonite Cosmolite case, which fully-loaded, comes in at the 50-pound mark that is the normal limit for checked luggage.
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Old May 21st, 2011, 12:33 PM
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I use a 24-25" lightweight suitcase when I travel for several weeks (I have a Delsey I like and another brande I got at Kohls that is very lighweight) and it doesn't bother me at all in terms of size. I take trains, also, and handle it myself. I might not if I were moving hotels or taking the train every day or two, I suppose, but I don't do that (except sometimes in rural areas and by then I have a rental car so its in the trunk).

If you have never traveled or handled this suitcase before, it's kind of hard to say how you will like it. I wouldn't take a 27" myself but find a 24-25" makes a big difference in terms of what I can take. I don't really care that much about being able to take everything in a carry-on.

I haven't traveled on Italian trains so don't know those issues, but of course you can't put that size overhead on any train I've been on. You put it in the area for baggage which may be at the end of the car or sometimes between seats. i presume you aren't the only person in the world who would have a suitcase that size on a train.
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Old May 21st, 2011, 12:33 PM
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On my first trip to Europe, many years ago. I took only a purse and 15x6x8 plastic "suitcase" carry on. (The suitcase was issued by the airline--Pan Am I think--when I booked my ticket.) I wore a shirtwaist, sweater, low heels, and raincoat (with the usual undergarments of the era). In the suitcase were two blouses, a skirt, tie shoes, a change of underthings, nightgown, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste,bar of soap, lipstick and those foam curlers.

Jean, your comment about the sweater in every photo brought back memories of that trip. My niece was looking at my scrapbook from that trip and commented that it looked as if I had just posed in front of various backdrops, because I always seemed to be in the same clothes.

I don't travel as light today, but do manage to keep things under control.
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Old May 21st, 2011, 02:00 PM
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Actually, on my recent trip to Italy, i discovered that there are some lifts and ramps if you know where to look.

on my outward journey I was so confused and befuddled that i didn't find any of them, but on the way back I spotted a lift at Pisa Centrale that i swear had not been there a week before, and a ramp too.

getting the case onto some of the trains is still a problem of course, but it's not as bad as lugging it up and down those stairs.

IME the lifts tend to be at the other end of the platform from where you get off the train and the location of the ramps is a state secret but they are probably there somewhere.
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