What size suitcase to bring

Mar 17th, 2007, 03:20 PM
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What size suitcase to bring

Ihave a question about lugage.

There will be four of us traveling. Two adults and two kids ages 12 and 8. We will be taking the train twice.

I have read a number of posts about only taking 22" bags. We will be gone for 9 days. Is it really that important to have 22" bags.

I guess the train travel is what concerns me.

We were trying to take 3 bags for all of us and if we take 22" bags I think we may need to take 4 of them.

Any oppinoins would be appreciated

qramrit is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 03:46 PM
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I travel with a quite large rolling duffle. It is no problem on the trains. I can lift it up into the train, and normally I put it in the luggage rack at the end of the compartment. I'd much rather deal with one large rolling case than two smaller ones.

Although I'm not sure why 4 22" cases with four of you is such a bad idea. Even an 8 year old can manage one of those on rollers.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 03:50 PM
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I would check the baggage limitation on your airline.
richardab is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 03:58 PM
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We are just back from Italy. I think the luggage recommendations/ warnings on here are a bit too dramatic. We took smaller rolling suitcases but would have had no problem with larger suitcases. Take what you think you need. The ES trains stop for a few minutes and you'll have plenty of time to get your bags on board. Honestly, I wish I were able to pack more clothes than I could in a small suitcase.
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 06:01 PM
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We've traveled by train with larger bags. My SIL even had a 30" one. But don;t even ask how much trouble it was. There are a couple of key facts.

Bags have to be lifted up - usually 2 or 3 steep narrow steps from the platform to the train.

Bags have to sit on overhead rack if you want to be able to see them. Bags much bigger than 22" will have to go horizontally, rather than vertically - thus taking up someone else's space.

Large bags can be (usually) left at the end of the car in a designated spot - but you may want to watch that they don;t disappear off the train at intermediate stations.

We were OK because we did just one long train trip - with 4 adults with 1 enormous and 3 large bags - plus carry-ons. BUT - we went first class and had a compartment for 6 to ourselves - and thus the baggge room for 6 people.

Also - if you're getting on the train at an intermediate spot you may have only 5 minutes to get all of them and you up onto the train.

I agree that you're better off with 4 bags - an 8 year old can easily manage a rollie. And if you think 22" won;t do it go with 23 or 24". Just make sure you can easily lift them over your head. (And if you're doing intereuropean flights do check their standards.)
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 06:28 PM
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Key here might be which trains, and if you will have reservations, and at what time of year. If it's a busy and crowded train, you might have to leave your big bags at the end of the car by the doors at the luggage racks, out of your sight. I think having your kids, at least, have two small wheeled bags (maybe even 18-20")that they can handle themselves will be very helpful. Most of their stuff could go in there and then you two could take some of their "overflow", share toiletries, etc. The steps up onto the trains are narrow and steep and nobody is there to help you up- or off! You WILL be happy to not have a lot of big bags to haul around! I would take a couple fold-flat totes to fill with purchases as you go, including the dirty laundry for padding! Have a wonderful trip!
sglass is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 07:45 PM
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I would have each person take their own suitcase. A 24" expandable roller for each adult, and a 19" roller for each kid.

I know 22" is a popular size on this forum but it's just a bit too small for me except for a beach vacation. The 24" is much more comfortable and not too big for train travel.
suze is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 07:47 PM
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Or maybe the kids would prefer using small backpacks instead.
suze is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 07:54 PM
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Suze's plan makes more sense to me. I think the two kids, esp. the 8 yo would find it easier to manage a 19" roller with small daypack.
A 24" roller is no big deal to store on an overhead train rack unless it's stuff with rocks or bars of gold. I've done it many times and am not at all the body-builder type. Even if you can fit everything into a 22", the 24" expandable bags give you extra room for purchases. Getting a 24" suitcase up the couple of steps into the train is nothing to worry about.
I've ridden trains all over Europe, including trains through Austria earlier this week, and it's not unusual for Europeans to shlep around big suitcases...a woman on our train to Graz had a fully loaded 27" suitcase, daypack, stroller, and squirmy toddler with her and she managed on her own just fine (although several people offered helping hands).
BTilke is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 09:23 PM
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I think it's important for kids to have their own bags, that they help figure out what to pack, and carry themselves. All good lessons and part of learning how to travel.
suze is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 09:52 PM
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When your travels include trains, it is essential to take bags you can manage. Stuff a bag and see if you can get it up and down the stairs in your home and carry it around the block without much trouble. And, keep in mind that you may run into escalators.

With four of you, it's best to mix up the clothing just in case you should lose a bag.

On the trains, doorways and aisles are very narrow, and there is often what seems like only seconds to get yourselves and your bags onto the train before it takes off.

The only reason anyone, probably, would recommend limiting bag size to 22" would be to avoid checking the bags on planes or comply with baggage limits on flights within Europe (where weight is of concern along with size). But, you can get a LOT more into a 24-25" bag than a 22", and of course they are heavier, but you might want to consider larger bags for the adults.

I would also recommend a bag for the 8 year old, even if it's just a small rolling tote with the toiletries, accessories, maps...kids just love toting their own bag all about (and they look so cute strutting about with bag in tow!).

If you're going to leave your bags on storage racks out of sight, bring something along to tie two or all of them together, which will assure that none of them gets "lost".
djkbooks is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 05:36 AM
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We traveled for three weeks with two kids doing trains mostly. My first rule was everyone has their own bag, 22" but the depth expanded for extra room (Swiss Army luggage). If you couldn't get what you wanted in your bag, you didn't take it. One exception is that the youngest had plenty of room in his bag for extra stuff so I did get to put an extra pair of shoes in his bag. (Perfectly ok to break your own rules.) My wife and I had a few years previously brought a large suitcase to France and Spain and it was a real pain on the trains. I vowed never to do that again.

Anyway, this worked out great. Nobody overpacked, kids all rolled their own luggage (good thing since Dad has a bad back), and it really gave the children a sense of responsibility. Best part is that my lovely wife didn't bring a bunch of clothes she would never wear.

We did laundry a couple of times so we had plenty of clean clothes, and most importantly, had a wonderful trip.
BKD is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 05:50 AM
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I love our 22" expandable to 24". I think it is easier for each person to have his own main bag. The 8 year old might not need a full 22", but on rollers can be a part of the caravan. Don't forget souvenirs that WILL be bought along the way!!
The 22" will fit in overhead bins if need be--24" won't. But packing in 22" and then using the expansion for souvenirs has served us well.
Trains often have luggage stands at the end of a car. Take a cable bicycle lock to use if you put them there--or at intermediate stops, go stand by your luggage.
Gretchen is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 07:37 AM
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Another thing to think of, which I'm now looking at, is the actual weight of the bag itself. My travel bags are good, solid Samsonite Silhouette soft side. However, the 26" weighs over 12 lbs, and the 21" weighs nearly 11 lbs.

Our last Europe train(s) trip was a nightmare as my wife would pack the kitchen sink if she thought the "might" need it.

I'm now looking at bags in the 7-8 pound weight region, a thought I picked up from a Fodor's thread.

In May we're staying at an apartment in Provence with a 4 floor walkup. Saving 4 pound per bag would help that considerably; as it would lifting bags over your head on a train and trying to get them back down without killing yourself.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 09:15 AM
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While I like an expandable feature, don't count on using it all the time. Some suitcases get 'tipsy' when the expandable part is put to use, off-balance and harder to wheel straight. I only count on it for the single trip heading home.
suze is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 10:01 AM
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Gretchen: Don't think I've seen a 22 that expands to 24. I'm pretty sure you meant the expansion went from 8 or 9 inches to 11 or 12. Most rollaboards are 21 or 22 X 14 X 9 inches and if they expand it is in the depth (the 9 inch side).

qramrit: I agree w/ most everyone, taking bags would be best. But do check out some of the luggage stores/outlets. There is terrific children's luggage out there at really reasonable prices. Your 8 yo could use one of the scaled down rollie bags made for kids - most are 16 or 18 inches instead of 21 and therefore are much lighter/easier for small kids to handle on their own - but still big enough for a child's wardrobe.
janisj is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 10:09 AM
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The way it is "explained" is as I said I believe. But if you want a picture, the top comes up 2". It works quite well.
Gretchen is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 10:29 AM
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Yes - the "top" comes up -- that is the depth - or the 9 inch direction.

22 inches is the length from the wheels up to the handle - don't see how that could expand unless the whole frame telescoped/stretched . . . . .
janisj is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 10:33 AM
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It's true, an "expandable" gets fatter/thicker not taller/longer!

suze is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 09:57 PM
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Have been to Europe many times but only once have I traveled on a train and then it was 1st class; After reading this post I now have concerns about where our luggage will be on the train. (2nd class this time around) One bag is a 24" might even be a 25". I am assuming that after reading responses here that the larger bag may have to go to the end of the car and can this area be seen from where we sit? Is this in the same car as we sit in?? We will be making reservations; can we make reservations by the luggage area? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Traveler2 is offline  

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