What size suitcase to bring

Mar 19th, 2007, 06:41 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
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I've done a heck of a lot of train travel in Europe and nearly always put my luggage at the end. To be honest, you can't necessarily see it from there. I used to carry a bicycle cable combination lock -- cheap at the hardware store so I could loop the cord through a handle of the suitcase and secure it to the rack. I stopped doing that. Maybe I'm just too trusting, but I'll admit, I often go watch it when the train stops and people are getting on and off. It's just so much easier leaving the luggage there than squeezing it down the narrow aisles and putting it in the overhead racks -- which on some trains including TGVs have gotten very, very small.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Mar 19th, 2007, 07:07 AM
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I think, Gramrit, that after you travel enough you eventually realize that the most important thing is to have luggage that works for you and that one size bag isn't necessarily the best one for every single trip you take.

You do not need to limit yourself to 22" bags; but as the practical responders here have said, you need to take something that you can handle yourself and not depend on "that nice man" (read that as "convenient schlep person who wouldn't dare ask for a tip with that heavy bag I stuffed all those 'make me look cute' clothes into") to hoist it into overhead train car racks, etc.

Dukey is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 07:10 AM
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Meanwhile I see a lot of people struggling to get up those little steps into a train and trying to squeeze their suitcase ahead of them, throwing off their balance. When there are two adults, it is so much easier for one adult to get onto the train and the other one hand up all the suitcases to him, which he sits to the side, then deal with them when you're both on the train.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Mar 19th, 2007, 08:04 AM
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Traveler2, You are correct in thinking it is possible that your suitcase will be out of your sight, left on the luggage racks at the ends of each car.

I pack for train travel the same as I do for an airplane, with anything valuable or irreplacable in a smaller bag that I keep with me at all times. My suitcase is clothes and shoes so would be a huge inconvenience but not a trajedy should it get stolen (highly unlikely imo btw).
suze is online now  
Mar 19th, 2007, 08:07 AM
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With so many people leaving their luggage at the end of the compartment, now I'm curious. Has anyone here ever heard of anyone having their luggage stolen from there?
NeoPatrick is online now  
Mar 19th, 2007, 08:18 AM
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Besides the steep steps up into the train, no one here has mentioned all the stairs you must go up and down just to get to your binario (track)! That alone is reason to pack light.

I've traveled trains with a rolling 26", plus ski boot bag (heavy). I've traveled with a 21" plus overnight. Less is definitely the way to go.

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 08:46 AM
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I never take more than 14 pounds including the weight of the bag. I prefer my gym bag with a sholder strap for ease of carring through trains, over walkways and up and down stairs. You will have to do this at some time.
rogerdodger is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 08:49 AM
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We (two of us) are taking a 20" and a 24" roller. And each of us has a smaller 'messenger bag" (looks kind of like a briefcase) that fits over the roller handle.

We plan to do laundry at least once.
carolc is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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Not me personally, but a few coworkers had a bags stolen on trains in Italy - actually while they were standing right there. Each time it happened to be a bag with a company laptop in it. Now we joke that if you want a new computer but are way down on the list for an upgrade, just take the thing to Italy. It will be stolen and then you can get a new one - lol.
J_Correa is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 09:43 AM
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Traveler2, you can't count on the luggage space at the end of the car to have available space, especially in second class. Ideally, you should be able to lift you bag overhead, and it shouldn't be too big to fit in the overhead rack.
Mimar is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 10:26 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Thanks so much for all of your help!

Mimar: Have you ever seen a 24" or 25" suitcase in the overhead rack on the train?
Traveler2 is offline  
Mar 20th, 2007, 06:18 AM
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Traveler2 - Yes, people have put large suitcases overhead. Once when going from Florence to Rome (1st class), a couple had three bags, two 24" and one 26" and got all three overhead (taking up all the space for everyone around!). I remember because they blocked the aisle trying to get them up and then hit me with one trying to get it down when we reached Florence. After watching them struggle, we were so glad we only had a couple 22" bags!
BarbaraJ is offline  
Mar 20th, 2007, 06:59 AM
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Don't forget that as well as the trains and stations you will need to navigate, you may find yourself in a hotel with several flights of stairs as well. (Or a tiny tiny elevator that will fit 3 suitcases and one person). Try to limit your stuff as much as possible and your trip will be more comfortable. Plan to do laundry once during your trip. (You may find it is a wonderful luxury and worth paying for if you can find a place where you can leave it in the AM and pick it up clean and folded before dinner.)
LadyOLeisure is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2007, 11:22 AM
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Just returned a few days ago from Italy and had three long train rides. My husband and I each took a 22" bag that we stored at the end of the train car. Each car has a rack and you can use whichever one is closest to your seat. We were warned in Rome to stay with your bag until the train started, so I found the seats, while my husband stood by the luggage rack. Before we got off, he once again stood by the luggage. One man on a train did have his pocket picked while he was putting belongings up on a rack. Also, lots of people ride the trains with no ticket. We witnessed one woman moving from seat to seat as people would claim the one she was in. We were told by some young people, that they don't buy train tickets, just hop on. On two trains our tickets were checked. On the train from Florence to Venice, it was never checked.
JAGM is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2007, 11:36 AM
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Please resisit the temptation to let everyone have "their own bag." You can make each person be responsible for a particular bag, but do pack a bit of everyone's clothes in each bag, in case one is lost or stolen.
missypie is offline  

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