Luggage on trains

We are traveling by train from Florence to Venice (via a FRECCIARGENTO train) with two large suitcases and would like to store our luggage where we can monitor them. What is the best way to do this? If we purchase first or second class tickets, will these seats ensure that our luggage be within our view? What do folks recommend? Thanks,

Posted by Frances
San Diego
777 posts

I went second class Milan to Venice and my suitcase fit into the slot behind my seat. There were also lots of overhead racks (if you can lift your bag.) It looked like behind most of the seats there was a space that would hold large suitcases.
Other times on older trains I carried a lock with a metal cable (bought at a luggage store) and I just locked our suitcases together and then hooked the cable to the rack that the bags were sitting on. Maybe other folks have more info and will post here.

Posted by Ellen
Centennial, CO, USA
1508 posts

We traveled with 2 bike cases and 2 carry on suitcases on the Frecciargento train from Rome to Bari...the carry on bags went overhead, but the bike cases were left at the end of the car. You cannot ensure that you will get seats where you can watch your luggage if that luggage will not fit in the overhead space. There is room between seats for suitcases, if you get on the train early and claim that space.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
5494 posts

Florence to Venice can be crowded in high season, especially in 2nd (or Standard) class, therefore no guarantee that you will be able to fit them in the niche between the backs of some seats, some other travelers might get to those before you. Also, your large suitcases may be too large for that niche, regardless of availability of space. In that case the only option might be the storage area at the end of the cars. That area may not be within your view, therefore to avoid surprises, you should buy a luggage cable lock and lock the handles to a bar (if you can) or lock the two suitcases together. It is unlikely that anybody will try to take 2 large suitcases at once.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
3227 posts

Many people use the cable lock system, but it may not always be convenient to do so. If that luggage bin is full, you may not be able to easily lock it to the rack and it may prevent others from easily accessing their luggage behind/underneath. The bags won't go anywhere while the train is moving; I just keep an eye out while at station stops. Even if facing the opposite direction, you can just turn around and watch or get up and walk closer to the bin (don't block the exit). I also always have my bags locked to prevent easy access inside the bags.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21685 posts

karen, As the others have mentioned, in some cases you'll be able to store larger bags behind your seat. If the train is lightly loaded, you may also be able to just place them on the floor at your seat. How "large" are the cases you'll be taking? Racks are provided for larger luggage items at one end of each car, but in my experience in the last few years these often become fully loaded very quickly, which doesn't leave any room for some passengers. I have on occasion had to just place my Backpack on the floor as close to the luggage rack as possible (no room on the rack). Smaller items can be stored on the rack above the seats, but those also seem to become fully loaded fairly quickly at times. If my assigned seat is facing away from the luggage rack, I make a point of checking my Pack on a regular basis during the trip. I'm especially vigilant during times when the train is approaching or is stopped at a station as that's the most likely time when luggage will "disappear". One other point to mention - placing luggage behind your seat is no guarantee that it won't be stolen. I recall one trip a few years ago in Austria/Germany/Switzerland (can't remember which of those countries the theft occurred). A young couple stored a large (30" or greater) wheeled bag behind their seat and then went to the dining car. When they returned from their morning repast, it was gone! They walked the entire length of the train from one end to the other several times, along with Police from two countries but they never did find it. I always make a point of having a good line-of-sight to my luggage, and don't leave it unattended. I'll only go to the dining car if I'm on a tour and others can watch my Packs. Happy travels!

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
5112 posts

The good news is that the train makes few stops. The bad (?) news is that it starts in Rome, so you won't be able to be among the first to board and be able to grab some of the precious space on the luggage racks. But it's possible that there will be people taking their bags off the racks and leaving the train in Florence. One 25" suitcase will usually fit easily between the back-to-back seats, but those spaces may also already be taken. If you do use a cable lock to secure your bag to the rack, try your best to put the bag where it allows the most space for others. I have had my bag moved up a shelf to make room for a larger one, which was fine. But had it been locked in place, I think someone would have been justifiably upset.

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1765 posts

If you don't mind a little extra cost, I've found that first class is often uncrowded enough to keep my luggage by my seat, which is much easier on my arms and back than lifting it. However, whether that would be practical depends on what you mean by "large". It's no problem with a 22 inch bag, but something a lot larger could be in the way.

Posted by Janet
Maple Grove, MN
755 posts

I traveled this past summer with my 2 sisters and niece 2nd class on ITALO trains and we had to put our bags above our seats as the baggage racks at the end of the car was always full. This was even on a train from Venice to Florence which would have originated in Venice. We also arrived quite early to board. As we were traveling with 21" suitcases this was not a problem. On our other major journeys the baggage rack was always full as we were getting on trains that had originated in other cities. I always throw in a pac-safe cable lock if I need to hook several bags together but didn't need this time. If you can I would try to keep suitcase to no larger than 21".

Posted by Jon
Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
57 posts

Maybe look at packing less so you can use a carryon suitcase? Do you really need everything? A large suitcase can be a problem on a crowded train, but it can be just as much of a headache in Venice getting on/off the boats and up/down the bridge steps. Also, you may have to carry it up many flights of stairs to your room. A carry-on suitcase will force you to pack only what is truly necessary and not bring items that you think may be nice to have or might use vs. what is truly used. If you plan to wear something only once, probably you don't need it. Also, for added flexibility you can take a backpack which is handy to keep valuables or "on the road" item handy. Have a great trip!