I'm sure this question has been asked a zillion times, but here goes: How difficult is it to bring a normal-sized piece of luggage onto a bus or train (meaning to take them on our way to our next destination/hotel)? I'm debating on if it's worth it or if I should try to find a smaller suitcase! On the train I am assuming you just carry it on with you (and hope for room). On the buses (including regular public transportation) I guess you would ask for it to be put underneath in a storage compartment? HELP! (Thank you!!!!)
Try to pack lighter. On the train you will need to put your luggage on an overhead rack (sometimes there are luggage areas at the end of the car, but they are not a very secure option), so while a larger size might fit better than on a plane, it should still be "carry-on" size for ease of movement. Long distance buses usually have a luggage area underneath for a small fee. We just finished a 5 week trip with all public transport. My pack weighs about 25 pounds and it's plenty heavy to just lift onto the train and then you still have to lift it to the high racks. We also had several pensions with no elevator, so carried up several flights of stairs. Travel light.
It is possible to take luggage on both trains and buses. We did a bike trip in May, had 2 bike cases, 2 suitcases and used buses and trains. it was a huge hassle with that much luggage (but we had to take our bike with us!)
There is no fee to take your luggage on a bus. you simple put it underneath. the bus driver will NOT do this for you, so make sure you understand how to open the compartment.
On the train, you will have to put it by your feet, or you might find some space at the ends of the car, however, keep your eye on your luggage at all times.
As the other poster said, travel and pack light. On the trains, the overhead space is very narrow, a normal carry on suitcase will NOT fit, but a daypack will.
The only problem I can see for hauling baggage with you, was the stairs that you will have everywhere.. not a whole lot of ramps for wheeling these guys up and down..
I took the express bus from Florence to Siena, a very popular route. I hadn't realized how many people would be storing luggage underneath for the trip. When the bus arrived, there was a mad dash to store it. I barely fit mine in. The inside of the bus had overhead space and wouldn't have been adequate for my carryon (Rick Steves' wheeled). On the return trip, people were turned away because there was no more space for their luggage. I can't tell you about train travel.
Thank you for the info. It's just so hard to decide what to do. We'll likely be taking the bus from Florence into Siena and back again after our stay. Then we'll take the train from Florence to Rome. I think this might be the most economical and easiest way--not to mention faster (the train part).
Kelly, pack one half of what you are currently considering to be your absolute minimum needs! It really makes train and bus travel far less daunting. Have fun!
I took a total of 5 trains in Italy in May. They ranged in duration from 30 minutes (from the airport) to 4 hours (Como to Zurich). I took a lightweight 21 inch roller suitcase, a small carry on bag and my tote bag. It was always a struggle stepping up the steps to get on the train. Sometimes you have just a few minutes to get on board before the train leaves. I was traveling 1st class so I knew I had overhead storage for the small roller bag. Others who came on board with huge suitcases found it difficult to find storage and often the cases were stored on top of each other at the end of each car making it difficult to get from car to car. Do you self a favor and travel as light as you can.
We took the train, first class all through Italy. We had 2 large LL Bean duffle bags on wheels and we had no problem. Plus we each had a carry on bag as well. I can only speak for first class and the train but our bags we always stored right above us.
Most large train stations in Italy have multiple track platforms. The only way to change platforms is to go down about 30 stairs and go back up 30 stairs. Very few stations have ramps or elevators. We saw people with large heavy bags and multiple roller bags really struggling with these stairs. Additionally, the trains in Italy have steep narrow steps up and down (about 3 stairs). Inside the train, they all have overhead rack storage but large bags will not really fit up there. They don't fit well by your feet in 2nd class either. On the nicer express trains (Eurostar, EuroCit, InterCity), there is space between the back-to-back seats to store up to medium sized bags. 1st class also has a bit more room for luggage. One roller bag not larger than 22"-24" should do it. Any more and you may have difficulties.