We have a trip to Europe this summer with our 2 kids and I'm trying to decide which style of bag to bring. This is our kids' first trip to Europe, they are 9 and 12. We planned to go with carry-on backpacks but now I'm second guessing that a bit. My husband and I traveled to Europe a few times before we had kids and we used large Eagle Creek backpacks that we checked and my husband's had a detachable daypack that he used as a carry-on for the plane and I had a medium-sized crossbody bag for the plane. Worked great. I also have done the backpacking through Europe with friends at age 19 with a large backpack on my backpack and a daypack on my front. Not my favorite way to travel. This time we know we want to do carry-on only for ease of travel and because we have several flights within Europe so checking bags really adds up!
My concern with using carry-on backpacks plus a personal item is that I really prefer a backpack as a personal item but to use both I would have to do the front carry, which is pretty uncomfortable. I think my kids would hate that. So I was thinking of using crossbody bags as our personal item but I find those really dig into my shoulder and bother my back. I also had a back injury last year that is mostly better but still flares up at times. I'm worried I will aggravate it by carrying so much on my back! My husband will choose a backpack no matter what (he did that on our last carry-on only trip when the rest of us used rolling bags), we do have comfortable kids REI hiking backpacks available for my kids to use, but they're top-loading so not the easiest for packing.
Here's our itinerary, please tell me what you would choose in this situation!
-Fly YYZ-LGW-VCE, our hotel in Venice is very close to the train station, so not much walking there and no crossing bridges.
-Transfer from Venice to Ravenna either by train or private transfer (haven't decided yet).
-After cruise, transfer from Ravenna to Bologna airport, again, most likely by train.
-Arrive in Split, Croatia, most likely taking a taxi from the airport to the hotel. Our hotel is in Old Town (literally in the walls of Diocletian's palace), I'm not sure if the taxi can take us directly to the hotel or if there are pedestrian areas where we would have to walk a bit.
-Ferry to Dubrovnik. Our hotel in Dubrovnik is definitely in a pedestrian area with a lot of stairs. This hotel is my biggest concern with rolling luggage.
-Transfer to Dubrovnik airport - most likely a taxi.
-Overnight at hotel at London Gatwick, fly home the next day.
What would you choose? And if you would choose a backpack, any suggestions for a personal item? Any brilliant way of carrying 2 backpacks? My husband wants to sew clips onto our backpacks but I want to weigh all of our options first! Thank you!