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Italy and Greece with a 5 year old

Hello Fellow Travelers,

I am new to the forum and I'm doing extensive research before my trip to Europe in July for 3 weeks. I am traveling with my 5-year-old by myself and I need some packing advice. I'm not sure what type of luggage to bring with me. I have a choice between a large luggage for the both of us or 2 smaller luggage and strap it together with a bungee cord. I am only bringing 1 week of clothes for myself and my son. I've been looking online for different types of luggage that might work but still so confused.

Please advise if you have any suggestions or expertise. This is our first trip to Europe together.

Thank you so much. Kat

Posted by
2768 posts

How large is large? One bag is easier than 2, as long as it is a size you can lift overhead or up stairs. You would need to check it on the plane, but if you are taking trains you will need to manage it yourself. Also, many hotels or apartments do not have elevators so being able to carry it is essential. The key is not to overwhelm yourself. One other option is one small backpack and one small rolling bag - wear the backpack and roll the bag.

I personally would see if I could get everything into a 22inch bag with a weight I could handle, and make that the only bag. It's just easier to only have one bag to worry about, even if it is a bit larger. But only if I could lift and carry it up multiple flights of stairs. I would also have a purse, and my child would have a small backpack for his toys/books. You could probably stuff a few light items in there too, just a little overflow space!

Posted by
18 posts

thank you so much. the luggage is the larger size. I would need help to carry it on the train which we are taking to different cities. i will take a look at the backpacks online that will make it easy for his clothes. thank you so much for your response.

Posted by
27336 posts

You should assume there will be no one to help you carry things through train stations and onto/off of trains, up steps to a hotel lobby, or up flights of stairs within the hotel if there is no working elevator. I struggled with one 24" bag (I certainly couldn't lift it onto an overhead rack), and I didn't have a child to keep track of.

If by "1 week of clothes" you mean seven tops and seven pants/skirts, you should re-orient your thinking toward mix-and-match clothing. Take only 3 or 4 bottoms and 4 or 5 tops. Be ruthless about shoes (I travel for the entire summer with just what is on my feet), and decant toiletries into smaller containers so you are taking just enough for 3 weeks. Use solids and powders instead of liquids wherever possible.

There's lots of good advice in the Packing forum. You will have a much, much better trip if you are not over-burdened with luggage.

Posted by
44 posts

I recommend a good backpacking backpack! Just got back from traveling for 17 days with our family of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids under 5) and we used packing cubes and two backpacking backpacks. Everything fit just fine and we did laundry as needed. This was also in late April/early May where we still needed warm coats (in Normandy and the Loire Valley). For us, it was critical having our hands free and we couldn't really expect the kiddos to help carry anything. We did pack a flat duffel for souvenirs. Good luck!

Posted by
11507 posts

Misskatt , please listen to me , do NOT assume anyone will help you with a large piece of luggage , very foolish assumption .

Bring what YOU can handle and also be able to hold your child’s hand .

You do not need a large bag , you can likely manage with a 24 inch bag that you and son share , as long as you are strong enough to carry it up some stairs ( you will encounter stairs as some point I promise you . A backpack would be best idea as then you have you hands free for your child .

Please be aware that pickpockets look for people like you , alone with a child and a big bag , you would be an easy victim .

Posted by
59 posts

I would also bring one of those kid leashes just in case you're in a crowd with your luggage. Not to scare you at all but the group I was with in italy was swarmed with a group of young girl pick pockets at a train station. They seperated us from an older 80 year old lady to try and get at her purse and because of the number of them it was like an uncontrollable wave.
Now it broke up as fast as it happened but I could see anyones little one getting swept up in a crowd easily.

So only take one bag you can lift over your head and a backpack and little harness leash :)
Remember anything you will need you can find over there so packing light isnt anything to worry about.
Have fun you both!♥

Posted by
18 posts

i would like to thank everyone for the responses. i agree with everyone and im on Amazon to purchase a travel backpack for our trip.

Posted by
1194 posts

I agree with the leash. There’s some cute ones out there.

I did see one cute kid carry. The kid had flopped on the roller bag. He had his arms around the extender bars and was riding it while Dad pulled it. You’d need a strong bag but the kid was having a grand time. And they were moving pretty fast.

So maybe a backpack with a roller or backpack only. That keeps you hands free for junior.

Posted by
18 posts

thank you so much. i didnt realize how extensive it is traveling to europe during this time. We always travel and my first time having to travel light for the both of us.