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Just got my Rick Steves Euro flight bag

I once had a Magellan tote bag that was perfect and I loved it with all my heart. It held my purse and lots of other stuff, had a trolley sleeve, fit under the seat and had a zippered closure on top. But after 20 years, it finally bit the dust in Iceland and I had to leave it behind.

So I have been on the hunt for a new one ever since. I tried two different Baggallini bags but one was too small and the other didn't have enough pockets. I almost bought one that I found on Amazon, but it was too heavy. So I've been stalking this forum and also the Fashion Travel Girl FB page for ideas, but couldn't find the right one until someone on the FTG FB page mentioned the RS Euro flight bag.

I went to the website, checked it out and ordered it. Just got it today and it looks great! It's lightweight, holds a lot but isn't overly large and it has a trolley sleeve. So I will be checking it out when I head to my niece's wedding at the end of the month and if it works well there, I will be taking it to Germany. When I fly to Ohio, I will carry on my 21" rolling TravelPro and the RS bag, but when I go to Germany, one leg of the flight is with Air France, and their carry on regs are much stricter so I'm going to check a bag and carry this bag on with my purse.

Anyone else have any perfect small carry-ons they love?

Posted by
698 posts

I have that bag and did take it to Italy for the RS Venice, Florence, Rome tour for 3 weeks. My husband also has the bag. It is a great bag, but we do have ones we like better now. The one issue we had with it is that it opens so low and things can fall out in flight, etc. I wish the front opening was taller. I did give it to my mom and she loves it for car travel.

My new favorite personal item bag is the Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Shopping Tote. it has great structure, doesn't slump over, amazing organization, and is the perfect size. I got it on a 30% off sale. The line is $$$, but a lifetime warranty for any issue at all.

I also LOVE the Lo & Sons Catalina duffle - the Catalina Deluxe in SMALL is a great Personal item, under the seat bag and the Catalina Deluxe in LARGE is a great CarryOn, overhead bin bag.

Posted by
6406 posts

I found my RS euro flight bag is a perfect candidate for packing cubes. That took care of any issues with the low opening.

Posted by
5679 posts

I like the Euro bag too, have taken it on several trips, it's versatile and sturdy and works well with a rolling suitcase. I agree that the opening may be too low, but it's big enough to take the belt pack I also bring and sometimes carry in the Euro bag instead of around my waist. I like the variety of pockets, inside and out, and the way the strap curves to make it easy to carry on a shoulder. But I wish everything Rick Steves sells didn't have his name and face all over it.

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Posted by
403 posts

I have a small Sherpani backpack that I love. Lots of zipper compartments and a really secure place for my iPad. My camera bag nestles at the bottom of it but there is plenty of room for other things including my purse.. While it is a backpack, it also comes with a shoulder strap. Since my go-to bag is a rolling backpack, that is handy when I'm schlepping everything. It is stylish, doesn't look backpack-y, packs well but not so much that it is heavy. It's too small for my main bag but it's a functional carry on. It does fit under a seat. I've had it since 2018 and although I'm not kind to luggage, it still looks great. It works for me!

Posted by
584 posts

I took the RS Euro Flight bag with me on 3 long trips (England, Italy, France) and loved it. However, it has started splitting at several seams while my partner's is still intact. I doubt that I can repair it so I'll be looking for a replacement.

Posted by
2207 posts

I have had my RS Euro flight bag for about 6 years and have taken it on every trip, usually 2 a year, to Europe. I use packing cubes and so the lower front opening is controlled that way. The beauty of it is you can see so much more of the contents. I usually have books or other items on the top I will reach for while en route.

Posted by
2140 posts

@chinalake, I like the Briggs & Riley tote. I will keep that in mind in case this doesn't work out. The Catalina Deluxe Large and Small both looked very big - probably bigger than I want - but I do like the Catalina Deluxe Tote as an option. I noticed that the site is offering a 25% discount on all full price orders until March 15 because of International Woman's Day.

@Carol and Judy, that's a good idea about using packing cubes in them. And being able to see the contents all at once was a big plus for me.

@Dick, I had to go and look at the bag to see if there was any advertising on it, and yep, his name is written across the handle. I agree with you about things like that - I hate having to pay for something that gives free advertising to the seller. Although when you think about it, all bags are like that. My TravelPro suitcase has the logo on it, and so do my Tom Bihn bags. When I buy a car, however, I always have the dealership remove their plate covers from the car. For the money I'm spending, if they want me to advertise their name, they can pay me for it. 😊

@Silas, that's too bad about the seams. I will keep an eye on mine.

@CT, I've seen some Sherpani backpacks at REI and liked them. The Sojourn tote was really nice but sadly it does not have a luggage sleeve.

Silas got me thinking about sewing. I'm good at sewing and have some strong machines so I'm thinking about making my own bag for the future. I'm made quite a few bags before, but mostly small crossbody purses, totes and a backpack for my daughter. However it would be fun to try and plan out an overnight bag. It will probably have to wait till after this trip, though.

Posted by
1195 posts

Anyone else have any perfect small carry-ons they love?

Mine: insanely bright red Patagonia daypack, 20L.

The RS flight bag is 1200 cubic inches, about 20 liters. There are hundreds of bags in that capacity range: cross-body, shoulder, tote, bum, messenger, daypack, laptop, and sling. Some of those bag styles are thoroughly broken down and evaluated for utility at packhacker.com.

I have no affiliation with these kids – and I find their ideas of "aesthetics" to be utterly tasteless – but their buying guides and ruthless product reviews can be useful, especially if you are shopping for gear that won't fall apart. Here are a few buying guides:

https://packhacker.com/guide/best-laptop-bag/

https://packhacker.com/guide/best-sling-bag/

https://packhacker.com/guide/best-travel-daypack/

Posted by
2960 posts

I will never have the perfect personal item, but this is my present one. I had the Euro bag, liked it in theory, but it never made the cut through the many years of ownership. The green color I had also was an influencer in my not using it…sales are often not worth it.. I gave it away when I moved this year. For me I found it awkward to carry and it was too large for my personal item. If I check my carryon, which I usually do, I prefer the back pack style. The rest of the time I vary between all three carry options.

Warning: a contrarian view of the RS euro flight bag. I have one. I don’t use it much except for 1-2 day car travel with no shoulder strap, only hand carry. Here is my issue - I am under 5’5” and busty. I find that when the bag is fully packed, it is “boxy.” That makes me lean to one side uncomfortably to balance it as I carry it using the shoulder strap. It’s just not comfortable for me. Also, it is too tall to stand up straight under a plane seat. Of course, it can be slid under on its side.

I have other bags that work better for me. I need backpack straps rather than shoulder straps to walk comfortably through airports, etc.. I hope my perspective helps other “shorties” out there.

Posted by
9311 posts

it has a trolley sleeve

That is a big plus.

When the store reopens will have an in person look to see how/if the 'shortcomings' that have been described outweigh the positives.

Posted by
70 posts

I took this bag on my last RS trip! I love it and used it on the bus--it carried my purse and the little souvenirs that I acquired each day. I appreciated the low opening in the front because I could immediately see everything in the bag as opposed to a Tote/Purse type bag. I also loved the Trolley strap

Posted by
920 posts

Joe--I am so anxious for the store to reopen! I didn't realize it was closed and I drove there to buy a replacement bag a few weeks ago. Oops, wasted trip. I went home and ordered it and of course it had to be shipped. I am sure I would have spent more money if I was in person;)

Posted by
2140 posts

You guys are not helping my bag-buying addiction! I just checked out the Sherpani daypacks and found the Sojourn on sale at REI. It arrives here tomorrow. 💸 I'm just hoping it fits flat in my RS bag so that I can get my carry-on spinner and the RS bag on board.

@bogiesan, thanks for the Packhacker links - it has very interesting and well thought out reviews. Definitely a younger vibe, like you mentioned.

@Wray, I agree that it is large for a personal item. I'm going to try to fit a smaller bag in it on this Ohio trip and see how it works, although as I mentioned earlier, I'm checking a bag for the Germany trip so it shouldn't be a problem them.

@Sun-baked, you and I must have the same type of body - I'm 5'4" and busty, so now I'm a bit concerned. But I guess I'll find out on this upcoming trip - I leave in 2 weeks and it will be a great chance to vet the Euro bag.

@Robin, good to know! I'm hoping I have room for stuff like that. However, I have 4 grandkids and they all want something from Germany, plus I have several birthdays coming up to buy for, so we'll see....

@Joe and mikliz97, I envy you both being able to go shop there in person. I don't mind the shipping so much, but it is nice to look at the bag in person.

Posted by
25 posts

I just bought the Euro flight bag yesterday. I wasn't 100% sold on it, but it is hard to decide from online photos and brief video. I figure I can always use the bag for other things if it doesn't work for me on the airplane. My issue is that I have a large backpack that I almost always check, so this will just be used as a carry-on for items needed in flight, however, my backpack has no wheels. So once I pick up my checked bag, I'll have two bags to carry and no wheels. I'm hoping it isn't too big to carry when paired with a backpack. I didn't want to carry-on a small backpack because that would be even harder to carry when combined with a large backpack.

Of course the one option would be to grab the checked bag, open it up, and stuff everything from the flight bag into the backpack. I just hate unpacking/repacking at the airport. I would prefer to just carry the two bags with me on the fly. I almost always take public transportation to/from the airport, so I am hoping this bag will do the trick without being too difficult to manage. I know I'll always have some items that I need to carry-on, so not having any carry-on bag at all is not an option.

Mile High,
How about the RS packable duffle (small cylinder one). I use this for dirty laundry when traveling. It’s small. Would make a good “flight” bag. Only issue - has no interior organization. But, would still make a good underseat bag.

My husband uses the RedOxx gator bag. The price has gone up on these bags. It has a detachable shoulder strap. It’s a smaller bag with an internal organizer panel. Not good for packing clothes. But, fine for a zipped fleece, snacks, papers, headphone set, smaller electronics, etc.. It stands up on its own under a plane seat. He really likes it for flying.

RedOxx recently came out with the PUP bag. It’s cheaper than the gator. The shoulder strap/grab handle is quite different. You would need to decide if that type of handle/strap would work for you.

Tom Bihn has the cadet.
LLBean has totes. Just check on the zip-top. Also, regular or long refers to the strap length. Regular is a grab handle. Long is an over-shoulder handle/strap.

Posted by
29 posts

Mardee, I'm wondering how the euro flight bag has been working for you so far?

Posted by
2140 posts

Oh my gosh, I totally forget to report on that. Thanks for the reminder, Karen! Okay, so here are my thoughts:

Pros:
- Lots of room inside - really surprising since it doesn't look that big.
- Fits under the seat in front with no problem.
- Lots of pockets - both inner and outer. That was a nice feature - I used one of the outer pockets for my water bottle.
- Easy to access items because of its shape. I packed several long packing cubes containing a couple of clothing changes (I checked a bag, so I wanted to have some clothing just in case), my toiletries bag, my laptop, notebooks, guidebook, my electronics bag, face masks, and other items. Those worked well because of the shape of the bag. I think it would be difficult to have a lot of single clothing pieces or items in there, though, as it would be too easy for them to fall out.

Cons:
Really only one - it was a bit cumbersome to carry. Because of the shape it was sometimes difficult to maneuver in tight spaces. It wasn't a deal-breaker but carrying it on the plane was tight (but I also had a CPap to carry on, so that didn't help).

Overall I really liked it, although I may just keep it for car trips or shorter plane trips in the future. I think I would prefer a backpack as my small carry-on when flying to Europe, so as to have a bit more maneuverability. I recently used it on a road trip I took with my grandson to Utah, Colorado and South Dakota, and it was very nice to have for the hotels we stayed in along the way. I was able to just bring the RS bag to the hotel room instead of my suitcase.

Posted by
5412 posts

Mardee, I agree with you about the shape being a "con." I have been considering making my Euro bag my "personal item," but since I'm already bulking up with a backpack, I think having the bulky Euro added to the mix would be too much. It is great for car trips, though. We take it when we go camping, and I used it as my only bag when we had to go to an out of state family wedding. In that instance, I used packing cubes to keep things organized.

Posted by
1 posts

We have smaller RS backpacks that we used on British Airways to conform to their personal item size on our last trip to Scotland and they were fine. Our current go-to personal item favorite is the Lug Puddle Jumper or Lug Puddle Jumper Backpack. Only con is they sell quickly in the solid colors. We purchased on their website, but here is another seller with excellent description. https://www.planktownhardware.com/products/lug-bags-and-luggage/lug-puddle-jumper-backpack-travel-backpack-navy-blue

Posted by
2140 posts

sharon, those look nice but the 2+ lb. weight would be a deal breaker for me. I'm looking for something lighter now.

Posted by
1195 posts

Mardee, I do not recall where I saw it mentioned but I recently read several museums and attractions have stopped allowing backpacks of any kind due to the larger crowds. Shoulder and crossbody bags seem to be okay.

I am replacing my 18L backpack soon with a smaller 13L/800cu-in Pilot from Tom Bihn. Hope you find your ideal personal item.

Posted by
2140 posts

Bogiesan, I've seen that happen (I think it was in Nuremberg at the museum) so it doesn't surprise me. But I generally do not take a day pack out with me during the day - I usually just carry a crossbody bag that carries what I need.

Posted by
14 posts

I am really sold on Lug bags. There is a big variety of them with different sizes and features. Some convert from cossbody to backpacks. They have great organization. Good prices on QVC.com and limolin.com. QVC has good video to show features of each bag. Limolin has great prices and quick free shipping. Since they are Canadian they have no sales tax for US. Amazon has some. Prices vary from full retail to sales on older bags. More videos on YouTube. Just got a Roadster backpack they weighs 16 ounces and works with the stricter size limitations of foreign airlines.