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Luggage and traveling in Europe

I was wondering I like my Rivanna it seems to have enough space for me. My wife likes spinners, and Rick Steves is a half inch taller, but does that really matter. Has anybody used his spinner luggage what are your thoughts on that and does it cause any problems for carryons on airlines.

Posted by
5141 posts

Hi! Welcome to the travel forum! Luggage is a popular topic, and there’s a lot of info from past posts. If you enter “spinners” or other words in the Search at the top of this forum, you will see options to read RS articles or travel forum posts. You can even filter on “less than two years”, etc.

Posted by
14446 posts

I have a post where I make the comment that in 400 flight legs I have never had the size of my carryon checked.

Having said that, my carryon is legal, always legal in size and weight because not to do so is just asking for that one in 401 chance that it does get checked; and because following the rules is the right thing to do in life.

Be sure to check your airline, because there is no standard "legal" or "approved" or "regulation" size. Every airline has its own rules.

My carryon is a hard sided spinner (the greatest sin in the RS community), but l like the ground doing all of the work of dealing with the weight not my back or shoulder or arm, and I like the bag next to me rather than tripping people behind me, and I like the fact that it just stands on its own even with my personal item slung over the handle.

Posted by
5961 posts

My Briggs & Riley spinner is just within the carry-on height size limits, so no problem fitting it in the overhead compartment on an international plane. I’m not certain whether the Rick Steves spinner is any smaller.

The single best thing about a spinner suitcase is how easily it rolls down the aisle of a plane, easier to transport than any other type of bag. The single worst thing is on a bus, going up or down a hill, and having the bag roll away down the aisle of the bus. Hold on to it, or the easy-rolling wheels will allow it to take off.

Posted by
1559 posts

I've used both spinners and regular two wheelers and I will always like the two wheels. Much easier going down aisles and walking down the street. IMO.

Posted by
14 posts

Thank you for your help! I did buy the RS Ravenna, and I really like it. Of course I wish I have more space but it does seem like I can pack a weeks worth of stuff in it. that doesn’t mean there’s 7 pants or shirts.(I am not that good yet:) I can at least fit enough underwear and socks and T-shirts. My wife wanted new luggage and she likes spinners, so I was just asking if anybody has bought the Rick Steves spinner one and whether that half inch matters when it comes to checking things in. For the longest time I thought the standard was 22 x 14 x 9 and it could’ve sworn in the past Rick said those dimensions but now it’s 21 x 14 x 9 so I don’t know if things have changed or maybe I had it wrong in the beginning but I figure a half inch shouldn’t matter. Has anybody used his spinner in the past? Is it is spacious as his Ravenna?

Posted by
2132 posts

There are many airlines that have tighter restrictions, which is why the size is a bit smaller. For example, Air France mandates a size of 21.7 x 13.8 x 9.9. You can see all the size restrictions here: https://upgradedpoints.com/travel/airlines/carry-on-luggage-size-chart/

If you're worried about size, you might want to check some of the posts on how to pack lighter when traveling to Europe. There are lots of them with many ideas on how to reduce the weight and bulk of clothing and other items, and if you pack very light, how to get your clothes clean while traveling. For example, many of us use packing cubes, which are wonderful for condensing the size of your packed clothing and keeping it organized. To find out more, just do a search for "packing cubes" on this forum.

Posted by
66 posts

My trusty 22 inch, 2 wheeled Victorinox suitcase of 15 years was on its last leg during my recent 5 week trip to Europe where I did only carry-on luggage so I really researched my next purchase. I settled on the Briggs and Riley ZDX 22” Domestic Carry-On Expandable Spinner. I suggest this suitcase for your wife. The ZDX has the most capacity because the handle is on the outside of the bag and with its ability to expand, I thought it would best for my travel needs. After doing carry-on only for my Europe trip, I now will only travel that way. As suggested by Mardee, look into organization aids. Eagle Creek packing cubes and pack-it sleeves made all the difference. I also invested in detergent sheets which helped in washing my clothes. So far I have not had any troubles with the wheels on stairs, I simply spin the suitcase so it is just on two wheels. The wheels move very well and are placed to take the least amount of suitcase space. I really study the specs of each suitcase especially total cubic inches or liters to make sure I have the most space in an allowed carry-on.

Posted by
39 posts

Cootnnanny, it seems like the big airlines have more generous carryon sizing and the more regional airlines are sometimes tighter. So I don't know how picky they are on the 22 vs. 21.6. They're using metric, so in reality it's some airlines saying 56cm and some saying 55. Are the sizers generous to hold 56cm or are they going to tell you to check for 55cm? Or do they weigh on the regional airlines but not do the sizer? I don't know and have the same question.

I think if you compare the spinner and the rolling carryon from RS, you get more size with the spinner but some nice features with the grab handles etc. with the rolling carryon. They seem to have put a lot of love into their rolling carryon.

I think you can work on your packing and get it down, mercy. Are you planning to rewear things? https://blog.ricksteves.com/cameron/2022/09/packing-tips-unfashionable-male/ Here's an article to get you started. He says not to fiddle with "travel" pants and convertible pants, but I like the ones I got from Duluth. They're in the women's section (though I assume they have men's) and the roll up to capris or down. They come with inseam sizes to fit nicely and wash up beautifully in a sink. I wore them up to Canada and got this terrible red mud all over them walking the beach with the Hopewell rocks. The mud came right out and they dried easily on the hang line overnight.

Having done that, I feel pretty confident that I can take those pants in several colors and be quite happy on a long trip. I just change out the tops to suit the occasion. You might also find you can do your laundry (paid) periodically on your trip quite easily. I think there are laundry drop off services many places if you google. I chose some of our lodging because it has laundry. (apartments, hotels, etc. that list it)

Oh you said she likes spinners? Well Mister E keeps talking about the Bric's B/Y, which is happily 21x14x9. Amazon has it, so you can return if you're not happy. I'm sort of infatuated with the spinner wheels on the Eagle Creek luggage. https://www.eaglecreek.com/products/tarmac-xe-2-wheel-carry-on I'm very tempted to order it and measure it myself. It says 22, but I don't know. And REI and some stores have it to see it without ordering. The wheels are just amazing.

Posted by
14446 posts

You know, the 3rd party websites for luggage restrictions are great, but if it is ever wrong (and i know of one instance about 6 years ago when ione one of them was) ..... so simple to look it up on the carriers website.

Posted by
14 posts

Stw1b: I know what you mean. I used to be a heavy packer to the point where I would bring everything but the kitchen sink. But after watching Rick Steves and watching others on YouTube I’ve tried my best to reform myself packing wise lol. Last time I went down to see my friend I had a Amazon basics 22 spinner. He was amazed at how I was able to pack compared to what I used to be like, and he complimented me on it. To be honest I’ve only traveled in North America, where luggage restrictions aren’t as bad at least for me. I will admit, I’ve mainly used Southwest Airlines so it’s been a lot easier. However, in the future, I want to take a trip to Ireland and I want to try the Rick Steve’s way, we’ll see if I can do it!

Posted by
12222 posts

Most European airlines limit size and weight of carry on bags. You have to keep that in mind.

I have not seen nor heard of any reviews of the RS spinner. My question is why limit yourself to one brand when if you go to a local discount store like Marshalls or Ross or TJ Maxx, you will see dozens of bags from different manufacturers? Go to your local department stores and see what is available. Spinners are the most popular type of luggage these days and you can find them everywhere.

Take a tape measure and a luggage scale if you have one.

But like others have said, you need to work on packing if you want to travel internationally with just carry on luggage. There are a lot of good packing videos out there and how to websites. Don't just limit yourself to what Rick Steves says.

Packing is also a work in progress. I have been traveling for three months at a time for years. I'm constantly fine tuning my packing to make the next trip easier--and hopefully lighter.

I have been asked what the secret is to traveling light and it's simple. You just do laundry a little more often. I take five days worth of clothes. I take just enough toiletries and OTC meds to get me started. Everything else I need can be purchased there. I use packing cubes and smaller bags and sacs.

That's my way of doing things. It may not be right for you.

Posted by
630 posts

Definitely start with your packing list rather than the size of your luggage. Try to make it the least amount possible that you are not overly uncomfortable packing. Doing some laundry along the way or having it done is okay.

Posted by
39 posts

Hey Frank, when you say 5 days, are you rewearing pants or taking 5? I was planning 3 bottoms total (wear 1, pack 2) and a mix and match of tops. If I could get the tops to 5 (which I think I did in my packing test), that would be great. And like you're saying, 5-6 undies. I'm a one pair of shoes on your feet and done kinda person, but my other person thinks they want a 2nd pair, ugh. Maybe what I need to do is shop and get one pair that makes them happy for both functions (water activities and walking/dinner), hmm. Shoes are HEAVY!!

Posted by
630 posts

We pack pretty much as follows; 5 tops (shirt, t-shirt, polo), 5 pants / shorts, 5 sets of underwear/socks, one sweater, one jacket and a light rain jacket. You are wearing one of each so you will be packing four. As for shoes, we have both tried the one shoe only, does not work for us. So we pack the lightest pair and wear the heaviest. We start with this packing list and may leave out or add in an extra item depending on our itinerary. We always try to follow the "less is more" mantra.

Posted by
12222 posts

Five shirts

Five undershorts

Five pair of socks

Three pairs of pants (2 jeans)

one or two sweaters depending on the season

One pair of shoes

One cummerbund

One ascot

Two pair of spats

Okay, everything past the shoes is optional.

Posted by
14 posts

I wonder has anybody, let’s say gone to Paris or England with an empty suitcase, Buy your clothes there and brought them back home instead ?

Posted by
862 posts

No.

Have you considered packing extremely lightly, using a bag (s) without wheels, taking just what you need to barely survive, and just one to two changes of clothes?

On 5 solo trips to Europe I took two pieces of luggage, sometimes I carried food or other stuff in a 3rd canvas grocery bag. I took just one to two changes of clothes and washed clothes in sinks or showers. I took a jansport school backpack with padded straps and a paned back and leather bottom, for everything that was not clothes; and a duffle bag that is like a heavy-duty gym bag made of ballistic nylon with an inner layer that is not bonded to the outer layer. I have previously made the mistake of using bad quality duffle bags, the kind that have an inner vinyl layer melted or bonded to the outer woven layer but after a few uses the inner layer just developed a lot of cracks and started breaking apart and flaking off. The strap of my duffle bag sometimes digs into my neck. Perhaps I will switch to a duffle bag that holds almost all my stuff and has straps that let me carry it on my back.

On my first trip to Europe, actually this makes 6 trips to Europe total, I massively overpacked. I was travelling for a 4 week summer Yiddish class in Lithuania that I got college credit for. I massively overpacked. I talked my mom into buying me the biggest suitcase we saw in JC penny, along with a matching carry-on bag; I could barely move the suitcase after I had overstuffed it; it had a telescoping handle and two wheels allowing me to pull it or push it when tipped at an angle. Later I donated the suitcase and bag to a local thrift store.

Posted by
5961 posts

has anybody, let’s say gone to Paris or England with an empty suitcase, Buy your clothes there and brought them back home instead ?

Well, how about Florence? Decades ago, my ex-husband spent a whole day at the Giorgio Armani store, trying on and buying suits. That then necessitated buying a new, additional suitcase for bringing them home, along with what luggage we already had! Imagine losing an entire vacation day, with Firenze sitting just outside the store! Note: ex-husband.

Posted by
2132 posts

I love my spinner - it's much easier to maneuver than a two-wheeled bag, especially at the airport if you're dashing for a flight. And I've never had a problem with it in European streets either. The wheels do take up extra space, but if you pack light that should not be a problem.

Where are you planning to travel to in Europe?

Posted by
7356 posts

I wonder has anybody, let’s say gone to Paris or England with an empty suitcase, Buy your clothes there and brought them back home instead ?

Not completely, and not on purpose. One trip, I missed packing a large packing cube that had much of my essentials (it fell behind a chair). So I had to buy a bunch of stuff at my first stop. It was supposed to be in my checked bag, so I didn't notice until we got there.

No reason what you suggest wouldn't work. You could even just buy the bag over there. A bag full of clothes from Marks & Spencer or Monoprix is a good souvenir. Some people just dont want to spend their time shopping for clothes. I don't mind - it's a cultural experience.

Posted by
14446 posts

Does it have to be Paris or England?

I went to Budapest last month, being from South Texas I dont have a lot of warm clothes so I packed very light, just a carry-on for the clothes, and bought some nice sweaters, etc when I got there; all of which i brought home in my carry-on.

Posted by
14 posts

For some reason she wants to go to Ireland around Dublin first it’ll be our first European trip since we live in America

Posted by
515 posts

I wonder has anybody, let’s say gone to Paris or England with an empty suitcase, Buy your clothes there and brought them back home instead ?

Have done this on a trip to New York. The US understands short women and I was in heaven in the petites sections at Talbots, Macy's and Bloomingdales. Short husband loved Men's Wearhouse.