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luggage for 14 day Best of Europe

We are leaving soon for Rick Steve's Best of Europe tour. I was planning on checking a bag, 22 inch and bringing a carry on bag that can attach to my checked bag, plus a personal day bag. Do you think will cause a problem?


Posted by
23115 posts

Nope !!!! That is three bags. As long as you can conveniently handle all three at the same time. Personally it looks like one bag too many but it is your choice and your comfort level.

Posted by
508 posts

It's only two weeks so you may have packed too much. Remember, you're going to be carrying/rolling all of that over cobblestones and maybe up stairs in your hotel. How big is your carry on bag? For three weeks (including being on a RS Tour) I pack carry on only (depending on your airline, I can see why you might have to check, that's why I like British Airways). But I still come home with a top I've only worn once and extra socks and didn't use that scarf. So maybe you can cut down on a few things so you'll only have two bags. You'll love that tour! Enjoy!

Posted by
1259 posts

Take a few hours to research packing, packing lists, packing light, multi-purpose clothing choices, and luggage options (wheelies, backpacks, convertibles, carry-ons, checked). You can, of course, bring whatever you wish as long as you can handle it yourself on stairs, ramps, sidewalks, buses, trams, lobbies, and airports. Read the fine print on your tour agreement: there are no baggage services or porters on RS tours.

The group experience, freely offered here, has helped many of us reduce our mountain of stuff to a tiny hill that will easily (I repeat, easily) fit into a single 40 liter or 22" wheelie. Packing light and doing one's own laundry in the sink are not for everyone so you get to pick and choose among the available advice and stories.

See Risk's advice on packing, follow his links to video clips on the topic, and scroll down through a few months of posts here in the Packing Forum to see literally hundreds of threads on the same topic. We see this question often.

Happy travels!

Posted by
13675 posts

You'll have a full size bus which has a huge luggage compartment so no problem with space.

The suggestion for a small amount of luggage is for the reasons others have given - you'll handle it yourself so you need to make sure you can manage this. I'd suggest you pack completely then if you have a walking path in your area go pull it for 1/4-1/2 a mile. You may not have to go that far at any of your stops but you'll get the idea on whether this will be doable for you.

During the trip you CAN leave one of your bags on the bus overnight if you decide you don't need to haul everything in for each stop. Many bus drivers also have a big box for "deep storage" where people can put things they purchase along the way and don't want to bring in until the end.

I suggest you plan ahead for your overnights in Venice. You'll really want to cut down on what you take to your hotel there. Your bus will park at the Tronchetto parking lot then you'll take a vaporetto in to the stop nearest your hotel. Managing a bunch of bags on the vaporetto then over the bridges to your hotel can be a pain. The Vaporettos can be crowded. The bridges are steps rather than ramps so if it is rolling luggage you'll have to lift it up and over. I suggest you have a plan and just take in minimal stuff for these nights, leaving your 22" on the bus. If you use packing cubes you can take in a shirt, unders, PJs and just minimal toiletries. On my 21 day BOE, I put on clean clothes the day we left for Venice, then just planned to wear the same pants for 3 days with a change of shirt.

If you want to post a packing list you can but be aware it will probably be cut to shreds, lol! Many of us love the challenge of light packing. I love the challenge but I'm not one for "competitive" light packing! I have my packing down to getting everything in a 21" roller plus a small tote or day pack on my transit days. Your first tour (and I'm guessing this is your first?) is a learning experience. Do start with a packing list. Any piece of clothing that can't be worn with multiple tops or bottoms should not make the travel team. BTW, no one on the tour will notice what you've got on!

Posted by
6925 posts

You’re receiving comments about the issue of handling all of that luggage with the multiple stops. Another issue to consider is the size of hotel rooms in Europe. We’ve had some where we needed to place our small backpacks on top of our suitcases at night, just to have a walking path in the room.

Posted by
2697 posts

Why do you want to check a bag? If you were staying in one spot and the bag goes astray it would likely catch up with you. But you’ll be on the move all over Europe-would they find you in time? I would not take the chance of losing it. Get a 21 inch bag you can bring onboard and figure out how to eliminate or consolidate your other two.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks for all the tips! I was mostly thinking a checked bag for my liquid products. (contact solution, etc...) Plus the airline we went with includes a checked bag.

Posted by
2697 posts

Included means you won’t get charged for it. Does not mean they won’t lose it. The liquids you need for a few days can go in your 3-1-1 bag. They sell contact lens solution and lots of other stuff you use in Europe and it’s fun to shop for it.

Posted by
1030 posts

I was mostly thinking a checked bag for my liquid products. (contact solution, etc...) Plus the airline we went with includes a checked bag.

Usually a checked bag works out ok. The loss rate is about 3 in 1000 these days, so you're probably fine. Unless luck runs against you...

Or you can just do carry-on, skip the wait at baggage claim, eliminate the worries about lost luggage and the hassle of filling out forms and working with the airline to figure out if they can find your bag and where you'll be when they try to get it back to you, and have less trouble lugging your stuff around on a trip where you're changing hotels frequently.

It's a personal decision, no choice is right for everyone.

Posted by
128 posts

Try the 54321 packing guidelines.
There are also images to give you an idea of how to create outfits.

Lastly, I recently spoke with a friend who recently returned from their first 2 week trip to Europe. She started out with 2 bags, and had to purchase a third to accommodate gifts. She was miserable, having to lug around all of her baggage. The hassle ruined her trip. Enjoy yourself.

Posted by
1221 posts

They sell contact lens solution and lots of other stuff you use in Europe and it’s fun to shop for it.

But it's not always an exact match, even when the label claims it's for the same type of lens and use. I've ended up buying it over there after forgetting my own, and, while it worked safely and well enough for my RGP lenses in the end, the viscosity was totally different than what's sold in North America for the alleged same product.

Posted by
6113 posts

My husband and I always take one checked bag between us for a 2-4 week holiday, as it’s useful for liquids and it leaves room should we decide to buy any souvenirs. My husband’s carry on is full of his camera kit, so we need to check a bag, which is soft sided and has 2 wheels. His camera bag has shoulder straps and we also have one 2 wheeled case as hand luggage. I have a small cross body handbag that can fit into my hand luggage whilst I get through the airport gate.

We are not of the age where dragging a bag, even over cobbles or carrying up a few steps is hassle!

Taking a larger checked bag really isn’t a major issue for us and we don’t want to spend time on holiday fretting about how to get laundry done every few days or worry that we have taken the wrong clothes for the weather.

Posted by
882 posts

You can get small travel bottles of contact lens solution. I have gas permeable rigid contacts, I carry the 1.0 oz bottles of the Boston Simplus solution. One bottle lasts me 1.5 weeks. Also, you can buy most any of the solutions in Europe, i have checked various pharmacies and even grocery stores, they all carry the various brands.

Posted by
76 posts

I really advocate not checking a bag. I take one carry on only and my 'personal' bag is just my airplane survival things (Dramamine, earplugs, chargers, etc.) that fit inside that carry on during the rest of the trip.

I do it because it gives us so much freedom. I can zip through the airport and even ask for special favors if I need it. ("You only have one bag? Yes. Go ahead of me.") I can get on and off trains and busses so easily and have less to watch and worry about keeping track of. And, it makes me really think about my souvenir purchases so I don't go overboard. I honestly never wished that I had packed more, only less and I have left things behind at hotels on every trip that I wished I hadn't packed in the first place. My first trip, I bought a small foldable duffle in case I regretted my 'one bag' rule. Ha! I hated that I had to carry it all around then and never used it.

I really like Sarah Murdoch's advice. I've watched several of her YouTube videos (kind of followed a rabbit hole after her). Here's where I started watching. She has several great videos and her own website. Yes, I weigh everything just like she suggests. I think she developed an app to help with packing, but I had already designed my own spreadsheet.

I even bought the backpack she recommended and I'm still really happy with it. I think it's better than my husbands!

When you're thinking about what to take I would only add one last comment... I end up wearing the same three dresses the entire trip. (Dresses with pockets are amazing.) No one CARES in your group what you're wearing and the people in the cities you'll visit won't ever know that you're wearing something you wore yesterday because that's your first day in the city! Maybe even plan to purchase a couple things (scarf, hat, cardigan, etc.) while you're there to use and then it's a souvenir too.

Just my two cents, but I've been so happy with packing super light.

Posted by
13675 posts

I understand about the liquids. I check my carry-on size bag now but I also try to stay in my arrival city for a few days in case there are any delays with luggage. I have sensitivities so won't risk the "buy it there" advice. I don't use contacts but I'd want my own familiar solution.

However, with just 14 days you may be able to use smaller bottles of stuff. You probably don't have time now since you are leaving soon but when I started light packing I did a trial run on how long a 3 oz travel size of shampoo would last me. I was surprised it lasted a month - but I have short hair and can get by with a minimal amount of product.

Posted by
185 posts

The 54321 packing guidelines are pretty good-minus the two bikinis and 4 inch spike heels. LOL!

Posted by
713 posts

You may be able to put a larger amount of contact lens solution in your carry-on than however many 100ml (or smaller) bottles you can fit into your 3-1-1 bag. In the past I've put a regular sized bottle of contact lens solution, plus a couple of sets of my (30 day) disposable lenses into a separate ziploc bag, labeled "medication." I then placed that alongside my 3-1-1 bag in the bin at the TSA checkpoint. I was never denied permission to bring them onboard.

The TSA policy on medications is here:

The TSA site says:


Inform the TSA Officer

Inform the TSA officer that you have medically necessary liquids
and/or medications and separate them from other belongings before
screening begins. . . .

3-1-1 Liquids Rule Exemption

TSA allows larger amounts of medically necessary liquids, gels,
and aerosols in reasonable quantities for your trip, but you must
declare them to TSA officers at the checkpoint for inspection.

Remove them from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the
rest of your belongings. You are not required to place your liquid
medication in a plastic zip-top bag. If a liquid, gel, or aerosol
declared as medically necessary alarms, then it may require additional
screening and may not be allowed.

I've seen online comments that it may be up to the individual TSA screener's discretion as to whether a bigger bottle of contact lens solution will be permitted. As noted, mine always were. But also as noted, I made sure to place them in a separate bag, clearly identified as "medication" (I had an inhaler in there a couple of times as well, when I was using one), and placed in the x-ray bin along with the 3-1-1 bag.