We are planning to spend all of next summer in Europe with our kids, ages 10 & 13. We intend to spend the month of July in Barcelona doing a house-swap, but the end of June & beginning of August are up in the air - hopefully we'll be touring various countries, maybe by bike. We would like to store some of our baggage before & after the house swap. In the U.S. there used to be lockers in airports & train stations to hold excess baggage, but not since 9/11 - do such things still exist in Europe? Is there some other alternative to that? Obviously a rental car would solve the problem (or just renting an apartment for the whole trip), but I'm trying to explore all the options. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Lockers like that do exist in Railway Stations. But after a number of days they are emptied.
There is also storage you can rent long-term (months) which is charge per square metre.
There are long-distance bike routes across Eurtope which are routed via roads less travelled by motor vehicles. see here, plus lots of local and national routes.
You say "all of next summer". I trust you are aware of the 90-day limit after which non-EU citizens need a visa.
Chris, is correct in that most storage in train stations is short term and can be relatively expensive. Lockers are only good for 24 hrs and longer with the staffed luggage drops. How much storage do you need? One bag or ten bags? If biking, are you talking about bike cases? Need a better understanding of your needs.
I've recently seen lockers in some regions that go as long as three days, but left-luggage offices will take things longer, for a price, and sometimes are the only option (common at larger Italian train stations, for instance). Any hotel you stay in will normally be willing to store some gear until you return. If you're returning to Barcelona, then presumably you could work a deal with the house-swap family.
Thanks! That's great information, everyone. Does anyone have any names of these longer-term baggage storage places? As I said, I'm just trying to explore all the options, so I'd like to research the costs for something like this. Thanks again!
The left-baggage offices are in the train stations. Instead of using the locker, you hand it over to an attendant. Not all stations have them, so check online wherever you might be thinking of. It won't be cheap. In some stations, it's actually the only option as lockers are more of a security risk and they can xray scan your bags. A major bus station might also have left-luggage storage. Definitely check with your house host, they may well be able/willing to store the bags. Hotels will always do so for a guest, but probably not for a long duration (often they just keep them behind the desk or in a small closet if it's not a big corporate hotel).