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What size luggage

On the other forum for Germany, I posted a question about luggage and traveling. They convinced me that I was taking way too any bags. Each of us, there are 4, were going to each take a large suitcase (28") and a carry on suitcase (21") for a total of 8 pieces. We will be taking the Eurostar from London to Paris and taking an ICE train from Paris to Landsberg, GE. They shared the concern that, especially on the train from Paris to Germany, where there are two connection (one at Stuttgart and one at Munchin-Pasing) that with 8 pieces of luggage for the 4 of us it would be way to cumbersome as well as hard to find a place to store it on the ICE train. Apparently, despite ICE having no restrictions of how much you can bring on, there is very little space to store larger luggage. Additionally, although my parents are in great physical shape, still drives a Corvette, exercise everyday, get down on the floor to play with their great-granddaughter, they are 82 and 84 so it would be hard for them to move as quickly as necessary to grab luggage, get off the train and get to the connecting ICE train.

With all that said, I watched the packing videos that they recommended, and I have looked at the Stuttgart station which is one level, no stairs or escalators, and the second connection is longer so speed is not as much of a factor.

We are not comfortable trying to pack each of us for 12 days in just one 21" carry on as was suggested. But we do realize we have to cut back drastically. So rather than each of us taking a 28 " and a 21" for a total of 8 pieces, we are going to take just 4 pieces (2 per couple).

Long background I know and thank you for continuing to read all of this just to get to my question.

What I want to know is would we be better off, given having to take them on the Eurostar and the ICE trains, taking per couple, one 28" and one 21" (one big and one small) or two 25" (two mediums) for a total of 4 pieces.

I know this might seem like I am overthinking it, and I know I am, but I am just trying to make the best choice I can given the situation and the limitations and issues. I really appreciate your help.

Posted by
1396 posts

drthetford1, I've been following your other thread also. One consideration is the ability to store the bags on the train, but I think a bigger issue than the size of the bag is the weight of the bag. I would think two 25" bags would most likely be easier to manage. BTW - my husband and I are leaving next week on a 6 week trip which includes cooler climates, very warm climates, hiking and biking. We are taking one 22" bag each with an attachable small daybag. The largest bags we have ever taken are very lightweight 25" backpacks with internal frames. We have usually managed with 22" or less.

Posted by
10880 posts

Thought about a pair of 25s and a pair of 21s?

I have done 30 days in Italy with a 21" bag. Never had a " I wish i had brought this or that" too.

When you are lugging the bags on and off trains, smaller is better.

There are ways to do, or have laundry done. Its not necessary to pack 12+ changes of clothes.

Posted by
1625 posts

Your not over thinking it, luggage size and type is a big consideration for such a big trip. I am not comfortable traveling with just a 21 inch suitcase either that is why we also take a large personal item.. We have done 21 days with the combo of a 21 inch carry on suitcase and for me I take the Kipling Sherpa tote and husband takes a backpack. It's not so much about being physically able to handle your luggage, although that is important, but the ability to keep your belongings secure while in transit. My bag has a sleeve that fits over the handle of my suitcase for added sucurity. If we are in the train station and husband goes to the bathroom I sit with all pieces in front of me with the personal items secured by the handle and hold both handles or drape my feet over them. Plus the bigger tge suitcase the heavier it can be. I can pack a 21 inch for 12 days and would not need to do laundry, easy.

Posted by
119 posts

Don't even think about taking the 28" bags! My first trip to Europe with my daughter on a Globus tour, I took a 30" hard side Samsonite bag! It looked great and had two wheels on one end, but what a pain when not being handled by the tour company. I am 73 years old and my newest bag is 20" plus I have Rick's Euro bag. Getting on and off trains with luggage is tricky. You have to move quickly. Also, watch your luggage. My husband had his small personal bag stolen from the rack above our heads on a train in Belgium. I think it was taken before the train left the station!

Posted by
2697 posts

Since you have multiple postings about the same thing I’m re-posting this here:
Try loading up all your bags, whatever you choose, with all those clothes and take your parents on a trip to a city for a day. Rolling, carrying, up and down steps, stopping for lunch, etc. Those bags stay with you. Maybe even a train. I see they are fit and we are as well. But handling large bags tests your back, shoulders, patience. If you can pack it in a 25” you can pack it in a 21” or 22” and it will be easier on all of you and you’ll have the clothes you need. When you see what many Europeans carry it makes the 21” look huge! Watch this one as well: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PDn9l20NlWw. Sometimes the obstacles are things like shoes. Yeah, well, you need two pair, plus one on your feet, that’s it. If you have clothes that need dry cleaning or won’t drip dry overnight, or are only for one wearing, those should be out as well. If you approach every day like a fashion show you are stuck with taking a lot of clothes nobody will notice. Europe is a very casual place when it comes to dressing. Best of luck!

Posted by
3580 posts

Cut it to the bone! Hauling even 25" bags will be tiresome. I have traveled everywhere in three seasons for the past 20 years with only a 22" bag and smaller plus a small backpack for incidentals. Rick Steves has a suggested packing list; look it up and use it. Plan to wash out things or visit a laundry every few days. Leave books at home, if possible, or take only one per couple. You won't be sorry (but you may find your wardrobe boring)!! I always limit myself to 20# in my carry-on.

Posted by
2527 posts

Rick’s suggested packing list includes more clothes than I take. All pieces mix and match. After each trip, I think my wardrobe should be tossed into a fire, as it becomes boring. So what?

Posted by
10864 posts

No matter how long our trip is, ten days to six weeks, we always take one 21" bag each plus a small carry on. Once you have downsized, I bet you will never go back to those big bags.Hotels do laundry, there are laundromats or rent an apartment or house and you'll probably have a washing machine. I cannot imagine doing what you are planning using trains. One trip we took one 25" for the two of us as I had recently had surgery and couldn't handle my own bag.

Posted by
117 posts

I have always traveled with a 21" bag and a small carry on./day bag. Doesn't matter the weather or the length of trip.
That size is the most manageable weight and size for trains, planes, automobiles.

I recently did a Danube Cruise with my 86 year old mother. We added on a train trip to Berlin from Munich.
She is very spry and travels in Europe frequently. The 21" bag was as much as she could handle changing trains etc. I ended up carrying both her carry on and mine and my 21" bag while she managed her 21" bag.
What ever you decide, just be mindful you may end up carrying what the parents can't handle.

Posted by
809 posts

Since you have specifically said you are not comfortable trying to pack into a 21" bag for each of you, I'll just skip over telling you how long I can travel with just a 21" suitcase and a large personal item ... I know my mom has needed a 24" and a 21", plus a personal item, since her early 80s, to carry her meds, her shoes, her layers of sweaters, her pillow, etc. I agree that the 28" bags will be a nightmare, so go with a 25" for each of you. And I suggest some "cross-packing" (you may already be planning this) with outfits for each of you in different suitcases, in case one checked bag gets lost or delayed. You should also take a reasonable-size personal item, preferably with a change of clothes and your toiletries, plus whatever you'll want on the airplane.

In addition, I suggest you keep track of what you wear/use and what you don't. I pack pretty lightly but am still surprised by the things I don't wear on each trip ... I often do sink laundry and may end up just alternating outfits - wear one for a few days, wash it and switch to a different outfit while it's drying, then switch back to the now-dry clean clothes. That means I do less folding!

Posted by
26484 posts

I found a 24" bag very awkward when boarding and exiting trains. Dropping just to 23" or 23.5" made a noticeable difference in maneuverability. I can travel to Europe for 4 months with a 23" bag, and that's with 6+ pounds of medicines/vitamins/etc. that I now need plus a great deal of undigested travel literature I would have time to deal with at home prior to a shorter trip.

Not only is excess clothing unnecessary weight, it is a huge drag every time you change hotels. If you want it to look decent, you need to unpack and hang up everything that wrinkles, then you have to repack it when you move on. I assume the situation is better in upscale hotels, but I only very rarely have more than 4 hangers in my hotel room, so I end up with clothes draped over the back of the desk chair (if there is one).

Posted by
94 posts

Although most people on this site, myself included, will strongly recommend one 21” bag per person, you need to do what you are comfortable with. Having said that, you will be handling your bags more than you think you will. Escalators and elevators are sometimes out of order and there will always be stairs to cope with. Bigger bags hold more so they weigh more. Taxis don’t have really big trunks, elevators are small and it gets exhausting hauling a lot of “stuff” around. Getting on and off trains involves a few steep stairs and luggage room for bigger bags can be scarce. Smaller bags usually fit in a luggage rack over your head or under your seat. I have easily packed for 2 weeks in the winter ( to Stockholm and Prague) in one 21 inch bag. If you really feel you have to have a bigger bag, try the 25 inch. In the end, you will be glad you pared down to what you really needed and didn’t overpack.

Posted by
10047 posts

22" plus a backpack, which can expand if needed to be the equivalent of another 21" in capacity. I can barely handle the 22" wheeled case on stairs, so my poor husband has had to run up and down station stairs to come help me. Also, twice his back has gone out and I've had to bump his 22" case up and down the stairs, followed by bumping mine up and down the stairs. Luckily, we had nothing larger.
We use 25" if on a cruise, but for independent travel, you need to be unshackled. Free!

Pick one basic color and pack around it. 3-4 pairs of dark pants and various tops-- long, short, and sleeveless. a sweater, jacket, raincoat, umbrella....
One lightweight purse. 2-3 shoes depending on how tender your feet are.
Hand wash a bit at a time. Use any soap at hand to wash your clothes, even hotel shampoo. Buy thin, quick-drying clothes. My go-to are pieces I pick up at Kohl's for $10 with the coupons. Nobody knows. I buy my husband quick-dry golf pants in dark colors. He walks around Europe with Izod on his back pocket. Buy smaller size toiletries at the Dollar Store. Pack stuff inside your shoes. We do 6-7 weeks this way.

It's not what you're wearing but what you are doing.
Will you remember what you were wearing when you visited a certain place or what you were feeling and experiencing?

Posted by
13684 posts

One of the best pieces of advice I picked up here when I started the light packing process is to “pack on paper first”. Have you developed a packing list yet?

I do see you’re feeling like you need the space with the 21 and 25. At least if push comes to shove, maybe your husband can manage the 2 25’ers and you can manage the 2 21’s while Mom and Dad get themselves going.

If you want to open yourself up to it, you can post your packing list and we can whittle away at it!

By the way, I would NEVER have been able to get my Mom down to a small suitcase. I admire you for helping your parents work out this trip!

Posted by
6932 posts

First, do you have accommodations where you could have a washer/dryer at least midway through your trip? We’ve rented an apartment for one of our 2-night (plus) stays during our last two trips, and that made our packing options even lighter. Four of you would probably enjoy having a little extra space for one location, also, and the small kitchen is always handy.

Then, my recommendation is to bring the smallest suitcase that will work for each of you, and your husband & you can each bring a small backpack. Your parents could bring one or two small backpacks with their lighter items, such as what they want on the plane - light sweater, etc.

When you are stepping into and out of trains, that can be some steep steps, so the smaller the suitcases, the less likely your parents might fall.

Posted by
1194 posts

I’ve done 40 days with a single carry on and no personal item. While it seems intimidating, it is doable.

Here’s another thing to consider with a larger bag: hotel rooms. European hotel rooms are usually smaller than US rooms. You’ll be tripping over a larger bag. Elevators are tiny (if they even exist) and you’ll also have a hard time with a big bag.

I would suggest a combination of backpacks and rollers. You’ll probably be helping you parents on occasion. It is so much easier to handle their roller if you have your own bag as a backpack.

ICE trains have a big bin at the back of the train car for larger bags. It’s usually packed full. Others can and will pile their bags on top of yours. Then you have to dig out your bag when you get to your stop. A carry on bag, on the other hand, will easily fit on the rack above your seat. This makes it so much more convenient for a multi hour trip.

Posted by
19026 posts

According to its station layout on the Bayern-Takt website, Munich Pasing has elevators (and escalators) from the platforms to the tunnel, which should help (although you have plenty of time).

Posted by
10047 posts

We've found that we have to wait our turn for the elevators. People with strollers, disabled, others with large suitcases will also be in line for the elevator! If the connection is tight, this might not help.

Posted by
4132 posts

Do you already own those giant bags? In any case, you need to find out what they weigh empty. Besides the enormous and cumbersome size, the weight is a huge issue.

It's not just clothes. It's everything else you plan to take. Trust me, you will be far less comfortable lugging around anything over a 22" carry-on with a maximum filled weight of 22 pounds or less and a smaller tote than you will if you take all the clothes you want to take. Remember that you can also take a personal item that will fit under the seat in front of you.

Did y'all explore this Packing Forum thoroughly? There's lots of personal testimony here including personal packing lists. There are posts about what people should've taken and didn't and ones about what they took and absolutely did not need. Everyone has their own requirements, but multiple different outfits are usually not among them.

I'm usually gone for 4+ weeks. After years of mistake-making and including what I wear on the plane, train or whatever, I now take 3 pairs of pants, 4 tops, 1 pair of Mary Janes, 1 pair of very supportive and comfortable boots, 2 scarves, 1 lightweight quilted jacket and 1 rain jacket. Everything plays nicely with everything else, so 3 pairs of pants times 4 tops times 2 scarves equals 24 outfits. It's hard to believe, but many people get by with a lot less. Needless to say, they and I do laundry along the way.

One final tip about any luggage with rollers and handles. The rollers and the handles are often not counted in the size listed. You need to verify that the height of both are included by reading the description carefully online or by taking a measuring device with you to the store. Stand the bag on its rollers and measure from the floor to the top of the handle to see what its dimensions really are.

Posted by
26484 posts

It woukd definitely be possible to put enough in a 25" or larger bag to push it over the weight limit for a coach passenger on a transatlantic flight. That's something else to be mindful of. Considerable weight and bulk can be avoided by taking just enough toiletries for the length of the trip.

Posted by
2316 posts

I’m younger than your parents (68) and wouldn’t dream of taking a large suitcase on an overseas trip. I currently use the RS Ravenna and the total weight fully packed is 20lbs. I also use a small under the seat rollaboard for essentials such as our medications, paperwork, iPad, camera and a change of clothes for each of us. I cannot imagine packing heavier and trying to change trains, etc. especially when I am in my 80’s. You can get by with 7 shirts, 3 bottoms, a week’s worth of underwear, 1 nightwear, rain jacket, sweater, an extra pair of shoes and a couple of scarves. I also include a small hairdryer and flat iron. I wash things as needed in the hotel sink or find a laundry. I pack this way even when I am on a tour where people fetch and carry for me. Seriously. Pack small and light or you and your husband will be hating life.

Posted by
8023 posts

My wife can do it. I do it. My grandkids can do it. Rick Steve's does it.
Pack all you need in 21 inch carry on bags. And everyone handles their own bags.

The problem now is finding rental car trunks that can handle more than 4 carry on bags.
Every airport I go in, I see people with 1 or 2 of those 50 pound huge suitcases. And I see the poor husbands trying to tote them around. I actually feel sorry for the husbands.

Posted by
6198 posts

Alan is right about taking your luggage for a test drive - or walk, rather. Include hills, stairs, and rough streets or sidewalks. And don't just walk around the block; walk for at least a mile.

Bring the smallest bags you can. Three pair of pants, 4 or 5 tops, 2 pair of shoes, undies, a jacket or sweater...

We just returned from a 4 week trip. I carried a backpack that measured 18x13x6.5, and a small "personal item," about the size of a medium purse. I'm not trying to restart the backpack vs roller bag wars; I'm maintaining that you do not need a 25" suitcase, regardless of the length of your trip.

For the record, my backpack weighed under 12 pounds on the trip over to Europe; more on the way back because I carried about half my husband's things so he could pack the gifts and souvenirs.

His packing was similar; his backpack was smaller than mine, but his personal item was larger - a generously sized laptop case, sans laptop.

You can do this; just practice ahead of time, and be sure to check out the packing section of this forum for good ideas.

Happy travels!

Posted by
59 posts

I would say everyone should take a 21" carry on (which has the option of being checked) and then a personal size bag that fits over the handles of that "21 bag. It will act as one piece but give you plenty of room. More room then two "25 bags youll have to check.

That personal bag will be a lifesaver for you. It will be what stays next to you on the trains and in the air. It will have your earphones tablet snacks meds kleenex handwipes cardigan and a change of clothes if you check your other bag... whatever else.... jerky n mnms.

Dont leave any bags alone on the inside of the trains and keep it right next to you. Use it as a pillow if you sleep :)

Personal size bag is fairly large. As long as it firmly connect s to the 21" bag. Youll be able to handle it with ease.

Posted by
59 posts

One more idea. If you really find you have to many things and need more space ... you could do this.

Buy two of the underseat 15-17" wheelers. Get the kind where one can fit over the handles of the other.
Then check one and bring one on.

Along with that bring a personal item backpack.

That would give you 30-32" plus a small bag or purse for every person. It would also only essential be one unit with a bag on your back. One also makes a nice footrest in the air if you stick it under the seat.

Something like two of these where one will fit over the handle of the other for each person.

https://www.ebags.com/hproduct/samsonite/wheeled-underseater-large/264294?productid=10620028&cat=underseat-luggage&country=US&currency=USD&sourceid=ADWPRODUCTH&adtype=pla&gclid=CjwKCAjwo87YBRBgEiwAI1LkqRpX8TrnceWYJ7TTCn97DHMgYC2AZzn3AEQWBJSUcLmC8xN6hnRU8BoCogwQAvD_BwE

Posted by
796 posts

There are often stairs in the train station. I like to have my smaller personal item as a backpack and a rolling bag, both carry on. in the train station, it is easier to have one hand free with backpack on my back and carrying my rollaboard. Last year I was on a train where we were seated upstairs, I wanted my bags near me, so that meant carrying the bags up the short stairs and back down again. I was ok, even with an extra shopping bag as I was moving between 2 apartment rentals. My friend who had 3 bags had difficulty.

I often check my rolling bag on the way home as I fill it to the brim. I will take a small thin bag that I can use as a second bag as a carryon; sometimes it is full of my dirty clothes wrapped around a breakable something or other.

That is what works for me. I do rent apartments with washers and when on a tour I do sink wash when staying 2 nights in a place. I have used the hotel offered laundry too.

Enjoy your trip.

Posted by
23119 posts

...We are not comfortable trying to pack each of us for 12 days in just one 21" carry on as was suggested. .....

I am not sure what you mean by not being comfortable. You don't think you can do it or don't want to do or don't believe it is possible. Thousands do it all the time. If one 21" is too limiting, try using two 21". Far, far better than any of the large suitcases you have suggested. We have gotten by with one 21" for over a month. Sure, there are trade offs you have to make but at the end of the day you would hate a 28" bag. Even when we take cruises, we only take 3 carry on for the two of us.

PS -- I think the drumbeat has driven drthetford1 into the ground. Doubt if she will be back.

Posted by
354 posts

On our second last trip to Italy, we were joined by some "first timers" along with their big bags. They were miserable pushing and pulling those big bags around. And getting on and off the trains were the worst.

First of all, you don't need an entire set of new clothes each day. Secondly, undergarments are easy to wash out nightly. We travel with about 3 pairs of underwear, a couple of bottoms (capris and skort for me and Columbia zip off pants for hubby), 3 or so mix and match tops, a lightweight rain jacket (doubles as a bathrobe) and an extra pair of shoes. We also use sock liners which wash out and dry quickly.

To be honest, nobody cares what you are wearing, and you won't likely see the same people twice (other than those you are traveling with).

Mother-in-law (now 93) traveled to Israel several years ago with just a carry-on. They were gone about 3 weeks.

Posted by
10047 posts

She posted on her Germany Forum question and has been convinced. What a good sport! Now she's helping her mom adjust. I hope she writes a trip report!

Posted by
20 posts

Ok- I cheat and use a 24 in bag. I buy stuff over seas (books, dvds) and haul them home. It appears the OP has moved on and is working on going lighter but just in case....WEIGH your bags. With a 28 in bag you can easily blow past the 50lb weight limit for the bag (ignoring issues of carrying it) and trigger lots of nice airline fees.

Sid

Posted by
83 posts

I am posting this both on this forum and the Germany Forum as I have been getting info from both.

I want to thank everyone for all of the information. I am amazed as to the length you went to to share such detailed information, even sending me links to other info. I am very grateful for all of your help.
With that said, I called my mom tonight and shared with her that it is best for us to try to pack in just a 21" with an under the seat carry on. She was, as I originally was, shocked by the idea. We talked for a while, I told her we would go shopping on Tuesday and find some light weight, versatile pieces for her to take that she would be comfortable with and that could wash/dry easily and quickly in the hotel room sink. She was disappointed stating how she typically changes clothes twice a day and likes to "look nice" (which is very important to her). I assured her she looks better than any 82 year old I know and we will do a dry run of packing this week to see if we can make it with the small suitcase. At worst case scenerio, we will bring just one 25" if she just can't handle the idea cause I do want her to feel comfortable going and not anxious about it. But hopefully, with ya'lls help, I will be able to pack us all in just the 21" and a small under the seat carry on.
Thanks again for everyone's help and I will keep you posted on how it goes. If you have any other helpful hints, please feel free to continue to post for me. I can use all the support I can get. Thanks!

Posted by
4431 posts

Mom has standards. If you can help her with a 25 inch suitcase, then let her aim for that rather than a 21. You have been advised, but it doesn't work if Mom is miserable. Who are we to tell an 82 year old to 'change her spots'?

By all means, 'shop' her wardrobe for some mix and match items, and show her that an addition of a scarf or different jewelry can change a look and she can 'look nice' with an accessory change, rather than clothing change.

That being said, It has been hot in Germany and changes of tops might allow her to feel fresher.
You can get a whole lot more into a 25 inch than a 21 inch and might be the compromise she can accept.

Posted by
1625 posts

OP- The only way I was convinced that I could "look nice" during my 21 day trip with my small suitcase was by watching You-Tube videos of VERY fashion forward women demonstrate their mix and match outfits, and detailed instructions on how they achieved 40 different outfits with 13 items. There is a method to it. Once you search videos with her there are so many and the titles are usually "Savvy Traveler", "Packing like a pro", most of them are women with all their accessories and many are on packing specifically for Europe. She will want to get on board once she sees the videos and may even see it as a challenge. It is about mixing and matching,(think:one top used 3 different ways) I am never bored with my outfits, I love all my clothes and always look nice, put together and clean. I do full hair and make-up every day and even with my tiny suitcase, I bring all my beauty/hair essentials including flat iron and curling iron, jewelry, scarfs etc.

Here is my favorite, this girl rocks!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idBP6T11YhU

Posted by
19320 posts

Speaking flatirons and hair curlers, make sure they work on 240 VAC electricity in Europe, and you'll need both British and France/Switzerland plug adapters.

Posted by
3171 posts

I think weight is an important consideration. Your parents need to be able to help a little bit (and it sounds as if you father will be able to a bit more, but the last thing you want is for them to over-help and be injured, so their vacation is ruined. A pulled muscle in one's 80's is slower to heal. Carrying a full 21" bag up train steps would likely be difficult for many younger people. Switch it to a full 28" and it might become impossible, as the size allows more weight and less maneuverability. As it is likely you and your husband will be handling the larger bags, I have a few thoughts.
1. If you and your husband used backpacks and a cross body bag, you each have a hand free for your parents' main suitcases and still one to hold the bannister. The wheeled bags should try to be around 21 or 22" for maneuverability. 2. Have you considered a suitcase that size with the expansion possibility? You could tell your mother that you could shop in Europe if she felt under-dressed and you will have built in expansion room. She might enjoy that if she really couldn't stomach the light packing. 3. Keep your mother's suitcase for her clothes only. It seems to me that a 21" suitcase holds a lot of clothes if that is all that goes in it, but, remember, weight is a consideration. However, I fear that if you mother essentially wants to bring 24 days of clothes, her toiletry kit might be huge. 4. Have your parents' underseat bags be wheeled bags as well. This is so helpful on long walks to or between transportation. These bags can ride on the suitcases in your control if necessary, if you use backpacks. Or if all is going well and your parents manage their wheeled underseat bags, your backpacks can ride on their suitcases after the stairs in the stations. --My husband is a a 77 year old who also plays on the floor with his 2 1/2 grandson, walks 3 miles an hour regularly per week for exercise in addition to life in general, lifts large mulch and soil bags up and down stairs/hills/backyard, but managing luggage all the time gets old and he was extremely happy to have a wheeled underseat bag for our recent trip to the Netherlands...especially for Schipol, which seems to go on and on and on. Sorry, I digress. 5. Also, your comment about limiting the number of bags, but going larger. My daughter once dated a pilot's son. Their family had flown all over the world; five people. When she was packing for her junior year abroad, she was told that it is better to take two small bags that she can easily lift and move, than one large bag. Eight reasonable bags between 4 adults is not unmanageable. Everyone should be responsible for their two bags if only to make sure someone else is carrying them. You just count bags anyway, no matter how few you have, when you get up from your seat, and on and off each transportation system. And when leaving a seat, any seat, always look back.
Being a person who does not like "up" but travels alone regularly (or prefers not to rely on others), I use a 21" and an underseat item. I concentrate on keeping the total weight under 30 lbs. Good luck with developing your system. We here at RS packing forum, love these dilemmas, and there is no one correct answer.

PS: Just make sure you have laundry service at your hotels so you can bring less than 24 changes, but wear fresh clothes. Well worth the money. I doubt your mother wants to hand wash her clothes. Once or twice during your stay, have the hotel do your laundry.

Posted by
1625 posts

Another consideration is the amount of time you are given to board and de-board the trains. I am not familiar with the ICE trains, but I know in Italy we anticipate our stop about 2 before and start pulling ourselves together. Gather trash, pack up whatever we have out (Tablets, scarfs, jackets, pillows..whatever), pull down luggage and configure it for our exit and then stand there waiting for our station (get out of the way for other people!). With each of us just having two items it is really easy to keep track and not forget anything, but we always look back as someone else mentioned. Especially on the top storage we have seen our hats or jackets!