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Luggage Question

My husband and I will be in Europe (Scottland, Germany, Italy) in October and November for 35 days. During this time we will be taking a cruise for a week. We are thinking of each taking a 25 inch suitcase on wheels and back packs. Will this be too much?

Posted by
1967 posts

Well, no matter what trip length I take, I bring my same tiny suitcase, which is small enough to carry on for any airline. I don't take cruises, though, and I know there's more of a trend to dress up a bit on those cruises. You'd have to check bags that large, obviously. How are you getting around for the other 28 days? You might be lugging some large suitcases on and off trains and down some city streets. If you're prepared for that, you'll probably be okay. The smaller your bags, the easier your travels will be. But plenty of people travel with suitcases that large. I'm sure you're also thinking it will be cool to cold throughout your travels, which will impact how much you need to bring. It's certainly easier to pack light in late spring!

Posted by
12596 posts

Valerie covered a lot of the concerns I would have trying to manage cases that large. Outside of the cruise, you're likely going to be muscling those bags in and out of trains and up/down stairs (lifts aren't always available everywhere) so if you can't easily lift and carry them yourselves, I'd go with smaller ones.

You may also be trundling the wheels across some nasty surfaces (cobblestones, uneven pavement) unless you're planning on direct transport from train station to hotel so don't bring cheap bags: those wheels are going to take a beating and need to hold up.

Posted by
21243 posts

Too much is relative question. For us, it would be too much simply because you tend to overload large bags like a 25". Don't know what you mean, size wise, for back packs? Just how big are your back packs? Personally we would view that as potential excessive. On our first trip to Italy in '91, including a cruise, we had a large suitcase, handing garment bag, backpacks, and a train case (anyone remember train cases). We traveled a week before and a week after the cruise on trasins. It was more than excessive and an enormous learning experience about handling luggage.

Since then we have done a lot of travel including seven European cruises. We have developed a system that works well for us. Regardless of the length of the trip for our non-cruise trips we use standard 21" carry on bags, backpack style. If a cruise is involve then we add one, 21" rolling bag to handle the extra clothes, especially shoes, for the cruise. That bag is checked and rarely opened when off the ship. The clothing for both the cruise and regular travel are well coordinated and cross matched.

Is that one 25" suitcase or one each 25"? You can get by with considerably less but it is also a learned experience. I would encourage you to think less.

Posted by
39 posts

I agree it's all relative. I use a 25" rolling bag and a backpack. I'm in my sixties and don't have any issues with the size or weight. Of course, when I back pack with Girl Scouts, I carry a 50 pounds pack so I'm pretty good with heavy loads and lots of walking. Just be sure you are comfortable with the weight. Less is better but as long as I wear everything I take, I don't feel bad about the size of the bag. Also, I recommend a bag with large sturdy wheels. :-)

Posted by
6570 posts

I remember my poor father hauling around my mother's 25", 45 pound suitcases all over the world.

We have long since learned to travel indefinitely using Rick Steve's packing list and a 22" roller. My wife does take a small carry on bag for shoes and medicines and I carry a small backpack.

Cruises are now much less formal now than in past years. We pack for cruises just about the same as any other trip. I've long ago given up hauling full suits when on a cruise. We'll be too on a cruise out of Rome in about 7 weeks.

Posted by
453 posts

i used a 25" roller that was hyped as being ultra light and it was. We traveled around the CT area in Italy, Pisa, Lucca and it worked out fine for that, obviously it needed to be on rollers because of all the train transfers we did. One important thing is that you must be able to lift the suitcase by yourself and will no doubt have to lift it over your head at times. Some of the train racks are overhead. People will help but most of the lifting, pulling, stashing of your bag will be all on you. So keep that in mind, for me a good reference ws "can I lift it over my head onto the rack". I also had a back pack and a small shoulder bag to carry my Ipad. My wife had a small rolller bag and a back back so I say it is doable but be aware of the fact that train travel is not like airline travel as there is no "official" person to help you load, unload your bags. The ups and downs of train station platform (bins) changes made the 25" bag the largest I would attempt in the future. We had two weeks worth of clothes, boots, etc in the 25 inch bag. good luck, sounds great as I have done Scotland and Italy the last two years!

Posted by
3555 posts

Way too much!

Cruise or not, pack for a week and do laundry. Layer. Coordinate. Use accessories to dress up.

The cruise is 1/5 of your trip. Don't burden the other 4/5 with things you think you have to have for it. Come up with clothing that will work for both.

Posted by
5657 posts

Interesting that you are asking. It comes down to what do you NEED to enhance your travels and who is going to handle your baggage? If you had Downton Abbey footmen and chauffeurs to cart around you baggage the answer may be more straight forward than being your own porter.

If your activities are basic sightseeing tourism and you are not an Ansel Adams type photographer with tripods and sheet film cameras (or the multiple DSLR with multiple lenses), being more minimalist my allow you to see more with less effort. On the other hand, if your travel activities require gear and renting is not a viable option, the big cases may be worth the effort.

Consider how many time you transfer and mode of travel, and how you will transfer the big cases. Your call.

Posted by
250 posts

I've done it twice now with a carry on and backpack. Tight fit but definitely do able! Mix and match!

Posted by
5563 posts

I usually have a roll aboard and a backpack. That's because I am doing a variety of things and so I have hiking boots, camera gear, walking sticks etc. And I have rain gear. I would advise trying to take as little as you can, but if your back pack is not stuffed or heavy you're probably okay.