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Best of Italy tour - Venice luggage issue?

We are scheduled to take the Best of Italy tour next fall. Is there an issue with luggage in Venice so that carry-ons remain on the bus? If so, How does one manage to get clothes, medicine, and all the essentials to the hotel?

Posted by
8412 posts

The day before arrival to Venice the guide will suggest you consolidate your stuff so all you bring with you is what you need for the 2 nights. The rest stays secured in the bus.

We stuffed our 'day bags' and left the carry-on roller bags on the bus.

Posted by
20797 posts

If you don't already have a lightweight, capacious tote bag you can use for this purpose, Google packable tote and look for something light and reasonably spacious. They need not be expensive, though some are crazily priced for a few cents' worth of polyester or nylon.

This online article mentions some specific brands, or you could check out Amazon (where you should find some inexpensive options). https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/best-packable-tote/ . RuMe has gone out of business since the article was written.

If you want to handle the product before you commit to it, check out The Container Store (if there's one near you), TJ Maxx and Marshalls. I've seen sturdy, not-so-lightweight, fold-up tote bags at all of those stores from time to time. Expect to pay $25+ at The Container Store.

It's handy to have a packable tote for potentially stashing purchases that don't quite fit in the suitcase. Note that the lightest ones are not very protective of their contents. They'll be fine for toting clothes and toiletries from the bus to your hotel in Venice, but they aren't a good way to carry around Venetian glass or ceramics.

Posted by
1630 posts

It has been quite a long time since I did this tour in 2006, but my recollection is the same as other replies. You won't want to haul any kind of heavy roller bag through Venice (up and over bridges with stairs, over cobbles, etc.) for just two night stay. I also recall that we took a private water taxi from where the bus parked and there was pretty limited space for all of us people and luggage.

Because I had a non-wheeled backpack suitcase, I just removed what I wasn't going to need for two nights (including souvenirs) and put it in a packable bag (this is the one I have now) that stayed in the deep storage on the bus. Others put their things in the packable bag and left their main bag on the bus. Since it is a short time frame, you will have a decent sense of expected weather so you can pack your smaller bag accordingly. When you get to Florence you can re-pack your things. Easy peasy.

Posted by
60 posts

We did a RS tour that included Venice. The guide encouraged us to bring only necessary items for the Venice stop since we rode a very crowded vaporetto to reach Venice proper. Also can be difficult to navigate through the streets of Venice to your hotel with large bags. But we only had carry-on backpacks anyway, so we just brought them. Some people with larger luggage did scale down. I got the impression that you were “allowed” to bring whatever you wanted to Venice, but as with all RS Tours, you would be responsible for carrying it and keeping track of everything.

Posted by
2879 posts

Barbara G. Thanks for this. I was wondering about that, if you have a reasonable carryon anyway, why not bring it. if I remove what I need for two nights, there is not a great deal of heavy left in my wheeled bag, which I can carry as an old fashion suitcase. I plan to return to Venice at some point, as when I was there in January of ‘76 I was non-plussed. I do remember the up and down of the bridges… I look forward to seeing Venice as an older adult.

Posted by
4938 posts

Barbara G is correct. You may take whatever you want, but you have to carry it. The bridges in Venice have steps; the streets are cobbled. And as usual, your hotel may or may not have a working elevator.

Stan and I use backpacks, so we didn't bother to repack for Venice, but a number of folks did.

Posted by
20797 posts

Extensive trekking over cobblestones is really, really hard on spinner wheels and not great for two-wheeled bags, either. The heavier the bag is, the more stress there is on the wheels as the suitcase bounces around the cobblestones. It's not just a matter of whether you can manage a wheeled suitcase or not, but also what condition it will be in by the time you get it back to the bus at the end of your stay in Venice.

Posted by
6508 posts

I am remembering the horrible racket our group made with an early morning walk to the dock with mostly wheeled bags (our tour started there so all bags in play). Another reason for locals to hate tourists.

Posted by
2058 posts

I went on this tour in 2016 and put items I needed in my Euroflight bag which has a shoulder strap for the 2 nights in Venice. My main bag with 2 wheels was stored in the locked storage area of the bus.

To add to the comments above, I just returned from a 10 day stay in Venice and rediscovered its magic. One of my realizations is Venice is a giant stairmaster! There are 438 bridges, of all sizes depending on the size of the canal, and every bridge, except for 1 or 2, has stairs going up and then going down. This means anywhere you walk, you will be crossing several bridges, up and down, to cross the various canals. If you take wheeled bags you will find you will likely carry them to avoid creating noise.
This is a great tour, you will love it!

Posted by
4938 posts

You might also consider doubling up with your travel partner. We did that at Mont St Michel on the Heart of France tour. Our guide was pretty adamant that we needed to pare down our luggage, so Stan and I just put our night things, toiletries, and fresh undies into one small bag.

And the guide was right! Not only was the street narrow, uphill, and very crowded, but we had to wiggle up a very narrow circular staircase to get to our hotel room. (Not everyone was in the same hotel.)

Posted by
12926 posts

I really encourage you to avoid bringing your wheeled luggage into Venice—-it makes a terrible racket! Some years back there was a report that wheeled luggage would be banned, but it turned out to be a rumor, or fake news, and did not happen. Still, it is good to be respectful and minimize the noise, so if you do bring in your wheeled bag, make it as light as possible so you can carry it instead of rolling it.

Fun story—-the day we departed our apartment where we had spent a wonderful month, and walked to the vaporetto stop, I was struggling a bit with my full 22” bag to carry it over a bridge by Campo San Lio (I am a pretty small woman, and over 60). A very attractive 30-ish man in business suit (and neatly tied man bun) who was walking close by said something in Italian, picked up my bag, carried it over the bridge, and set it down on the other side, all without a break in stride. I barely had time to thank him before he strode off. Made my day!

Posted by
1307 posts

"Fun story—-the day we departed our apartment where we had spent a wonderful month, and walked to the vaporetto stop, I was struggling a bit with my full 22” bag to carry it over a bridge by Campo San Lio (I am a pretty small woman, and over 60). A very attractive 30-ish man in business suit (and neatly tied man bun) who was walking close by said something in Italian, picked up my bag, carried it over the bridge, and set it down on the other side, all without a break in stride. I barely had time to thank him before he strode off. Made my day!"

My wife had the same experience in a London Tube stop at the bottom of a long stairway. This happened not once, but twice. One of the times it was a young woman who took her bag up the stairway. This was in the middle of rush hour and these were business people on their way to work. Never did I expect this to happen. Oh, I was left to handle my luggage by myself. The British are better than their reputation.

Posted by
781 posts

I’ve seen this question several times. I have not been on this tour but I’ve read all of these threads with the same answer: You can take whatever you wish. You simply have to haul it yourself (over the bridges, thru the crowds, up the stairs, over the cobbles, and up to your room) for the entire distance. All good reasons to learn to pack lightly and to have an appropriate bag. When at last i get to Venice with RS, my Tom Bihn A45 will simply go with me, fully packed. ‘Twill be no big deal.

Posted by
263 posts

I love my Rick Steve's rolling backpack. It's light and converting to backpack meant I didn't have to wheel it on cobblestones or WET streets. It fits under a poncho. If Venice isn't your first stop, buy a souvenir bag somewhere and stuff your non-essentials onto it on the bus. Then, you can travel with your lighter, comfortable backpack that has a place for all your essentials like meds and toiletries. Less chance of missing something and your stuff is protected on the way back.

Posted by
2543 posts

Contrarian view. Been to Venice at least 6 times arriving by air and train, but never with a tour. So, leaving stuff behind not really an option. We pack light-one roll-aboard, one personal bag which fits on top of the suitcase. Gave up on two wheel bags over a decade ago due to a bad shoulder and back. Invested in good quality spinners, Briggs & Riley-expensive but last a lifetime.. Backpacks impossible for us. Spinner wheels are vulnerable and cheaper ones will not hold up with the beating we give them. We take them into Venice, drag them over the small bridges or more often carry them. The bridges are short. There is the wobble factor on cobbles. If it’s really severe we’ll drag them like a two wheeler. That is infrequent. Noise? People drag wheeled suitcases all over Europe, so you make that choice.

Posted by
4341 posts

We’ve been to Venice with the RS tour and also on our own multiple times - such a special place!

The amount of up & down steps over lots of small pedestrian bridges will have you excited or annoyed, depending on what you’re carrying. We pack very light, and even then, we’re excited but also happy to reach our hotel. We have seen couples (not on a tour) cranky, sweaty and complaining while navigating the maze of bridges.

We only bring four outfits total, so we just brought our carry-on suitcase with us during the tour, but CL showed a good option if you like to bring more on your whole trip. And I agree with a previous reply that it’s kind to not be dragging wheeled luggage around Venice; it’s noisy & echoes.

Posted by
10939 posts

I'm with Alan.....numerous trips to Venice. Not on tour. Had carry on size wheeled luggage. Not a big deal.

Oh, Venice wasn't going to ban wheeled luggage. They wanted to ban the wheeled luggage carts hotels use.

Posted by
12926 posts

“Venice wasn’t going to ban wheeled luggage”. Yup. I said the report was fake news, or at best a rumor. But it did get enough publicity that some people here and on the TripAdvisor forum became alarmed, until the report was shown to be false.