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I'm I REALLY going to regret my 27" luggage...

on rail travel (in Great Britain)? We'll be on and off rails 4 times (travel days) of our 14 day trip <-- each travel day requires switching trains 2-3 times... (Scotland, Wales and England).

I've read many times that "less is more"...

But I do plan to wear LESS but bring home MORE ;) I love souvenirs. I also plan to bring a pack-away duffel bag for extra souvenirs.

I've read there's hardly any/no luggage space on trains? Will it ever come to me sitting on my luggage on some routes? Again, I've NEVER been on a rail/train. Is there a way I can research ahead of time which trains I can take that has luggage compartments or do I just risk it and sit on my own luggage? :)

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
11450 posts

Tina , maybe you won't regret hauling that suitcase around, but I know I sure would. Four days of travel with serveral off and ons, you will be cursing the big case somewhere, like when you have to sit with it either pressed up against your legs, or put in near the door and out of your siteline( which makes me nervous)
I can easily do three or more weeks with a 22 inch suitcase, so I just don't get the big suitcase thing. The extra bag is not a bad idea though, I have brought a collaspable bag to bring home some extra stuff ( on earlier trips, now I rarely buy any souvenirs ) .

Seriously, do you really need such a big suitcase if you are already bringing another bag to bring stuff home?

Posted by
1255 posts

Tina, Are you going to be the one handling the bag?

On one of our trips to the UK my wife used a 29" bag(her 4X4). After I hauled the bag through 2 station changes, she was on her own.

When in doubt, leave it out.

Posted by
964 posts

Tina, trust me- bring a smaller suitcase!!! Luggage space on many British trains is minimal- often the only place you can store it is in a small alcove between the seats, and there is only one for each 4 seats. There is overhead space, but I don't think your suitcase is going to fit there. And as for sitting on it- I think it'll be too big for the seat.

The second thing is- you mention you have to change trains. Quite often that will involve getting to a different platform. British railway stations do not always have elevators (lifts), so you may be hauling that suitcase up and down flights of stairs.

Posted by
312 posts

Do try and take a smaller bag, plus the pack-away duffel bag. If that seems impossible, remember that many bags advertised as 22" are actually closer to 23" :-)

I took a 25" bag on a bus tour in Europe. Only partially filled the bag, going over and coming back, but dealing with it, and this was with a bus, not multiple change train travel ... forgetaboutit!!!!

Another possible option: stop by a post office to ship souvenirs home.

Posted by
264 posts

Without knowing you I cannot say how difficult carrying around a bag on and off trains and around a station will be for you. I would seriously consider it though in any decision you make.

The one thing I can focus on for you is baggage storage on trains. It truly will differ on the trains you take. Even within the same train company the configuration will change. Case in point on the trains that I ride some have large bag storage areas at the front of each car, and some have none.

That said the good news is that most larger trains know luggage will be there and provide spaces for it. If you are willing to put the bag out of sight. Be confident and find a slot for your bag. The local brit will not hesitate to slightly move your bag too to fit his/her bag in. Check on the bag every now and then.

Do plan for the worst case though and realize that no space at all may be avaialble and you may have to do some tricky manuvering. Be sure you can pick up your bag and have full manuverability with it.

Posted by
11435 posts

You've gotten good advice here.

For the amount of moving you'll be doing, a smaller suitcase is advised. Bring along the duffel bag and ship home souvenirs as you travel. The cost won't be that much compared to the aggravation of lugging everything around.

The first time you're running to catch a connection, and have to carry that suitcase up or down stairs, you'll be thankful you downsized.

And for security purposes, a smaller case can always stay with you. Not so with a larger one.

Posted by
331 posts

Hi Tina,
Yes, you may end up sitting on your luggage, or worse, having your luggage on your lap or on the floor squishing your knees for part of your trip.Big bag or small bag, this can happen.

I am a firm believer (like so many here) of packing small and packing light. Try carrying your bag fully loaded around the house, up and down the stairs a few times and then try lifting your bag onto the kitchen counter a few times. Even if there is alot of storage space on the train, you still have to get the bag up onto the rack, up and down the stairs at the stations and up and down the aisles on the train. Pack Light and Small. You will not regret it.

Posted by
140 posts

Ditto on the above advice - a good backpck and a smaller piece of luggage will be better. And if you are not in shape now - you will be when you get done - even with smaller luggage. Not to mention going up steps at your hotel and so forth. If you were to hurt your back you are basically screwed - there will be no one to pick it up for you.

Posted by
1589 posts

Tina,to really test your suitcase plan, try getting a bus or bus from your home over to the Queen Mary, then a bus to the airport and then a cab back to your home- all while dragging around several bags. I promise you that this will cure your need for a big bag. Less is better when it comes to the realities of travel abroad.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
21846 posts

How about answering Tina's original question instead of jumping on her suitcase selection. While I agree smaller would be better but it is her choice.

""you may end up sitting on your luggage, or worse, having your luggage on your lap or on the floor squishing your knees for part of your trip.Big bag or small bag, this can happen."

In fifteen years of traveling on European trains, I have NEVER had this problem. There is always plenty of room for luggage storage. The 27" will not fit on the overhead but there is space between seats and luggage bins at the end of the cars. Luggage stored out of sight in a luggage bin has small potential for theft so it is wise to lock the luggage and we use a small cable lock to secure the luggage to the bin or something else a little more solid. The bigger issue with a large suitcase is simply the weight. You would be smarter to take two smaller suitcases simply because the two would be easier to handle and store than one big one.

There is one exception to my prior comments. Commuter trains, subways, etc. will not have luggage storage but you will not be these trains vary long so having a suitcase by your feet is not a big deal.

I firm believer that packing light is a LEARNED behavior. You will take less next time but enjoy this trip.

Posted by
1589 posts

Frank, she is on the fense regarding her upfront " regrets". I thought that suggesting a pre trip field test was a kind idea. I certainly didn't intend to give her a rough time.

Posted by
331 posts

Frank, I am glad you have never had the "luggage issue", because it can really be a pain.

We have had the problem, which is why I think planning for the possibility is not a bad idea.

One of our train rides through Italy(along the coast) involved being on a train with 3 classes of school kids with their teacher on their way to the beach for the day. It was 2 hours of holding our own luggage on our laps, and part of that involved me having my daughter on my lap too. Going from Brussels to Amsterdam, 2 trains were delayed, so when our train finally arrived it was Slammed with the commuters going home for the day. The cars were so full, we spent along time standing with our bags and alot of other people in the holding area between cars.(it was too crowded to even sit on our bags)
A big part travel can be taking the local bus, or subway to get to the train station and if you are doing so during rush hour, you will end up having your luggage with you.

Posted by
588 posts

Take a 21 - 22 inch suitcase and bring the duffle. That is what I do. I love souvenirs also. They hold special memories for me. Shipping home suitcases can be expensive and it takes time. Be selective in your souvenirs and pack clothes around them. Trust me you do not want a big suitcase. Been there, done that, never ever again.

Posted by
515 posts

18 days...4 different trains...taxis...planes...one 21" carry-on, one small backpack, and two RS Civita bags...and that's the total for two of us. Take small bags that you can keep near you. Pack light, pack light, Tina, and you will be sooooo happy. Take along a Baggallini type foldout bag for souvenirs and check your carryon on the way home. This one folds into its own little pouch.

http://www.luggage.com/asp/show_detail.asp?sku=DM1022&refid=FR52-DM1022

But I wouldn't even think of such a large bag to have to deal with. It just isn't worth the headache and hassle. I've only been to Europe twice, but I am so very glad to have listened to all the world travelers on this site who told us to travel light.

Posted by
51 posts

LOL!
Thank you all for the advice!!! A lot of the responses made me laugh and become somewhat terrified ;) but THANK goodness for this forum and it's many experienced travelers! All of your help is great appreciated!!!!

I'm convinced now to bring the smaller one (and a pack-a-way duffel) and worse comes to worse, ship stuff home ;)

Thank you all.. again!!!!!

Posted by
11435 posts

You never told us the answer to this question which will get a heated discussion going:

Wheels or no wheels?

Posted by
934 posts

I also advise to take a small bag.I would imagine many posters are like me.They traveled heavy for a few trips and then learned from it.Its much better to travel light the first time.Learn from those of us who didnt have this information in the past.By the way my first trip was by car.I lugged my wifes suitcases up many steps in to buildings for 3 weeks.When we arrived home as she was unpacking she had three pair of pants and 5 tops that she hadnt worn.Now we travel light with a carryon only.

Posted by
11435 posts

Let the games begin...

Heeeerrrrreee's comes some arguing...we haven't had a good wheels vs. no-wheels "discussion" in a long time.

Posted by
11973 posts

I'm perfectly happy with no wheels. I like more space and less overall weight.

I'm only slightly jealous watching my wife wheel her bag easily through airports and I think she's not too jealous that mine is easier to carry up stairs.

The problem with big luggage on trains is you will be seperated from it. Overhead racks will easily handle a carry-on while big items need to be put in a luggage area at the end of the car (a lot of different set ups depending on the train).

If it were me, I would go one carry on only (wheel or no wheel based on your preference) and try to buy your souvenirs late in your trip. You can then buy a very cheap duffle (wheeled or not) from a local vendor to check your extra stuff for the flight home.

Posted by
1170 posts

We used 21" bags for summer travel, and though I worried about how small they were and not having enough clothes, I was so happy when we had to get on a bus or train! That's when you truly appreciate travelling with smaller, lighter bags. We chuckled whenever we saw families hauling HUGE suitcases trying to get to the train, and these were locals, LOL

BUT I am not sure bulky winter clothing can really fit!! I'm having a hard time figuring how much to take for 3 weeks, being winter and all. Good luck. Go get a smaller suitcase, you won't regret it.

BTW, we thought we were travelling lighter back in 2006. We had 26" bags then, one for each of us (there are four), and my goodness. The stairs, the roads, getting into a bus/train/taxi...sigh. Never again.

Posted by
331 posts

No Wheels. We did backpacks all the way, and boy did I ever have "Buns of Steel" by the end of the trip. (thats a good thing, it balanced out the enormous amount of amazing food I consumed)

Posted by
36 posts

ok...the first few times I travelled oversea for 2 weeks, I brought a suitcase with me.

It wasn't difficult, or unmanageable, but it was a pain especially if you are not considering taking door to door shuttle or taxi from airport to where you sleep.

My advice, pack light or if u cant, dont bring a suitcase, bring a bigger bag, so if really cant find a space to put ur luggage, you can still squash your bag, and put it under the sit....etc.

And with luggage compartments on trains, one time I reserved my seat on a airport express train from the airport to where I want to go. There were racks to put my luggage but it was full. My suitcase didnt fit between the seats (so in front of my legs to the front seat), so I put it next to my seat and got told off as I was blocking other people. I went back to the rackd and decided to put it on the floor space next to the door. I ended up sitting on the suitcase for the entire 90 mins ride.......

Posted by
1170 posts

When we travelled in May/June this year, from our hometown (airport) to London, Rome and Paris, and back home, we were asked, "is that ALL your luggage?" The staff at the ticketing counter seemed surprised that the four of us would have one 21" bag each, plus hand luggage. At first they thought two of the bags were mine and the other two were my husband's so they were asking my son and daughter if they could please bring their luggage to the counter, LOL Mind you, they ended up being impressed we could live for a month with whatever fit in those small bags.

Has anyone had this experience?

Posted by
18374 posts

Relax, Frank (USA). I'm not going to get into wheels vs. no wheels. A 27" bag is excessively large, and probably can't be handled without wheels. If someone is crazy enough to have a 27" bag there are obviously going to have to check it, so I'm not concerned about them taking up too much room in the overhead bins. I only ask that when they "roll" down the airport aisles, they pull the bag directly behind them, not out to the side, where they trip those of us with converible bag, who are trying to pass them.

I looked up several 27" rollaboard on the Internet, and the ones I found weighed 13-14 pounds, empty! That's not much less than my convertible bag weighed packed (15½ #).

Posted by
11435 posts

What I was trying to point out is not everyone travels on leisure trips to Europe. Others travel for different reasons and have different needs. And they can't necessarily fit what they need in a convertible size carry on.

I agree, anyone traveling around Europe is best to use a carry-on size bag.

But for others a larger bag may be necessary.

Posted by
11973 posts

I was just on a business trip. When I was leaving, I asked the doorman to get a cab. He asked where my luggage was. I had my ebags convertible carry-on over one shoulder and said, "This is it. It's all I ever travel with." He chuckled and said, "You should teach a class."

Posted by
11973 posts

The edit button wasn't working but I should add a note. Hotels with doormen and cabs are only part of my business travel. Vacations are budget hotels, pensions or hostels and public transport, trains or leased car.

Posted by
1170 posts

Brad, isn't it amazing how many people still travel with MEGA sized suitcases?

I must say though that for one month, my daughter and I were pretty sick of recycling the same clothes. It's only when we had to get to trains and airports that we let out a sigh of relief that we could actually haul our stuff onboard a train, and keep it close to us. Thanks for the reminder, as I try to pack for my upcoming trip.

Posted by
11435 posts

Large suitcases still have their place.

If you are going on a cruise, to a mega-resort, visiting Aunt Sally for the holidays, going on a big bus tour, or certain types of lengthly business travel.

Anytime you aren't moving around or if someone else is taking care of your luggage, is fine for a large suitcase.

Now there are exceptions to the above rule...but in these circumstances, they would be appropriate.

Posted by
312 posts

Each person's experience with change! :-)

I did a bus tour with a 25" bag .. not fun.

Letting the guy put it in or take it out of the bus's belly, that was fine. Squeezing it in tiny elevators or dragging it up stairs .. no fun. And I did not fill it full.

Even on a bus tour, if I get another time on one, it will be a smaller bag, for sure .. for me.

Posted by
331 posts

Eli, when we went to the ticket counter to have our bags weighed (we each had a 21" bag) the woman was so intrigued with 4 people travelling with 4 small bags(and taking them as carry-on) that we chatted for a quite a while, and we bragged about our RS travel gear.(packing cubes,towels,travel guides) We gave her the web address and talked about this Helpline and of all the great advice available. Just before boarding, we were called on the PA to meet an airline employee. We were given different boarding passes. I didnt think too much of it , til we were on the plane and realized we had been bumped to Comfort Class !! I am So Sure it was because of the 21" bags !!

Posted by
191 posts

When my hubby and I went in September to London, Paris, Loire Valley and Bordeaux, we each had a massive suitcase. I blame him--I started small, but then he was bringing so much stuff that I wanted stuff too and I couldn't talk him out of it. Never again. Not ever. While it was nice to have lots of clothes, it wouldn't have been the end of the world if I hadn't. But mostly the issue was weight, not size of my bag. So next time, I'm going to get out what I think I need and then reduce it by half before I pack it.

Posted by
51 posts

Okay I ended up purchasing a Travelpro 24" luggage.

Along with a little less than a weeks worth of (winter) clothing (recycling for week 2), I'm shoving 15" riding boots in the luggage. And now I need to bring gifts (which unfortunately aren't going to be given out till the last week of the trip), hence the reason for the larger space...

So I think I can get by with the expandable 24"((h) x 16"(w) x 10.5" (depth)) luggage. I just don't think the 21" suitcase would do.. and the 27" being too large.

So... I'm just nervous about the rails but.. I guess I'll tie wrap the luggage close? I'm not too worried about theft on trains, but still... just a little nervous now...

anyway, thank you all for your advice!

Posted by
331 posts

Tina, don't be nervous, just have fun. Calendars showing life in California would make great and easy to pack gifts !

Posted by
312 posts

Hi Tina,

If you are packing riding boots I assume you have a planned time to use them, eh?

Would you be able to rent/borrow a pair at your destination? A "yes" would help your packing, to be able to leave them out, I mean.

Enjoy the trip. Cheers!

Posted by
1449 posts

"And now I need to bring gifts (which unfortunately aren't going to be given out till the last week of the trip), hence the reason for the larger space..."

Mail them? It's like Rick says in his book (paraphrasing here) "It's not whether you'll use the scuba fins or not, its whether you want to carry them all over Europe and up the alps".

Posted by
11435 posts

I agree with Mike...mail the gifts. That's what I do. I write on the box: "Do not open until I arrive." Or "Personal Goods."

This way I don't have to carry gifts during all my travels. Yes, it costs a bit more but to me, it's worth it.

Posted by
2042 posts

Well... I took a group of teens to Europe. I told them NOTHING larger then a 24". I think two of them listened?

One week in at a train station in Switzerland several of them said to me "I am NEVER bringing this much stuff again"

You can't sit on the luggage, there's not ROOM.

Here are some hints. Can you LIFT that thing into the carrying bins at the end of the train. They are generally about 3' off the ground if you don't get the bottom half (First come first serve) Can you heft it UP and DOWN the stairs onto and off the train (There's not kindness of strangers in travel) Can you move FAST with that thing? (That's what got to my girls, tight train connections and having to haul those 27" things off the train and QUICKLY to the next train)

Remember these kids were 15-17 and if it wore them out???/