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Train Travel - Luggage within a city

Traveling to Europe for three weeks in June with a family of four (2 teens). We are debating about car vs train. I like the train idea, but not sure how to handle luggage when we arrive/depart a city.

When we arrive in a given city, is it best to head straight to the hotel which we plan on staying and have them store the luggage? Will most hotels (including small ones, like in Cinque Terre) allow me to store my luggage in the morning and it is usually free to do so?

What about on the day that I am leaving this city? Do I have drag my luggage around all day until my desired train departure (which in some cases is a night train)?

I am not sure the best to handle luggage while in a city when traveling by train.

Any help is greately appreciated!

Doug

Posted by
21709 posts

I have always found luggage to be fairly simply to deal with unless you have a lot. I would not drive a car in Italy but that is me. All the hotels we have every used have always allow luggage to be stored ahead of check in and after you check out. Most train stations also have some form of luggage storage either lockers or an attendant. When we traveled with our two sons we never had more than one carryon size bag each so moving with luggage was fairly easy.

Posted by
1353 posts

Almost all hotels - big and small are happy to hold your luggage both before check in and after check out. In addition most of the larger train stations have lockers - although our experience was that in the bigger cities like amsterdam you had to arrive fairly early in the morning to be assured there would be a locker available. I think some of the train stations have changed from lockers to baggage check for security reasons.

We timed most of our arrivals to arrive in at a new destination in the early afternoon and we headed straight to our hotel. We never had to lug our bags around.

Posted by
87 posts

We went with two teens. We all carried backpacks and mostly did trains except for two bus legs. We timed it so we caught a train to arrive around check in time, and the one time we were early and I was going to ask them to keep our bags they let us into our room anyway. The one time we had a night train we took our backpacks with us to Disneyland Paris and checked them in there. We would've had to backtrack twice if we had left them at the hotel. I was informed the train station we were to leave from didn't have lockers. Next time(?) I would do a bit more investigating about the train station before I went.
My understanding is cars are fairly small and you can't leave your belongings lying around inside - thief magnet - so this could be an issue if it's true, because you probably won't get all your gear in the boot/trunk of the car - just a thought.

Posted by
12 posts

We recently travelled by train in Italy, Switzerland and Germany with no problems with luggage. Hotels were always happy to store bags before and after checkin or checkout. But some small stations have stairs rather than elevators or escalators, eg Manarola in Cinque Terre, and we had great difficulty managing two heavy suitcases up and down two flights. (Manarola waas still worth it though!)

Posted by
1589 posts

Make sure that each person handles their own bag and make sure that all four bags are light.

Posted by
808 posts

The most important thing about storing luggage is not to forget to pick it up again before you leave. It's easy to forget something you've stashed in at locker at a Train Station if you're running to catch the last train of the day!
I've been there, done that, not fun! Now I pin the key to my Railpass or shirt sleeve or whatever I have that I know I will have to look at before I hop the Train.
Just make sure that the lockers are accessable 24 hours a day. (If you are planning to catch a Night train and will retreive your luggage at night. Some are locked behind cages at night...be sure to ask)
Remember, a smart traveller uses the telephone. Call ahead to see where you might be able to store your stuff. It would suck to haul it somewhere only to discover you have no where to stash it.

Posted by
4 posts

Some train stations do not have lockers, so you do have to check ahead.

We spent a month traveling with 4 teenagers. I would recommend a combination of train and cars. Between large cities (Florence & Rome) the train is best, but to get out into the countryside -- you'll want a car.

But (most importantly) pack light, pack light, pack light. If you limit each person to a small carry-on sized piece and a day bag of some sort you'll have plenty. Remember -- you don't know anyone in Europe. We take enough clothes for 3 or 4 days -- a lot of mix and match stuff and then hit a laundromat. No one will ever know you wore the same outfit two days prior :) When traveling with teens doing laundry gives them the opportunity to explore a bit while mom and dad do the wash. Trust me -- after a few days of family togetherness you'll all want the break!

If you don't pack light -- by the end of the trip you'll ALL be upset about lugging that junk around.