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Best carry-on luggage to comply with budget European airlines
Old 06-13-2018, 11:38 PM   #1
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Best carry-on luggage to comply with budget European airlines

Researching the various flights were going to be taking, it appears that our carryon cannot weigh more than 8 kg, and on some of the Sky Express flights, cannot be longer than 18 inches. Our USA carryon backpacks and/or spinners will not work as they are 22-23 inches long.

For those of you who have done long European trips (several weeks) with only carry-on luggage, how do you do it? Im struggling to envision how each of us can pack 8 kg or less.

Also, Ive read that backpack style carryons are best as it is not easy to wheel luggage through rural areas, cobbled streets, etc. I can appreciate having hands free and carrying everything in a backpack, but could also see the benefit of wheeling through airports/train stations. Thoughts on pros and cons from your experience?
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:24 AM   #2
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We haven’t used carry-on suitcases on our Europe trips. Usually 6 week trips. We check one medium suitcase each. We do lots of buses, trains, often at least one flight within Europe. Although only KLM/Air France so far where I can get more legroom for tall DH. We’ve avoided the European budget airlines. Their reputation for cramped seating and unreliable luggage handling has discouraged us.

We use four-wheel luggage just fine in Europe, even if we walk a ways with it in old city centers- there are usually sidewalks, or even flatter areas among cobblestones, and only occasionally have to resort to pulling on two wheels. No way would we carry luggage on our backs. Obviously we don’t pack like Rick Steves.

But when we can, we take a cab to our hotel from the train or bus station anyway if moving luggage. It’s not that expensive. Some countries like the Netherlands have very complete public transportation, so we use that if convenient. Countries like Spain have cheap taxis.
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Old 06-14-2018, 06:13 AM   #3
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Travel Pro 21 inch ultra light carry on's. I also have an Amazon Basics 21" carry on backpack suitcase. We used one of each on our 3 week last month trip with my wife in a wheelchair.

We can travel indefinitely with a carry on bag. I never check any luggage due to past airline handling problems.

The 21" rolling bag's actually 22" with the wheels, but it passes thru without question. Most airlines are more. weight conscious than interested in 1 inch.

I am a big fan of budget European airlines. Their competition has forced the big legacy air carriers to charge airfares half of what they'd normally charge. You can get to just about any European city to city for $100 or less and the flights are only 1-2 hours.
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:04 AM   #4
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I have an American Tourister, it's lime green. I just checked and it does not state the style number, etc. It is hard-sided and I got it at Macys.

I just came back from two weeks in Europe with it. I use packing cubes and have no problem with it for two weeks.

We did stay at an Airbnb midway which had a washer (no dryer!) so we were able to do a load of wash there which helped.

But I've done two weeks in Europe before with no washer; just washed some things in the sink midway if needed.

The size was fine getting it through the budget airlines in Europe.

It's a four-wheeler, no problem rolling it through the cobblestones.
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:26 AM   #5
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We only use carry ons. Most of our travel is either Europe or Asia. They typical regs we have seen are 20" and either 7 or 8k thought few seem to actually weight.

I bought an Eagle Creek 20" rolling unit last fall. Two wheels. Light. Had it out for two months this winter and liked it very much.

You need to check the weight and the measurements. The luggage tags are misleading. Light does not mean light all the time...it really means lighter.

DW uses a Rick Steves rolling carry on. She likes it very much. Lots of pockets.

Weight, wheels, and zippers are the most important for us.
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:27 AM   #6
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We did 3 weeks with carry-on only last year. Within Europe, we flew on SAS, KLM Cityhopper and Norwegian Air Shuttle, so not the lowest of the discounters, but all have tighter size and weight restrictions than their partners who fly the trans-Atlantic routes. DH got this bag https://www.standardluggage.com/prod...ack-travel-bag and I used this one https://www.amazon.com/luggage-World...rds=it+luggage. We also each had a smaller under-seat bag. Wheels were not an issue, despite everything we'd heard. We stayed close to train stations and walked on sidewalks to get to and from our hotels. Other than the occasional staircase, I rolled my bag. I was prepared to just go ahead and pay for checked bags if anyone challenged us for being an inch over size or half a pound too heavy, but nobody did.

For weight, pack fewer things than you think you need and wear your heaviest items on the planes. You've gotten some good advice about clothes in your other thread. I know you said in the other thread that you don't want to visit laundromats due to time constraints, but I strongly recommend you rethink that. Doing laundry regularly allows you to travel lighter, and if you're so busy you can't spend a couple of hours visiting a laundromat every 8 to 10 days, then you are going to be utterly exhausted and won't enjoy your trip as much anyway. Take clothes that won't shrink or run and throw everything into a single load regardless of color. It really doesn't take that long. Last year, I took 3 pairs of pants, 6 tops, a light sweater, a fleece jacket, sandals and walking shoes, and enough underwear for 8 days. Subtract what I'm wearing at any given time, and that easily fits in my bags. I had one nice top that I could wear with the black pants and sandals, and that was as dressed up as I was willing to get.
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:33 AM   #7
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I don't see checking luggage going int'l as a big deal. Waits aren't that long - 15-30 minutes - after customs vs. a two weeks+ trip. I'm not rushed, I'm on vacation. And it isn't worth it going for less than 10-12 days imo.
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Old 06-14-2018, 10:17 AM   #8
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We're probably "medium level" international travelers, having been to about 40 countries. I have seen quite a number airlines and small transports (Cessna Caravans) with completely impossible published carry-on weight limits. I have also never had a carry-on weighed. Never.

I have had my carry-on gate checked when traveling on small planes with small overhead bins or shelves.

I suggest that you get on tripadvisor and ask for carry-on experiences with your particular airlines.

For carry-on I am currently using this: https://zerohalliburton.com/collecti...ry-on-luggage/ It advertises a weight of 2.2kg which at the time I bought it was the lightest bag of its type. I am happy with everything about it except what I had to pay.

Re wheels, this one is a spinner, which I think is kind of a stupid design. Two extra wheels, really unneeded, eating up interior storage space. I prefer the standard two-wheeler. I did once have a two-wheeler that also had backpack straps but I think I carried it as a backpack maybe once.
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:27 AM   #9
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On a recent hop from Venice to Paris, Air France weighed our checked luggage.
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:47 AM   #10
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Waits at airports are not the reason we go with carry on only. We do a lot of independent travel. We need something light, that we can each physically handle. It is no fun lifting heavy bags accoss several ferry boats and then down a few steps on a Thai ferry trip. Or getting them in or out a speed boat or a longtail boat. Same with carrying them up and down Italian railway subways to get to the proper track or lifting them into rail cars.

More often than not when we are at the laudromat we are not sitting watching the clothes go round. We might be at a cafe across the street or beside having a bit to eat or a glass of wine. Or we may be trading travel tips with others who are doing exactly the same. It is impossible for us to take everything we need for two months or so without doing this. So we pack for seven days max...no matter how much longer our trip is.
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HFWR View Post
On a recent hop from Venice to Paris, Air France weighed our checked luggage.

I've also had checked luggage weighed - and even rejected (by Jetstar in New Zealand) until we rearranged everything to get under the 20kg limit.


While I've had gate agents zealously check the size of my carry-on items I've never had carry-on luggage checked for weight.
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Old 06-14-2018, 12:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HFWR View Post
On a recent hop from Venice to Paris, Air France weighed our checked luggage.
Oh, checked luggage is almost 100% weighed; the place you set it beside the agent is a scale. Usually the readout is visible to you. My point was that I have never had carry-on luggage weighed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stepford View Post
I've also had checked luggage weighed - and even rejected (by Jetstar in New Zealand) until we rearranged everything to get under the 20kg limit. ...
Yes. We have a scale and always weigh our checked bag at home. In the US the limit is typically 50#. Non-US, 20kg/aka 44# is common.

And, two bags with a total weight of 2x the limit does not work. Each bag must be within the limit.

Then, there is always ScotteVest: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-..._b_756199.html
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Old 06-14-2018, 01:13 PM   #13
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I also agree about the fictional weight limits for carryons. All budget carriers list draconian weight limits but I’ve never had a bag weighed. Some budget carriers have ridiculously small values (5 kg on andes lineas aereas!). No one ever checks so just make sure your bags meet size limits and you’ll breeze through. We use Eagle Creek load warrior 22" bags https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B011RY2X8E very compact and light (5 lb), but tough and very durable.

They have a 20" version too https://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Creek-L.../dp/B010AZTX4S
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Old 06-14-2018, 01:19 PM   #14
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Last year I travel to Europe with a single 17" duffle bag. It was during the summer, which helped (no bulky clothes). I packed some light, fast drying clothes for the trip (they could be washed in a sink every few days and allowed to dry overnight). I used freezer bags to compress the clothes as much as possible inside the duffle. I only went for 2 weeks, but the system could have worked for many more weeks.
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Old 06-14-2018, 01:34 PM   #15
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I do not think that there is a 'best'. Different people have different tastes and preferences. I like my bag. DW prefers hers. Neither is better than the other.

Asking which is the best carry on is like asking what is the best hotel in a city.
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Old 06-14-2018, 02:36 PM   #16
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My checked luggage used to travel far more extensively than me, so I switched to carry-on only. Holiday trips are usually 3 weeks.

Things I do -
*Wash undies and socks in the hotel sink. Do one big load of laundry once every week or 10 days so at a laundromat.

*Wet a few paper towels with Febreeze antimicrobial and pack in baggies. Remove one from baggie and place in hotel closet to keep clothes smelling fresh. Can be used to help freshen a room, too.

*Take undies and socks that are worn but not ratty. Same with a T shirt to wear as night shirt. Take a scarf that is nice but not well liked (usually received as a gift). Discard these items before returning home. This makes room in the suitcase for purchases.

*Wear cushy walking shoes on the plane. Pack a pair of nice looking shoes that can be used for for both walking (if other shoes get wet) and going out to theatre, etc. If flip flops for the pool are needed, buy at dollar store and discard before coming home.

*Wear bulky clothes on plane. Pack thinner clothes for layering, like silk knit tops and leggings. An unlined black or navy lace jacket is dressy and packs quite flat.
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Old 06-14-2018, 03:15 PM   #17
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I personally have trouble getting a bag into an overhead, so I bought this off Amazon:
High Sierra Endeavor Wheeled Underseat Carry-On
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B075DG321C


Love it! I can cram a LOT of stuff in that sucker.
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Old 06-15-2018, 12:08 AM   #18
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Several great points in this thread for me. (1) A laundromat can be a fun experience in itself. Did not realize that, so perhaps we should accept that well do laundry every couple of weeks. (2) Wheels are not necessarily a bad thing in Europe. Ive read so many posts not only here but on other sites about backpacks being the only way to go. We can do backpacks when necessary, but wheels sure are a lot easier for us. The downside is that wheels are heavier and several of our flights are on Sky Express with an 8 kg limit. (3) Some great bag suggestions - thanks! Our friend who lives in Greece said that some of the planes well be taking are smaller prop planes and that they are pretty strict about carry-on sizes. However if they have to gate check it, at least it comes out fast upon arrival. Gate checking in Europe can be really expensive though, not free like the US.

An added complication for us is that part of our trip will be on a sailboat that doesnt allow hard-sided luggage due to space constraints on the sailboat. They ask that luggage fold flat.

Well have to think about what combination of pieces will suit us best and buy whatever we dont have, then do a practice run at packing and see how it goes.
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Old 06-15-2018, 12:22 PM   #19
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I have made many packing mistakes over the years and hopefully have now learned my lesson. On our first 3-month trip to Europe I packed an enormous duffel bag (just under the 50 lb limit), which was a nightmare when we checked into our 5th floor apartment (no elevator) in Paris. I packed too many shoes, jackets for all occasions, and way too much clothing. I think there were some items I only wore once in the three months. Huge mistake.

Since that trip, my bags have gotten smaller and smaller on each trip. I did try the "big backpack" route once, but I wouldn't do it again. Now, DH and I each pack one 22-inch wheeled soft-side duffel that can fit in the overhead and we each pack a small backpack as our personal item. When we book accommodations, it is usually an Airbnb so we try to always book one with laundry facilities. At our apartment in Copenhagen on our last trip, our host was shocked: "That's all you brought?". But you'd be amazed at what you find out you don't need to bring!

One thing to note about laundry -- the little combo washer/dryers they have in Europe can sometimes use incredibly high heat and things take a long time to dry. I've shrunk a couple of pairs of jeans unfortunately, so now I tend to air dry most clothing even if a dryer is available.

Have a great time on your trip!
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Old 06-15-2018, 11:00 PM   #20
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When we unpack after a trip we take note of any items that we did not use or just used once or twice. Next time it/they stay home.
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