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Carry on suitcase or Large backpack
Jhyphi
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Hi,

So as you can see from my trip, I’ll be traveling quite a bit. Staying in youth hostels.

The question is, I plan to bring a small backpack regardless for day to day. But what about the majority of things. What should I bring?

Is a carry-on suitcase (which I already have) good to leave in the hostels while I explore the city and easy to take for train rides? I’m guessing if I take a large backpack, I’ll need to drop that off at hostels while I explore the cities also.

Given that, is one preferred to the other for those times from hostel -> train and on the train itself?

Thanks!

I am leaving from San Francisco and traveling for 36 days
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Davy
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It’s a debate that gets argued time and time again. Generally the answer is do whatever feels comfortable for you but it would be highly recommended to have a backpack rather than suitcase for getting to and from the hostel. You will find a backpack easier getting up and down stairs, getting through crowded streets and train/metro station’s etc.

Here’s a search on the subject Search – “Backpack suitcase”

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Jhyphi
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Is there anything about a large backpack getting more pickpockets since it’s behind you whereas a suitcase I can carry in front of me and “watch it” at all times even when walking in crowded areas?

Like someone slitting the backpack from behind me?

Is there a maximum size that the lockers or trains will fit?

I am leaving from San Francisco and traveling for 36 days
London, Paris, Bruges, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Athens, Barcelona
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Itinerary, Nightlife, Sights
I am leaving from San Francisco and traveling for 36 days
London, Paris, Lucerne, Munich, Prague, Florence, Rome, Florence, Nice, Venice, Budapest, Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam, Bruges, Athens, Barcelona
luv_the_beach
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Jhyphi,

How do you carry a suitcase in front of you?

As Oldlady always recommends, whatever luggage you plan to backpack with…test it at home before you leave. Fill it to max capacity, walk around the block with it a couple times (even better if you can find an old street where the pavement is wearing off and the original brick is showing underneath), walk up and down a couple flights of stairs with it, try lifting it over your head a couple times. This should help you decide if you still want that suitcase as opposed to the backpack.

On pickpockets: I’ve never had any issues with luggage (neither suitcase or backpack). If there’s something valuable that you need to place in your suitcase/backpack (and can’t carry on your clothing), there’s ways to pack it deeply so that if someone opens your luggage, it’s not the first thing they find. And also be vigilant, of course.

My recommendation: if I’m going to be hauling my luggage around a lot, from hostel to hostel (like you’re planning to do), then I’d go with the backpack.


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TheComish
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Yep… a backpack is the only way to go.

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oldlady
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I’m not sure why you need two bags. I assume you’re talking about a suitcase or backpack and then a “day pack” for everyday use. Your day pack (or whatever you routinely carry around with camera, guidebook, map, ipod, etc.) is what may be a target for thieves. Your suitcase or traveling backpack usually only contains dirty laundry and isn’t much of a lure — whether it’s a suitcase or a backpack isn’t going to matter much to a thief.

One convenience of a big pack is that you can buy one that has a detachable day pack and/or a day pack that can strap to your front when you’re traveling. You can load up so you only have one item (all-be-it fairly big and bulky) to worry about when you’re traveling from city to city.

Jhyphi
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How useful are the wheels on a carry-on suitcase? Smile

I have a soft-ish carry-on with wheels. I also just went to the store and saw that there’s both a backpack or a backpack with wheels available (both about 22” x 13” x 8”) almost same size as my carry-on. The backpack with wheels is definitely the smallest available storage space.

Well, so now there seems to be 3 options.

Though I guess it seems backpacks store a lot less things than suitcases in general for some reason. Maybe it’s their shape and the way you open it?

So which is better for my traveling? The wheels of the suitcase or the straps of a backpack? Both could be convenient depending on the terrain?

Which to go with?

Thanks! Smile

I am leaving from San Francisco and traveling for 36 days
London, Paris, Bruges, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Athens, Barcelona
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Itinerary, Nightlife, Sights
I am leaving from San Francisco and traveling for 36 days
London, Paris, Lucerne, Munich, Prague, Florence, Rome, Florence, Nice, Venice, Budapest, Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam, Bruges, Athens, Barcelona
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wheeled luggage is kind of a pain in the ass in Europe. There’s far too much uneven terrain, cobbled streets, giant hills, and lack of buildings with elevators for them to be a good option there. I would definitely go with a backpack in this situation.

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Jhyphi
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Alright, I think I’m leaning towards a backpack.

What size is good? I’ve heard that if it’s too big, you will be separated from it on the trains. Also, you then have to check it on the planes which is never fun.

Some friends recommend a giant backpack that goes up above your shoulders to bottom of your head height. I think that’s bigger than carry-on size?

I am leaving from San Francisco and traveling for 36 days
London, Paris, Bruges, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Munich, Venice, Florence, Rome, Athens, Barcelona
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Itinerary, Nightlife, Sights
I am leaving from San Francisco and traveling for 36 days
London, Paris, Lucerne, Munich, Prague, Florence, Rome, Florence, Nice, Venice, Budapest, Vienna, Berlin, Amsterdam, Bruges, Athens, Barcelona
mb
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Get a backpack with a removable daypack. Go to a camping store (not walmart, etc.) and try one on to get the size, then order it through http://www.sierratra… http://www.ebay.com

If you are in college, see if you can ask around and buy a used one.

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luv_the_beach
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Jhyphi,

I don’t see what’s “not fun” about checking in luggage. I always do it, and the only additional step is waiting at baggage claim after you land.


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Davy
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You will rarely be separated from it on trains. The storage space above your head on trains is generally rather spacious and will generally take all but the biggest. And as Luv_the_beach said it’s not relay too much of a hassle to check luggage in for flight’s, It will take about an extra 15 minutes to wait for it. Also unless your case is rather small you will probably have to check it in as well, because the likes of Ryanair and Easyjet are supposed to start cracking down on people taking on over sized hand luggage to avoid fee’s.

I am leaving from Glasgow, United Kingdom and traveling for 15 days
Athens, Páros, Náxos, Mýkonos, Náxos, Íos, Thíra
Requesting help with Transport, Nightlife, Food, Sights

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain