Travel Smart, Leave the Bad Baggage Home!

 Decorator suitcases from Napa Style

Not really sure what luggage to use when traveling overseas? Of course you want a trip to Europe to be the best time of your life.  Traveling light is the key to making that possible.  I'm usually hopping trains every couple days or at least pulling a suitcase at some point during the travels.   I see many travelers "hauling" luggage everywhere, making them miserable.  There's really no need to have a stressful "bad baggage" experience.   Continue to see some simple baggage tips...

I've found this to work best for me and my travel partners:

The suitcase:  
Lightweight, maneuverable luggage and totes obviously work the best.  I use one 24" rolling suitcase and one carry-on tote bag.  Both of my travel partners this year used one 21" bag each and they worked perfectly for the two week trip in Italy.  I also fold up a very lightweight (market style) tote bag and put it away for souvenirs  I may want to purchase.  

My clothes always fit into one suitcase by rolling or laying the clothes flat, length ways.  
I don't carry my suitcase on board the plane anymore for several reasons.  First, they're really tightening down on the size and your bag can get over-sized if you use the expandable section of your case.  Secondly, there's often no room above in the overheads for your bag.  Lastly, the luggage claim areas at the European airports are fast and usually very close to the only exit in the building.  You can simply stop by, pick it up and exit out the gate.  
                21" Spinner 6.2 lbs.                               24" Spinner Expandable, 8.6 lbs.

I  recommend a good quality suitcase such as this Samonsite 24" plus 2" expandable on 4 wheels (wish I owned their stock).   Mine has gone through five trips to Europe and held up great.  If you choose a colored bag (not black) you'll be able to spot it, grab it and be on your way out of the airport much sooner than anyone else!   The new "spinner" models, no matter what brand, have two sets of wheels to maneuver around easily.  Check to see how much each bag weighs in comparing which brand or size to get. 

The carry-on bag: 
In addition to the one spinner suitcase, I use one light but sturdy tote bag with a long handle option for a carry-on.  I pack some cosmetics, travel size toiletries, extra pair of light shoes, book, writing materials, phone, camera and a small carry purse.   I pack most of the items in see-through plastic bags.   

Most of the 21" or 24" size suitcases have smaller matching tote or travel bags which may work for shorter trips.  However, they're usually heavier and not practical for a long trip.  If you're pulling your spinner suitcase you can drape your tote bag over the suitcase handle or carry it over your shoulder.  It should have a durable flat bottom and a zippered top for security reasons.  You'd leave this bag in your hotel with your suitcase and use the small purse to shop and sight see.  Here are some totes I found that would work:
These lightweight but sturdy tote bags are from Bungalow- here

The purse:  
We always carry small purses that drape crosswise (similar to the one below) in the front that allows your hands to be free.  Lightweight leather is great too.  Yes, backpacks are used by most people, but I feel they're not as easy to access in a hurry.  Fanny packs are still a great choice to keep your hands free while walking.

Sally Go Lightly

PacSafe MetroSafe 100 Slashproof Shoulder Bag  
I'm able to keep my cell phone, digital camera, glasses, and wallet in a bag about this size on the left or or a little larger like the one on the right.   The one on the left is from Bungalow and the other two are from Travel Essentials.  These are samples only-- I've not purchased any of these.

Here are just some trendy summer bags for short trips to the beach or weekend getaways but not necessarily good for traveling on long trips:


A word about security:
Security is very good at most airports that's a fact.  Armed guards with machine guns walk along catwalks above the travelers in the main airport terminal in Rome.  I saw many security agents outside and inside all of the train stations including the restaurants inside.  I was searched and re-researched during my recent trip.   Everyone must take off shoes and put on the conveyor belt as well as all electronics devices.   The plastic bags make it easy for you to take electronics and put them on the conveyor belt.  Customs is usually filled with people but the lines go very fast in the large airports.  Sharp objects or anything similar must be stored in your suitcase and checked into baggage claim.  I made the mistake of taking along a pair of small cuticle scissors in my carry on and was told to pack them next time.  Lastly, never take anything from strangers.

 I never open maps or have my hands occupied while walking or standing around.  Be aware it happens but just keep your belongings close and your hands free if possible.  To catch you off guard, an adult may throw something at you.  Your natural response is to catch it and then they steal your things.  Don't be caught off guard.

I hope you enjoy your travels and do like me--leave the "bad baggage" at home!  

We use a 21" carryon and a handbag each when traveling to Europe for 12 days.

Please comment below on your travel tips.  You may also like my travel tips on PhonesPlanes, Trains, and Euro Exchange  here


  1. Great travel tips..Following these tips will ensure your travel to be safe and non-stressful.


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