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Thread: Help! 3 weeks in Europe - trains, planes and no idea what luggage to use

  1. #16
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    My take on this is to buy an Aeronaute and a Tristar or 2 Tristars or one Aeronaute and a Western Flyer or a Tristar and a Western Flyer.

    We know that you can pack really light with the Brain Bag and your wife could try it using Lani's wonderful tips, she could even supplement her wardrobe in Europe.

    With multiple modes of transportations, I strongly advice against check in bags. I was born in Europe and travelled there by trains, buses, boats and Ryanair before their stringent weight restriction.

    There is no checking on train, bus and boats, you have to carry the huge rollaboard while navigating train stations stairs, the mazes that are bus stations and on steep boat ramps.

    One good thing about that is your will be both very hungry for European foods and will be able to proudly show your newly gained muscles. The not so good thing, it gets exhausting pretty quickly.
    Especially when jetlagged.

    Ryanair and many local airlines force check in oversized and/or overweight luggages. Overweight meaning as low as 6 kg.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carry-...European_Union

    Which means you have to check the airline website for their current weight limit, with the price of oil rising, it might change, so you have to buy a luggage scale.

    I think they also charge the check in luggage by weight, so wheels mean more expensive.

    Because European airlines are busier than ever, there is a strong likeliness of routing the bag in the wrong direction


    The best wardrobe bet in Europe is one or 2 neutral color basic pieces that can be dressed up and down. One pair of comfort shoes for traveling and walking and one pair of lightweight dressier shoes like a ballerina flat or a lightweight equivalent for men. (Europe has wonderful shoe makers, you can buy the extra there as well)

    Make sure the walking shoes are waterproofed. One poster talked about Londrain, Amsterain and I can add Parisrain, Bruxellrain and Berlinrain.

    You have more chance of sunny weather in Spain and Italy but I remember one picture taken by a Tom Bihn fan of Rome under snow in winter, which means they can get rain in the Fall as well.

    Check the weather forecast now and periodically until the day of departure.
    Last edited by backpack; 08-29-2012 at 05:56 PM.

  2. #17
    JLE
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    I have the trifecta - an Aeronaut, a WF and a TS. My Aeronaut and Western Flyer are Cardinal/Steel (TS is navy/Iberian) and I love this combination. Cardinal is a really attractive red.

    It sounds as if you have decided on the TS but here are my observations on the three bags as "one bagging" options for a 3 week trip. It is relevant to note that I am a fit and active 5'6" woman since I am going to comment on carrying comfort. Also I try to avoid checking in whenever I can, although I am not really a true one bagger because I like to carry a separate handbag/daybag.

    I am constantly amazed at how much my Aeronaut can hold. It could easily accommodate everything you'd need for a three week trip even if you didn't apply a lot of discipline to your packing list. However, when fully packed it can easily weigh in at 10kg++ (and that's even assuming you don't have a lot of heavy tech or photographic equipment). Everyone will have a different carrying comfort level, of course, but if you are trying to convert your wife to the merits of travelling with just carry on, loading her up with a bag this heavy is probably not the best way to start!

    I love the WF and try to use it whenever I can - when fully packed it is usually under 7kg, which is perfect for me. However, for longer trips it requires a high level of packing discipline that is generally achieved only with time and experience! Would probably be a challenge to use as the sole bag for a three week trip (yes, Lani, I know you could do it easily! ).

    The TS is a great compromise bag, in terms of size, between the other two. I'll bet your wife could do a practice pack, you know, just for fun, into a TS and find that she could easily fit all she needed for the trip in there. However, this is another bag that gets heavy quickly, because it can hold so much. It can easily weigh 9kg fully packed (Typically when I travel with mine it comes in at around 7.8kg).

    I would definitely echo others' comments about the packing cubes. They are really useful, whichever bag you choose, and help with organisation and compression (especially in the main compartment of the Aeronaut) and adding extra structure to the bag (in the TS and WF). I always use mine, even with non-TB bags...
    Lani likes this.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    Imported brands "lifetime warranty" usually means. When their stuff breaks on the airport elevator, the train station stairs, in the middle of foot traffic on the way to the hotel, you have to somehow find a way to put your things together buy a cheepie at the airport, near the train station or the hotel then email the manufacturer for a return so that they can send you the same cheap stuff at home. Not at your destination.

    I have had to deal with two import cheapies in a really bothersome way, one broke the same day I bought it, the other was holding a laptop for bike commuting, I saw the handle slowly unravelling from my husband back while he was biking away from the open air metro station.
    When I arrived at the bus station I was relieved it was still hanging by a thread.

    That is what one get with imported cheapies.
    I don't disagree. But ebags branded are far from cheap. They are made pretty well and a good alternative. Especially if you're looking for a rolling case. I have several of their bags and have had no problems. For everything else there is Tom bihn.

  4. #19
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    Ahh, the Aeronaut restocked ahead of schedule - great! So, I was trying to decide between a Tristar and an Aeronaut, but the Aero was out of stock, so I was going to order the Tristar.

    Now that the Aeronaut is back, which should I get? Does anyone have experience taking the Aeronaut as a carry-on on RyanAir or Wizz Air? I believe technically it may be slightly over their carryon dimensions/requirements?
    Super Ego, Ristretto, Western Flyer, Brain Cell, Travel Tray, Lots of Packing Cubes, Organizer Pouches & Straps, Snake Charmer and much, much more...

  5. #20
    JLE
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    Ahh, the Aeronaut restocked ahead of schedule - great! So, I was trying to decide between a Tristar and an Aeronaut, but the Aero was out of stock, so I was going to order the Tristar.

    Now that the Aeronaut is back, which should I get? Does anyone have experience taking the Aeronaut as a carry-on on RyanAir or Wizz Air? I believe technically it may be slightly over their carryon dimensions/requirements?
    Since it looks as if you already have a WF I'd get the Aeronaut as the two will complement each other very well. I have no experience with the Aeronaut on the airlines you list but if you left the end pockets empty I would think there'd be a good chance of squashing the bag down to size...

  6. #21
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    Look at post 5 in this thread for a few photos of the aeronaut in bag sizers in Europe: European Budget Carry-on limits
    Pretty impressive!

  7. #22
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    Hello Josh, In case your heart isn't totally set on the Tristar , I just ordered an Aeronaut in Forest/Ultraviolet and it was shipped on Friday! Have a great trip!

  8. #23
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    Nice! An Aeronaut it is, then! Ordering it today, and I'll make sure to report back and let everyone know how things go in Europe!
    Super Ego, Ristretto, Western Flyer, Brain Cell, Travel Tray, Lots of Packing Cubes, Organizer Pouches & Straps, Snake Charmer and much, much more...

  9. #24
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    So, almost a year later, I wanted to come back and report on my experiences in case anyone has a similar set of questions or is curious about the Aeronaut, etc. I come here to ask questions all the time before trips, so I figured I'd post some hopefully helpful info for a change. First of all, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who posted in this thread - you greatly, greatly helped me plan for that trip, and that had a large part in making it an awesome experience.

    So we spent 3 weeks in Europe; we took flights, trains, taxis and even a boat or two in Venice to get around. It was myself and my wife, and we were really all over Europe - about 10 different countries, mostly for work, with some fun here and there.

    I took 3 bags:

    1) A lightweight, rolling (spinners, even) Delsey suitcase that I checked.
    2) An Aeronaut - this was my large carry-on.
    3) My Western Flyer - this was my personal item (except on Ryanair).

    I really wanted to get down to just the Aeronaut and Western Flyer, but I just couldn't make it happen AND stick within RyanAir's strict weight limit for carry-ons (10 kilograms - 22 pounds. You'd think "no way they would slow the boarding process down by weighing carryons!" but one of our friends that traveled with us for a bit of the trip did have their carryon weighed by RyanAir on their way to meet up with us).

    The Delsey seemed like a good compromise as far as checked baggage goes - it was smaller and lighter than my old supersized American Tourister suitcase, and even while stuffed as full as I could get it with packing cubs, stuff sacks and more, I never managed to get it to the 50 pound weight limit (although I did have to be careful with RyanAir's 20 kilogram limit, which is 44 pounds). I did have to carry it up the stairs in one train station in Italy, and while it wasn't fun, it wasn't too challenging - it's a lightweight, well made suitcase.

    So, now on to the good stuff - my Tom Bihn bags. First of all, the Western Flyer - not a lot to say here, this is my standard carry-on most of the time, even within the US. The Western Flyer is actually a tad too large to be considered a 'personal item' - if you look at the measurements, it really should be your main carry-on (i.e., be placed in the overhead bin). However, I've discovered that I can get it to fit 'well enough' on its side under most airline seats, as long as I'm OK with the lack of legroom as a result. And if you are intentional about where you place things when you pack it and leave about 1-2" of compressible items (or nothing at all) at the top, on *some* airlines you can get it to fit under the seat standing up, so you still have lots of space for your feet. As a personal item, out of about 20 flights I've only had one gate agent once say "Will that fit under the seat?". I said yes, and that was the end of it. The Western Flyer is where I keep my laptop, tablet, magazines and other items I want to be able to easily get to during the flight. And when I'm traveling on business, it's what I take with me to meetings, etc.

    Of course, due to RyanAir's one-cabin-bag-only policy (no personal item), my Western Flyer is emptied and packed into either my Aeronaut or my checked bag when we're on RyanAir. I've gotten to the point where if we can avoid RyanAir - there's other discount airlines in Europe that are getting to be just as cheap but are more traveler-friendly in their policies.

    Now, the Aeronaut. I was incredibly nervous about RyanAir with the Aeronaut. I was pretty convinced that they were going to make me put it in the sizer and/or weigh it every time we took a RyanAir flight. Based on what I read here and on other forums, I wore it backpack-style while at the airport, and gate agents and airline counter staff weren't concerned at all with it - the assumption is if you can carry it on your back, it'll fit in the sizer! So, I didn't get a single question about the Aeronaut as a carry-on. I knew that it would fit in the sizer based on the photos I had seen, but I was concerned because I had overstuffed it at a couple of points in our trip, and if you overstuff it, it *won't* fit in some of the smaller sizers. I was actually on a domestic flight this year where I had overstuffed my Aeronaut (it was the only bag I was carrying for that trip) and when overstuffed, it is an almost impossible fit into the overhead compartments of smaller planes. I had to do quite a bit of maneuvering to get it to fit!

    The only complaint I had about the Aeronaut was that I never really found a comfortable way to carry it - when filled (not overstuff, but just comfortably filled), it can get HEAVY. You have to remember that the volume of the Aeronaut is actually greater than the volume of a number of rolling suitcases out there. I alternated between backpack style and the Absolute Shoulder Strap, but I found that with it fully loaded, it's really too much weight to put on just one shoulder. However, wearing it as a backpack was pretty uncomfortable in warmer weather because there's just not a good way to stay cool while carrying that large of a backpack on your back. I also never really found the perfect way to easily carry both the Aeronaut and the Western Flyer without ending up accidentally slinging one or the other at nearby passengers on the train, etc!

    As far as the things people mentioned about checking luggage on the trains, etc., we never really had a problem. Every train we were on, except one, had either a luggage rack at the end of the car or an overhead luggage storage area. There was one exception (from Milan, I think it was, to Venice), but in that case we were in the back of the car and there was some open space next to us, so we stored our suitcases there.

    I think the ideal setup for me, if I could ever get everything to fit, would be the Western Flyer and either a Brain Bag or a Smart Alec - a true backup, smaller than the Aeronaut, that would be easier to carry than the Aeronaut. But I have a long way to go on my packing-light skills before I could approach a setup like that, and in the meantime, the Western Flyer + Aeronaut + checked rolling bag gives me more than enough room for everything I need for a trip of this size.

    Thanks again, everyone, for your help last year, and I hope this information helps someone making a similar decision about what bags to take on a 3-4 week trip overseas!
    Super Ego, Ristretto, Western Flyer, Brain Cell, Travel Tray, Lots of Packing Cubes, Organizer Pouches & Straps, Snake Charmer and much, much more...

  10. #25
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    Thanks so much for your "results" post. It's really helpful for others trying to decide on the right combo for longer multi-country and climate trips. Sounds like you had a great time.

  11. #26
    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    Sounds like a fabulous trip...and challenging from a hauling the luggage standpoint. Question...were the 3 bags for both you and your wife or just yourself? I may need to rethink my pack list for next trip.....

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by monkeylady View Post
    Sounds like a fabulous trip...and challenging from a hauling the luggage standpoint. Question...were the 3 bags for both you and your wife or just yourself? I may need to rethink my pack list for next trip.....
    The 3 bags were just for me. My wife has a similar Delsey rolling suitcase and a Samsonite backpack (still trying to convert her to TB, but she's had this backpack for many many years). She actually packs much lighter than I do, so basically she fits everything into her rolling suitcase and then uses the backpack for her laptop and other items she knows she might need in-flight.

    One of the things that helped me the most last year was getting good, non-cotton clothing that I could easily wash in our hotel room + finding things like the Ex Officio and Scottevest convertible pants that can become shorts.

    It looks like I'll end up in Europe on one of these fairly long, multi-climate trips at least once a year due to my work, so if you have any other questions, let me know.
    Super Ego, Ristretto, Western Flyer, Brain Cell, Travel Tray, Lots of Packing Cubes, Organizer Pouches & Straps, Snake Charmer and much, much more...

  13. #28
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    Let me get this straight.....

    Your trip was for 3 weeks.
    You did laundry along the way.
    And you had three bags with over 60 lbs worth of stuff?

    So I'm guessing traveling light is not one of your goals?
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

  14. #29
    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    What took up so much space?

  15. #30
    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    My husband's packing list for Europe: 2 "nice" pants (E.O. non convertible), 1 convertible pants, 1 "nice" shorts, 1 "nice" shirt, 2 other shirts, 3-4 T shirts, EO undies, socks, lightweight jacket. That's it. We use laundry service wherever we go and do our own as well. EO makes "nice" pants and shirts that don't look like bushwhack gear and is very appropriate for city travel in Europe. Ditto for REI, which sells under its own name for significantly less money.

    Oh, now I get it...you're traveling for work. That's a different packing list: sports coats, slacks, suits, dress shirts, ties? Someone in this crew must have some ideas about a packing list....
    Last edited by monkeylady; 07-24-2013 at 02:28 PM.

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