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Thread: New here, what should we buy to travel to Italy with for 3weeks?

  1. #1
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    New here, what should we buy to travel to Italy with for 3weeks?

    I've been following these boards for a few days & looking thru the bags. I'm overwhelmed on where to start. We are going to Italy in October for 3weeks on a Rick Steves tour = travel as light as possible, one bag preferred (we can't & don't plan on just one bag). So far, we've purchased 2 Aeronaut 45s w/the shoulder straps, 2 clear organizer wallets, 1 snake charmer.

    We don't know what else we need. Seems the Side Effect is a good idea, should we get one each, or just one to jointly share?

    My husband needs a backpack to use as his daily bag around the cities . . . would love suggestions.

    I need a daily crossbody purse as my daily bag . . . I'm considering the Cafe, but not sure if medium is big enough, or if I should wait on the Large to come back in stock? I'm also considering Red Oxx Chica & Eagle Creek CrossBody.

    All the Organizer Pouches are confusing to me- do we need any? If so, which ones & which sizes & what will we use them for?

    We have some eBag packing cubes- should we consider getting the TB packing cubes for the Aeronaut instead?

    We EACH plan on taking a 20in rolling bag. Our Aeronauts will be lightly packed & will be used as extra storage for items we purchase on our way home. Last time we went to Europe, we had NO spare room for things we purchased & spent a lot of money shipping things home (we did have tote we purchased in Europe, but it wasn't enough room, nor was it secure).

    Also, after watching many videos, I still don't understand the KeyStraps- I kind of understand what they are for, but I don't understand if I need the 8in or the 16in? And the ones with the clips on each end? Or a clip on one end & an O-ring on the other?

    Would love recommendations on anything else you think we should purchase . . . thanks!!
    Last edited by chinalake; 01-09-2015 at 08:24 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User Rocks's Avatar
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    Consider a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag or packing cube backpack or both. I use the packing cube shoulder bag as my day bag when I travel. Also you can attach a waist strap to the PCSB and wear it as a big fanny pack.
    Either the Packing cube backpack or the Daylight backpack would make a good day bag.
    I've also used a Copilot with an Aeronaut. That's a good travel combo.
    Key straps tether organizer pouches to O rings. Both sizes are pretty handy. All organizer pouches have hooks, so the hook/O ring key strap is the one you want.
    Side Effects make good in bag organizers. I can't say how many you'll want. I have 2 just for myself!
    Also, your trip is awhile from now. practice pack. Make sure you can handle the rolling bag and the Aeronaut together.
    Looking forward to hearing more about your trip.

  3. #3
    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    Try the eBags cubes before buying something else. Another forum member has a video, posted recently, of those fitting well in an Aeronaut. And the Aeronauts should come with a few key straps already.

    The Side Effect is really helpful in travel. If you do not already have a similarly sized small bag, I would suggest getting two of them, if possible. I keep my wallet, passport and phone inside, and wear it on the plane while stowing my other bags away. I think these are good things to have nearby. However, if you are using money belts, or have a hidden pocket already in which to stow these items, the Side Effects may not be as necessary for you.

    If you want a TB backpack as a daily bag, the Synapse 25 might be a good fit for your husband.
    Last edited by bchaplin; 01-10-2015 at 04:37 AM.
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  4. #4
    Registered User TavaPeak's Avatar
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    For a day bag in Italy (we were in Rome), I preferred a handbag with zippers & security for our camera, etc. I found a Travelon crossbody that worked well -- I could secure the zippers for Metro rides or crowds.

    For day pack - depends on how much you both carry during the day. The Synapse 25 is a brilliant bag. It's a little big for what 2 of us needed by day, so my teenager wore a small packable backpack for our day trips (his job was to carry raincoats, snack, etc). Something comparable here is the Daylight Backpack or the Daylight Briefcase. They are light and not big, but would fold up easily in your other bags. The Packing Cube Shoulder Bag is nifty because it can double as a packing cube and day bag, but I find it a bit floppy as a day bag. Some folks have ideas for putting something light in the zippered pocket of the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag to give it shape.

    The keystraps with clips on either end are handy for attaching organizer pouches to the o-rings in your bags. Those pouches are handy for cords (electronics, chargers, cameras), for small items (like chapstick, memory cards, etc), even sporks. The colored keystraps makes it easy to find which pouch you need. But if you won't carry pouches with you by day, you may not have to worry much about keystraps.

    It's not hard to get overwhelmed with the options here. You want to be selective, so that you're not overloaded with organizational "stuff" and adding unnecessary weight to carry. I try to simplify on each trip, but it's hard work! I'm thrilled to have found helpful things here to keep me organized. I'm finally getting a system where I can find even small things easily.

    Final thought - the A45s will be pretty big if you're carrying your 20" roller on board with you as well. (The Aeronaut would be considered your personal item?) You might check with your airline(s) to be sure of their carryon/personal item size/weight regulations. Hope this helps.

  5. #5
    Registered User dnarud13's Avatar
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    Europe, and especially Venice, are not roller bag friendly. Cobblestones and crowds make them irritating to drag and stairs/bridges mean you're carrying them half the time anyway.

    As far as accessories, just browse around this forum to see what others are doing with stuff and if it makes sense for you. I like a Travel Tray to keep my vitals (wallet, watch, keys, etc.) corralled in the hotel room. A Clear Organizer Cube for 3-1-1. Straps for securing my flashlight, keys, coin pouch to my daybag. SnakeCharmer or Mesh Organizer Cube for chargers, wires, electronics stuff. And on...

    I know that it can seem daunting to downsize to one-bag travel, but even my wife (who used to consider a 150 liter large roller a weekend bag) is sold on it's merits. Rather than investing in more bags to haul more stuff (and the added cost of checking them), we're investing in a travel focused wardrobe. Multifunctional and waterproof shoes that are comfortable and functional for all day walks around the attractions, mild hikes to scenic outlooks, and dressed up for dinner (for men I highly recommend the Ecco Track II, still looking for a comparable pair for women). Uniqlo, Patagonia, Icebreaker and others are brands, sometimes pricier, that have lighter/packable products well suited for such duty - hence the investment. The improvement in ergonomics makes the journey so much more enjoyable.

    Also, electronics are an area where size/weight savings can be realized. A laptop used to be a required travel companion as did a full sized camera and a book or two. Now, more often than not, my Nokia Lumia 1520 fills those functions. If I need a keyboard and more screen, a Windows tablet only adds a half kilo.

    Seeing that you're traveling in October, the weather is still pretty nice then. From Tuscano south, it should be lows in the 50's with possible 70's highs. Even up here in the north, it's only a few degrees cooler and so comfortable in a sweater or light jacket. That will save a lot of weight not having to pack for winter. I've been here for a couple years if you have any questions.
    Last edited by dnarud13; 01-10-2015 at 12:06 AM.
    [2003] Brain Bag (w/Snake Charmer & 3 Monolith/Brain cells) __________________________________________________ ______ "Be excellent to each other."
    - [2010] Aeronaut (w/Absolute, 1lg/2sm Packing Cubes, Travel Tray & 3D clear cube)
    - - [2013] Co-Pilot (w/ mini-'Absolute', Cache, Clear Org wallet, S.O.S., 3D Clear & mesh cubes, Passport pouch)
    - - - Small dyneema Shopbag, packing cube shoulder bag & various TB stuff (organizers, straps, whistles, etc.)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinalake View Post
    I've been following these boards for a few days & looking thru the bags. I'm overwhelmed on where to start. We are going to Italy in October for 3weeks on a Rick Steves tour = travel as light as possible, one bag preferred (we can't & don't plan on just one bag). So far, we've purchased 2 Aeronaut 45s w/the shoulder straps, 2 clear organizer wallets, 1 snake charmer.

    We don't know what else we need. Seems the Side Effect is a good idea, should we get one each, or just one to jointly share?

    My husband needs a backpack to use as his daily bag around the cities . . . would love suggestions.

    I need a daily crossbody purse as my daily bag . . . I'm considering the Cafe, but not sure if medium is big enough, or if I should wait on the Large to come back in stock? I'm also considering Red Oxx Chica & Eagle Creek CrossBody.

    All the Organizer Pouches are confusing to me- do we need any? If so, which ones & which sizes & what will we use them for?

    We have some eBag packing cubes- should we consider getting the TB packing cubes for the Aeronaut instead?

    We EACH plan on taking a 20in rolling bag. Our Aeronauts will be lightly packed & will be used as extra storage for items we purchase on our way home. Last time we went to Europe, we had NO spare room for things we purchased & spent a lot of money shipping things home (we did have tote we purchased in Europe, but it wasn't enough room, nor was it secure).

    Also, after watching many videos, I still don't understand the KeyStraps- I kind of understand what they are for, but I don't understand if I need the 8in or the 16in? And the ones with the clips on each end? Or a clip on one end & an O-ring on the other?

    Would love recommendations on anything else you think we should purchase . . . thanks!!
    I was in Europe over the summer for three weeks and brought a Aeronaut 45, side effect, packing cube shoulder bag, and utilized various key straps. My boyfriend had a jansport backpack and carried the majority of heavier things such as the camera, water, a light jacket for each of us, ipad, etc. I initially started out the trip using the side effect and loved it, since it's light yet has a lot of room. It was easy to find my iPhone in a smaller bag so I could always quickly take my phone out to snap pictures instead of taking out my camera which was much more of a hassle and unnecessary for quick pictures. About a week into the trip I switched to using the packing cube shoulder bag as I realized I needed more room and that it was a more comfortable bag the heavier things got. Since the side effect strap is thinner, when it gets very heavy (it can fit a Sony NEX5!) it started cutting into my shoulder. The PCSB however, is very light as it is dyneema, but the strap is thicker and distributed the weight much better. That thing can also pack anything and everything you'd possibly want! (On a recent trip to Japan I fit my gloves, beanie, earmuffs, scarf, and guidebooks in the main compartment and had my phone, wallet, Chapstick, and other misc, junk in the front pocket with plenty of room to spare). If you're a super light packer and plan to make your husband carry most of the things in his backpack, Id suggest the side effect. However if you plan on packing a light jacket or other cold weather accessories, the PCSB is the best bag ever! I actually loved it so much I bought two more over Christmas since my PCSB has been with me all around the world this year!

    Another reccomendation I have would be for you to use the key straps to attach your wallet, phone, and any other pouches you might use like for your passport or other important documents. Id read up a lot about pickpocketers in Europe so I attached everything I had to the o-rings with the key straps. There was one incident where someone had opened the front of my PCSB I think to attempt to steal my wallet but when they found it attached, couldn't cut through it and just left my bag hanging open. I also had mini carabiners on all the zippers but didn't always use them, so it was nice that everything was attached. I also attached my bf's cellphone to a carabiner in his pocket and one day found that the strap of his cellphone had a cut on it like someone had attempted to slice the strap with a sharp knife. So Id definitely reccomend the key straps! I used the shorter straps for the pouches that contained our passports and additional cash, and the long one for my wallet so that I could take my wallet out to pay for things without unhooking it from the bag. I also had a pouch for train tickets, etc. so that might be helpful for you to have.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all this wonderful info & recommendations. We have read that Venice is hard for rolling bags, but we've also read that we will be carrying & walking with our bags A LOT to get to our hotel & be getting on & off boats . . . I'm just not sure I can CARRY a bag that far- that is why I am considering a rolling bag. I'm all for trying the one bag thing (plus a personal item), but . . . what do you do with your purchases over a 3 week period? This was our issue the last time we went to Europe & we wished we each had another bag.

    Also . . . do you all think we should get A30s instead of A45s? Our 45s are on back order till March, so we could switch it out. The 45s will be a carry on . . . we have read that is an ok size for a carry on.

    One more thing . . . i've read many people use a 3D Clear Organizing Cube as their 3-1-1 . . . I thought we had to use a quart-sized ziplock bag for our 3-1-1s?
    Last edited by chinalake; 01-10-2015 at 08:36 AM.

  8. #8
    Registered User Rocks's Avatar
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    I use a 3D clear organizer cube for my 3-1-1 bag and haven't had an issue with it. A quart Ziplock is cheaper, though. I like the 3D clear cube because I can use it at my destination and the hotel bathroom stays tidier.
    If you're set on the roller bag, I'd take a good look at the Aeronaut 30 intend of the 45. The reason I pack light is I don't want to carry something heavy!
    I did 2 weeks in Italy with a Synapse 25 as my only bag. On the way back I checked my Packing Cube Backpack. It had a few purchases and dirty clothes.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    Try the eBags cubes before buying something else. Another forum member has a video, posted recently, of those fitting well in an Aeronaut..
    Ebags and Eagle Creek cubes are virtually interchangeable. Either one will work. Eagle Creek has also just announced a new cube and 1/2 cube set of compression cubes. (Not to be confused with the compressible bags.) This could help to manage space.

    Pack-It

    I'd also like to suggest you look at the new line of Lewis & Clark cubes. They come in three sizes, matching the size of Eagle Creek cubes,only much lighter in weight. Closer to the Eagle Creek Specter line but these cubes open on three sized and have a mesh window. I like them. They come in both a regular version and an expandable version (pretty much the same as compressible.)

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ssupportgroupf

    They also have a set of pouches in three sizes and a line of toiletry bags.

    I have cubes from all the manufacturers mentioned above as well as the ones designed for the Aeronaut by Tom Bihn. How you use them, and which ones you use, is strictly personal preference.
    Last edited by Frank II; 01-10-2015 at 10:09 AM.
    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.

  10. #10
    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TavaPeak View Post
    For a day bag in Italy (we were in Rome), I preferred a handbag with zippers & security for our camera, etc. I found a Travelon crossbody that worked well -- I could secure the zippers for Metro rides or crowds.

    For day pack - depends on how much you both carry during the day. The Synapse 25 is a brilliant bag. It's a little big for what 2 of us needed by day, so my teenager wore a small packable backpack for our day trips (his job was to carry raincoats, snack, etc). Something comparable here is the Daylight Backpack or the Daylight Briefcase. They are light and not big, but would fold up easily in your other bags. The Packing Cube Shoulder Bag is nifty because it can double as a packing cube and day bag, but I find it a bit floppy as a day bag. Some folks have ideas for putting something light in the zippered pocket of the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag to give it shape.
    I want to second what TavaPeak said above. I was sort of tired when I wrote my original response, recommending the Synapse 25. It is a great bag, but the Daylight Backpack is very good as a day bag as well and lighter to carry. It is actually what I used on my last trip and I loved it. If you don't need a huge amount of things during the day it is a good choice because it packs flat inside your other bags when it's empty.

    And I would recommend going with the Aeronaut 30's. Or maybe one Aeronaut 45 to share? Otherwise, that's just a LOT to carry. I assume you are checking the roller bags, but you still have to get to your hotel and such. Both the 45 and the 30 are carry-on size, but if the overheads are crowded, the 30 can sometimes fit into a small space, or squeeze under the seat in front of you, if it is not overfull, preventing it from getting gate-checked.

    Finally, my standard advice: pack some basic toiletries and a few changes of clothes into your carryons. Just in case your checked luggage gets lost.
    ----
    Please bring back the Portable Culture patch!

  11. #11
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    I'm actually getting confused with all your bag talk...what are ALL of the bags you're planning on taking?

    I'm reading two rolling bags to check, two Aeronauts, two day bags....and more?
    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.

  12. #12
    Registered User haraya's Avatar
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    I would definitely favor the A30's over the 45's. We were in Venice for a couple of days this summer and had one roller bag and two backpacks for two adults and two kids. Traveling (relatively) light made a huge difference because we missed our stop for the shuttle over from the mainland, and had to walk over a mile to our hotel. (DH carried the roller bag when necessary - and we went over a lot of bridges and up many steps in that mile walk, so bear that in mind when you think about carrying a roller AND a full, 45L bag up an incline. )

    My pack was the Smart Alec with an upper modular pocket added, so a total capacity of 28 L, very close to the A30 but in a different layout. With the SA fully packed, it was comfy but definitely heavy enough that I was happy to leave it in the hotel room while we went sightseeing. (It was my carry-on for the plane, since I had to bring entertainment and snacks for the kids as well as myself. Fit perfectly under the seat in front of me.) DH had a 16L pack, mostly just electronics and a long-sleeved shirt.

    For sightseeing in Rome and in Venice, I had my Small Cafe Bag in Dyneema for personal items, and a Small Shop Bag for my DSLR camera and things like a guidebook and shawl (for covering up in churches). Both of them fold up to nothing when in transit, then they're ready for walking around once at our destination. I know the SSB has an open top, but I was willing to take the risk since I'm pretty good at keeping it in front of me in crowds. I put the camera inside a Travel Stuff Sack that was attached to the SSB with a long key strap, for extra security when I wasn't taking pictures. (However, for our next big trip with kids, when/wherever that may be, I'm going to get a smaller camera like the Fuji X100. I'm ready to travel lighter, and there's not really any sacrifice in photo quality anymore.)

    I'm all for trying the one bag thing (plus a personal item), but . . . what do you do with your purchases over a 3 week period? This was our issue the last time we went to Europe & we wished we each had another bag.
    How is your itinerary structured? Is there/can there be a hub where you can store purchases until you are ready to head back home? E.g. if you are flying in and out of Rome, perhaps you can choose the same hotel on your first and last nights, and ask them to store things for you? Alternately, I have started to pick either small, light things to buy while traveling (like scarves); pick one big thing to represent my whole trip (I bought a lamp in Turkey, and hand-carried it home, checking other things to make room in my carry-on); or reconciled myself to shipping things home (my mother bought a rug and had it shipped home). No one perfect answer, but lately I find that being nimble matters more and more to me. - Also I am running out of room on my walls to hang trip souvenirs, so they have to be either wearable or consumable - or something I will use every day, like a bowl or a rug - these days!
    Last edited by haraya; 01-10-2015 at 03:09 PM.

  13. #13
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    Very helpful! Thanks to all of you. The Itinerary is a 10day RickSteves tour starting in Venice & finishing in Rome & then we will do another week or so on our own . . . places on our own have yet to be determined . . . maybe Tuscany area.

    After all your suggestions, we will attempt to do this with an Aeronaut45 EACH & a day bag EACH & skip out on the 20in checked rolling bag. We've got lots of time to figure it out . . . but we are budgeting each month to prepare for this & we wanted to know what we needed to purchase. What a great forum. ThankYou.
    binje and Pokilani like this.

  14. #14
    Registered User Pokilani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinalake View Post
    After all your suggestions, we will attempt to do this with an Aeronaut45 EACH & a day bag EACH & skip out on the 20in checked rolling bag. We've got lots of time to figure it out . . . but we are budgeting each month to prepare for this & we wanted to know what we needed to purchase. What a great forum. ThankYou.
    You will be very happy with this decision! I've been on busses, planes, trains, and automobiles with my A30 and it feels so much more freeing to travel light. My bag was under packed on the way to London and all was good. Fully packed on the way back, and while manageable, I did get a little tired. So if your husband is stronger than you, give him the heavier stuff! If you need packing advice, feel free to ask!


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  15. #15
    Registered User TavaPeak's Avatar
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    If you purchase a lot of Murano glass or other treasures, you can always buy a sturdy bag there to check for the way home.

    Bravo for going wheel-less! That's not an option for me, but wish I could.

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