The ultimate luggage guide for a Europe trip from India | 2024

The ultimate luggage guide for a Europe trip from India | 2024

So you've done all your bookings for your Europe trip.

The visa is done, and the hotels/ Airbnb are booked.

Now comes the less exciting part. Packing.

And the first step is figuring out what type of luggage to carry for your Europe trip.

And, this guide is all about that.

Lets dive in.

Step 1: What kind of trip are you on?

BTW, we are talking about leisure trips only, and not business trips.

And when it comes to leisure trips, the below is what you have most likely planned

Duration: 7 to 14 days max

Destinations: Multiples cities within the same country or 2-3 countries. 

Time of Travel: Summer/ a time when it is not too cold.

Mode of Travel:

  • Flights: To and from Europe/ India. Also within European destinations.
  • Euro-rail: Within Europe travel between destinations.
  • Taxis/ Metros/ Buses: For local sight-seeing
  • Ferries: For island hopping ( Greece)
  • Walking: You'll be doing a lot of this for Europe sight-seeing

Step 2: The blunder to avoid

If there is one blunder you want to avoid when picking a luggage, this is it.

"Do not carry a large check-in bag"

Europe Luggage

Unless you are going to be chauffer driven, and assisted with your baggage everywhere, this is a Bad Idea.


1) Considering that you'll be visiting multiple destinations, this bag is very difficult to lug around.

2) This type of bag is extremely difficult to handle on public transport (ferries, metros, buses etc.).

3) Europe cities are old heritage cities, and you will come across many areas with cobblestones, and uneven surfaces.

Europe Luggage

Imagine lugging this suitcase through all of these. You won't be able to carry it as it too heavy.

Also you will come across stairs that do not have the escalator facility (e.g. Paris Metro). This bag will be a nuisance then.

Step 3: Baggage Options

Option 1: Just a backpack (The ideal option)

Europe backpack

Ok before you guys say this is not possible, let me tell you that scores of people do it.

Its just that you need some experience doing it. And you'll have to make a few sacrifices.

Here are the challenges and benefits of travelling with just a backpack


a) Your hands are free to do other stuff such as eating an ice-cream on the go, using your mobile phone, paying for stuff etc.

b) No problem handling your bags on uneven surfaces: Cobblestones on the way? Just walk across.

c) Easy to travel on public transport such as Ferries, Buses, Metro etc.

d) No waiting for check-in bags: If your luggage is within the weight limit, you can carry it on board the flight.

e) You wont have to keep an eye on your bag all the time as it is on you. Nobody can steal the bag from you.

f) No worries about airline baggage delay/ baggage loss.


a) Weight limit is a problem: Most airlines have a weight limit of 7-10 kgs. Specifically budget airlines limit it at 7.

Some sacrifices maybe needed. For. e.g. you may have to leave your laptop behind as a laptop alone weight around 1.5 to 2 kg.

BTW, few airlines let you buy additional cabin luggage allowance.

Do some research on your airline baggage policies before you go.

Here is a sample from Air France

Europe Luggage

b) Might be too heavy for some of you to carry and walk.

b) For. e.g. you may have to leave your laptop behind as a laptop alone weight around 1.5 to 2 kg.

OK. cool, so what is the best travel backpack for Europe trip?

I know that this is what comes to most people's your minds when they think of a backpack trip to Europe.

This is a typical rucksack. its bulky, heavy, and it's difficult to access stuff from within.

A rucksack is not the bag to carry unless you are doing a month long backpack europe trip

Considering the fact that this backpack is the only bag you'll be carrying, keep these in mind:

a) A good Europe backpack should be close to 40 liters. This is the ideal size to fit all your stuff for a 7-10 day trip, and fit into airline cabins.

b) It should open up like a suitcase so that you can easily access stuff.

Europe Travel Backpack

c) It should be rugged and slightly water resistant considering it rains in Europe even in summers.

d) It should be light weight so that you can carry more stuff without exceeding the weight limit.

Option 2: A medium sized carry-on bag + a medium sized check-in bag (most popular option).

Europe Luggage

This is not the ideal option, but many travelers prefer this due to the following reasons.

a) No issues with baggage restrictions as you can carry extra stuff in check-in.

b) You can definitely fit all your stuff by carrying an additional check-in bag.

c) If a 40 L backpack is too heavy for you as a carry-on, you can carry a small backpack or duffel bag on you for your essentials, and dump most of your other stuff in the check-in bag.

But the cons are:

a) You'll spend some time waiting at the baggage carousel for your check-in bag

b) You'll end up carrying the bag a lot in places where you can't roll it (stairs, cobblestoned pavements etc.)

c) You need to keep an eye on the extra bag at all times.

All right, so I'm carrying 2 bags. What size should they be

a) Backpack/ Duffel bag for carry-on: Medium size around 20 L. Drop your essentials and a pair of clothes in this.

b) Check-in bag: Trolley bag of small to medium size that you are comfortable carrying.

BTW, although the 4 wheel ones are trending these days, 2 wheels ones work better on uneven surfaces, and are less prone to damage.

Also please note that the handles of most trolley bags are not designed to handle frequent/ long carrying. Make sure the one you are carrying has good quality strong handles lest they break during the trip (real hassle)

Here are also a few add-on stuff that we find are super-useful

a) A cross body sling bag: 

Europe Luggage

Extremely useful for carrying just your documents and valuables

Carry it facing front so that its close to your body and in sight always.

b) A foldable backpack: 

A small packable backpack that you can carry easily use for daytrips (hikes, beach etc.), without lugging around your 40 L backpack or spoiling your medium size backpack.

The below one is by BorderTribe

Europe Luggage

c) Hanging toiletry bag:

Very useful in general to manage your toiletries.

The hanging feature is extremely helpful in bathrooms with no countertops.

d) Packing Cubes: 

More and more travelers are using these to stay organized and hassle-free.

Will be a great addition for your Europe trip as you'll be packing unpacking at multiple places. 

That about sums up luggage selection for your upcoming europe trip.

BTW, have you check out our detailed travel check-list for Europe? It is pretty comprehensive.

Smooth Travels

Team BorderTribe

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