Bag or Trolley? How to Choose the Right Bag for Your Train Ride


Which is more practical – travel bag or trolley on the train?

Travel bag or trolley – which is more practical on the train? On our trip from Munich to Cesenatico in Italy we traveled by train. From Bologna Airport we took the shuttle bus to the city's main train station. From there we continued by train to Cesena. There we were picked up. Since we were only there for four days, we were spoiled for choice. Our large suitcase was too big for the few days. Should we take a trolley or a bag instead? As experienced road trippers and air travelers, this question was not that easy to answer. Otherwise we just pack the trunk of our car. Or we load our luggage straight into the rental car at the airport.

Should You Buy A Bag or A Trolley? Consider this:

- How big is the luggage compartment above the seats in the train?

- Do you need free space for purchases you make locally?

- How far are the distances you need to cover with your luggage?

- Are these distances easy to handle? Or do they lead over bumpy terrain, over many steps or are there elevators?

Since we should only get the answers to all these questions and the question of trolley or travel bag on site, our considerations were as follows.

Trolley or travel bag - a comparison

We compared the pros and cons of trolley and holdall. Only then did we decide which pieces of luggage we would take with us on our train journey.

Travel bags for train journeys

Foldable travel luggage

Travel bag ladies 60L-80L with shoe compartment

Men's leather holdall

Tranverz M suitcase

Travel bag with wheels

Small travel bag men

The advantages and disadvantages of a travel bag

- A travel bag gives way and can also be stuffed in luggage racks on the train, but with the side effect that the clothes that are transported in it no longer look freshly ironed.

- A travel bag has the advantage that you can put new purchases in the last corners and spaces and the material is usually yielding enough, to accommodate even the most formless souvenirs.

- Travel bags have to be carried usually. Therefore, one of the disadvantages of this type of luggage is, that its weight becomes a heavy burden over long distances and over many stairs.

Trolleys for train journeys


Suitcase – hand luggage

The advantages and disadvantages of a trolley

– In contrast to a travel bag, a trolley offers relatively little space. However, you can stow the clothes in it neatly and they will arrive at your destination freshly ironed.

- The dimensions of a travel trolley are accurately measured so that they fit both in the luggage racks in the aircraft and on the luggage racks above the seats in the train. This has proven to be excellent on our trip to Italy.

- When packing, you have to plan from the outset so that there is room for any souvenirs. You should avoid packing anything unnecessary. This is not always easy when you are used to having all kinds of equipment with you in the trunk of your car.

- One of the great things about a trolley is that you can roll it across the dirtiest terrain so you do not have to carry the weight on your shoulders.

Conclusion: bags and trolleys have advantages and disadvantages when traveling by train

Whether you take a travel bag or a trolley with you on the train journey depends on your own needs. For example, I dread having to carry a bag or suitcase over long distances when travelling. Therefore, a trolley is the only option for me. But if you prefer to take a piece of luggage with you that is flexible, a travel bag is more suitable.

That was ultimately the decisive factor in our decision: a trolley is the right piece of luggage for us - for car, train and air travel. We travelled with two trolleys to Cesenatico and even found enough space at the end of our trip for two bottles of wine, a few pieces of  Fossa cheese and fruit jellies from the  Emilia Romagna, So a trolley was for us the perfect luggage! So we answer the question whether trolley or travel bag in the train clearly with trolley.

Questions and answers about travel bags or trolleys:

What are the advantages of a trolley for train journeys?

A trolley offers the advantage that you can simply pull it behind you, which makes carrying heavy loads easier. In addition, many trolleys offer enough space for clothes and other items that you need during the train journey.

Why might a holdall be a good choice for train travel?

A holdall can come in handy if you want to be more flexible. You can carry them more easily than a trolley over uneven paths or stow them on the luggage rack on the train. Travel bags are also often lighter and easier to fold up when not in use.

What are the disadvantages of a trolley for train journeys?

A disadvantage of a trolley is that it can often be bulky and unwieldy, especially on crowded trains or narrow aisles. Also, it can be difficult to transport a trolley up stairs or on trains without escalators.

Are there any downsides to using a holdall for train travel?

Duffel bags can be inconvenient when you need to carry a lot of heavy items, as the weight is directly on your shoulders. In addition, they often offer less structure and organization than trolleys, which can make it difficult to find certain things.

Can you combine a trolley and a travel bag?

Absolutely! Many travelers prefer to use both a trolley and a holdall. This way you can have the best of both worlds. Use the trolley for heavy luggage and the travel bag for extra flexibility and light items you need during the train journey.



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Text travel bag or trolley: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Photos trolley or travel bag: © Copyright Monika Fuchs as well as TravelWorldOnline and Amazon product photos

Bag or Trolley? How to Choose the Right Bag for Your Train Ride

Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Food and Slow Travel blog  TravelWorldOnline. They have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Their topics are trips to Savor, wine tourism worldwide and slow travel. During her studies Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she - partly together with Petar Fuchs - traveled to the USA and Canada and spent a research year in British Columbia. This intensified her thirst for knowledge, which she satisfied for 6 years as an adventure guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as a tour guide for Studiosus Reisen around the world. She was constantly expanding her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: "What's beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do they eat in this region?" As a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), she is now looking for answers to these questions as a travel writer and travel blogger in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is among Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021. Find more Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs here.

2 thoughts too "Bag or Trolley? How to Choose the Right Bag for Your Train Ride"

  1. I'm always on an ultra-light Samsonite trolley on short trips - clothes are simply rolled up as small as possible. My Nikon, my MacBook, books and indispensable bits and pieces I have in a large Longchamp bag over his shoulder. Any souvenirs come in an extra bag, which I attach to the handles of the troll - so I have a hand free.

    1. That is the advantage if you travel in pairs like we do. Petar has a trolley for laptops, camera equipment, travel documents and other technical equipment. I am traveling with the clothes trolley. And both of us - like you - we also use the trolleys as "luggage trolleys" when we can no longer store souvenirs in a suitcase. A very practical solution.

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