The Best Luggage for Traveling Europe by Train

european rail travel

Written by Julie Pennell on

Julie Pennell is a former NYC editor enjoying a grown-up gap year in Oxford, England. Follow her travel adventures at her blog, "Across The Ponderings."

european rail travel

Gearing up for a European rail adventure? Find out what bags and suitcases you need to safely and effectively criss-cross the continent by train.

Traveling through Europe by train is not only about convenience, but the experience. Getting from Point A to Point B is made more memorable by the stunning views right outside your seat window, similar to the best railroad trips in the USA. And while you’re gazing out at the beautiful countryside or majestic mountains, you’ll feel even more at ease knowing you packed smartly. Ready to go? Find out what to pack for Europe, then read on to figure out what luggage to pack it all in for your epic European train ride..

Day Bag

You’ll need to keep a small bag with you at your seat containing the essentials (toiletries, water bottle, reading material, etc.) Consider the Packable Daypack, a lightweight backpack that can fit everything you need at your seat, and then pack up small into itself when you don’t need it. And once you get to your destination, it’s the perfect size to carry around everything you need for sightseeing.

Overhead Luggage

It’s often a struggle to find something that holds everything you need and conveniently fits into a small space, but there are definitely pieces that do all of the above. The Global Companion design contains a wide butterfly opening, with a variety of compartments, making organization and accessibility easier than ever before.

Another option is the Gear Warrior Convertible Carry On, which is designed with versatility in mind. This wheeled bag transforms into a backpack with straps making it easy to travel in tight places. You can also remove the daypack from the front for an easier fit in the overhead bins.

Large Luggage

If you need more room for your items, consider a duffel bag like the Cargo Hauler Duffel 40L. This extra durable and water-repellant duffel is comfortable to carry thanks to the padded and adjustable shoulder straps. Plus, it’s soft enough to squish into the overhead racks.


If you’re traveling longer and further, and therefore need a bag that might not fit above you, you’re going to want to make sure it’s secure since you won’t be able to guard it during the rail trip. If it’s left in the luggage rack at the end of the coach, make sure it’s safe with a lock. Consider the 3-Dial TSA Lock & Cable which is a 3-dial combination lock and cable set that can fix the luggage to a rack ensuring no one will walk off with your possessions. Plus, if you’re flying before or after your rail trip, this lock is Travel Sentry certified, meaning TSA baggage screeners will be able to open the lock if needed for inspection.

If you’re looking to save weight and just lock the zippers to ensure no one gets into your bag, try the Ultralight TSA Lock This is also a great option to use on your day bag, if you’re planning to doze on the train. Plus, read up on our best tips for staying safe in Europe, especially if you’re planning to travel alone.

Packing Organizers

If you’re planning a rail trail, you’re going to be hitting up many different countries, with all kinds of weather conditions and packing needs. Keep your chic Parisian streetwear separate from your Barcelona beachwear by organizing your clothes with packing cubes. So when you arrive at your destination, you can just whip out all your extra small cubes, large packing cubes and everything in between, with the right gear. Leave the rest all neatly packed up and ready for your next railway destination. And don’t forget a clean/dirty cube, so you can keep your laundry separate from your nice clean clothes. If you tend toward overpacking, compression cubes are your best bet, so you can squeeze in everything you want to bring for your big adventure.

Ready to go? Find out what to pack for your train trip and fun off-the-beaten path European destinations you can access by train. Hate the crowds? Check out these European vacation ideas for the crowd-phobic.

Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):

6 Expert Tips For Traveling Europe By Train

What to Pack for Europe: The 5-Step System

Europe By Rail: 6 Off-The-Beaten-Path Destinations