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Strict Luggage Restrictions?

26 May 2006 waddup asked

Hi,<br><br>I'm going on a 2 week budget european trip.&nbsp; And I noticed that my luggage size is a few cm larger than the restriction height and depth wise.&nbsp; It is also an expandable one, which i know is not allowed (but I won't use that function).<br><br>Just wondering how strict contiki is with the luggage size.&nbsp; This is my only one (the other one is too small).&nbsp; I just want to know if I can get by with the one i have, or do I have to go out and buy one. I promise i'll keep it light tho!<br><br>Thanks<br><br><br>
  • Read the responses 28 responses so far
  • 4 Jun 2005 Sarah Smiles said


    Hi all,

    This is quoted for the Contiki Europe Travellers Guide which you will recieve along with all of your travel documents about 3 weeks prior to departure.

    “Baggage is restricted to one reasonably sized suitcase. Please ensure your suitcase is NO LARGER that 29”x20"x10" (73cmx50cmx25cm) and a maximum weight of 20kgs (44lbs) (non expanding) for all Time Out/Superior and Concept/Budget tours . . . On all tours the suitcase size and wieght is very strictly enforced. . . . Only 1 small piece of hand luggage will be allowed onto the coach (maximum weight of 5kg). These requirements are for your own comfort and safety. Please ensure that your suitcase is the correct size before depature. If not you will be asked to change your suitcase on the morning of depature thus incurring extra costs of a new suitcase and storage of excess luggage."

    They don’t weigh your day bag but they do expect you to walk onto the coach carrying only ONE bag, and the weight restriction is there, I think, to emphasize the word SMALL in that sentence. I think that you are picturing something like a “carry-on” at the airport, but what Contiki means by “hand luggage” is your purse or backpack, or whatever it is that you are going to be carrying around Europe with you everyday, all day long.
    I honestly don’t know why people feel compelled to bring everything but the kitchen sink onto the coach with them. Your are only going to be driving for a couple hours at a time b/c there are a lot of service stops during the driving days. There is always music to listen to, people to chat with and beautiful scenery to look at. Not to mention the fact that you will prob. be using some of that time to catch some zzzz’s. I mean, did your parents never take you anywhere when you were a child so that you could learn to entertain yourselves for a couple hours without a toy or a game??!! Sheesh!

    Okay, sorry about the rant. I do hope that you have an awesome tour.

  • 5 Jun 2005 ptooma said


    Ummm, Sarah is dead on on the specifics, and more to the point as mentioned before, they will be weighing your main luggage on a digital scale than has 0.1 kg increments and 20.1 kg is NOT getting on the bus.
    This only happens for tours departing from London on the first day, and nowhere else. They never measure size, unless it looks like a piano case. So it’s doubtful that you’ll get on with a piano case, but otherwise don’t sweat the size. Secondly, the day bag will probably get stuffed under the seat in front of you or overhead, and those places on a coach are a lot smaller than on a plane.

    Also, you are not staying at Hilton Hotels with plush elevators with bellhops, but rather a few hotels will be independants (ie: not a chain hotel). Some of them will be very old buildings WITHOUT lifts/elevators, (this is Europe, remember?). Or perhaps the hotel has one lift no larger than a telphone booth or is broken. 50 people arriving at the same time means you’re probably looking at the stairs.

    So the idea here is to TRAVEL LIGHT. Chances are you are not going to be wearing 1/4 of the crap that you packed. Even from a guy’s perspective, I didn’t wear 1/4 of my stuff. There are many shops around. You might wanna wear that new t-shirt you bought from Paris, or wherever. I ended up buying a boatload of t-shirts and wore them mostly. I even bought sneakers and cargo shorts because they were inexpensive in Nice in small shops off the beaten path.

    Speaking from experience – 2 back-to-back tours for 6 wks.

    - Vic

  • 5 Jun 2005 Sarah Smiles said



    I did the Euro Vista tour last year and 44 lbs is really more luggage than you would think. If you check out my packing list you can see what I packed and my bag was well under the 44lb limit. The reason that I suggest bringing a large suitcase is so that you will have room to store all the cool souveniers you will pick up along the way. If you start the tour out with a huge, overstuffed suitcase, you won’t have room to shop. I love my clothes too which is why I did so much shopping in Europe – what could be a better souvenier for a clothes horse like me than clothes!!? My boyfriend has to keep his clothes in the spare bedroom closet b/c I have the one in our bedroom completely full, so I know the feeling of wanting to pack a lot of stuff, but really, you don’t need to. Vic is a very savy traveller, so I would def. take his advice and pack light! (If you want some really entertaining reading about Contiki tours then check out his website – it is awesome!)  Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 11 Jun 2005 Joyce W said


    hi, I have the same problem as chiki_d. Can I take 2 bags to the coach (not include day bag)? My main suitcase is only 16", far smaller than the maximum size, not enough for the stuff in 21 days. So I need another bag. I am really want to know the answer. Hope some one can help.

    P.S.If I only can bring one suitcase, I have another huge suitcase is 70cm*60cm*20cm, larger than the maximum size. whether I can take the huge suitcase?

    If both the answers are ‘yes’. What are your suggestion about bring the huge one or two bags?

  • 11 Jun 2005 Sarah Smiles said


    Yes, your sleeping bag is allowed to be outside of your suitcase for the Contiki tour – how you get it on the airplane however . . .

    And, NO! you cannot take 2 bags. You can take 1 bag and that bag must be 70cmx50cmx25cm (or 145cm total length plus width plus height) or slightly over that but not so much that it is totally obvious or they might make you buy a new suitcase in London (assuming your tour leaves from London – most do) which would not be fun since everything costs way more in London than it would at home.
    The reason I say that it can be slightly over the size is that almost everyone on this message board has said that they have never seen anyone’s bag get measured but it will def. be weighed. However, this is not a guarantee that they won’t start measuring bags on your tour.

  • 12 Jun 2005 Joyce W said


    Thanks, Sarah. Whether Contiki has a restriction size on day bag?

  • 12 Jun 2005 Sarah Smiles said


    Hi Joyce
    Please see my post above made on 6/4/06.
    Happy Travels!

  • 12 Jun 2005 Jawo said


    Thanks for the very informative post…I had many of the same questions that were answered by reading the post!

  • 14 Jun 2005 sweetz said


    Hi Felicity

    I DONT reccommend taking your sleeping bag seperate on the airplane, my partners sleeping bag (actually my spare one) was ‘LOST’ and never found! I told him if it wasnt attached properly or inside his pack he would never see it again……. and it happened! lucky we were in a b and b that night and didnt need it but we had to go out and buy a new sleeping bag……at UK prices it didnt go down too well.


  • 14 Jun 2005 kristen773 said


    Hey everyone, I am currently shopping for a new suitcase and I’d appreciate some advice. I have been looking at the hard plastic suitcases but I don’t want to be over the weight maximum for the trip. Is there much of a weight difference between the cloth (soft) and plastic (hard) suitcases?

  • 14 Jun 2005 Sarah Smiles said


    There really isn’t much of a difference except that the hard-sided suitcases are old-school and weigh a lot more than the soft-sided ones. I guess you could say that they protect your stuff better, but if you get a good sturdy soft-sided suitcase I think it will protect your stuff just fine. I have never had a hard-sided suitcase and I also have never had anything break inside my suitcase while I was travelling.
    Good luck shopping!

  • 17 Jun 2005 ptooma said


    No worries about expandable – if it’s not a backpack, then it’ll be an expandable. Try to pack as light as possible since you’ll be accumulating a lot of stuff – and it’ll just get heavier and heavier and heavier …

    - Vic

  • 17 Jul 2007 Amanda_K said


    This makes me feel a lot better! I’m about 1/2 an inch over and i was getting a little worried!!!!!

    Originally posted by Shell from Oz:

    Don’t worry my suitcase was over the size limit too. 4 cm one way and 2 cm another way. They honestly don’t care about the size really. All they care about is the weight and believe me they will let you know it. At your predeparture meeting they will tell you and on the morning that you leave you will need to weigh your suitcase and have it checked by a contiki rep. If it is one gram over 20kg’s you will be asked to take it out.. It took me 5 goes to get mine to 20kg’s, it was SO annoying.

    So yeah, moral of the story, don’t worry about the size, they don’t really care. But make sure it’s not over 20kg’s! You don’t want to be like I was the morning of the trip.. Shovelling stuff into bags to store at the royal national because my bag was too overweight!

    Have a great time on your trip,


  • 18 Jul 2007 Joanne said


    what type of bags to people mostly take?? i’m going on the Simply Italy tour in August and only have a suitcase with wheels not a large backpack – will this be ok??

  • 18 Jul 2007 Cherie said


    just wondering also where u put your sleeping bag…….does it go in your suitcase or is there another place to put it??

  • 19 Jul 2007 Loogie said


    I’ve never gone on a tour which requires a sleeping bag but assume you would carry it separate from your suitcase.
    You could probably search under the FAQ section on this mesage board.

    Here’s some other advice:

    If you plan on taking a credit card to Europe, you may want to call your credit card company to let them know you’ll be travelling so they don’t think the card has been stolen and cut you off.

    Another thing I recommend is carrying your cash in a money belt, I find it safer.

    Plan on spending $100-$150 USD per day. You’ll have to buy lunches daily, souveneirs, some dinners and going out at night. You should try exchanging money before you leave. You’ll have to chance to do so on the tour, but easier to get that part out of the way and have one less thing to worry about.

    When you pack, throw some clothing into your carry-on to lighten the weight of the suitcase and in case your luggage gets lost. Leave room for souveneirs & carry with you an extra copy of your pasport and hotel address list.

    In terms of weight of luggage, it’s the airlines that are more strict than Contiki. Each airline has their own weight threshold & will only be too glad to charge you extra for going over. You can find out the limit/rules by going on the airline’s website.

    I have lots of other advice which I think will be useful, so don’t hesitate to ask on here or email me.

    Brian (from New York)

    Southern Ireland ‘97
    Grand Explorer ’00
    Rainbow Nation ’01 (no longer offered by Contiki)
    Beaches & Reefs ’02-’03

  • 6 Feb 2008 msznumeroUNO said


    hi njx,

    from my understanding, correct me if im wrong, but i think they only weight the initial “suitcase” type of bag at london if your tour departs from london, im doing the ultimate european in august this year, and ive been reading alot of these forums for advice on packing etc..

  • 9 Feb 2010 EmmaEmily said


    ok, so from reading LOTS of posts about luggage i gather:

  • on tours leaving from london they weigh your suitcase. and it has to be under 20kgs. they will not necessarily meassure it. but it needs to be 70cmx50cmx25cm or VERY close to.

  • bus ‘carry on’ luggage should be small as posible and not weigh more than 5kg.

    is this all correct??
    in addition my question is:
    what are people experiences of medium-large souveniers being taken on the bus? provided you know you can fit them into your ACTUAL luggage later on..are they fussed if they don’t meet the general bus ‘day pack/carry on’ requirements?!?! or do they give you a chance at stops to add larger things to your suitcases?

  • 10 Feb 2010 torz said


    ok i just came back from a europe tour so ill tell you what i know..

    on tours leaving from london, they weigh your bags the morning you leave.. they have to be under 20kgs or else you have to take stuff out and put it in your carry on luggage.
    They do not measure your bag at all..
    Everyone on your tour will have a different size suitcase/backpack, so no need to worry about that.

    carry on luggage does not get weighed..Yeh it should be pretty small, because the overhead room above you on the bus does not fit very much.. on my tour, all that most people could fit is jackets, umbrellas, small backpacks and handbags..things like that. If you have a big carry on bag it will either be a)going on the spare seat beside you (if there is one) or b)sitting at your feet on the bus. Which alot of people on my tour had massive duffle type bags as carry ons.

    Ofcourse your gunna buy things along your trip..your bag might be 15kg at the start and 25kg at the end, it doesn’t matter though because it never gets weighed again..except for when you get to the airport to go home Wink<!--graemlin:;)-->

    as far as souveneirs..alot of people on my tour bought souveneirs which they constantly carried on the bus with them, because they were worried about getting them damaged in their main suitcase.. im talking about things like masks from venice, glass ware etc etc..

    hope i helped a little.

  • 10 Feb 2010 EmmaEmily said


    thankyou!! which one did you do??

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