Best Travel Bags for Europe: Our Top Picks for Families

If you’re planning a family trip to Europe and in need of the perfect backpacks and travel bags, look no further. As a family of five, we understand the importance of finding the right travel gear, especially when it comes to backpacks. In fact, we highly recommend swapping suitcases for backpacks whenever possible. It may be a challenge to find the ideal travel backpack for Europe, but the benefits are worth it.

Why Traveling in Europe with a Backpack is Awesome

Traveling with a backpack in Europe offers numerous advantages, particularly when exploring with children. Here are just a few reasons why we love backpacks:

  • Hands-Free Convenience: When navigating train stations and airports, having our hands free to manage our kids is essential.
  • Ease of Mobility: Many European accommodations lack elevators, making it difficult to lug suitcases up flights of stairs. Backpacks eliminate this problem.
  • Efficient Packing: Backpacks enable us to pack lighter and more efficiently, making weekend trips or longer journeys a breeze.
  • Fit for European Cars: Backpacks are more compact and fit better in smaller European cars.
  • Multiple Pockets: The various compartments and pockets in backpacks allow us to carry and organize an array of items.

Personally, I became a backpack convert after a challenging experience in Paris back in 2005. Climbing countless stairs with an overloaded suitcase was a nightmare. As soon as I returned home, I ditched the suitcase and invested in a durable backpack for all my future travels in Europe.

How to Pick Your Best Travel Bag for Europe

Before rushing out to buy a travel bag or browsing online, take some time to consider your specific needs and preferences. Here are a few questions to help guide your decision:

  • Do you require a heavy-duty hiking pack or would something simpler suffice?
  • Are you looking for a bag to hold a lot of belongings or just for short weekend trips in Europe?
  • Is a locking feature necessary for added security?
  • Will your children carry all their own belongings or just a few essentials?
  • What size bag are you comfortable with?
  • Do you prefer multiple pockets or just a main compartment?
  • Would you like a bag that cinches at the top or one that opens up like a suitcase?

While it may sound old-fashioned, we recommend venturing out and trying on backpacks in person if possible. Not all backpacks feel the same when worn, and it’s crucial to find one that fits comfortably and meets your specific requirements.

Our Favorite Travel Bags for Europe

Our selection of the best travel bags for Europe is based on our personal experience as a family of five. These are the bags we’ve used and found to be the most suitable for our travels throughout Europe.

Best Travel Bags for Europe: Anti-Theft Day Bags

When exploring European cities, the risk of pickpocketing always looms. While there are no guarantees, using an anti-theft travel bag may deter thieves and provide peace of mind. Here are the top reasons we love these bags:

  • Steel Straps: These bags feature steel in the straps, making it difficult for thieves to slash and run off with your belongings.
  • Secure Zippers: The bags have multiple locking mechanisms on the zippers, adding an extra layer of security.
  • RFID Blocking: Each bag provides RFID blocking capabilities, protecting your credit cards and personal information.
  • Stylish Appearance: These bags are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing, suitable for everyday use.
  • Variety of Sizes: With a range of colors and sizes available, you can find the perfect bag to suit your needs.

Personally, I own all four of these anti-theft bags, and it’s always a tough decision when deciding which one to bring on a trip. They have proven to be perfect companions for our travels around Europe.

Our Favorite Travel Backpacks for Europe: For Grown-ups

Choosing the ideal backpack for ourselves required trying on numerous options before settling on the perfect fit. We preferred backpacks that opened up completely, allowing for easy packing. The following bags also accommodated our packing cubes, making them ideal for longer trips. Here are our top picks:

  • REI 40-Liter Backpack: This backpack, unfortunately currently unavailable online, is my personal favorite. The 40-liter size is perfect for me, striking a balance between spaciousness and a slim design. It fits as a carry-on, even on budget airlines like RyanAir. My husband loved it so much that he purchased the same one, with slight modifications to size and color.
  • REI Co-op Ruckpack 60+ Recycled Travel Pack: My husband opted for this black travel pack, which is a 60-liter backpack. It comes with a smaller 20-liter day pack that clips onto the front. Although it does not fit under an airplane seat, it serves as a reliable carry-on option.

Please note that the 60-liter backpack needs to be checked in for flights and cannot be considered a carry-on.

Favorite Adult Travel Bags for Europe Runner-Ups:

While we haven’t personally used these bags, they come highly recommended in the travel bag realm. If our top picks don’t suit your preferences, these options are worth considering:

  • Great Travel Bags in the 40-liter range: [List of Great Travel Bags]
  • Great Travel Bags in the 60-liter range: [List of Great Travel Bags]

Our Favorite Travel Backpacks for Kids

When traveling with young children, it’s beneficial for parents to have larger backpacks to help carry their belongings. Starting with smaller school backpacks is a great way to introduce children to carrying their own items. As they grow older, they can take on more responsibility. Here are our favorite travel backpacks for kids:

  • [Cute Kid Backpack]: Although we didn’t have the opportunity to purchase this adorable backpack when our girls were younger, it would have been the perfect choice. Finding a backpack that appeals to children can be half the battle in getting them to wear it willingly.
  • [Older Girl Backpack]: Both of my girls, aged 8 and 10, love this backpack. It’s not only suitable for kids but also serves as a great weekend bag for adults. It offers ample room in the main compartment, various storage capabilities, and is water-resistant.
  • [Younger Boy Backpack]: This 10-liter backpack is an excellent starter bag for young children. It may be compact, but it surprises us with how much it can hold. We saw it in person, and my 5-year-old son immediately fell in love with it. It’s the perfect size for his current needs.

We hope our selection of travel bags for Europe helps you find the perfect fit for your family’s adventures. Remember, the right backpack can make all the difference. We’d love to hear about your backpack journeys and any recommendations you may have. Happy travels!


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