Backpack or suitcase?
It's a longstanding debate: which form of luggage is best?
Without access to a distinguished steamer trunk that comes with a team of porters, most folks have to choose between two options: suitcases and backpacks.
Both sides have their evangelists and detractors. Often, suitcase-wielders label pack-carriers as uncouth hippies, while backpackers see 'the other kind' as inexperienced, awkward travellers.
The truth is that both backpacks and suitcases have their place. Choosing your luggage based on the type of trip you're taking makes much more sense than a slavish devotion to either camp.
If you can't decide, here are some tips to help choose.
You might prefer a backpack in the following situations:
- You need your hands free (to carry a child, to ward off pickpockets etc)
- You'll be travelling over rough terrain (such as dodgy sidewalks or in the backcountry)
- You plan to walk long distances - even in urban areas
- You've packed a lot of lightweight, wrinkle-free clothes
- You'll be getting on and off buses, trains or other types of transportation constantly
You might consider taking a suitcase if
- You're travelling with lots of other luggage (such as carry-on pieces)
- You'll be mainly in urban areas that have smooth sidewalks or paths
- You need to keep your clothes tidy, ready-to-wear and presentable
- You're hauling around a lot of heavy or fragile items, such as books, laptops or gifts
- You're travelling with awkwardly shaped items that might poke you uncomfortably (such as large, firm parcels)
Either way, invest in quality. A backpack with fraying straps or a suitcase that doesn't have solid, well-built handles and wheels will make your life miserable. Don't sacrifice your travel happiness for pennies.
And, if you're lucky enough to be travelling light, remember that simple carry-on luggage is the best bet for comfort, flexibility and security.
What do you think? Are you a confirmed backpack/suitcase enthusiast? Any additional tips to share?
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