Suitcases vs Back Pack – The Great Debate!

Find out what you must consider before deciding whether to take a suitcase or a backpack on your travel adventure.

Whether you are going for a short trip or a long trip, the question of whether to take a suitcase or a backpack is likely to come up. Most people have suitcases laying around the house or have one they can borrow from a family or friend, so tend to go with this option.

However many travellers will tell you that a backpack is the way to go!

We are travelling long term, but are planning on staying in each place for 3-6 months. While some places will be out of the way, many of our destinations and accommodation will be accessible by Uber or taxi. We initially just assumed we would use suitcases, however after doing some reading I started to think that maybe a backpack each would be more useful.

We ummed and ahhed for weeks before we settled on suitcases.

Here are some of the things we considered:

Suitcases Pros

  1. Wheels! So useful for ease of use and walking long distances, even just through a major international airport!
  2. You can pack your belongings neatly, and with ease.
  3. You can access everything easier without making a mess
  4. Hard case suitcases are more sturdy and harder to damage

Suitcase vs Backpack

Suitcase Cons

  1. They are heavy even before you fill them. If you are travelling on a weight budget you can’t fit as much in.
  2. The wheels can make them unsteady if you are stepping over kerbs or cobbled streets causing them to twist and fall
  3. They are difficult to get up stairs if your accommodation has no elevator
  4. Difficult to take off the beaten track

Backpack Pros

  1. You can take a backpack anywhere. They are incredibly versatile.
  2. Lots of pockets and sections so you know exactly where you have put your tablet charger, or your toiletries.
  3. Easy to carry up stairs or be hoisted up stairwells
  4. Easy to travel with if you are constantly moving from one location to another, and can be taken easily on crowded buses and less accessible destinations

Backpack or Suitcase

Backpack Cons

  1. If you are getting older or have back issues you risk not being able to carry your belongings
  2. They often claim to be waterproof or water resistant, but you still run the risk of having your belongings soaked in a heavy downpour
  3. Because they are soft, you may be tempted to pack until the seams are literally bursting. You don’t want them or the zips to burst in the middle of a trip.
  4. They can be so heavy that you need a friend to help you get it on your back!

It took some time for us to decide whether to go with a suitcase or a backpack. We ended up going with suitcases.

Our main reasons were that we are older and may struggle carrying a backpack, and the fact that we don’t plan on going to many less accessible places.

Should we be considering other issues?

UPDATE: When we travelled from Australia using a suitcase seemed like the best idea; however after actually having to travel and trying to manage two suitcases, a carry on suitcase and a carry on backpack between the two of us, we are not quite sure it is the best option for us.

We are seriously considering another option. Does anyone have any opinions?

 

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