What you need to know…
So you’ve planned your next adventure, organised everything and brought all those essentials you’ll need on the road. Though, when it comes to packing these all in one place you realise you have two options. . . The typical trustworthy suitcase or the good ol’backpack, an oversized reminder of those oh-so exciting school days. This decision is no doubt an extremely important one. Essentially this bag will become an extension of yourself as you spend numerous hours in airports and chauffeuring it around accommodation to accommodation. So enough with the jibber jabber and let’s get into the details you’ll need to consider to ultimately make the best decision about your number one travel companion, backpack or suitcase?
Where are you travelling?
First of all, a pretty obvious major, what kind of terrain will you be tackling on your venture? Will it be a westernised country with sealed roads and footpaths? Or perhaps you might be heading towards an adventure involving dirt paths and uneven surfaces? These are all things to consider. You won’t want to lug a backpack around unnecessarily and all those straps can get in the way when you’re not really using it. Though, you also won’t want to be dragging a heavy suitcase through the mud or shoving it along when the wheel inevitably breaks on one of the many potholes.
Airlines have weight restrictions, generally around 23kgs. And as a generation who enjoy getting a lot of bang for our buck we will push this limit, even if that means we have to chuck on a few extra clothing layers during the flight. Now, if those five pairs of shoes, that hair straightener and four dresses are necessary and you don’t want to pay those ridiculous fees for that 0.3kgs extra, think about using a backpack. They are generally a fair bit lighter than using a suitcase. Considering they have no wheels and minimal boning this makes perfect sense. This also leads into my next point…..
Will you actually be able to carry that 23kg weight? Now if you have a decent backpack, which is fitted for your height and shape that weight will be carried on your hips. Though, if you’re like me and don’t want to spend crazy amounts on a new bag when you have an average one at home, then you make do. You might not be carrying it too far between locations or managed to pack quite light, then you should be perfectly fine. Also, if you are fit enough to comfortably carry it around, go for gold, but please test this out at home before you leave. The last thing you want is having to hide in the hostel and eat bread cause you spent the weeks budget on a new backpack when you couldn’t walk with your old one.
What will you be doing?
Now, you’ve also got to consider your plans while you’re travelling. Are you going to be hiking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal for a few weeks? Maybe you’re planning to camp your way down New Zealand? To put it straight, a suitcase is no way going to be suitable. Even if you are spending the weeks before and after in hotels. When you get off the beaten track for a decent amount of time where a daypack is not going to cut it. That suitcase is going to become the bane of your existence at that particular moment. Whereas, a backpack allows you freedom. It becomes an extension of your body and will not slow you down along the way.
How much stuff will you be taking?
Okay, if you’ve made it this far, first of all, congratulations, and secondly, you’re probably thinking who does this bias backpacker think she is. This article is just pointing out the plus side of using a backpack. Though, hold onto your seats cause we ‘bout to turn dis **** round’. I will say that a suitcase is a hell of a lot easier to store your items. Unfortunately, many backpacks have only one way to get into the main compartment, from the top.
Now, this makes this awkward when you’re trying to get to the bottom. Even if the storage cubes you can insert to make it all more organised, really doesn’t make the situation a whole lot better. Though, the occasional backpack does have the zip that goes all the way around, opening like a suitcase. I recommend these like crazy, even if they may cost a little bit more.
So if you’re not willing to fork out some extra dosh, the suitcase may be your best option. Especially if you’re a messy person like me, you’ll know the struggle of desperately searching through numerous clothes for your iPhone charger.
Whether you’re a backpack or suitcase person is honestly down to preference in the end. I know people who bring ridiculously large suitcases to the middle of nowhere and somehow manage just dealing with the consequences. So just follow what you think will be best for you. You know your trips, how you deal with certain circumstances and I have given you the main points to consider. So go forth, be confident in your decision and rock that awesome suitcase or backpack. You’re doing something many people can only dream of so enjoy every single moment. Whether you are lugging a suitcase through the mud or being pulled backwards by that oversized backpack.
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