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Backpack or suitcase?

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1. Posted by sarusan (Full Member 61 posts) 11y

Are there any clear advantages a backpack has over a large suitcase? Bearing in mind I'm not going to be doing any trekking or mountaineering etc, or sleeping outdoors overnight. Just staying in the usual types of accommodation unless making short trips when I can leave my main luggage behind anyway.

2. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y

I personally hate suitcases but that's just because I have small arms and find them heavy to lift, drag around the place, etc. I've gotten so used to having a backpack that I would find it hard to ever switch back I think.

If you have backpack, your hands are free to do other things or carry other bags, or water/maps/camera....

Most good backpacks come with a wide range of features which make travelling much easier, such as compartments for smelly shoes/clothes; bungee cords; zip on day packs; etc etc....

It depends on whether or not you think its worth spending the money on a new pack or not.

3. Posted by Joao (Budding Member 29 posts) 11y

And don't forget that if the suitcase has weels, it's as easy and speedy for you to cary as it is for any burglar...
I just think the usual weight of a big suitcase is too much to cary with one arm, if you're always on the move and don't travel by car. You'll get tired pretty quickly, I guess. It's easier to let your whole back carry the load.
Just make sure the backpack is really confortable (with "cushion" in the straps and on the back of the backpack), and that you can fully close it with lockers for security. Check out all the different offers before you buy one. I personally prefer those that open completely on their side, so it's easier to pack and unpack and still keep everything decently organised, almost like a suitcase.
cheers

4. Posted by chrisavfc (Full Member 104 posts) 11y

Backpack wins no contest!

5. Posted by areinstein (Travel Guru 2788 posts) 11y

I have done both and for long, adventurous trips, backpack all the way!!! Suitcases are a PAIN IN THE NECK! If you get a decent size backpack, even when heavy, once you throw it on your back and clip all the adjustable straps, it feels pretty light and comfortable...but you do have to invest on a good reliable backpack. Good luck!

6. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y

If you are doing any walking outside from airport / bus station / train station to your hotel, a backpack has clear advantages. Roller bag suitcases choke on the small rocks and cracks in the pavement of outdoors. It's not impossible, however - just last week I walked an hour up St. Laurent in Montreal pulling my roller bag (the stupid street was closed and I didn't know where they re-routed the buses too). But it's not the greatest.

If you aren't going to be wandering around too much (for example, you plan to take transport (bus, subway, taxi) to and from your hotel to the airport / train / bus station, then the roller bag could be more advantageous. I frankly think that roller bags are much better in airports and train stations than backpacks. When you are moving through an airport, constantly putting on and taking off your backpack can become a pain. Much easier to just roll your bag up and leave it.

Given all I've said and the fact that you aren't doing much treking, though, I don't know if the price of a new backpack is worth the benefits. As Samsara2 mentioned about the price - the $US 200 - $US 300 you would probably spend on a nice backpack could be spent in a lot of other ways in your travels as well.

Greg

7. Posted by areinstein (Travel Guru 2788 posts) 11y

Greg is right. When I go to NY, which is quite often, I cant afford to take a backpack. I always bring too many things, too many outfits, one for Central Park, one for the running around the city, another for going out at night, another for the comfortable flight on the way back, and of course waaaaay too many shoes . No, backpacks dont go well in certain places...

8. Posted by areinstein (Travel Guru 2788 posts) 11y

Quoting sarusan

Are there any clear advantages a backpack has over a large suitcase? Bearing in mind I'm not going to be doing any trekking or mountaineering etc, or sleeping outdoors overnight. Just staying in the usual types of accommodation unless making short trips when I can leave my main luggage behind anyway.

Sarusan, I read this wrong...I thought you WERE doing trekking and adventorous stuff...my bad! I would stick to the suitcase then...by the way, where are you going if you dont mind me asking?

9. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

Deja vu! I knew I had seen this before ;)
(yes, I need to get out more)
http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=10034
....and I still stick with the backpack on wheels :)

10. Posted by FionaNZ (Respected Member 903 posts) 11y

Hey CC, they look great, do you have one of these & if so which one? I have been wondering if I can give up the wheelie bag & dig out the back pack for Sth America, but maybe this is the way to go Not as young as I used to be