Generally speaking suitcases are for old travellers, packpacks are for young or middle aged people whether it be a woman or a man, small, medium or big build. That's one of the reasons why they make different capacity backpacks. You wont get laughed as because that'd just be plain rude to laugh at someone because they had a suitcase in a hostel, but it will probably look a bit silly and make your baggage stand out more as a target (not that I've personally travelled with a suitcase but I have seen the odd person in a hostel with one). It does stand out a lot and makes you wonder what they are hiding to require a suitcase with sturdy locks compared to a backpack with limited security features.
Backpacking as Bex76 claims may not have anything to do with being under 30 because I've seen people who'd be 60+ in dorm rooms with a backpack (very rare person at that age), but certainly the majority of backpackers are under 30. I know that if I live until I am 60 I'll be a backpacker instead of being just another old traveller. It is just a part of me that dislikes staying in hotels like old unsociable people tend to do and also wasting loads of money on accommodation when you only stay there to sleep not to spend all day in better standard rooms.
[ Edit: Edited on Jul 22, 2007, at 2:20 AM by aharrold45 ]
I have another luggage recommendation: Grandma's wheeled shopping bag. It has all the advantages of a suitcase, but is more suitable to rough terrain. The main problem with suitcases is that they have relatively small hard wheels so it is difficult to drag them over cobblestone streets or up stairs. The shopping trolleys have large wheels, often the same size as a pram's and are much better suited to the task. All you have to do is find one that 1) closes with a zipper and a clasp 2) the bag can be separated from the wheels 3) the wheels and carrying system can fold away. 2) and 3) are especially essential if you intend to check the trolley into a plane's underbelly.
Me and my girlfriend are coming to the UK in September for 3 weeks. We'll be staying at my grandparents house in Scotland during the time we are there, but we'll also be travelling to other parts of Europe like Germany, Netherlands and a few other countries.
My GF opted for a suitcase whilst i have gone for a backpack. It will be interesting to see the different struggles we encounter with different parts of the travelling adventure with the different types of luggage we have.
We're not sure where we are staying when we travel to the other parts of Europe yet, but speaking of being laughed at, what are the chances of people saying something about my GF's suitcase which stands out considering it is a 'hot pink' colour? I'm sure it will be ok if there is only short commuting between the airport and the hotel/hostel we stay at.
lots of people seem to keep mentioning their worries about being laughed at for having suitcases, etc. i can understand where they're coming from...but from an outsider's point of view, look at it like this. it's LUGGAGE. whoever laughs at you for your luggage must be out of his mind - or has a very large lack of life.
choose whatever you are comfortable with (as you'll be the one dealing with it the entire time), and make sure it agrees with your trip - meaning, as someone above mentioned, if you're going around europe, city to city, suitcase will work fine. if you're going to the safari or such, perhaps stick with finding a smaller backpack. whatever works well for you. different people go with different things..
I found this. I think it will cover a backpack and a suitcase on wheel.
I highly doubt that what TravelA posted is in any way suitable. Please see my other posts on the subject of wheeled bagpacks in this forum.
I am sure you didn't mean to offend! I'm 53 and in view of the fact travelling as a single person is an exptremenly expensive business I opt mainy to use hostels..... I shall be travelling to LA and Fiji before spending a year In Brisbane, in January. If anyone loks at me sideways besause of my age I see that as their problem not mine. I am happy to enjoy company of all ages.