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Another backpack Vs suitcase

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1. Posted by XFlowerX (Budding Member 2 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hi every1,

I am new to this site and backpacking.

I have decided to take a career break and go to Australia on a working holiday visa for 12 months. I have read loads of forums, sites, info etc and have an idea for what to expect.

I will be working as and when I need to and exploring the country.

I am confused on what to take, I am a very girly girl and like my straighteners, make-up, nice clothes etc and will need a suitcase for it all. But reading this forum a lot of people have said just take a backpack (there’s so not enough room in them).

The thing is I was planning to leave my belonging where ever I was staying e.g. hostel and have a small bag for the things I need that day. Is that not what people do? I will be moving around the country but am sure it can’t be too hard with a suitcase right??

Any help will be grateful

L x

2. Posted by summer123 (Budding Member 8 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

hey u sound the same as me im vey confused wot to take, a case would be better but im worried about lugging it around..

but a backpack seems 2 small!

cant go without the straightners lol- that will def me my one vice!

do many people take evening going out clothes?? trying to decide wot to bring!:(

3. Posted by XFlowerX (Budding Member 2 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Yeah I need to know about evening clothes, i wana be going out too!

you cant carry everything you own around 24-7, 365 days??!!

arrgghh it is harder than I thought hehe

4. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3290 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Of course you can travel with a suitcase.

But if you have ever dragged one (even a small one) up and down a number of long and steep set of stairs in a hurry or if you have carried one in your hand walking 4 miles over a dirt road you'll go for a backpack the next time.

The key to travelling with a backpack is to travel light, if you are taking too much it becomes to cumbersome. The same is true with a suitcase, if you worry about being not enough room in a backpack for all your things you are definitely taking too much.

The only times I've taken a suitcase was when I knew that 1) I did not have to carry it at all and 2) my luggage was relatively light. For example the last time I used one I was in another city for a job interview and due to circumstances I had to take the suitcase with me to the interview. Since I was angling for an office job (taxes and accounting) in one of Europe's most prestigious firms it would have been very strange had I shown up with anything less stylish than a hardcase with wheels. Since I was staying only for one night in that city I only had a change of clothing plus some toiletries. I could just as easily have stuffed everything I needed into a large plastic bag from the local discounter.

You say you intend to move around in the country - do you have any clue how much you are going to stick to the cities? If there is a remote chance that you might be forced to carry your suitcase in your hand for any period of time, go with a backpack.

You should also note that there are a bunch of backpacks that let you pack your clothes just like you would be able to pack a suitcase. I know Rick Steves sells one, but there are others.

have a small bag for the things I need that day. Is that not what people do?

Yes, and girly girls call this bag a handbag. It is guys, hikers and not-so-girly girls who chose a small backpack (daypack) instead. If you are set on taking a daypack I recommend the following:


choose a very stylish backpack made out of leather or leather-look-alike that you are not ashamed to use as a handbag even in a posh environment


get a cheap but sturdy backpack (jansport or similar) that you can easily fold and stuff into your suitcase when not in use and combine this with one of your smaller and highly stylish handbags.

[ Edit: Edited on Oct 3, 2008, at 5:30 PM by t_maia ]

5. Posted by laurim (Respected Member 260 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

You'll be much better off if you can find a low-maintenance hairstyle. Hostel situations can be a real pain to do any more than the minimum grooming. Outlets can be extremely scarce and nowhere near a mirror. The lighting was usually bad, too, and no one is going to be happy if you are hogging the bathroom doing your hair.

I spent a month in Italy and Greece using a Rick Steves travelpack. I chose the travelpack because it opened more like a suitcase and wasn't as massive as the backpacks I tried on. It's pretty small if you intend to carry a lot of clothes AND appliances. During the day, I used a small purse to carry my guidebook, camera, money and small stuff. It had one long strap if I felt a little nervous and two short handles when I felt ok and didn't want the strap across my chest look (such as with a cute dress). I saw plenty of people using rollerbags and I wish I had had one in many instances. I also met quite a few girls with massive suitcases they couldn't manage on their own and looked ridiculous. Seriously, one suitcase was hard-sided and I bet I could get inside of it.

Think long and hard about finding the minimum amount of stuff you can live with. After only a month I was so tired of lugging my stuff around and I really didn't have that much (about 20lbs) and barely bought anything along the way.

6. Posted by Highfall (Full Member 26 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Like you already said, you can't be carrying around everything you need for 365 days... and even though it's nice to have an outfit for each and every situation, the minute you start moving around (which you probably will, at some point while in Australia), you will regret it!

Australia is relatively cheap though, you can always buy stuff you need down there. Though don't worry, people at hostels won't be judging you for wearing the same hoodie for a week =P

You are gonna hate yourself for not packing everything at first, but you'll get used to it ^^

7. Posted by pceire32 (Budding Member 5 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

There are several suitcase/ backpacks (travelpacks) out there that give you the best of both worlds. I have an eagle creek switchback which is a wheeling suitcase, has a large zip off daypack and also you zip down a cover on the back for shoulder straps if you need to carry the pack. Looks very nice too all zipped together when you check into a hotel. Search "Travelpacks" on the web, several opitions.
Enjoy your trip

8. Posted by karlyfu (Budding Member 62 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

You should take one of those roller suitcases. It is Australia! we have escalators! If you're a girly girl you're probably going to cities anyway right? And if you're on a working holiday visa you'll probably be staying a few months in each place so a little day pack and a roller suitcase should be fine... most of this post is based on assumptions so if I'm wrong a pack might be better, but If your planning on doing like Cairns, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Sydney, Melbourne (and maybe some places in between) you'll be sweet with a suitcase.
Have fun!

9. Posted by joey22 (Respected Member 561 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I agree with the last post - a wheelie-suitcase will be no bother in Australia if you are travelling in the manner suggested by Karlyfu.

If you were travelling through many parts of asia or latin america or africa by public transport and were in situations where you needed to board a bustling, packed bus/trian/bush taxi/pick up truck quickly and with minimum fuss then a backpack would be as good as essential.

It boils down to two things, in my humble opinion:

1) Take what you feel comfortable carrying and 'living out of' for the duration of your trip. The way the bag or suitcase is packed makes a big difference, e.g. a rolled t - shirt takes up less space than a folded one. After a few weeks on the road you will be an old-hand at packing, moving around from place to place and will develop a routine of sorts.

2) Take as little as you realistically can. A heavy bag or suitcase really is a pain in the ass. Also you will undoubtedly treat yourself to a few new items of clothing, pick up presents for people etc. On my first round the world trip I ended up with a crammed and very heavy 75 litre bag with things tied to the outside, my skateboard and 2 heavy, bursting day packs. Never since (in lots of long trips all over the globe) have I taken so much stuff. My trusty 50 litre backpack and small day pack are my main luggage now and more than enough.

But thats me - take what you want to take and if you have to post stuff home or chuck stuff away then you won't be the first person who has done so.

Have a great trip!!

Joey :)